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The Image and the Text: Dedicatory Epigrams and Strategies of Communication in Archaic and Classical Athens

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Kaczko, Sara. “The Image and the Text: Dedicatory Epigrams on Stone and Strategies of Communication in Archaic and Classical Athens.” CHS Research Bulletin 1, no. 1 (2012). http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hlnc.essay:KaczkoS.The_Image_and_the_Text_Dedicatory_Epigrams.2012

Per Roberta


§1  To the eyes of a Greek citizen of Archaic and Classical times, inscribed epigrams were an ordinary sight; to the eyes of a modern scholar, they possibly offer a unique opportunity. This is because Archaic and Classical epigrams represent the union of a material component, the physical votive-object, and an immaterial one, the poetic text engraved thereon. During the Archaic and Classical periods, epigrams were composed for specific occasions, mostly to serve as epitaphs or dedications, and were inscribed on stone, bronze or other non-perishable materials, such as pottery. Epigrams were anonymous, usually short, in one or two lines (hexameters and, subsequently, elegiacs); they were (mostly) written in the local alphabet and in the epichoric dialect of the patron. Notably, funerary or dedicatory epigrams, as poetic compositions, unlike their prose counterparts, were also influenced by poetic models: elegy, choral lyric and, above all, epic.

§2  These distinctive features caused epigrams to be, on the one hand, “ordinary” and “formulaic” in their nature and their structure. To begin with, epitaphs and dedications were part of the ordinary life of a Greek citizen: for instance, votive offerings were set up and dedicated on a regular basis in sanctuaries and other sacred spaces, and the same holds true for funerary monuments in cemeteries. Even if we do not consider the testimonia of ancient literary sources, but only the small fraction of inscribed epigrams that has come down to us, the remains are telling:[2] modern museums (and often their less accessible storerooms) are rich in votive and funerary monuments, mostly severed from their inscribed bases, and in inscribed bases often severed from the statues they sustained.[3] A look at the first volume of the most recent edition of the Inscriptiones Graecae reveals that from Attica alone are preserved more than 230 epitaphs and 510 dedications, from the Archaic period to 403/2 B.C. If one considers only verse-inscriptions, epigrams were basically of two types: epitaphs and dedications (in Attica more than 100 and 150, respectively).

§3  Secondly, Archaic and Classical inscribed epigrams had a standard structure and a highly formulaic character. The material aspect of dedications and epitaphs was mostly “ordinary” / “formulaic”: grave monuments and votive offerings supporting the inscriptions were often standardized (e.g. a kouros for a young deceased, as kore as votive monument on the Athenian acropolis, a bronze tripod by a victorious choregos); and, for the inscribed text, the local alphabet was usually employed, the layout of the text on the stone was often predictable; thus, for instance, on fluted columns the text ran downwards in the flutes, while horizontally on the abacus; when the stoichedon style became common, most epigrams were engraved in this fashion. The “ordinary” and “formulaic” aspect is evident also for the “immaterial” part: in fact epigrams consisted of recurring, and in some cases even mandatory, elements (the name of the dedicator in dedications and of the deceased in epitaphs); well-defined formulas (ὁ δεῖνα μ᾽ ἀνέθηκε in dedications, σῆμα τόδε in epitaphs); typical lexical items (e.g. δεκάτη in dedications, σῆμα in epitaphs). Finally, the linguistic form of Archaic and Classical Greek epigrams was usually the dialect of the dedicator himself,[4] enhanced by external high-styled features of poetical models (epics, lyrics, elegy), often adapted to the local dialect.

§4  On the other hand, inscribed epigrams are “extra-ordinary”, an unicum in the field of modern scholarship on the ancient world. I shall offer as an example Archaic and Classical dedicatory epigrams, which are my main focus, but the same scenario is valid also for funerary epigrams. In Archaic and Classical times, dedicatory epigrams were originally designed to be engraved on their support: their information was conveyed by the intertwined union of the material monument and the poetical text engraved upon it.[5] As a result, dedications communicated with their two audiences, the divine recipient and the reader, by means of three different “languages” or, in modern terms, semantic systems. Dedications spoke, first, through the language of art (the dedicated, often artistically elaborate, object; the technique used to craft it etc.); secondly, through that of epigraphy (i.e. the alphabet used, the form of the letters, the layout of the text on the stone) and, finally, through that of language and style (while prose dedications are composed exclusively in the dialect of the dedicator, anathematic epigrams, as poetic compositions, are influenced by poetic models). In order to fully understand the message of the epigrams it is to my mind necessary to “listen” carefully and to interpret all three languages through which epigrams spoke to their audience: therefore, I have embarked on a “multi-lingual” study of the artistic supports, the alphabet, and the literary-linguistic form of the epigrams.[6]

§5  Moreover, inscribed epigrams were also potentially “extra-ordinary” to the ancient Greeks. In fact, although the aforementioned picture of a standard structure and a highly formulaic character of Archaic and Classical epigrams is accurate in outline, there are to my mind, significant exceptions. I argue that some Archaic and Classical dedicatory epigrams show an intentional effort to differentiate themselves from the “stereotypical” ones, in order to stand out: it is well-known that on some occasions, for example, dedicatory monuments were used to make their patron noticeable or even to make a political statement (the altar of Peisistratus, CEG 305; the hermai of Hipparchus etc.); moreover, in Archaic and Classical times sanctuaries were bursting with dedications, which therefore were in competition against each other to attract the attention of the passer-by and of the god. Since epigrams were “ordinary” and “formulaic” on several respects, I argue that some patrons deliberately resorted to the interplay between the metrical poetical text and the visual image (monument, disposition of the text on the stone, lettering etc.) of inscribed epigrams as a means to address their audience. In my opinion, a strong hint that in some elaborate dedications the deviations from the standard were intentional is confirmed by the fact that non-standard features occur in combinations of two or three. More importantly, these features very often concern two crucial aspect of the inscribed monument: first, the visual image of the monument and, subsequently, the linguistic-literary form of the epigram.[7] For example, the Attic dedication CEG 198 (6th cent. B.C.) presents a “mannerism” in the layout of the text and the usage of Ionic letters to give a modern and cosmopolitan air to the inscription alongside the selection of a more international formula instead a strictly local one. By way of further example, CEG 280 (Athens, 5th cent. B.C.) shows both a careful combination of archaic and more refined features in the lettering (usage of the mixed alphabet) and the layout of the text, specifically the collocation of the text immediately below the top margin of the stone is old-fashioned, but the alignment intentionally avoids the stoichedon order, probably under the influence of book script, alongside a mixture of “Doric” and epic features ([a:] and [ε:]) to convey a high-styled poetic flavor; CEG 272 (Athens, 5th cent. B.C.) shows a careful disposition of the letters alongside the presence of high-styled elements not frequent in dedicatory epigrams that have echoes in Archaic and Classical literature.

