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The Second-Century Neo-Classicists

Included here are representatives of three major centers of second-century sculptural production, the Peloponnese, Athens, and Asia Minor. Once again, many more names are known from (usually laconic) remarks in Pliny (cf. T 1) and Pausanias, but these cannot be included here: cf. Overbeck 1868/1959, nos. 2006-2101, 2235ff., with Löwy 1885/1976 nos. 127-312; Marcadé 1957 and Marcadé 1969, 55-82 (Delos); RE Suppl. 5: 827-32 (von Gaertringen, 1931) and Goodlett 1991 (Rhodes); Stewart 1979, 162-66 (Athens); and esp. Lippold 1950, 348-79 (synopsis).

Damophon son of Xenophilos(?) of Messene.


Damophon was ignored by Pliny's source for T 1, which has stirred some controversy about his date. Coins recently discovered under the base of the Lykosoura group led the excavator to propose (and then retract) a Hadrianic date; yet though certainly repaired in Hadrianic times, both this and his statues for Messene surely go with their respective temples, around 200-150. Supporting this date are several local inscriptions naming his sons, written in a persuasively second-century script: BCH 91 (1967): 540-41.

His known works are as follows:

  • Mother of the Gods in Parian marble, at Messene
  • Artemis Laphria at Messene
  • Asklepios and his sons, Apollo, the Muses, Herakles, Thebes, Tyche, and Artemis Laphria of stone, at Messene
  • Akrolithic Eileithuia at Aigion
  • Asklepios and Hygieia at Aigion
  • Artemis, Asklepios, and Hygieia (a relief) at Megalopolis
  • Colossal Demeter (stone) and Kore (akrolithic) at Megalopolis
  • Miniature Athena and Artemis at Megalopolis
  • Miniature Herakles at Megalopolis
  • A table with the Horai, Pan, Apollo, and the Birth of Zeus in relief, at Megalopolis
  • Akrolithic Hermes and Aphrodite Machanitis at Megalopolis
  • Demeter, Despoina, Artemis and Anytos at Lykosoura (T 156
In addition, he dedicated a herm to Poseidon Asphaleios at Megalopolis (conclusion of a successful sea-voyage?), which he surely made himself, and restored the ivory of Pheidias' Zeus at Olympia, which had begun to peel off (Paus. 4.31.6). This earned him honors from the Eleians.

Though he was evidently an agalmatopoios of a most traditional kind, a master of many techniques, and well-rewarded for his pains (to judge by (13) and his family's impressive list of dedications: BCH 91 (1967): 538-42), only Pausanias deigned to notice his work. From his descriptions I select that of (12):

“The actual images of the goddesses [at Lykosoura], Despoina ["the Mistress"] and Demeter, together with the throne on which they sit, and the footstool under their feet, are all made from one piece of stone. No parts of the drapery, nor the carvings about the throne, are fastened to another stone by iron or cement, but all are of one block. This stone was not imported, but they say that after a vision in a dream they excavated within the sanctuary and found it. The size of both images corresponds roughly to that of the Mother at Athens; these too are works of Damophon. Demeter carries a torch in her right hand, and has laid her other hand upon Despoina. Despoina has a scepter and the so-called chest on her knees, which she holds with her right hand.

Beside the throne stand, first, Artemis alongside Demeter, draped in a fawn-skin and with a quiver on her shoulders, holding in one hand a torch, in the other two snakes; by her side lies a bitch, of a breed suitable for hunting. Near the image of Despoina stands Anytos, represented in the form of a man in armor. Those around the sanctuary say that Despoina was brought up by Anytos, who was one of the so-called Titans. . . . The story of the Kouretes, who are represented under the images, and that of the Korybantes (a different race from the Kouretes), carved in relief on the base, I know, but pass by.

