Friday, February 12, 2010


I could, in theory, upload a few hundred pictures after today - Delphi is an amazing site. Anyway, I won't bore you with that kind of mass posting so here's 4 selected shots (and the Charioteer will not be one of them, as I find it rather useless to only post shots of the absolutely most famous pieces).

The temple of Apollon is however impossible to skip when talking about Delphi.

The Athenian treasure house at Delphi, notice that the walls used to be incised with inscriptions covering a great deal of subjects (there is actually one paian, hymn, remaining with notes!).

Heracles (the man with the lions pelt) and Dionysus (the man who is dressed in a panthers skin and who is standing on a chariot drawn by a lion) in a Gigantomachy (fight between gods and giants). From the treasury of the Siphnians at Delphi.

[Edit 022010: please read this post on the subject, not the one below]
A battle under the walls of Troy. Here we see the dead warrior Antilochus, who's body the heroes fight about. On the Greek side we find Achilles (the man with the gorgon shield on the right side) and another Greek - the Trojans are probably represented by Hector and some other warrior, but I'm not quite sure on who and we do have good evidence for the identification. From the same building as the frieze above.


Anonymous said...

Yep, some good depictions of crested war helmets here.

Btw, are the scholars sure that the warrior on the right, who carries the shield adorned with the gorgoneion, really is Achilles? Now, I haven't had the patience to sit down and read Homer's epics in detail, but I remember that a shield was given to Achilles by his mother, the sea goddess Thetis - a very special kind of shield made by Hephaestus, the god of fire. My memory is a bit hazy here, but I think Homer describes this shield in pretty good detail in the Iliad, and he doesn't mention a Gorgon's head in that passage. Instead the shield was a very elaborate piece of equipment with... um... decorations that told a story of some kind... Oh well, I guess I'll have to google it up! :-)

Anyway, do you think it is wrong of me, based on the description of the shield in the Iliad, to go against common beliefs and say that the warrior on the frieze is NOT the great Achilles, but another Greek hero (there are plenty of them after all)? On the other hand, I guess artistic freedom existed in those days too. The sculptor may very well have intended the warrior to be Achilles, but didn't bother to follow the descriptions in the Iliad to a tee. We'll probably never know for sure.

The characters on the frieze above is easier to identify, though. Not even a layman like myself can mistake a muscled dude wearing a lions pelt for anyone else than Heracles. I notice that his arm is missing, but I guess if it was intact he would have wielded a giant club - the weapon commonly associated with him. The wine god Dionysos in his battle garb made of panther skins is easily identifiable too.


Patrik Klingborg said...

Very well noticed, I should have checked my sources before posting - I was a rather tired after a long day.

Anyway, for an elaborated answer, check my latest post.

(On the part of artistic freedom, yes to some extent, but it is very important to get the attributes right)