§6  As I argued both in general and also in quoting the aforementioned examples, in stone epigrams the first means to communicate, in terms of timing and level, was the physical image of the monument, i.e. the language of art and epigraphy; the second, and deeper, was represented by the immaterial part, i.e. the literary form. Therefore, I am conducting a comprehensive study of the language and style used in the Archaic and Classical Attic dedicatory epigrams, with an emphasis on the relationship between Attic elements and features from other literary traditions.[8] In fact, it is well known that the linguistic form of Archaic and Classical Greek dedications and epitaphs was usually the particular dialect of the dedicator himself; however, while prose inscriptions are entirely written in the local dialect, epigrams, being verse compositions, are influenced by the prestigious poetic tradition. Generally speaking, Attic dedicatory epigrams are no exception, but there are some aspects of how the Attic-based language of verse-dedications was “enhanced” by features of poetic models and language, those of epics as well as choral lyrics, that deserve further comment.[9] To be more specific, I am arguing that formulas or features of prestigious literary traditions were often selected in epigrams certainly because of metrical convenience or to convey a poetic flavor to the epigram, but also because the audience and the context, local or broader, to which the epigrams were referring, played an important role in the choice between a local and a traditional form.[10] For example, regarding the presence of the previously mentioned “Doric” features in Archaic and Classical Attic epigrams, such as [a:] in ἱπποσύνᾱι,  ̓Αθᾱ́νᾱ, hαγνᾶι, κόρᾱι (the latter two, epithets of Athena), gen. plur. -ᾱν etc., I agree with the interpretation that the forms with “Doric” (non-Ionic-Attic) [a:] were inserted in the basically Attic language of the dedicatory epigrams as high-styled elements for stylistic purposes.[11] However, I also draw attention to the fact that, in my opinion, a crucial reason for selecting the “Doric” (non-Ionic-Attic) [a:] forms for stylistic purposes, was that those features were the expression of a tradition distinctively different not only from the Attic one, but also from the Ionic-epic and elegiac tradition.

Seeing Images: Visual Medium as the First Level of Communication

§7  In what follows, I shall discuss the interplay between material and immaterial parts and between visual medium and text used in Archaic and Classical inscribed epigrams to communicate with their two-fold audience, i.e. both vertically with the god and horizontally with the by-standers. The latter were often the patron’s fellow citizens; which, as a consequence, could make the message a “political” one.[12] To my mind, the union of the material and immaterial parts in inscribed monuments offers two more possibilities: the writing itself may work as a visual medium to convey a message; moreover, the writing is a medium through which a literary message is carried. I will address the question of the visual image of stone epigrams and also discuss what I mean as to the “sequence” and levels (first and second) represented by the material and immaterial part.

§8  The visual medium has always been a powerful way to communicate; this is probably one of the reasons why visual arts are often used to convey a political message. For example, it is usually agreed that among visual arts a prominent political role in ancient and modern society is played by architecture.[13] Inscribed monuments are even more peculiar, because in this case the visual medium necessarily consists of two elements, 1) the monument itself with its shape, aesthetic features etc., and 2) the inscription(s) engraved thereon. This is a substantial difference between architecture and inscribed monuments: an inscription can be engraved on a public building, but it is not intrinsic to architecture, especially to the architecture of the ancient world (cf. the Parthenon and the Pergamon altar), whereas it is to inscribed monuments.[14]

§9  Any reference to writing raises the question of literacy (and education) and the extent to which the ability to read and understand the written text fully or, to go even further, the act of reading itself, is crucial to the message to be conveyed. It is not possible to address here the question of literacy because of its complexity,[15] but I shall mention that, in my opinion, the issue of the ability to decode a message conveyed by the inscription engraved on the monument should rather be addressed in terms of varying levels of engagement. In some cases, (part of) the message could be decoded even by an audience that lacked full literacy. Turning to an example outside the Greek world, more than 75% of the inscriptions in Old Persian of the Achaemenid Empire (ca. 550-third quarter of the 4th cent. B.C.) are bilingual or trilingual (the other languages and cuneiform scripts employed being Akkadian/Babylonian and Elamite). Notably, in these inscriptions the proportion between practical and symbolic / “political” function is clearly in favor of the latter. On the one hand, the text of a given edict circulated in the official chancelleries in Aramaic, the administrative (and vehicular) language at that time; on the other, most of the monolingual texts in Old Persian were written on small objects, vases, weapons etc. This means that, in the case of bilingual or trilingual royal inscriptions of the Achaemenid Empire, even the viewer who could not understand (and this was probably very often the case) all three versions was at any rate able to decode the primary message conveyed through the contiguity of the three versions, and often also through the monumentality of the support: “this is an official edict by the King”.[16]

§10  In other words, writing in itself, i.e. the epigraphic aspect — form of the letters, layout of the inscribed text, alphabet employed etc. — can often be a message[17] or a medium or both. In my opinion, a number of the strategies concerning the epigraphic aspect is at play in inscribed Archaic and Classical epigrams to make the monuments — and, as a consequence, the patron who had them set up — more noticeable, especially by employing deviations from the “standard” / “formulaic” aspect of the other inscribed epigrams. The epigraphic medium offered a variety of possibilities in this sense: for example, some Ionic letters are used in Archaic Attic inscriptions (notably private, and often in verse) otherwise written in the local alphabet to give a more modern aspect to the writing; some epigrams are engraved in an alignment which deliberately avoids the layout which would be expected for that kind of monument or period etc.