On these statues see Stewart 1990, figs. 788-92: reconstruction of the sanctuary of Despoina (

; Athens, NM 1734-7, 2171-5); head of Artemis (Athens, NM 1734); head of Demeter (Athens, NM 1735); head of Anytos (Athens, NM 1736); robe of Despoina (Athens, NM 1737); they were not of one block. The head of the Apollo at Messene (3) has also survived, together with other miscellaneous fragments presumably from his other statues there: Despinis 1966.

Select bibliography: Overbeck 1868/1959, nos. 1557-64; Imhoof-Blumer 1887/1964, 66-67, 83-84; Stuart-Jones 1895/1966, 225-31; RE 4: 2077-71940, 40-52; Lippold 1950, 350-51; EAA 2: 999-1000 (Mustilli, 1959); Bieber 1961b, 158; Despinis 1966; Stiglitz 1967; Lévy 1972; M. Robertson 1975, 555; Habicht 1985, 40-57; Pollitt 1986, 165, 167, 268; Hebert 1989, nos. 395-96, 442-43, 448-49; Pollitt 1990, 117-20; Stewart 1990, 15, 45, 52-53, 64, 82, 94-96, 221, 230-31, 303-04, 318; R.R.R. Smith 1991, 240-41.

The Polykles family from Thorikos (Attica)


In the second century the Polykles family occupied a position in Athens second only to that of the Praxiteles clan in the fourth. Capitalizing upon their rising fortunes, occasioned by commissions from Aitolians, Romans, Athenians, and others, they enrolled their teenage children in the ephebia , the educational program for the elite, and volunteered as festival officials and mint magistrates (sources: Stewart 1979, 108; Habicht 1982, 172, 178-80); all these high-profile activities involved considerable expense.

Unfortunately, owing to the popular practice of repeating or alternating the same names over several generations, the family tree is extremely problematic, though absolute dates for their activities, which extend throughout the century, are quite plentiful. For the alternatives (neither very satisfactory) see most recently Stewart 1979, 42-44; Habicht 1982, 178-80. The issue is too complicated to address here, but it seems likely that more individuals are involved than either reconstruction allows. Since, in addition, to decide which family member among the various namesakes made which statue is often impossible, a complete list of their works (17 in all, involving at least 7 sculptors) would only be confusing. Instead, a selection of the most important sources must suffice to indicate the range (geographical and thematic) of their output:

“By the Porticus Octaviae an Apollo made by the Rhodian Philiscus stands in his own shrine, together with a Leto, a Diana, the nine Muses, and another, nude Apollo. Timarchides made Apollo who holds a cithara in the same temple, and in the temple of Juno that stands with the Porticus the goddess herself, while Dionysius and Polycles made another, Philiscus the Venus in the same place, and Praxiteles [or Pasiteles] the rest of the statues. The same Polycles and Dionysus, the sons of Timarchides, made the Jupiter in the shrine next door. . .

Pliny, N.H. 36.34-35

“Does Metellus Scipio really not know that his great-grandfather was never censor? Certainly the statue recently placed on high near the temple of Ops is only inscribed COS. But that near the Hercules of Polycles is inscribed COS.CENS.

Cicero, Letters to Atticus 6.1.17

“[In Elateia] there is a temple built to Asklepios, with a bearded image of the god. The names of its makers are Timokles and Timarchides, Athenians by birth . . . . About twenty stades from the city is a sanctuary of Athena surnamed Kranaia . . . This image too was made by the sons of Polycles, and is armed as if for battle; on the shield is a copy of what at Athens is wrought on the shield of the statue the Athenians call the Parthenos.

“The Italians [dedicated this statue of] Gaius Ofellius Ferus, son of Marcus
Because of his fair-dealing and benevolence to them,
To Apollo
Dionysios son of Timarchides and Timarchides son of Polykles, Athenians, made it.

Inscriptions de Délos 1688
As well as cult statues and portraits, they produced victor-statues and worked in other genres too. Attributions include the Cyrene-type Apollo (London 1380) and the Medusa Rondanini (Munich 252; Stewart 1990, figs. 783-85), though the Apollo (cf. T 157) has recently been challenged: LIMC 2.1: 366-67 nos. 5-7 (Simon 1984); but see La Rocca 1984, 639 n. 48.

