Chapter Three
ICONOGRAPHY AND INTERPRETATION

Since the discovery of the Tegea sculptures, the difficult problem of the relationship of their subjects to the cult of Alea Athena and local mythology has received rather short shrift: Neugebauer, Dugas, Pfuhl and others have had little to say on the subject, and, apart from a recent article on the west pediment by Delivorrias, only Picard, in a series of three articles, has attempted a thorough study; to this Lapalus has added nothing new. 1 However, unlike Lapalus, I find Picard's diffuse and circumstantial attempt to prove Dionysos and Herakles (strange bedfellows!) the twin éminences grises behind the themes chosen neither convincing nor particularly in tune with the evidence; that Alea Athena herself plays such a minor part in his scheme only serves to increase my reservations. As we shall see, she was more than a mere local Potnia. Since the extended critique that Picard's arguments would require could, ultimately, never be more than inconclusive, the interpretation advanced here is intended not merely as an alternative, but also as a further step towards a deeper understanding of the more complex relationship between architectural sculpture and religion that, together with Picard, I believe to have been characteristic of the fourth century as against the fifth. 2


THE CULT OF ALEA ATHENA

It seems absolutely clear that whatever her concerns in the prehistoric or dark ages, by the fourth century the role of Alea Athena in the Tegean cult was a dual one, in that she functioned both as a war-goddess and as a goddess of help and refuge. As a war-goddess she appears fully armed on a sixth century Tegean bronze, in what is possibly a reflection of Endoios'cult statue (saved from the fire of 395 and reinstalled in the new temple), and certain coin types seem to depict her replacement, the Athena Hippia of Manthyrenses, also a war-goddess, which was substituted after Augustus removed Endoios'image to Rome. On one type she is even shown clasping hands with Ares. 3 Significant here are the battle offerings dedicated to her in the temple and described by Pausanias. 4

Pausanias elsewhere explicitly states that her temple was the place of refuge for suppliants in the Peloponnese, and names three examples, two of them Spartan kings. 5 Skopas himself carved the statues of Asklepios and Hygieia that stood to either side of Endoios' statue on the same base, which themselves help to underline this conception of her, 6 and it is obvious that her care for Telephos and Auge, her priestess, falls squarely within this sphere of her activity. We shall have cause to return to this particular occasion for the exercise of the goddess' compassion below.


THE AKROTERIA

The Tegean akroteria are something of a puzzle. On looking at the photographs of the two surviving torsos, nos. 1 and 3, several questions, none immediately answerable, come to mind. Who are these enigmatic figures? Why are they so similar, yet clearly differentiated in their dress by the addition of the himation on no. 3? Why is no. 1 striding and no. 3 floating? Why is no. 1 wingless, and was no. 3 ever winged? Clearly, the designer of the two sets of akroteria was trying to make a point, and some detective work will be necessary to determine what it was.

The most urgent of these questions is the final one:

-59-

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Skopas of Paros
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Acknowledgements vi
  • Contents vii
  • List of Illustrations (at End) ix
  • Abbreviations xiii
  • Introduction: Methods of Approach 1
  • Part I: the Tegea Sculptures 5
  • Chapter One - Technique 39
  • Chapter Two - Composition 48
  • Chapter Three - Iconography and Interpretation 59
  • Chapter Four - Style 70
  • Chapter Five - Skopas in Tegea 80
  • Part Ii: Skopas 85
  • Chapter Six - Antecedents 85
  • Appendix 90
  • Chapter Eight Skopas in Asia 101
  • Chapter Nine Late Works 110
  • Part Iii: Documentation 126
  • Appendix 1 the Literary Sources 126
  • Notes 135
  • Appendix 2 Classical, Hellenistic and Roman Representations of the Calydonian Hunt 136
  • Appendix 3 the Arcadian Dynasty 138
  • Appendix 4 Copies of Major Works Considered in Chafters 7-9 139
  • Appendix 5 Proportions of the Los Angeles Herakles, Lansdowne Herakles and Meleager (cf. Plates 31, 42 and 44) 147
  • Select Bibliography 149
  • Notes 152
  • General Index 177
  • Index of Sources 183
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