§11  Two strategies to communicate via the epigraphic medium — the disposition of the text on the physical support and the signature of the artist — are to my mind particularly interesting in themselves, and also in respect of a) the relationship between “functional” and “symbolic”; b) the interdependence of the various media (art-architecture, epigraphy and language-literature) to convey the message on different levels, from more immediate to more complex.

§12  As to the layout of the text, in some epigrams the direction of writing proceeds from functionality. The same principle is at work in modern highways, where “carpool lane” on the asphalt is written from bottom to top (i.e. 1 lane, 2 carpool = “lane carpool”), because this is the order in which the driver will read it (and so “fast lane”, “bike lane” etc.); on the hood of ambulances the AMBULANCE sign is written specular so that it can be correctly and, more importantly, immediately identified by a driver in his rearview mirror etc. Retuning to Greek Archaic inscriptions, for example the retrograde writing (i.e. from right to left) in a period in which this kind of engraving was not anymore common, or even out of fashion, is usually explained as a choice made for the convenience of a passer-by who would find these monuments on his right side as he walked. However, to my mind, functionality and accessibility to the reader do not seem to have been the only reasons which determined the direction of writing and the layout of text. In some other, more elaborate, inscriptions and, among them, epigrams, the layout is deliberately non-standard to attract the attention of the viewer: e.g. when the stoichedon style became extremely common, some epigrams are engraved in an alignment which deliberately avoids the stoichedon order (Figure 1);[18] in a few dedicatory and funerary inscriptions the order of the lines is inverted from their “logical” order, i.e. instead of reading from top to bottom they read from bottom to top (cf. e.g. IG I3 683 and IG I3 1267, cf. Figures 2 and 3) etc.[19]

Figure 3

Figure 1

Figure 4

Figure 2

Figure 5

Figure 3


§13  As to the signatures of the artists, they are usually separated from the text of the proper epigram (funerary or dedicatory) through a variety of strategies, which we can label as “archaeological” and “epigraphic”. For instance, on rectangular bases and pillars the signature is engraved on a side other than that which carries the dedicatory inscription. In cases in which both dedication and signature are engraved on the same side of a stone, a large blank space is left between the dedication and the signature; the signatures are written in letters larger, or smaller, than those of the dedication; the letters of the signature begin in a different point on the stone than those of the dedication etc. On the one hand, there certainly was a “functional” principle at work: for example in dedications the separation had the function to distinguish the sphere pertaining to the god (the proper dedication) from the entirely “human” one (the signature of the artist). On the other hand, there could be more. Since the commission of an artistic elaborate object to a sculptor was expensive, the signature was also symbolic, a message to both the god and the readers (certainly to the educated and, perhaps, also to some not fully literate, see below): “this dedication — and, understood, I, the patron — is a prestigious and no ordinary one”. [20] The “potential message(s)” embedded in the signature of the artist in an archaic inscription frequently go beyond this level. A deeper level, accessible to whoever was able to read, was represented by the content which, by revealing the identity of the artist, had the function of conveying supplementary information and, therefore, prestige to the dedicator, if for example the artist was a very famous one and/or trained in a very well-known “regional” art (i.e. Ionian art).[21]

§14  The mention of the content of the inscribed text calls for two further observations. 1) As I suggested above, a strong hint that in some more elaborate dedications the deviations from the “standard” were intentional and were undertaken in order to make the monuments (and their patrons) stand out is that non-standard features occur in combinations with one another (i.e. two or three features) and, more importantly, that they often concern two crucial aspects of the inscribed monument: firstly, the visual image of the monument and, subsequently, the linguistic-literary form of the epigram. Moreover, 2) the decoding of the linguistic-literary content, as I mentioned above, can add a significant (and significative) element to the message conveyed by the monument equipped with the epigram, and therefore represent a further step and a deeper level of communication.

Reading Images and Seeing Epigrams: Reading is Believing?

§15  In what follows I shall explain what I mean by the interaction of the material and immaterial components, by the different levels of “addressing” via the visual image and content (§ 3), and finally I shall conclude by providing some examples to clarify why the analysis of this interplay is necessary to understand fully the message conveyed by more complex epigrams (§§ 4-5).

§16  The visual image is primary in terms of level and timing. As to the latter, it is clear that, in order to attract the attention of the reader the visual image was of paramount importance, since it was what a viewer firstly encountered in terms of time. As to the question of the level, sometimes there would have been little more than the visual image accessible to a non educated viewer, but to a reader, if interested and captivated by the aspect of the monument, the visual image could represent the first of two levels of exploration: the reader could go deeper and receive the information embedded in the immaterial part of the inscribed epigrams, i.e. the literary text.

§17  I shall discuss the artistic-archaeological language in more details in a following example, for now I rather concentrate on the epigraphic aspect. As to the level, I already mentioned that the royal Achaemenid inscriptions and, many centuries later, the inscription of Šāhpuhr at the Ka’ba-yi Zardušt could represent a first / “primary” level virtually accessible to every viewer. In Greek epigraphy, the Marathon casualty list from Eua-Loukou might be quoted as parallel example of first level that presumably attracted the attention of the viewer through epigraphic means. In that inscription the stone-cutter engraved the letters of the names of the fallen of each line between the letters directly above them.[22] In other cases, the epigraphic image represents the first level of a more complex message that is accessible only to the educated reader. By way of an example from modern times: last year, the advertisement of a new piece of the famous actor Giorgio Albertazzi at the Teatro Argentina in Rome, caught my attention. The advertisement read, “Dante reads Albertazzi”, and it was aligned vertically top to bottom (Figure 4). The trick of course is that it can be read from bottom to top resulting in the expected and “logical” order “Albertazzi reads Dante”. In any case, the sign attracted my attention (phase 1); therefore I investigated and found an article on a newspaper in which Albertazzi was commenting precisely on that sign (phase 2).[23] Albertazzi declared that the order of the lines was altered on purpose: the sense of the inscription was precisely that Dante’s poetry is so modern that it is in actual fact Dante that can read, describe and “narrate” Albertazzi, a man of the 21st century, and not the other way around.