The family's continuing commitment to the neo-classical style, which unfortunately evoked no response from critics bar the condescending citation in T 1, is illustrated by the Ofellius (T 160), carved near the end of the century. The statue has now been reconstructed and is fully published by Queyrel 1991 (cf. R.R.R. Smith 1991, fig. 316); the reconstruction in Stewart 1990, fig. 839, published too early to take account of Queyrel's work, should hold a sword in the left hand and perhaps a spear in the right.

Select bibliography: Overbeck 1868/1959, nos. 2206-13; Löwy 1885/1976 nos. 241a-242; RE 5: 1000-01 (Robert, 1905); 21: 1724-26 (Lippold, 1952); 6A: 123-24, 1263 (Lippold, 1936); ThB 9: 316 (Amelung, 1913); 27: 231 (v[on] L[ücken] 1933); 33: 175-76, 180 (Bieber, 1939); Becatti 1936; Becatti 1940, 16-19, 33-39, 56-58; Lippold 1950, 551-52, 598; Marcadé 1957, 41, 108, 131-32; EAA 3: 118 (Catteruccia, 1960); 6: 298-300 (Guerrini, 1965); 7: 856-58, 859-60 (Moreno, 1966); Bieber 1961b, 125, 130, 146, 160, 171-72; Marcadé 1969, 78-79, 117-19; Coarelli 1969; M. Robertson 1975, 551-52, 598; Stewart 1979, 42-46, 67, 70, 102-03, 108, 139; Habicht 1982; Gallet de Santerre 1983, 213-14; LIMC 2.1: 257 no. 586, 366-67 nos. 5-7, 383 no. 61, 409 no. 329 (Palagia, Simon, 1984); Pollitt 1986, 75, 149, 162-63, 169, 173-74, 313 n. 12; Hebert 1989, nos. 341, 352, 365, 404, 410; Pollitt 1990, 122-23; Ridgway 1990a, 329-30; Stewart 1990, 52, 83, 220-21, 225, 230, 237-38, 304-05, 318: Queyrel 1991.

Boethos of Kalchedon


Boethos, the most celebrated silversmith of his day, also produced high-quality bronzes:

“Boethus, though he is better in silver, did a child strangling a goose by hugging it.

Pliny, N.H. 34.84
Both activities were, after all, branches of toreutike , involving cast, embossed, and engraved metalwork. Statues associated with him are:

  • "Agon" (Eros Enagonios) and a signed herm in bronze, found in a wreck off Mahdia, near Tunis
  • Asklepios as a baby, later in Rome (T 162
  • Boy strangling a goose, in bronze (T 161
  • Nude boy in gilded bronze, in the Heraion at Olympia (T 93
  • A statue dedicated by himself at Lindos, in thanks for a proxeny
  • Antiochos IV Epiphanes of Syria, dedicated by an Athenian on Delos
  • Epigenes of Melite in bronze, dedicated by the traders and shippers on Delos (with Theodosios)
In addition, he is also credited with high-priced tableware and couches (Cicero, In Verrem 4.32; Porphyrius on Horace, Epistles 1.5.1; cf. W. Fuchs 1963, 31). On the contents of the Mahdia wreck and (1) see Stewart 1990, 229 and figs. 847-54: Herm signed by Boethos; winged youth; another version of the herm (Malibu 79.AB.138); grotesque dancer; fragments of a krater (Dionysus supported by a satyr: Tunis, Bardo Museum 26); fragment of a krater (Dionysiac thiasos: Tunis, Bardo Museum 26; figs. 859-50 (New York 17.230.32) show an unprovenanced, unsigned, and inferior version of the herm now in Malibu, whose exact relation to the Mahdia bronze is problematic. Fuchs 1963, 34-35 and 45 suggests that all the wreck's bronzes and marbles are from the same workshop.

