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Showing posts from March, 2011

The double tetrapylon at Aphrodisias

The double tetrapylon, monumental gate at Aphrodisias. A tetrapylon (Greek: "four gates") is an ancient type of Roman monument of cubic shape, with a gate on each of the four sides, generally built on a crossroads.

Sebasteion: Ancient Aphrodisias School of Sculpture...

Nymphs with baby Dionysos

Relief at Sebasteion: Ancient Aphrodisias School of Sculpture...

A heavily wrapped baby Dionysos is handed from one nymph to another for suckling. A bearded Silenos gestures excitedly with his arms and taps his foot as though singing or about to dance. The scene is set at nearby Nysa in the Meander valley, where Zeus had his gifted child Dionysos, born to him by Semele, brought up in the wilds out of view of his wife Hera. - Museum of Aphrodisias, Turkey.

Drunken Dionysos

Relief at Sebasteion: Ancient Aphrodisias School of Sculpture...

A prancing woodland nymph leads drunken Dionysos who supports himself languidly on a small satyr. This is an image of Dionysian enjoyment and pleasure, hellenistic in style and fluently designed. - Museum of Aphrodisias, Turkey.

The Three Graces of Aphrodisias

Relief at Sebasteion: Ancient Aphrodisias School of Sculpture...

Charites, the Three Graces stand in their familiar hellenistic composition. They were handmaids of Aphrodite and appeared in this form on the decoration of her cult statue at Aphrodisias. Their names evoked their character: Euphrosyne (Joy), Aglaia (Splendour), and Thaleia (Bloom). - Museum of Aphrodisias, Turkey.

More about Charites, the Three Graces...

Heracles & Antaios - Ancient Oil Wresting

Relief at Sebasteion: Ancient Aphrodisias School of Sculpture...

Heracles is preparing to wrestle the Libyan giant Antaios. Herakles (left) is taking off his bow-case to hang it on a rustic pillar-statue. Antaios (right) is binding up his head with ear-protectors; next to him stands an oil basin as used in the wresting ground, palaistra. Antaios was a famous wrestler and challenged and killed all visitors to his country, until defeated by Herakles. - Museum of Aphrodisias, Turkey.

Anchises & Aphrodite

Relief at Sebasteion: Ancient Aphrodisias School of Sculpture...

The Trojan shepherd Anchises gazes at the seated Aphrodite, his lover for one night on Mount Ida. She holds a small Eros on her lap: this is an erotic encounter. The head of Selene (Moon) appears above the mountain rocks: she indicates night-time. It was from this union that Aineas, featured in the next panel, was born. - Museum of Aphrodisias.

Ethnos of the Pirousti

Relief at Sebasteion: Ancient Aphrodisias School of Sculpture...

The figure personifies a Balkan warrior tribe, defeated by Tiberius in AD 6-8, before he became emperor. She wears classical dress, cloak, and helmet, and carries a small shield and probably once a spear. A builder's inscription, Pirouston, written above and to right of shield, ensured the relief was put on the correct base, inscribed ETHNOUS PIROUSTON. - Museum of Aphrodisias, Turkey.

Royal hero with hunting dogs

Relief at Sebasteion: Ancient Aphrodisias School of Sculpture...

The diademed youth stands with his horse and two hunting dogs. At the left, an oval (foreign) shield hangs from a leafless tree, against which leans a long thin club. The royal hero is probably a local founder - such as the Assyrian king Ninos, claimed as founder of their city by the Aphrodisians. - Museum of Aphrodisias.

Aphrodite crowned by Andreia

Relief at Sebasteion: Ancient Aphrodisias School of Sculpture...

A draped goddess is crowned by a female warrior figure. The goddess is probably Aphrodite, while the warrior has the bare-breasted Amazonian dress and equipment, spear, sword-strap, shield, worn by Roma or Andreia (Bravery). - Museum of Aphrodisias.

Emperor and Roman People

Relief at Sebasteion: Ancient Aphrodisias School of Sculpture...

The emperor is a naked warrior and is crowned by a personification of the Roman People wearing a toga, the stately civilian dress of Roman citizens. The crown is an oak wreath, the corona civica or civic crown awarded for saving citizens' lives. The emperor is setting up a battlefield trophy beneath which kneels an anguished barbarian woman captive. - Museum of Aphrodisias.

Nero & Armenia

Relief at Sebasteion: Ancient Aphrodisias School of Sculpture...

Nero, wearing only aloak and sword-strap, supports a slumped naked Armenia by her upper arms. She wears a soft eastern hat, and her bow and quiver are at left. The heroic composition likens them to Achilles and the Amazon queen Penthesilea. The inscription reads: Armenia - [Neron] Klaudios Drousos Kaisar Sebastos Germanikos. - Museum of Aphrodisias, Turkey.