Figure 6

Figure 4

§18  This modern example shows, in my opinion, that the elaborate visual image by a) playing with the standard (namely, in this case, reverting the standard and expected layout) achieved the goal to b) attract the attention of the viewer and c) prompted the possible, although not necessary, desire to delve deeper into the message. Notably, in the example I just quoted, the further and deeper message (in this case, the revelation of the “modernity” of Dante) could be conveyed only to an audience able to access the “literary” side of the “inscription”. In other words, writing often involves different stages and levels. By way of an example from Archaic times: on the aryballos of Pyrwias (Wachter 2001: COR 17, cf. Figure 5) are depicted a pipe-player and a jumping dancer separated from other dancers. A (metrical) inscription springs from the double-aulos and encompasses the figure of the dancing possessor of the vase. Once again, two levels are detectable: the first / “basic”, visual level — which had also the function to focus on the figure of the dancer — was clearly accessible even to an illiterate person, while the identity of the dancer is revealed by the inscription (Πυρϝίας προχορευόμενος αὐτο͂ δέ ϝοι ὄλπα, “this is Pyrwias the dancer, and his is the olpa”), which therefore represents a deeper level, accessible only to one able to read.[24]

Figure 7

Figure 5

§19  The aforementioned examples strongly suggest that it is more profitable to investigate the issue of reading inscribed epigrams in terms of which level of literacy was actually necessary for the audience to access the information conveyed by the epigrams. It has been argued that in the case of stone dedications the viewers, even if they were poorly literate, would have been able to make out some key-words of the dedications, such as personal names, and e.g. the verb of dedication, or even to master their essential content.[25] Moreover, it seems conceivable that some inscribed monuments could communicate even without the act of reading in that precise moment, but that their audience could access the information otherwise. For example, from the last decades of the 6th cent. B.C. onward, marble herms of square shape and bearing an inscribed epigram began to replace the earliest wooden herms, and then became typical in Attica under the tyranny of the Peisistratids, especially thanks to the activity of Hipparchus.[26] The hermai of Hipparchus had a well-identifiable shape, as did the layout of the inscribed text: according to Pseud.-Plat. Hipparch. 228e–229a, they were inscribed on the left and right sides (cf. CEG 312, different disposition of the inscription in CEG 304 and 313).[27] Therefore, the possibility cannot be ruled out that an Athenian citizen would be aware of the main content of a given herm, without actually reading it, as, for example, there was some sort of “oral tradition” concerning the hermai of Hipparchus. [28] In other words, the inscribed squared marble herm was already a message in itself, even before one accessed its inscription. Of course, everyone who was able and willing to read, had the “privilege” to access a deeper level of communication.

§20  In the following paragraphs, I shall comment in more details how some elaborate Archaic and Classical Attic dedicatory epigrams exploited the interplay between the visual medium and the (linguistic)-literary content in order to address their two-fold audience, divine and human (i.e. “political”: fellow citizens and, seldom, strangers).

Local Contest and “International” Prestige: the Dedication of Iphidike between Athens and Ionic Art

Kaczko 21 = CEG 198 (img. 2)

Fragment of fluted (26 flutes) white marble column; h. 0, 91, dm. 0, 25. Script: mixed Attic and Ionic (mainly Ionic; but notably Ε = η; Η = h): (Figure 6), h. 0,017 – 0,027; dir.: downwards; second line written “above” the first; ca. 510-500 B.C.

Figure 1

Figure 6

(ii) Ἰφιδίκε̄ μ᾽ ἀνέθε̄κεν Ἀθε̄ναίαι πολιό̄χο̄ι.
(i) Ἄρχερμος ἐποίε̄σεν ὁ Χῖος.

(i) et (ii) Hansen 1. εποιεσεν ex εποιησεν correxit lapidarius.

(ii) Iphidike dedicated me to Athena, protectress of the city
(i) Archermos of Chios was the artist

§21  The inscribed column set up by Iphidike — whose reference point included both Athens and the Ionian world — is one of the clearest examples of an elaborate dedication in which the information is conveyed through the three media typical of inscribed epigrams:

1) artistic medium: the monument, a white marble fluted column probably supporting a small marble statue (perhaps the Nike Acr. 693), was refined (the fluting was expensive) and clearly identifiable as a product of prestigious Ionic manufacturing[29] (a fact confirmed by the identity of the artist who signed the monument, Archermos of Chios, cf. below).

2) epigraphic medium: to begin with, the layout of the text is elegant and accurate. The two lines are engraved in order to end (almost) in the same point, towards the end of the column. The mise en page of the dedication of Iphidike shows the supplementary “mannerism”, of writing the second line “above” the first, as mentioned above, an usage not frequent, but well paralleled on ostraca and on archaic stone inscriptions.[30] Secondly, the writing is clearly influenced by the Ionian world, but shows also distinctive Attic features. In fact, the writing of the dedication by Iphidike is an example of the “strong style”, a firm but informal style, influenced by the Ionic writing. Moreover, even the forms of some letters are clearly Ionic, cf. dotted theta, four-bars sigma, lambda with high-corner,[31] while the attempt of H = [ε:] in the signature was corrected by the stone-cutter (ἐποίησεν corrected in ἐποίε̄σεν) and it is the evidence of a form of “control” on the text by the Attic patron.[32] There is just one, but very distinctive, Attic graphic convention, namely Ε = [e], [ε:] and [e:], reimposed, as mentioned above, in the signature of the artist and consistently attested in the proper dedication (Ε = [e] and [ε:]). In other words, Iphidike commissioned a text engraved in letters with modern and Ionic shape to convey an international and à-la-page “air” to her dedication; on the other hand, she did not tolerate the intrusion of a distinctive Ionic convention, but imposed the presence of a distinctively Attic one, to preserve the “Atticness”, i.e. the local aspect of the dedication.