Now, (1) is signed "Boethos of Kalchedon", (5) and (6), dated to ca. 184 and 166-164, are signed "Boethos son of Athenaion of Kalchedon", and (7), dated to ca. 130-126, is signed simply "Boethos." When one considers, in addition, that the manuscripts of Pausanias attribute (4) to Boethos of Carthage (lone signature, first century B.C., Marcadé 1957, 34), and that W. Fuchs 1963, 13 dates (1) to ca. 130/20 on stylistic grounds, while the lamps and pots from the wreck place its last voyage ca. 100, it will be evident that we, too, are entering treacherous waters. For all else apart, the author of (5) must have been well established to be thus honored ca. 184, making him around ninety by 130/20, if (7) and Fuchs' date for (1) are to hold. Certainly, if the Mahdia pieces (even just its bronzes) come from the same shop, then it is logical to assume that all of them are contemporary and that they did not lie around unused for a generation prior to shipment. This lower date of ca. 100 for (1) would therefore give (5) and (6) to an ancestor, presumably a grandfather. The sequence would then be Athenaion I - Boethos I (maker of nos. 5 and 6) - [Athenaion II?] - Boethos II (maker of no. 1 and presumably, given the distinct similarity in subject-matter, nos. 2 and 3 also).

“Nikomedes the doctor dedicated this in grateful thanks to Asklepios.
This image most fair of a god's fair child,
Born of youthful Paian and a mother new-delivered,
Did you, Boethos, make with skill and cunning,
A memorial to the cleverness of your hands;
Both in thanks for recovery from sickness, and as witness of
The deftness of men of old, did Nikomedes set you up.

IG 14.967
As for (4), KALCEDONIOS and KARCADONIOS are easily confused, so Pausanias may well have meant the putative author of (1) - (3); W. Fuchs 1963, 31 gives further reasons for thinking that he, not our 'Boethos I' was the great toreutes celebrated in the sources.

As for attributions, (3) has been recognized in popular type best represented by a group in Munich, but scholars cannot agree whether to date this ca. 250 or 150. Its compact, pyramidal composition, which looks like a precedent for the Suicidal Celt, suggests the former, its very "rococo" treatment and advanced modeling, the latter. The motif was already known in the early third century (Herondas 4.31, at Kos: not to be identified with Boethos' statue); Kozloff 1980 plausibly interprets the Munich boy as Harpokrates.

Picard 1947 gives Boethos the New York Eros (New York 43.11.4; Stewart 1990, fig. 821), which was also copied in antiquity; the wing-feathers, so similar to those of (1), make this attribution more attractive than most. Yet despite his neoclassical leanings and high, even proverbial reputation (add ps.-Vergil, Culex 67) Boethos too has suffered from the general neglect of Hellenistic art by later connoisseurs. Pliny mentions him but three times, Pausanias (T 93) only once, and other critics not at all.

Select bibliography: (A) General: RE 3: 604-7 (Robert, 1899); ThB 4: 208-09 (Amelung, 1910); Lippold 1950, 328-29, 352, 367, 371; Rumpf 1952; EAA 2: 118-20 (Laurenzi, 1959); Bieber 1961b, 81-82, 136-37, 145; Marcadé 1969, 78; M. Robertson 1975, 561; Andreae 1976; Pollitt 1986, 128, 140-41, 269; Stewart 1990, 229-30, 305-06.

(B) Sources: Overbeck 1868/1959, nos. 1596-1600, 2167, 2184; Löwy 1885/1976 nos. 210, 535; Stuart-Jones 1895/1966, 213-14; Marcadé 1957, 28-31; Gallet de Santerre 1983, 85-86, 267-69; Hebert 1989, nos. 332, 343, 399, 496, 508; Pollitt 1990, 115-16, 234.

(C) Individual works: Richter 1943 (Eros); Picard 1947 (Eros); W. Fuchs 1963 (Mahdia); Künzl 1968 (Boy and Goose); Kozloff 1980 (Boy and Goose); Rolley 1983/1986, 54, 194-96 (Mahdia); Ridgway 1990a, 232-33, 327-28 (Boy and Goose, Eros, Agon).

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