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Ripe Archaic (1) The Cyclades and East Greece

The most comprehensive account of ripe archaic sculptors is by Lippold 1950; Ridgway 1977, 283-302 reviews the preserved signatures. Almost two-thirds of the total of both inscriptions and names (about 40) are Attic: see here esp.Raubitschek 1949 and Deyhle 1969. The other major sculptural centers have provided at most only two or three apiece, while the West is a virtual blank. The literary sources are much more even-handed; with the honorable exception of Pausanias (who diligently records some of the major names, and describes a few monuments at length), they ignore the period almost entirely, though the rare occasions when their interest is engaged (e.g. T 19, T 21, T 29) are worth their weight in gold.

Despite the early prominence of the Cyclades in the archaeological record, including the earliest sculptor's signature of all, by Euthykartides of Naxos (Stewart 1990, fig. 40), only Aristion of Paros emerges as a personality and that only because his kore survives (Stewart 1990, figs. 121-22). The Chiot and Samian sculptors, however, have fared a little better.

Archermos, son of Mikkiades, of Chios, and his family


Archermos is among only three archaic sculptors known from both literary and epigraphical sources, plus (probably) a preserved statue: Stewart 1990, fig. 92. He was apparently active ca. 550-500, and like Dipoinos and Skyllis (T 15) appears to have attracted enough attention from some later connoisseur to arouse Pliny's curiosity:

“Before the time of Dipoenus and Scyllis the sculptor Melas already lived on the island of Chios, followed by his son Micciades and grandson Archermus. His sons Bupalus and Athenis were quite the most eminent in this craft at the time of the poet Hipponax, who was certainly alive in the 60th Olympiad [540-537]. Now if we trace their lineage back to their great-grandfather, we find that the beginnings of this art coincided with the beginning of the Olympiads [776]. Hipponax had a notoriously ugly face, and because of this they exhibited his portrait and made dirty jokes about it to their circles of fun-loving companions. Whereupon the indignant Hipponax rebuked them so bitterly in his poems that some believe he drove them to hang themselves. This is false, for they later made many statues in the neighbouring islands, for example on Delos, to which they attached verses saying that Chios is esteemed not merely for its vines, but also for the works of the sons of Archermus. Furthermore, the Iasians exhibit a Diana made by their hands. In Chios itself there is said to be a face of Diana which is also their work; it is set on high, and appears sad to those entering, cheerful to those departing. At Rome there are statues of theirs on the gable of the temple of Apollo on the Palatine and on almost all the buildings erected by the deified Augustus. There were works by their father too at Delos and on the island of Lesbos.

Pliny, N.H. 36.11-14
Pliny's source evidently knew the verses on the base of Archermos' Delian statue, still preserved today, but erroneously included Melas, the mythical founder of Chios mentioned in line 3, in the genealogy. The reading of the inscription is uncertain: the latest study, Scherrer 1983, even denies that Mikkiades and Archermos sign as sculptors at all, making them the dedicators of the statue. Since the lower part of the Nike found nearby (Stewart 1990, fig. 92) is lost, its attribution to this base will never be completely certain: supporting the connection, however, are its scale and a scholiast's note:

“Only more recently have Nike and Eros acquired wings. For some say that it was Archennos [sic] the father of Boupalos and Athenis, others that it was Aglaophon the Thasian painter who made Nike winged, as Karystios of Pergamon relates.

Scholium to Aristophanes, Birds 573
Münzer 1895, 522-25 proposed that the otherwise obscure "Karystios of Pergamon" could be the Hellenistic connoisseur Antigonos of Karystos (T 78, T 145), who made Pergamon his base, and further suggested him as Pliny's authority for both T 15 and T 18. Yet though the range of interests there displayed coincides exactly with his, Pliny only includes him in his source list for books 34-35 (cf. T 145), and not in that for book 36. Since T 78 certifies him as a competent epigrapher and no "armchair archaeologist" (cf. the commentary to T 15), Pliny may be relying upon a Latin intermediary here, like Varro or the (none too careful) Mucianus, both cited by him as prime sources for book 36. Sheedy 1985, 625 dismisses Pliny's account as largely fiction based on the Romans' desire for tidy genealogies and famous names, but overlooks the inscribed base found in Rome (no. 9, below).