3) linguistic-literary medium: also in this respect is to be noticed the tendency to fashion the dedication as having an international nuance on a strong Attic local base. In fact the dialect of the epigram is thorough Attic: cf. Ἀθηναία and πολιοῦχος (Attic contracted standard form, versus e.g. πολιήοχος, found at CEG 235). On the other hand, the “international” dimension of the dedication is achieved by the formula Ἀθε̄ναίαι πολιṓχο̄ι, which was carefully selected as not exclusively Attic instead of the perfectly metrically equivalent, more frequent but only local, Διὸς γλαυϙṓπιδι ϙṓρε̄ι and Διὸς κρατερόφρονι παιδί.[33]

§22  The signature of the artist Archermos on CEG 198 deserve more comments. In a previous publication I supported the identification of the artist of CEG 198 as the famous artist Archermos of Chios, known from epigraphic and literary sources.[34] I argued that a strong hint in favor of the identification was constituted by Archermos’ signature. To begin with, the name Ἄρχερμος is scarcely attested in Greek onomastics: there are just the present occurrence and that of CEG 425, a capital found in Delos (and the Ἄρχερμος of CEG 425 is certainly to be identified with the famous artist). More notably, when artists’ signatures provide the indication of the ethnic, the fixed elements usually are: personal name, ethnic, verb.[35] On the contrary, in CEG 198 the sequence is personal name, verb, article, ethnic (Ἄρχερμος ἐποίε̄σεν ὁ Χῖος). In Greek and particularly in Attic inscriptions, articles are employed neither for personal names nor for ethnics, but they are employed only in specific circumstances, for example in order to distinguish two homonyms or to convey emphasis (e.g. in reference to a famous person, cf. Βίας ὁ Πριηνεύς). Since there is no indication of the existence of another Archermos, it seems indeed that in the present CEG 198 the syntax of Archermos’ signature with the specification ὁ Χῖος aims to stress the identity and connection to Ionia of the famous sculptor. Therefore it is functional to the complex operation conducted by Iphidike: in fact, the commission of a solemn monument to a famous Ionian artist perfectly fit the political and cultural framework of the late archaic Athens.

§23  If this interpretation is correct, two considerations seem to follow: 1) it is confirmed that on the one hand, in the case of signatures of artists the signature in itself was already a message by which the patron who had the epigram set up said to the community, the polis, and the god: “I commissioned this fine and expensive work to a famous artist” and it also confirms that the signature could convey additional information to anyone who could read it.

§24  Consideration 2) is more by way of excursus, since I will address the topic in more details elsewhere. In any case, it is to my mind possible to individuate distinctive patterns in the monuments bearing the signatures of Archermos that have been preserved, patterns that might be relevant to the interpretation of another epigram. In fact, it should be observed that both monuments certainly signed by Archermos (CEG 198, from Athens and CEG 425, from Delos) show an attention to the layout of the text (visual medium), and to the form of the signature (immaterial content). As to the former, the inscription from Delos shows the same attention to the coincidence of the lines in one of the extremities: in CEG 425 the four lines begin all on the left of the wider side of the capital (i.e. with “left-alignment”). As to the latter, the text reads: Μικκι̣[ά̣δης τόδ’ ἄγα]λ̣μα καλὸν π̣οίησε καὶ hυιὸς] / Ἄρχερμωσο[φ]ίεισιν hεκηβώ[λωι ἰοχεαίρηι] / [h]οι Χῖοι, Μέλ̣α̣ν̣ος πατρόϊων ἄσ[τυ νέμοντες], i.e. with the same rare feature of equipping the ethnic with the article ([h]οι Χῖοι). In my opinion, these two elements, i.e. an unusual layout of the inscription and a signature in the form article plus ethnic, might be regarded if not typical of Archermos, at least favored by the artist. In this light, it is tempting to use these patterns to attribute to Archermos another Ionic fluted column found on the Acropolis DAA 9 = IG I3 756: [— — — ἐποίε̄]σ̣εν hο Χῖος. This possibility was mentioned in passing by Raubitschek and Marcadé, who did not pursued it (for example, Raubitschek deemed that it was equally possible that the artist was one of Archermos’ sons) and it is usually discarded by the majority of scholars. However, DAA 9 = IG I3 756 displays, to my mind, some features, both in the visual image and the literary content, that encourage the attribution to Archermos of Chios (or to his workshop, to be on the safe side). In fact, DAA 9 = IG I3 756, such as CEG 198, is a fluted column that probably supported a small statue (identified as the Kore 675, with evident Ionic features, and, therefore, one of the types of votive monuments “à-la-Ionic-mode” in Athens at that time); the direction of the lines is reverted, bottom to top, such as, again, in CEG 198; and finally it is equipped with a signature which reads hο Χῖος, i.e. article plus ethnic such as in CEG 198 and CEG 425.

Victory Dedications on the Acropolis and in non-Attic sacred spaces: How to Say Local Context versus “International” Politics

§25  In what follows, I shall discuss the role played by the visual image and, on a deeper level, by the literary-linguistic medium in some victory dedications to convey their “political” information.

Kaczko 130 (= CEG 302)

Marble Doric capital (h. 0,175, w. 0,42, th. 0,422) of a, now lost, unfluted column (dm. 0,173). Socket on the top. The inscription runs on three sides of the abacus (A on the back, B on the left side, C on the right side). Script: Att.: (Figure 7) h. 0,015-0,017 (round lett. 0,011-0,012). Akraiphia (temple of Apollo Ptoios), ca. 540 B.C.?

Figure 2

Figure 7

(A)  [Φοί]βο̄ μέν εἰμ᾽ ἄγαλ[μα Λ]ᾱτ̣[οί]δᾱ καλ[ό]ν· |

[ho δ᾽ Ἀ]λ̣κμέο̄νος hυῒς Ἀλκμεο̄νίδε̄ς                  |

(B)  [h]ίποισι νικέ̄[σας ἔ]θε̄κέ μ̣᾽ [ὀ̄κέαις], |

[h]ὰς Κνο̄πι̣[ᾱ́δᾱ]ς ἔλαυν᾽ hο [‒×‒ᴗ‒]

(C)  hότ᾽ ἐ̑ν Ἀθᾱ́ναις Παλάδος πανέ̄[γυρις][36]

