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Athena clasping the hand of Hera

Collection: Athens, Acropolis Museum
Title: Athenian Decree Honoring the Samians
Context: From Athens, Acropolis
Findspot: Found at Athens, Acropolis
Summary: Athena and Hera
Object Function: Honorary
Material: Marble
Sculpture Type: Stele, relief-decorated
Category: Single sculpture
Style: High Classical
Technique: Low relief
Original or Copy: Original
Date: exact 403 BC
Dimensions: H. of stele fragment 1.163 m; W. .56 m
Scale: Miniature
Region: Attica
Period: High Classical

Subject Description: Athena helmeted, in her military role but with shield behind her, clasps the hand of Hera, the patron goddess of the Samians, as if in confirmation of the decree outlined in the text below the relief. The Athenians bestowed citizenship and other rights upon their ally (the democratic contingent of) the Samians in thanks for their loyalty following the battle at Aigospotamoi in 405. The stele was not carved until two years later. Note the landscape detail of the tree.

Form & Style: Important for the exact date connected with the relief, which presumably reflects the stylistic currents of the day. Both goddesses shown in three-quarter view with heads in profile. Athena shows Polykleitan stance with trailing left leg, drapery forms a triangular pattern over it. It has been suggested that Hera reflects the cult state in a temple between Athens and Phaleron, which Pausanias said was made by Alkamenes (Paus. 1.1.5).

Date Description: Dated exactly by the text of the decree, specifically the archonship of Kephisophon.

Condition: Nearly complete

Condition Description: Four joining fragments of a stele. The largest fragment preserves the upper section of the stele, including the relief in its entirety.

Material Description: Pentelic, according to Brouskari

Inscription: *K*H*F*I*S*O*F*W*N *P*A*I*A*N*I*E*U*S *E*G*R*A*M*M*A*T*E*U*E*S*A*M*I*O*I*S *O*S*O*I *M*E*T*A *T*O *D*H*M*O *T*O *A*Q*H*N*A*I*W*N *E*G*E*N*O*N*T*O

Inscription Bibliography: IG I.3 127

Sources Used: Brouskari 1974, 174-5 (with previous bibliography); Meiggs & Lewis, no. 94; Meyer 1989, 273

Other Bibliography: Lawton 1984, no. 17