Aside from the Delian statue and Pliny's vague mention of Lesbos, the only hard evidence as to Archermos' career is a signed column from the Akropolis (Raubitschek 1949 no. 3; Marcadé 1957, 21(v)-22: later sixth century); for another (?), see also Raubitschek 1949 no. 9. His sons, active from ca. 540 (T 18) are hardly less shadowy, though their oeuvre is far more extensive. In addition to the five works listed in T 18, Boupalos alone is given the following:

  • Tyche, at Smyrna
  • Three Graces, under the image of Nemesis, at Smyrna; gold
  • Three Graces, later in the palace of the Attalids at Pergamon; cf:
  • Part of a base from Pergamon bearing a Chiot sculptor's signature
  • Base from Rome with his signature (a renewal)
  • Animals in clay
  • Paintings at Klazomenai
  • The Samian Hera, later in the Lauseion at Constantinople; supposedly in collaboration with Lysippos. Misattribution (cf. T 13, 128 and Lysippos no.47)
Once again, the Pergamene connection is clear, and could have been what sparked the interest of "Karystios"/Antigonos. Concerning the other images, Pausanias (Paus. 4.30.6) credits him with the invention of the Tyche type with polos and cornucopia, and remarks that his Graces were decorously draped (in contrast to later practice: cf. Stewart 1990, fig. 809). It has also been suggested that the Jekyll-and-Hyde expression of the Artemis on Chios (T 18) describes "the effect of an archaic smile viewed close from below and head-on at a distance, respectively" (Boardman 1978a, 88). Pausanias (Paus. 4.30.6) also calls Boupalos a "builder of temples."

Modern scholarship often associates the kore from the Acropolis (Athens, Acropolis 675, Stewart 1990, fig. 148) and the "ex-Knidian" caryatid from Delphi (Delphi, Anonymous Caryatid) with the Nike, but agrees on little else. Croissant 1983, 73-83 sees strong influence from this tradition upon the Peplos kore (Athens, Acropolis 679, Stewart 1990, fig. 147), and associates the East frieze of the Siphnian treasury (Delphi, Siphnian Treasury Frieze--East, Stewart 1990, figs. 192-93; but not the North, in defiance of the signature on the latter, which declares that the two were made by the same sculptor) with the "Chiot school." Others even attribute a fragment of a Palladion, found on the Palatine, to Boupalos and Athenis; Zanker 1988, 242, fig. 188 (cf. 9). Sheedy 1985, on the other hand, dissects the evidence critically and thoroughly, and comes to the conclusion that although korai found on Chios do share some interesting characteristics, they have very little in common with the Nike. The Chiot school as currently conceived, he concludes, is a "mirage" (1985, 625).

Select bibliography: Overbeck 1868/1959 nos. 314-19; Löwy 1885/1976 no. 1; Münzer 1895, 522-25; Stuart-Jones 1895/1966, 16-20; Jex-Blake 1896, xliii-xlv; RE 2: 457-8, 2042-43 (Robert, 1896); 3: 1054 (Robert 1899); ThB 2: 68, 210 (Amelung, 1908); 5: 237 (Amelung, 1911); 24: 551 (Bieber, 1930); Picard 1935-1971 (vol 1): (Picard/Manuel) 564-66; Raubitschek 1949, 484-87; Lippold 1950, 62-64; Marcadé 1957, 21-22, 26, 27; EAA 1: 568 (Amorelli, 1958), 881 (Marabini Moevs, 1958); 2: 156 (Catteruccia, 1959); 4: 1124 (Guerrini, 1961); Metzler 1971, 179-80; M. Robertson 1975, 59, 69, 79-80; Ridgway 1977, 112, 119, 216, 223, 276, 284, 300; Boardman 1978a, 71-72, 88; Scheibler 1979, 19-22; Croissant 1983, 69-86; Scherrer 1983; Sheedy 1985; Zanker 1988, 242-43; Pollitt 1990, 28-29; Stewart 1990, 68, 116, 124, 126, 243-44, 317.