§26  The monument was set up by Alcmeonides, a member of the influent Athenian family of the Alcmeonidai, to celebrate Alcmeonides’ victory in the chariot race at the Great Panathenaia.[37] The importance of athletic success in the pursuit of prestige, popularity and hence political power in the Archaic and Classical Greek poleis is well-known,[38] so that Alcmeonides had every interest to celebrate his victory. The interesting aspect of the present inscription is the location of the dedication, namely the Ptoion at Akraiphia in Boeotia and not the Acropolis, as it would be expected because of the habit of Athenian victors of dedicating victory monuments on the Acropolis, and especially because Alcmeonides set up a few years earlier another dedication to celebrate a victory, this time on the Acropolis (IG I3 597 = DAA 317, ca. 550 B.C.). The reason why Alcmeonides set up the more recent dedication at the temple of Apollo Ptoios in Boeotia is clearly political: he and his family were trying to gain the favor of the oracle of Apollo Ptoios against both the Peisistratids, who were themselves interested in it (cf. the dedication to Apollo Pythius by the young Peisistratus, CEG 305), and the Thebans, who provided material support for the Peisistratids’ return in Athens in 547/6 B.C.[39]

§27  Once again, the message of the present dedication (CEG 302) is conveyed by the interplay between the visual medium and the literary text. This is evident not only if one examines the features of CEG 302, but especially if the present inscription is compared with the other dedication by Alcmeonides on the Acropolis (DAA 317). The votive-offering of CEG 302 has been lost,[40] but it must be pointed out that the epigraphic data show that the monument, with the letters accurately cut and distributed on the stone, is an example of the “fine style”. The immaterial/literary features are also of great importance to the interpretation of the monument. First, the metrical form of the epigram is noteworthy: it is a iambic composition, which has rare parallels in Archaic and Classical dedications; the metrical shape is probably due to the great number of personal names and patronymics (Ἀλκμέων, Ἀλκμεωνίδης, Κνωπιᾱ́δᾱς, and probably Κνωπιᾱ́δᾱς’s patronymic), the prosody of which would have hardly fit dactylic meters. The conspicuous presence of personal names in the epigram was probably motivated by the desire to focus on the family,[41] not surprisingly for such an important genos, and indeed one in the condition of exile, and trying to return to its city (and presumably to regain power).

§28  On the other hand, it is also true that the composition was meant to be significant: an important hint in this direction is the exceptional length, which incidentally was likely to be noticed also by a viewer who lacked a high level of literacy. The inscription consists of 5 lines instead of the 1 or 2 (more rarely 3) of most contemporary epigrams. Although many scholars labeled the epigram as “not the work of a poet” (so FH), the length can be seen as just one among the several elements that contradict this interpretation and show, on the contrary, that the monument was meant to be something exceptional. In fact, the epigram is extremely interesting because it combines a typical formula of dedicatory epigrams, namely that of possession,[42] with literary elements, starting with the presence of μέν in the first verse — which is foreign to the condensed style of Archaic and Classical dedicatory inscribed epigrams, but has parallels in the poetic tradition — used in combination with δέ to give a defined structure to the epigram and also to elevate the diction. Moreover, the text includes elements typical of agonistic epigrams, but that are presented either with an epic flavor ([h]ίποισι νικέ̄[σας … [ὀκέαις], [h]ὰς Κνο̄πι̣[ᾱ́δᾱ]ς ἔλαυν᾽)[43] or with a more elaborate fashion than was usual (cf. hότ᾽ ἐ̑ν Ἀθᾱ́ναις Παλάδος πανέ̄[γυρις] instead of a simple locative).

§29  It is also worth noting that the epigram combines traditional elements with more modern forms (καλόν with first short syllable;[44] Λατοίδᾱ, trisyllabic and with contraction of the gen. sing. ‑ᾱο)[45] probably allowed by the iambic meter, which entails a context more elevated than prose, but not necessarily as formal or as rich in the high-styled forms of the epics (such as κούρη, epithet of Athena in several Attic dedications), as is the case in hexametric or elegiac epigrams. Finally, Alcmeonides’ dedication combines Doric and (Ionic-)Attic elements, clearly in an effort to achieve a more elevated style: the Attic dialect, starting as expected from the personal names, Ἀλκμέων and Ἀλκμεωνίδης,[46] is prevalent: cf. e.g. νικήσας, πανήγυρις, also ἵπποισι a form both local and of the epic and poetic tradition (it is found as poetic form also in Pindar), but alongside forms with “Doric” [a:], Λ]ᾱτ̣[οί]δᾱ, Ἀθᾱ́ναις and possibly, if the restoration is correct, Κνο̄πι̣[ᾱ́δᾱ]ς. The “Doric” forms where both an element of the poetic tradition and at the same time possibly selected as an hommage (with political reasons) to the context of the dedication (a sanctuary of Apollo). As I have mentioned, the differences between this dedication and the one set up a few years earlier jointly by Alcmeonides and (possibly) Kroisos on the Acropolis to celebrate a victory, probably in the hippios dromos (DAA 317 = IG I3 597, ca. 550 B.C.: [Κροῖσ(?)]ο̣ς ⋮ κἀλκμεο[νί]δε̄ς ⋮ πέντ̣[ε ⋮ hι]/[πι]κ̣όν τε ν[ικ]έ̄σαντε ἀνε[θέ̄τε̄ν]) are revealing with regard to the different aim and audience the two dedications, CEG 302 and DAA 317, had. The writing of DAA 317 is untidy; the inscription is in prose and the dialect is epichoric Attic with features avoided in verse dedications and in high-styled Attic poetry (e.g. in the tragedy), such as the dual.[47] Clearly the prose dedication was intended for a local context and audience, while the verse dedication set up at the Ptoion for a broader one. To sum up, the complex of the features of the dedication by Alcmeonides at the Ptoion, epigraphic, artistic, literary, and especially the combination of the visual image of the monument and the style of the epigram is revealing as to the interpretation of the dedication, in the present case a dedication meant to be exceptional.

