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some fragments built into the neighbouring Acropolis walls as belonging to the building, and not only tells us the number of pillars, their size and character, but is even able to assure us that, whereas the body of the temple is of very early date, the stylobate was added in the time of Peisistratus. And in addition to this, the talent and patience of a younger archæologist, Dr. Studniczka, has recovered from the masses of remains some fragments of a group which he has shown to have adorned the pediment of this very temple. This discovery offers so good an instance of the application of archæological method that we must give a more detailed account of it.
An archaic helmeted head of Athena of sixth-century work was found many years ago on the Acropolis, and is well known from casts (at South Kensington, Oxford, and Cambridge) and from engravings in the histories of sculpture. To this head Studniczka joined an almost shapeless fragment of more recent discovery, which turns out to be the shoulder of the goddess covered with the ægis, on the edges of which were ranged snakes, painted, according to the crude fashion of colouring then in use for marble, with red and green paint. Head and shoulder being thus placed together, it becomes evident that we have before us no detached figure, but part of a group, for Athena looks downward, and her arm is outstretched as if in conflict. And if in conflict, she could not but be represented as victorious, looking down on an overthrown enemy. To find this enemy, it was necessary to examine the numerous fragments of human figures stored in the Acropolis Museum. The lower part of a male figure was discovered which in scale and in species of marble corresponded to the Athena. The position of his legs showed that he was lying on his back. And on the upper surface of one leg were at regular intervals spots which seemed on careful examination to arise from the dripping of water mixed with red and green colour. Now the intervals between these spots corresponded so nearly to the spaces between the different snakes on the aegis of Athena, which were painted in these very colours, as to leave small doubt that it was from these very snakes that the rain-water fell in drops upon the leg of the prostrate man; so he must have lain directly under the aegis. Here, then, was the opponent of Athena, a prostrate foe, no doubt one of the earth-born Giants, whom in so many sculptures, and on so many vases, Athena is represented as overthrowing and slaying.
So far, however, we have only proved a group, not a pediment. But fragments of corresponding Giants, in the storerooms of the Museum, soon showed that the composition was
extensive ; and the fact that one side only of them was fully worked showed that they stood against some background as in a pediment, and did not make up a free-standing group. Lastly, the lines of breakage of the figures, and the wide dispersion of the fragments, proved that they had fallen from a height. They could thus only belong to a pediment; and the dimensions of the pediment to which they must have belonged being carefully calculated from the height of the central figures, it soon appeared that a pediment of exactly that size would suit the temple of Athena which the Peisistratidæ erected, or at least completed and adorned. Thus, by an admirable chain of reasoning, in which there is not a weak point, Dr. Studniczka has enabled us to be sure that Peisistratus, or his sons, adorned their temple in front with a representation of a battle of Gods and Giants in which Athena occupied the central position. And we can further tell exactly what was the condition of sculpture, and what the principles of pedimental composition at the time.
The temple of Athena, though the most important of the shrines of the Acropolis in the sixth century, certainly did not stand alone. For we have recovered the whole or part of five or six other pediments of small size, and executed in rough local
These compositions now form one of the most conspicuous features of the Acropolis Museum, and arouse the wonder, far more than the admiration, of visitors. To those who are accustomed to consider Greek Art as a thing dropped from the skies, calm, colourless and faultless, they must come with a shock. For both in form and in colour these interesting memorials of the early Art of Greece are bold, awkward, and wanting in all refinement. Perhaps the most curious of them is the pediment put together by the skill of Dr. Brueckner, in which Zeus and Hercules in the midst are fighting back to back against two monsters advancing against them from the corners; on one side the giant snake Echidna, on the other Typhon, a winged figure with three human bodies and interwoven snakes for feet, a monster coloured throughout with brightest red and blue and green, which might seem better suited for the adornment of a Mexican than of a Greek temple to those who have not realized that Greek Art, like every other art, was of gradual growth, and started from barbarous beginnings. Interesting as these pediments are historically, one cannot wonder that the contemporaries of Themistocles were very ready to thrust them out of sight. But these sculptures are of older date than that of Peisistratus.
It must not be supposed that the Peisistratid age was one of barbarous art; on the contrary, it is revealed in these excavations as an age of extraordinary progress, and various culture. It is well known that Peisistratus collected and edited the Homeric poems. He also attracted to his brilliant and luxurious court the most celebrated of the artists of all Greece, who set up their productions side by side on the Acropolis, and so laid the foundations of that Attic style in sculpture which by the end of the sixth century was fully formed, and becoming conscious of its high destiny. We have recovered the bases which supported statues by Aristion of Paros, and Aristocles of Crete, by Archermus of Chios, by Endæus of Ionia, by Callon of Ægina, and others; in a few cases it has been possible to restore to the bases the statues which belonged to them.