Rhoikos, Telekles, and Theodoros of Samos



The surviving ancient accounts of these three sculptors' achievements are the product of two quite different Greek historical traditions, whose contradictions are sometimes misunderstood as evidence for two Theodoroi, not one (e.g. Bieber in ThB 1934 and 1938 — see select bibliography below).

Writing around 450, Herodotos knew of Rhoikos (son of Philes) only as "first" architect of the great temple of Hera on Samos, and describes Theodoros (son of Telekles) as the maker of the tyrant Polykrates' famous ring, of two massive silver kraters dedicated by Croesus at Delphi, and of a golden vine for the Lydian Pythios, which he later gave to Darius (Hdt. 1.51; Hdt. 3.41; Hdt. 3.60; Hdt. 7.27); the temple was begun ca. 560, while Polykrates ruled from ca. 533 to 522, and Croesus from ca. 560-547/6. Six hundred years later, Herodotos' admirer Pausanias accepted this testimony, adding that Theodoros also built the "Skias" (an assembly-place) in Sparta and that:

“These two Samians were the first to discover the art of founding the bronze to perfection, and the first to cast it in a mold. I have found no surviving work of Theodoros, at least in bronze.

In addition, Vitruvius 7 praef. 12 records a book by Theodoros on the "Doric" (sic) Heraion, while Pliny lists Smilis, Rhoikos, and him (in that order) as architects of the "Lemnian Labyrinth" (see above, to T 14) with its lathe-turned columns, describes the two Samians as inventors of clay modelling (!), and Theodoros alone as inventor of certain tools, the lathe included (N.H. 35.152; 36.90; T 8). In fact, the columns of the mid sixth-century Heraion were indeed lathe-turned, apparently a 'first' in Greek architecture. Finally, Diogenes Laertius credits Theodoros with designing the foundations for the Ephesian Artemision (begun by 547/6), but remarks that he was Rhoikos' son (2.103, cf. N.H. 36.95). All this information clearly derives from a common source, perhaps a Hellenistic writer who had Theodoros' original text.

Along with Diogenes' variant geneology, this brings us to the second historical tradition, which is both more problematic and in some ways more interesting. The crucial witness here is Diodoros:

“The most distinguished of the ancient sculptors, namely Telekles and Theodoros, the sons of Rhoikos, spent time in Egypt. They made the xoanon of Pythian Apollo for the Samians, and it is said that one half of it was carved by Telekles in Samos, the other half by his brother Theodoros in Ephesos; and when the parts were brought together, they fitted so well that the whole statue seemed to have been made by one man. This sort of technique is practised nowhere among the Greeks, but it is especially common among the Egyptians. For with them the commensurability (symmetria) of statues is not calculated according to the appearance (phantasia) presented to the eye, as among the Greeks, but when they have laid out the stones and divided them up, they begin work on them by taking the proportions from the smallest parts to the largest; for, dividing the layout of the whole body into twenty-one parts and an additional quarter, they produce the entire symmetria of the figure. Consequently, as soon as the artisans have agreed upon the size of the figure, they split up and make the parts to the agreed size so accurately as to cause amazement at this peculiar system of theirs. The xoanon in Samos, in accordance with the Egyptian technique, is divided into two parts from the crown of the head through the middle to the groin, each part exactly matching the other at every point. And they say that for the most part this statue is rather like those of the Egyptians, having the arms suspended at the sides and the legs separated in a stride.

Diodoros 1.98
Now most of Diodoros' first book was lifted wholesale from an early Alexandrian historian, Hekataios of Abdera (FGH , 264 F 25), whose declared aims were to discredit Greek writers on Egypt, particularly Herodotos (cf. Diod. Sic. 1.69.7) in favor of Egyptian priestly traditions, and to show that everything worthwhile in Greek culture came from Egypt. Hence the different family tree, which surely reflects the received opinion that Theodoros was somehow a "junior partner" to Rhoikos on the Heraion, and the author's clear preference for the absolute perfection of Egyptian sculpture over the subjectivity or phantasia of the Greek.