§30  A last set of dedications can help to demonstrate the interplay between visual image and content in the two frameworks of the local Attic (“centripetal”) context and the external (“centrifugal”) one. To my mind, it is possible that reasons of prestige, conveyed by extra-local features in contrast with the parochialism conveyed by epichoric features, motivated the selection of the alphabet and the dialect, in other dedications by a victor, in this case Kallias from Athens. It is well known that Athenians tended to celebrate their athletic victories by setting up statues in Athens (on the Acropolis) rather than in the Panhellenic sanctuaries, because of the influence of Sparta on the latter, although from a certain period onwards during the 5th cent. B.C. the presence of Athenians grew stronger in Delphi. At Olympia it is particularly noteworthy that Athenians are absent not only from athletic-statues and other dedications, but also from the victory-lists (notably well into the 4th cent. B.C.), undoubtedly because of Sparta’s political pressure and influence on Olympia. A significant exception is IvO 146 = IG I3 1473 (472 B.C.), dedicated by Kallias of Athens at Olympia and signed by the famous sculptor and painter Micon.[48] Interestingly, the dedication by Kallias in Olympia is in Ionic alphabet — possibly because of its suitability for a Panhellenic, i.e. “international”, sanctuary — and in Attic dialect, the latter possibly chosen to proclaim Kallias’ origin, an act with clear political implications. It is worth noting that, by contrast, other two dedications by Kallias, set up on the Acropolis, IG I3 826 (DAA 21) and IG I3 893 = DAA 164, are in both Attic dialect and Attic alphabet (with the apparent exception of four-bars sigma at IG I3 893, which however dates to 430 B.C., a date in which four-bars sigma was already circulating / almost established in Attic private inscriptions).[49]


§31  The genre of dedicatory Archaic and Classical epigrams represents a unique union of a material component, the physical votive-object, and an immaterial one, the poetic text engraved thereon. Therefore, it seems profitable to me to investigate how Archaic and Classical Attic dedicatory epigrams communicated with their two audiences, the divine recipient and the reader, through three different semantic systems: those of art and archaeology, epigraphy and literature. Such an investigation reveals also that more complex and elaborate epigrams, such as the aforementioned CEG 198; CEG 302; CEG 280 etc. deliberately exploited the interplay between the visual medium (i.e. the semantic system of art-archaeology, and epigraphy) and the immaterial / literary one in order to stand out and make themselves and, as a consequence, their patron noticeable.


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[1] I am grateful to the CHS’ Senior Fellows and the 2012 Fall Semester CHS’ Junior Fellows for their valuable comments and useful suggestions.

[2] For example, bronze statuary was a major industry in Archaic and Classical times, especially for votive offerings, but this is not reflected at all in our remains, because bronze statues are the ones which suffered the heaviest losses. The statement given by Pliny (NH 34.36) that, notwithstanding the Romans in the 2nd cent. B.C. literally filled their city with Greek statues, in Athens and in other three major cities (Olympia, Delphi and Rhodes) were preserved more than 12,000 statues, may give an idea of the enormous gap between the original production of bronze statues and what it has been preserved; cf. Mattush 2006: 208.

[3] Incidentally, this state of preservation may contribute to give to the moderns (used to either inscribed bases or statues without inscribed bases) a misleading perception of what Archaic and Classical monuments bearing inscribed epigrams originally looked like.

[4] Even if the monument was set up abroad, cf. Buck 1913: 143-145; Mickey 1981: 36; Buck 1913. The artist’s signature was usually in his own alphabet and dialect: as a result, when the dedicator and the artist had different origins, we might find a contrast between the alphabet and dialect of the dedication and those of the signature. However, we come across several examples of the adaptation of the name of an artist working abroad to the dialect of the dedication; on the other hand, sometimes the dedication is in the dialect of the artist; cf. e.g. Buck 1913: 135-143.

[5] Differently, most works of art, such as altars, the friezes of temples, could address their audience without necessitating the support of another means. On the other hand, Archaic literary texts were, to a certain extent (i.e. as for the performance, and this was also the case for the composition and transmission of the Homeric poems, at least until a certain stage), not strictly dependent on their material support.

[6] Interestingly, to this day there is no comprehensive study that takes into account the literary as well as the archeological and epigraphic features of Archaic and Classical dedicatory epigrams. While Hansen’s CEG is a critical edition and therefore does not give much information on material aspects or on literary and linguistic details, other studies are either outdated (e.g. Raubitschek’s DAA) or concerned only with a small selection of stone-epigrams. Some important recent works (e.g. Baumbach — Petrovic — Petrovic 2010; Day 2010) deal with a limited range of questions, as well, and are mostly focused on literary issues.

[7] Cf. Kaczko (forthcoming b). As evidence e contrario, it can be noted that not rarely funerary epigrams use stereotypical expressions to stress that the individual deceased is part of a community of fellow mortals in order to create an emotional bond with the reader (the message would be of the kind “we are linked by the same nature and share the same destiny”), see Chaniotis 2012b: 103ff.

[8] A major reason why I have chosen as subject the Attic dedicatory epigrams of Archaic and Classical times, is that Athens is the Greek polis for which we have more information as to the political structures (in the etymological sense of ‘pertaining to the polis’, namely institutions, rituals, “ordinary” life) and, more importantly to a literary and linguistic study, from which we have a variety of texts in different forms — prose and poetry, epigraphy and literature — and different registers, from the low-register of the defixiones, to some closer to the language in use (prose inscriptions, comedy), to the high-level prose and poetry (tragedy), which enable us to distinguish sociolinguistic levels, different registers, prestigious traditions; all data crucial, to my mind, to understand the language and style of Attic epigrams.

[9] This aspect has been widely understudied, especially as to the choral lyrics (cf. already in these terms, Kaczko 2009: 94 n. 13); cf. also Kaczko (forthcoming a). On the “Doric” elements cf. also Barrett 1964: 301; Björck 1950; Breitenbach 1934; D’Alfonso 1986: 86; Mess 1898; Mickey 1981; Palumbo Stracca 1987; Sens 2004; Strunk 1964; Kaczko 2009: passim and especially 110ff.

[10] In other words, the relationship between the local elements and the high-styled features from other poetic traditions in Attic epigrams can be interpreted as the result of the action of a “centripetal” tendency versus a “centrifugal” one. By “centripetal” versus “centrifugal”, I mean the interaction between the framework of the dedicator and the local audience / context (“centripetal”) and between what is external and functional to reach a broader audience or to elevate the diction (“centrifugal”).

[11] In fact, they were features of choral lyrics, a poetic tradition well-known and regarded as prestigious in Athens (cf. e.g. Nagy 1994; revealing are also the allusions to Doric lyric poetry in Attic literature, cf. Willi 2002: 139).

[12] By “political” I mean what pertains to a polis, i.e. its citizens, political order etc., cf. note below.

