1. Paintings in the Temple of Theseus at Athens.
-- It is true that the only authority for supposing him to have painted here at all is a conjectural emendationt of a passage of Harpocration; but the conjecture is so simple, arid agrees so well with what we know of the artist's history, and the only interpretation of the text as it stands is so forced, that we can hardly hesitate to admit the correction. Harpocration, followed by Suidas and Photius, says (s. v.
) that Polygnotus obtained the citizenship of Athens, either because he painted the Stoa Poecile
gratuitously, or, as others say, the pictures ἐν τῷ Θησαυρῷ καὶ τῷ Ἀνακείῳ.
Now, we know that the Anaceium
was the temple of the Dioscuri, but what was the Thesaurus?
Böttiger (p. 270) replies, the public treasury in the Opisthodomus of the temple of Athena Polias.
The objection, that it is strange that Polygnotus should have been employed to decorate the secret cluimber
of the temple, Böttiger endeavours to obviate by referring to the paintings of Evanthes in the opisthodomus of the temple of Jupiter Casius, mentioned by Achilles Tatius (3.6), not a very good authority (see EVANTHES).
It may also be objected that the name of Polygnotus is not mentioned in the extant inscription respecting the works of this temple.
But it is perhaps enough to say that the conjecture is too violent to be admitted by itself; especially when it is contrasted vith the explanation of Reinesius, who, for ἐν τῷ Θησαυρῷ
would read ἐν τῷ Θησέως ἱερῷ.
Now, the temple of Theseus was built during the administration of Cimon, after the translation of the hero's remains from Scyros to Athens in B. C. 468. If, therefore, as is almost certain, Cimon brought Polygnotus with him from Thasos in B. C. 463, it would almost certainly be partly with a view to the decoration of this very temple. Pausanias, indeed, in his description of the temple (1.17.2), ascribes the paintings in it to Micon, but this is rather a confirmation of the argument than otherwise, for these two artists more than once assisted in decorating the same building.
It is an obvious conjecture, from a comparison of the dates, that Micon was already employed upon the painting of the temple before the arrival of Polygnotus, who was then appointed to assist him. [Comp. MICON.]