Aineas' flight from Troy

Relief at Sebasteion: Ancient Aphrodisias School of Sculpture...

Aienas in armour carries his aged father Anchises on his shoulder and leads his young son Iulus by the hand. They are fleeing from the sack of Troy. The figure floating behind is Aphrodite, Aineas' mother: she is helping their escape. Old Anchises carries a round box that held images of Troy's ancestral gods. - Museum of Aphrodisias. See Anchises & Aphrodite too.

Claudius, master of land and sea

Relief at Sebasteion: Ancient Aphrodisias School of Sculpture...

The god Claudius strides forward in a divine epiphany, drapery billowing around his head. He receives a cornucopia with fruits of the earth from a figure emerging from the ground, and a ship's steering oar from a marine tritoness with fish-legs. The idea is clear: the god-emperor guarantees the prosperity of land and sea. The relief is a remarkable local visualisation - elavated and panegyrical - of the emperor's role as universal saviour and divine protector. - Museum of Aphrodisias.

Agon at Ancient Aphrodisias

The scene is an allegory of athletic contest, agon. The pillar with bearded head is Hermes, the god of the gymnasium. Nearby is a palm of victory and a prize table with a victory ribbon on it. Two winged baby Eros figures are struggling over a palm branch, now mostly broken; they act out the idea of contest, which is personified in the youthful figure behind. He holds another palm of victory: he is Agon himself! - Museum of Aphrodisias.

Claudius & Britannia

Relief at Sebasteion: Ancient Aphrodisias School of Sculpture...

Naked warrior Claudius is about to deliver a death blow to a slumped figure of Britannia. He wears helmet, cloak, and sword-belt with scab-bard. Britannia wears a tunic with one breast bare - like the Amazon figures on which she was modelled. The inscription reads: Tiberios Klaudios Kaisar - Bretannia. - Museum of Aphrodisias, Turkey.

Sebasteion: Aphrodisias School of Sculpture

The ancient city of Aphrodisias is one of the most important archaeological sites of the late Hellenistic and Roman period in Turkey. Aphrodisias was named after Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, who had here her unique cult image, the Aphrodite of Aphrodisias, the city's patron goddess. Famous for its its marble sculptors, Aphrodisias enjoyed a long and prosperous existence from the first century BC to the sixth century AD. Today, many of the city's ancient monuments remain standing, and excavations have unearthed an unusual number of marble statues and inscriptions, as well as buildings and other artifacts.

Ares of Aphrodisias

Relief at Sebasteion: Ancient Aphrodisias School of Sculpture...

The nude and classically styled young god wears only a helmet and held a spear (missing) in one hand and a shield in the other. At left stands his cuirass, and at the upper right corner hangs his sword. Ares was the god of war and was not later defaced by Christians probably because he so closely resembles a young emperor. - Museum of Aphrodisias, Turkey.

Nero & Agrippina

Relief at Sebasteion: Ancient Aphrodisias School of Sculpture...

Agrippina crowns her young son Nero with a laurel wreath. She carries a cornucopia, symbol of Fortune and Plenty, and he wears the armour cloak of a Roman commander, with helmet on the ground at his feet. The scene refers to Nero's accession as emperor in AD 54, and belongs before AD 59 when Nero had Agrippina murdered. - Museum of Aphrodisias, Turkey.

Tiberius with Captive

Relief at Sebasteion: Ancient Aphrodisias School of Sculpture...

The naked emperor stands frontally, holding spear and shield and wearing cloak and sword-strap. Besides him stands a barbarian prisoner, shown at about half the emperor's scale. The prisoner wears cloak and trousers and has his hands tied behind his back. - Museum of Aphrodisias, Turkey.

Prometheus freed by Heracles

Relief at Sebasteion: Ancient Aphrodisias School of Sculpture...

Prometheus is screaming in pain. Zeus had given him a terrible punishment for giving fire to man: he was tied to the Caucasus mountains and had his liver pecked out daily by an eagle. Herakles has shot the eagle and is undoing the first mannacle. He wears his trade-mark lion-skin and has thrown his club aside. A small mountain nymph, holding a throwing stick, appears among the rocks above. - Museum of Aphrodisias, Turkey.

Lyre Playing Apollo at Istanbul Museum

Apollo Citharoedus, Lyre Playing Apollo, the god of light, wisdom and reason. He is playing his lyre placed on a pedestal, in a group statues depicting the god Apollo and his muses, sources of inspiration, found at the Baths of Faustina in the ancient city of Miletus. It is dated to the 2nd century AD. Faustina was the daughter of Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius and the wife of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. After her death, the famous baths of Miletus were named after her. At Istanbul Archaeology Museum, Turkey.