The Age of Pericles: A History of the Politics and Arts of Greece from the Persian to the Peloponnesian War - Vol. 2

By William Watkiss Lloyd | Go to book overview

CHAPTER LIV.
THE FIRST CHARGES AGAINST PHEIDIAS.--PERICLES ON THE
DEFENSIVE.--THE FOUNDING OF AMPHIPOLIS.
B.C. 438, 437; Ol. 85. 3.

For the three years that follow the reduction of Samos in 441-40 B.C., under the archonship of Timocles, the records leave us uninformed as to any definite political events. We know, however, that within this period the architectural and sculptural works of the Parthenon were rapidly advancing towards completion; and the archonship of Theodorus, 438-7 B.C., is a certified date of the dedication of the chryselephantine statue of the goddess. Statue and temple, together with all their enrichments and accompaniments, formed an harmonious whole, which was at once the most costly dedication that had ever been devoted by the Greeks to the honour of the gods, and one to which, for refinement in dignity and beauty, the world could show no rival. The beauty that here was realised did not simply exhibit an extraordinary advance on whatever had been beheld before; it touched a limit where art might well seem not only hopeless and incapable of a further advance, but so fully satisfied in all its highest aspirations as neither to expect nor desire it. It was the high distinction of these works, that while they attained the utmost development of elaboration, they declined no whit from the sober dignity of earlier art, but united correctness

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