2. Eros, and other divinities connected with Aphrodite.
Praxiteles made two marble statues of Eros, of the highest celebrity, the one of which was dedicated at Thespiae, the other at Parium on the Propontis. Like all the early Greek artists, Praxiteles represented Eros, not as a child. but as in the flower of youth.
The statute at Thespiae, which was of Pentelic marble, with the wings gilt (Julian. Or.
ii. p. 54c.), was dedicated by Phryne (Lucian, Am.
14, 17; Paus. 9.27.3
), and an interesting story is told of the manner in which she became possessed of it. Praxiteles, in his fondness for Phryne, had promised to give her whichever of his works she might choose, but he was unwilling to tell her which of them, in his own opinion, was the best. To discover this, she sent a slave to tell Praxiteles that a fire had broken out in his house, and that most of his works had already perished. On hearing this message, the artist rushed out, exclaiming that all his toil was lost, if the fire had touched his Satyr or his Eros. Upon this Phryne confessed the stratagem, and chose the Eros. (Paus. 1.20.2
.) When Mummius plundered Thespiae, like other Greek cities, of the works of art, he spared this statue, and it was still at Thespiae in the time of Cicero, who says that visits were made to that city expressly to see it. (In Verr.
It was removed to Rome by Caligula, restored to Thespiae by Claudius, and carried back by Nero to Rome, where it stood in Pliny's time in the schools of Octavia, and it finally perished in the conflagration of that building in the reign of Titus. (Paus. 9.27.3
; Plin. Nat. 36.5. s. 4.5
; D. C. 66.24
.) Its place at Thespiae was supplied by a marble copy by MENODORUS. (Paus. l.c.
) There was in the same place a bronze statue of Eros, made by Lysippus, in emulation of the work of Praxiteles. (ib.
The other statue of Eros, at Parium on the Propontis, is said by Pliny (l.c.
) to have equalled the Cnidian Venus. Nothing is known of its history, unless it be (which is extremely probable) the same as that of which the Sicilian, Heius, was robbed by Verres. (Cic. in Verr. l.c.
) Callistratus ascribes two bronze statues of Eros to Praxiteles ; but the truth of this statement is doubtful, and the author may perhaps have confounded the bronze statue at Thespiae by Lysippus with the marble one by Praxiteles. (Callist. Ecphr.
A copy of one of these statues is seen in a beautiful torso found at Centocelle, on the road from Rome to Palestrina (Mus. Pio-Clem.
i. pl. 12), of which there is a more perfect specimen at Naples (Mus. Borb.
6.25); there is also a very similar figure among the Elgin Marbles in the British Museum. (Müller, Denkmäler,
vol. i. pl. xxxv. n. 144, 145.) To this class of the artist's works belong also the statues of Peitho and Paregoros, in the temple of Aphrodite Praxis at Megara. (Paus. 1.43.6