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The famous golden tripod at Delphi and the statues at Olympia (and at the Isthmus) were dedicated from the spoil won at Plataea, and hence were regarded by Pausanias (v. 23. 1; x. 13. 9) as trophies of that victory alone. But the words which head the list of states inscribed on the bronze triple serpent supporting the tripod. [Τ]ο[ίδε τὸν] πόλεμον [ἐ]πολ[έ]μεον, as well as those of Thucydides (i. 132), ὅσαι συγκαθελοῦσαι τὸν βάρβαρον ἔστησαν τὸ ἀνάθημα, show that it was regarded as a memorial of the whole war (cf. the inclusion of states which fought at Salamis only, viii. 82. 1 n.). Either on the stone pedestal of the column or, less probably, on the thirteenth coil of the serpent, which has been flattened to receive the words given above, Pausanias had originally inscribed Ἑλλάνων ἀρχαγὸς ἐπεὶ στρατὸν ὤλεσα Μήδων Παυσανίας Φοίβῳ μνᾶμ̓ ἀνέθηκα τόδε (Anthol. i. 133; xliii; less characteristically given in κοινή and in the third person by Thuc. i. 132, &c.). Probably the place of this erased inscription was taken by the couplet quoted by Diodorus (xi. 33. 2), Ἑλλάδος εὐρυχόρου σωτῆρες τόνδ᾽ ἀνέθηκαν δουλοσύνης στυγερᾶς ῥυσάμενοι πόλιας. Probably the three feet of the tripod rested on the three serpents' heads, though there is no mark of a join on the top of the one still extant. It is less likely that the feet of the tripod rested on the stone base, and that the serpent column was merely the central prop of the golden cauldron supported by the tripod. In the sacred war (355 B. C.) the Phocians stole the golden part of the monument but left the bronze (Paus. x. 13. 9). Constantine carried off the serpent column and placed it in the Hippodrome (Atmeidan) at Constantinople, where it still remains. It was apparently converted into a three-mouthed fountain by a later emperor. It was seen and described by travellers from 1422 on, but in 1700 was thrown down and the serpents' heads were broken off. The base of the column was excavated by Sir C. T. Newton (1855) and the inscription published in 1856 by O. Frick and Dethier; a revised version is due to Fabricius (1886). Of the twenty-nine serpent coils fifteen had been underground, the inscription beginning on the thirteenth coil and ending on the third; the twelfth and thirteenth coils have been scarred and dented with sabre cuts, so the inscription is hardly legible.

The list of states on the serpent column should be compared with that on the trophy at Olympia and with those given by H. of the Greeks who fought at Plataea and Salamis, as is done on the opposite page.

It will be noticed that five names found in H. are not given on the Delphic inscription, and that four more are omitted by Pausanias. Prof. A. Bauer (Wiener Studien, 1887, p. 223 f.) would explain the omissions by the suggestion that the right to have names inscribed on a monument was earned not by fighting but by contributing to the cost of the monument. But this view is contradicted by the heading of the Delphic inscription (sup.) and by the words of Thucydides (i. 132 sup.), as well as by H.'s statement. It is far more likely that states whose contingents were very small were left out, unless, like the Tenians, they rendered signal service (cf. viii. 82). Indeed, it would appear from the fact that the names

N.B.—Those italicized in list 3 do not appear on either inscription; those in list 1 are not found in list 2.

* indicates a marked difference in order from list 1. of the Tenians and Siphnians are written irregularly, and in each case make a fourth name on the coil, three being the usual number, that these states were inserted later. The thirty-one names on the Delphic tripod is the precise number given by Plutarch (Them. 20) as fighting against Persia. Whether the four omissions in Pausanias are due to faulty copying of the inscription at Olympia, or whether here, too, the comparative insignificance of the contingents caused the omissions, must remain doubtful. Domaszewski's explanation (Neue Heidelberger Jahrbücher, i. 181-7) of the arrangement as three groups, (1) Tegea to Tiryns, Peloponnesian allies (Spartan); (2) Plataea to Elis, Athenian allies; (3) Potidaea to Ambracia, Corinthian colonies, is untenable, as neither Mycenaeans, Chalcidians, nor Eleans are specially Athenian allies, and the order is different at Olympia. In both lists the compilers seem to have been guided at once by the importance and services of the states, and by geographical considerations, but they applied the principles rather differently. Tegea, for instance, is put specially high on the Delphic list because of the bravery of her hoplites at Plataea (cf. ix. 61, 62, and 70; cf. also ix. 26); cf. in general Frazer on Paus. ix. 13. 9; Röhl, I. G. A. 70 (with a picture); Hicks, 19.

τοῦ βωμοῦ. Cf. ii. 135. 4 n. On the level space near it, northeast of the temple just above the Sacred Way, stands a huge base with two pedestals, one recording the dedication of a tripod and a Victory by Gelo, in commemoration of the battle of the Himera (Diod. xi. 26), the other probably dedicated by Hiero (Jebb, Bacchyl. p. 452 f.). Just above this stands the base on which the Plataean trophy is believed to have rested.

τῷ ἐν Ἰσθμῷ. Poseidon (cf. viii. 121. 1 n.). Probably there was a list of names on this offering too.

καὶ τούτοισι: as well as to Pausanias.

πάντα δέκα: tenfold, almost proverbial; cf. iv. 88. 1.

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hide References (3 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (3):
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 10.13.9
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 9.13.9
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.132
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