Friday, March 02, 2007

Spectacular Greek Antiquity Discovered

Being a lover of art and antiquities, I would like to depart from politics for a moment to gaze upon this superb example of Greek marble sculpture. Sadly the head and hands didn't survive but the mastery can be seen in the fine stone carving of the torso and in the folds of the tunic.

A 2,200-year-old statue of the goddess Hera has been found in a wall of a city under Mount Olympus, mythical home of Greece's ancient gods, archaeologists announced Thursday.

The statue, dating to the 2nd century B.C. was discovered last year during excavations in the town of Dion, near Mt Olympus in northern Greece.

News link.


Blogger beakerkin said...

I wonder how they know it is Hera without the head or hands.

March 02, 2007 11:35 AM  
Blogger Urban Infidel said...

Good question, beak.

Hera and Zeus were married, so they would be seated together.

From the article:
"Archaeologist Dimitris Pantermalis said the life-sized statue had been used by the early Christian inhabitants of the city of Dion as filling for a defensive wall.

He said the 2nd century-B.C. find appeared to have originally stood in a temple of Zeus, leader of the ancient Greek gods, whose statue was found in the building's ruins in 2003. The statue of Hera stood next to that of Zeus in the temple, said Pantermalis, a Thessaloniki University professor who has headed excavations at Dion for more than three decades.

"The statue represents a female form seated on a throne, and is made of thick-grained marble like the one of Zeus," he said. "It shows exactly the same technique and size, which led us to link the two statues beyond doubt."

Pantermalis said that, if confirmed, it would be the first time two statues of different gods have been located from a single temple in Greece. He said it was also possible that a statue of Athena, goddess of wisdom, could have stood in the temple of Zeus. He said he was hopeful that it might be found during future excavation.

Dion was a major religious center of the ancient Macedonians. Alexander the Great offered sacrifices there before launching his victorious campaign against the Persian Empire in the 4th century B.C.

Excavations so far have revealed temples, theaters and a stadium, city walls, a hotel, baths and streets with an elaborate drainage system, as well as many statues.

The area was first inhabited during the Iron Age, and survived into early Christian times, when it was the seat of a bishop."

March 02, 2007 11:43 AM  
Blogger Brooke said...

How sweet is this?

She's impressive, even sans head and feet!

March 02, 2007 1:48 PM  
Blogger thehappylibertarian said...

Not only do you bring us the bad news, UI, but you also grace us with the wonder and beauty that is art. Thank you for sharing. I cannot help but be moved by this extraordinary piece of ancient art. If only we had such creations today...

March 02, 2007 3:15 PM  
Blogger Urban Infidel said...

thanks, happylibertarian!

I was thinking of starting an art blog next, since that is what I love the most.

March 02, 2007 3:33 PM  
Blogger American Crusader said...

A shame the head was destroyed but still a great find.
Just curious beak..if the hands were still available, how would they help identify the statue?

March 02, 2007 10:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

UI, this is very beautiful and amazing in detail. It's fascinating that a human can do this, especially over 2000 years ago. I hope the Jihadists don't get at it.

absurd thought -
God of the Universe hates
statues of Gods...

March 03, 2007 4:13 AM  
Blogger Amenhotep®© said...

When we see such beautiful pieces we really think of those times where there were great civilizations,i am a lover of Greek Civilization i think it's very interesting with all its Mythology and temples,sometimes i wonder if heathen times were better than our times.people here don't care about Egyptian civlization because it's heathen and has nothing to do with their spirtiual lives!!!Thank you UI,Hera has always been one of my favourites in Greek's really great to discover such nice things,hope there's more to come.

March 03, 2007 12:46 PM  
Blogger beakerkin said...


It does make sense that Hera would be seated on a throne. I wouldn't want a God with finger prints.

Speaking of DNA ask any traditional Jewish person about name clusters. Middle names are a recent adition to the faith. This was not the practice of my parents

If one were to say David son of Moses ten people would stand up.

March 03, 2007 8:55 PM  
Blogger Urban Infidel said...

I am in awe of both ancient Egyptian and ancient Greek art and civilization. Think of the tremendous skill and vision it required to make these wonders of art and architecture. We still can't figure out how much of it was done.

I remember when I saw the ancient Greek statue of Nike at the Louvre in Paris. I was completely overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of it. I can't describe it in words. We've all seen it in pictures, but in person it is almost a supernatural experience. The same goes for Michaelangelo's Pieta at the Basilica of St.Peter's in Rome. I wept like a child.

March 04, 2007 10:40 AM  
Blogger Urban Infidel said...

Jewish friends of mine have taken to naming their kids Irish and nonsensical non-human first names. I think its sad. I mean Jewish or not, who the heck wants to be named after a 60's American car? I certainly do not.

I'm half Jewish and my first name, Susan is actually ancient Hebrew and is very modern all at once. I mean, if you are going to send your children to Yeshiva and go the traditional whole route, give them a good name.

March 04, 2007 10:59 AM  
Blogger beakerkin said...

The names I was refering to were the ceremonial names. I had a slight problem when one ignoramus asked if I listed it as an alias.

Jewish ceremonial names are only used inside a house of worship. Other than my parents my exact ceremonial name is known by less than ten people. It is certainly never used in every day life.

Jewish ceremonial names are the hebrew translation of your first
and middle name and son or daughter of the same sex parent.
The advent of middle names is recent. A whole room full of people could be David son of Moses
or visa versa.

My ceremonial name became a non-issue. Moreover, the person who made a point of it got an earful.
Do we mandate people list fraternity names as well. Who is Flounder?

March 04, 2007 2:09 PM  
Blogger Urban Infidel said...

Very interesting, beak. There's so much to Judaism that I don't know.

March 04, 2007 3:47 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

I'm not an aficionado of sculpture. But even I can see the beauty of this particular work. Look at how the fabric drapes!

March 08, 2007 8:42 AM  
Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

Well AOW, it's obviously a very early work. The fabric does drape but it still has a "heaviness" common to early work.

Unfortunate that the head wasn't found. The facial expressio would revel much more of the technique.

March 22, 2007 2:25 PM  

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