No group of statues belonging to this early age has attracted more attention than the very remarkable series of archaic female figures, clad in the flowing Ionian dress, of which an almost endless series is now set up in the Acropolis Museum, and which must when the Persians broke in have formed quite a crowd of stately statues standing in rows on their dedicative bases somewhere in the neighbourhood of the temple of Athena. In style they vary greatly; and it is a fascinating task to trace from one to another the gradual dawn upon the artistic sense of Greece of greater skill in rendering of difficult detail, of keener love for nature, of clearer feeling for style. Yet all, even the rudest, have something of that inexplicable charm which belongs to archaic Greek Art, and which takes a stronger and stronger hold of students of archæology. This charm was felt in antiquity by Pausanias, who found something divine in the primitive sculptures of the school of Dædalus, and by Lucian, who praises the sweet and subtle smile of the Sosandra of Calamis. Among ourselves, one may venture to say, it is archaic art which arouses the greatest enthusiasm. It is not Rubens, nor even Michael Angelo, who most takes hold of our younger lovers of painting, but Giotto and Fra Angelico. For one young archæologist who really cares for the Laocoon, or even the Hermes of Praxiteles, three will be found who are strongly affected by the Hestia Giustiniani or the Harpy Tomb. It is a tendency not unnatural in an age when taste is directed rather by the understanding than the senses, and when the tendency to asceticism is so marked among more sensitive natures.
Unfortunately it is found impossible to take casts of these statues, for fear of destroying the delicate remains of colour which yet linger on hair and eyes and dress. So it is not easy without visiting Athens to appreciate them. A useful series of photographs, however, is appearing in Kavvadias' new work, Les Musées d'Athènes.' We shall make no attempt at descriptions, which in such cases are useless. But we may say a few words on the interesting question, what was the object of those who set up these statues, and whom of gods or of mortals do they represent?
If we question the statues themselves, and the bases on which they stood, we shall find little material towards a solution. These figures standing rigidly side by side, supporting with one hand their dress and in the other perhaps a flower, looking before them with rigid smile and vacant eyes, seem to embody rather the idea of woman than any set of living ladies. The inscriptions of the bases tell us that they were dedicated to Athena, and sometimes give us the dedicator's or the artist's name, but contain no further information. But it is at once evident that three alternatives lie before us. They might represent the Goddess herself, since according to Greek notions no present could be more acceptable to one of the gods than a well-wrought image of himself. How charming is the dedication written in archaic characters on the base from Melos, probably intended for a statue of Apollo, “Son of Zeus, accept from Ecphantus this blameless statue, for with prayer to thee he finished the graving of it.' A temple of ancient Greece is seldom excavated without discovery of statues or statuettes of the deity to whom it was dedicated, placed in it by the grateful hands of those who had found favour in his eyes. Or, secondly, they might represent, not the Goddess, but her servant the priestess. We read in Pausanias that in the vestibule of the great temple of Hera, near Argos, there stood portrait-statues of all her priestesses, including even the careless Chrysis, who had fallen asleep during her ministry, while the sacred lamp set fire to some of the offerings, and the whole temple was burned. Or, thirdly, they might portray votaries of various sorts. The less educated Greeks were really idolaters—that is to say, they constantly made confusion between a person and an image representing that person, like the witches of a later age; so it was natural enough that they should wish ever to stand, if not in person, at least by the proxy of a portrait, in the neighbourhood of a deity in whose power to help they fully believed, and who was present in his temple-image as he was present nowhere else.
These are the three possibilities. But the second may be promptly rejected. The only priestesses of Athena on the Acropolis were the regular priestess of Athena Polias, an aged woman who held office for life, and the Arrephoric maidens, some twelve years of age. The statues in question certainly do not represent children, and they are too numerous to be
portraits portraits of the successive priestesses of Athena Polias, each of whom would hold office for many years. So they cannot represent priestesses. But between the other alternatives it is hard to choose. If they represent Athena, it is Athena deprived of her usual attributes, her warlike equipment of helmet and ægis and spear; though we know that at this very time the goddess was usually represented as clad in full armour.
And if they represent votaries, these votaries are generalized, and have nothing of individual character in them. Either the Deity has given up her divinity for womanhood, or the women have merged their womanhood in something which approaches the divine. Between these alternatives it would not be easy to decide, but for the statement of Pausanias already adduced, that there stood in his time on the Acropolis figures of Athena blackened by the smoke of Persian fires, which seems to suggest that statues not preserved but buried would be not of the Goddess but of her votaries. This argument perhaps must not be pressed too far; but it does seem to make the scales dip in favour of the human alternative.
Besides these female figures, we have extensive remains of the works of art and of piety which adorned the Acropolis at the opening of the fifth century. There are fragments of horsemen, set up in memory of victories in the games or of deliverance in war; there are reliefs of delicious archaic art representing the Gods or their dealings with men. There is one fragment on which is sculptured a youth driving his chariot, which may possibly be part of the frieze of the Peisistratid temple of Athena. There are several portrait-heads, or heads intended for portraits, but telling us more of the school of the artist than of the physiognomy of the subject. There are scribes seated at work, who strongly remind us of the figures of similar functionaries from Egypt. And the bases which supported these dedicated statues, and others which have disappeared, bear the names, one might also say the autographs, of many prominent Athenian citizens, and of the artists whom they employed in the service of the Gods of Athens.
It is interesting to find among the dedications several by the great Athenian potters of the end of the sixth century, Andocides, Euphronius, and others. It is a fresh proof of the wealth of these potters and the consideration which they enjoyed. Many beautiful fragments of vases bearing the names of Euphronius, Hiero, Scythes, and other vase-painters, have also been recovered ; and these, though in themselves of no very great importance, have given us evidence long looked for, as to the date and the source of the beautiful black-figured and