In fact, Egyptologists have long recognized that Hekataios is describing — and misunderstanding — the traditional Egyptian workshop practice of having apprentices make canonical trial pieces (chiefly heads, hands, and feet) as a part of their training; the grid he describes is the revised one current from the seventh century. As Lippold 1950, 59 suggests, a double signature of Rhoikos and Theodoros may have prompted the whole fantastic anecdote (for another explanation, Davaras 1972, 22-3). For since East Greek sculptors normally cut inscriptions into the legs of their kouroi, the two perhaps signed one leg each. Of course, none of this disqualifies them from possessing the firsthand knowledge of Egyptian methods that Hekataios attributes to them: the Egyptian canon was used on the New York kouros around 600-580 (New York 32.11.1; Stewart 1990, figs. 49-55), Samos had close artistic, commercial, and political ties with Egypt, and an early sixth-century cup dedicated by one Rhoikos (a rare name) to Aphrodite was even found at Naukratis in the 1880s: see most recently Samos, 7: 113-4, pl. 122; Boardman 1980a, 131-2.

Finally, Theodoros' self-portrait, for which Pliny is the only source:

“Theodorus, who made the Labyrinth at Samos, cast a portrait of himself in bronze. Besides its remarkable fame as a likeness, it is celebrated for its great finesse; the right hand holds a file, and the three fingers of the left a little chariot and four, but this has been taken away to the Praeneste as a marvel of miniaturization: if it were reproduced in a drawing, together with its charioteer, the fly which Theodorus made at the same time would cover it with its wings.

Pliny, N.H. 34.83
On the likely extent of this "realism" see Metzler 1971, 175-9, with comments on the growing self-assertiveness of the artist and the use of realism as a differentiating device (though to see it in Marxist terms, as a working-class riposte to the aristocratic beauty of the kouroi, is surely anachronistic). Pliny's use of similitudo or "likeness" here links Theodoros with Demetrios of Alopeke (T 3, 91) and Lysistratos, brother of Lysippos (T 133); Pollitt 1974, 430-34 discusses the Hellenistic background to all this, including the neo-classic distaste revealed in T 3 for "likeness" as opposed to "beauty".

If one is to credit the sources, then, Theodoros was a kind of archaic Cellini, inventive and versatile as none other, and particularly expert in metalwork; one only wishes that something had survived to confirm his stellar reputation.

Select bibliography: Overbeck 1868/1959 nos. 225, 262, 273-93; Stuart-Jones 1895/1966, 22-5; RE 1.A.1: 1003 (Lippold, 1914); 5.A.2: 1917-20 (Lippold, 1934); ThB 28: 224-25 (Weickert and Bieber, 1934); Picard 1935-1971 (vol. 1): (Picard/Manuel) 167-69, 179-80, 542-43; ThB 33: 599 (Bieber 1938); FGH 3.a.2: 76-77, 80 (1943); Lippold 1950, 58-59; EAA 6: 672-73 (Moreno, 1965); 7: 811-12 (Moreno, 1966); Metzler 1971, 175-79; Davaras 1972, 20-23; Pollitt 1974, 430-34, 441-44; M. Robertson 1975, 140, 148, 180-81; Boardman 1978a, 20, 72, 170; Boardman 1980a, 131-32, 144; Gallet de Santerre 1983, 263-64; Furtwängler 1984; Mattusch 1988, 46-50, 104-07; Pollitt 1990, 27-28; Stewart 1990, 21, 34, 35, 37, 39, 64, 68, 109, 116, 117, 125, 242, 244-46.

Bathykles of Magnesia


Nothing is known of Bathykles apart from Pausanias' description of his "throne" for Apollo at Spartan Amyklai, with its encyclopedic compendium of reliefs, and the (expensive) votives he set up upon its conclusion:

“Bathykles of Magnesia, who made the Amyklaian throne, dedicated votives on its completion: the Graces and an image of Artemis Leukophryene. Whose pupil this Bathykles was, and who was king in Sparta when he made the throne, I will pass over, but I did see the throne and will describe its details. Two Graces and two Seasons support in front, and in the same manner, at the back. On the left stand Echidna and Typhos, on the right Tritons. To describe the reliefs one by one in detail would only bore my readers; but to give a brief description (since many of them are not unfamiliar), Poseidon and Zeus are carrying Taygete, daughter of Atlas, and her sister Alkyone. There are also reliefs of Atlas, Herakles' duel with Kyknos, and the centaur battle at the cave of Pholos. I do not know why Bathykles represented the so-called Minotaur bound and led away by Theseus; the dance of the Phaiakians is represented on the throne, with Demodokos singing; and the exploit of Perseus against Medusa is also depicted. Passing over the fight between Herakles and the giant Thourios and that of Tyndareus with Eurytos, one comes to the rape of the daughters of Leukippos. Here are Dionysos, too, and Herakles; Hermes is carrying the former, still a child, to heaven, while Athena is leading Herakles to live henceforth among the gods. Peleus is handing over Achilles to be brought up by Cheiron, who is also said to have been his teacher. Kephalos is being abducted by Day because of his beauty, and the gods are bringing gifts to the wedding of Harmonia. The duel between Achilles and Memnon is represented, and so is Herakles revenging himself upon Diomedes the Thracian and upon Nessos at the river Euenos. Hermes is leading the goddesses to be judged by Paris, Adrastos and Tydeus are staying the fight between Amphiaraos and Lykourgos the son of Pronax. Hera is gazing at Io, the daughter of Inachos, who is already a cow, and Athena is fleeing Hephaistos, who pursues her. Next to these are depicted, from the Labors of Herakles, the Hydra and how he led up the dog from Hades. There are Anaxias and Mnasinous, each on horseback, but only one horse is carrying Megapenthes son of Menelaos and Nikostratos. Bellerophon is killing the beast in Lycia, and Herakles is driving off Geryon's cattle. On the upper edges of the throne are placed, one on each side, the sons of Tyndareus on horseback; there are sphinxes beneath the horses, and wild beasts running upwards, on one side a leopard, by Polydeukes a lioness. On the very top of the throne is wrought a band of dancers, the Magnesians who helped Bathykles make the throne. Beneath the throne on the inside, away from the Tritons, is the hunt of the Kalydonian boar, and Herakles killing Aktor's children; Kalais and Zetes are driving the Harpies away from Phineus; Peirithoos and Theseus have abducted Helen, and Herakles is strangling the lion; Apollo and Artemis are shooting Tityos; also represented is Herakles' fight with Oreios the Centaur and Theseus' battle with the Minotaur. In addition are represented Herakles wrestling Acheloos, the fabled binding of Hephaistos, the games Akastos held for his father, and the story of Menelaos and Egyptian Proteus from the Odyssey. And finally there is Admetos yoking a boar and a lion to his chariot and the Trojans are bringing libations to Hektor. The part of the throne where the god would sit is not continuous. There are several seats, and by the side of each seat is left a wide empty space; that in the middle is widest, and it is there that the image stands. I know of no-one who has measured its height, but at a guess it must be about thirty cubits [45 feet]. It is not the work of Bathykles, but is primitive and crude, for though it has a face, feet and hands, the rest resembles a bronze column. On its head is a helmet, and in its hands a spear and bow.

The architectural fragments, which seem late sixth century, mix Doric and Ionic; nothing survives of the reliefs, which from Pausanias seem to have been chosen almost by free association (compare archaic epic poetry: e.g. M.L. West, Hesiod: Works and Days [Oxford 1978]: 41-59) and occasionally make direct reference to Sparta. On the reconstruction of the "throne" see Romano 1980, 99-114, with DeVries 1982; Pollitt 1990, 24 fig. 1.

Select bibliography: Overbeck 1868/1959 no. 360; RE 3: 124-37 (Robert, 1899); ThB 3: 31-34 (Amelung, 1909); Picard 1935-1971 (vol. 1): (Picard/Manuel) 462-5; Lippold 1950, 55-6; EAA 1: 322-23 (Bermond Montanari, 1958); 2: 17-18 (Amorelli, 1959); M. Robertson 1975, 80, 114-15; Boardman 1978a, 76; Romano 1980, 99-114; DeVries 1982; Pollitt 1990, 23-26; Stewart 1990, 118, 127, 246-47, 272.

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