[13] Cf. e.g. Ridgway (1996: 1): “It is a widely held opinion that architecture is the most political of all visual arts — indeed, if ‘political’ is taken in its etymological sense of ‘everything that pertains to a polis’; public buildings represent that polis’ most permanent and official statements”. There are plenty of examples from modern times (Washington D.C. and Rome, just to recall two realities well known to the author, are rich in them) and the ancient world. For example under the Peisistratids the paramount influence of the Ionic culture, linked also to the arrival in Athens of several Ionian figures, such as poets — according to ancient sources Hipparchus summoned to Athens Simonides (of Ceos) and Anacreon (of Teos) — and artists, deeply influenced Attic plastics and architecture. It has been argued that some artists, such as Endoios, were actually court artists or, at least, that they had personal ties to the tyrants. On the topic, cf. e.g. Aloni 1984; Angiolillo 1997; Pedley 1976; Viviers 1993. It is no coincidence that Pericles’ political program involved monumental architectural works on the Acropolis or that painters often chose to represent on their vases mythological subjects that the tyrants favored.

[14] On the relationship between visual art and text, see e.g. the papers in Goldhill — Osborne 1994; cf. also Stieber 2004; Ead. 2011.

[15] On the question of literacy in the ancient Greek world, cf. Del Corso 2002, with bibliography and a useful survey of the different approaches of modern scholarship (Detienne; Finley; Harris; Havelock etc.). I cannot discuss in the present contribute the recent hypothesis that by reading aloud the epigrams the passer-by re-enacted the dedicatory ritual originally performed, cf. especially Day 2010: 47 and passim, on the topic see Chaniotis 2012b and the discussion in Kaczko (forthcoming a).

[16] See e.g. Mancini 1988. It has been argued that a similar principle, but with different goals (i.e. to underline the contrast between the Iranic world and the Greek-Roman one) is at work in the inscriptions by Šāhpuhr at the Ka’ba-yi Zardušt (3rd cent. A.D.), see Mancini 1988; Huyse 1999; Rubin 2002. On the definition of “bilingual” text (also as opposed to “parallel versions”), see e.g. Campanile 1988; J.N. Adams – M. Janse – S. Swain 3ff. and passim. On the interference and languages in contact, cf. Weinreich 1953; Thomason- Kaufman 1988.

[17] In this case “the medium is the message”, as the communications theorist Marshal McLuhan would say.

[18] As in CEG 280 (cf. above and Kaczko 2009) or in the Marathon casualty list from Eua Loukou, see Keesling 2012 and also below.

[19] Kaczko 2010: 207-208 with further examples and previous bibliography.

[20] Of course the display of the signature was convenient to the artist, as well, because it could work as some sort of an advertisement. Among various examples, it can be recalled a Boeotian aryballos (Wachter 2001: BOI 7B) in which the graffito reading the signature of the artist, incised on the side opposite the handle, is positioned in a way so that when the athlete poured the oil, his fellow-athletes would read the inscription (cf. Osborne — Newby 2005). A similar principle of visibility (in this case for “modern” marketing purposes) is at the base of the decision of the Apple’s headquarters to reverse the Apple-symbol [[logo]] on their laptops’ covers so that other people and not only the owner (as it had been for a long time) could see the symbol in the right direction.

[21] Evidence e contrario comes from some bilingual Greek-Latin inscriptions from Delos of the 2nd cent. B.C. Delos was established as a free port in 166 B.C. becoming the destination of several immigrants, merchants, slaves and liberti; as to the origin most of them were Italics, Greeks and Romans. The latter, who had been increasingly moving to Delos from the previous century, soon became the larger community. As a consequence, the 2nd cent. B.C. registers several bilinguals Greek and Latin from Delos. It is well known that the two texts of bilingual inscriptions often differ in some respects (e.g. in the system of indication of the datation, in addresses to local versus foreign deities etc.); notably in several 2nd cent. B.C. bilinguals from Delos, in the Latin versions not only are omitted the datations both according to the Athenian archon and the local governor, but almost invariably the indications of the artists, which were, by contrast, frequent in the Greek versions (cf. e.g. ILLRP 751), see Campanile 1988: 20-21. The reason for that is that artists and craftsmen were not positively regarded by the Romans, differently from the Greeks (cf. some centuries afterwards e.g. Iuv. Sat. 3, 76ff.).

[22] The so-called “plinthedon style”, see Keesling 2012.

[23] Incidentally, this means that the layout evidently prompted the curiosity not only of myself, but also of the journalist and, presumably, of his readers.

[24] On the various forms and functions of writing on pottery, from its relatively simple echoing and paralleling the decoration (e.g. in the Nestor’s cup or in a dipinto from Pitechussa, ca. 700 B.C., cf. Jeffery 1976: 64 fig. 1) or stressing the contrast between the figures as in the Nessos’ painter vase (Immerwahr 1990, no. 55), to more complex levels of interplay especially on cups used in the symposium (e.g. inscriptions relating to the symposium inviting its participants to utter; painted figures uttering painted words which the real participant in the symposium must himself read etc.), see Snodgrass 2000 and Osborne — Pappas 2005. Another example of a deeper message achieved by the interplay of visual image and text addressed to an educated audience was probably intended and planned in a cup signed by Epiktetos. In this cup, the signature is unusually positioned at the level of the faces of the drinkers present at the symposium both to play the role of stating the painter’s name, and to produce a visual effect to unite the participants in the symposium, who were of course literate and educated; cf. Lissarague 1994.

[25] Cf. e.g. Keesling (2003: 34-35): “both the formulaic character and the tendency of the names of the dedicator and the sculptor to figure prominently within the inscribed text, would have enabled even poor readers to master their essential content”.

[26] Hipparchus (528–514 B.C. ca.), the brother of the tyrant Hippias, set up all over Attica, marble herms equipped with epigrams (some of which are attributed in ancient sources to Hipparchus, his friends or even famous poets such as Simonides and Anacreon), for didactic purposes.

[27] On the types of Attic herms, Trypanis 1951; Lazzarini 1976: 147-149; Kaczko 2009.

[28] It is always risky to parallel the issue of reading and literacy in the ancient world with that of modern times, and I shall address it in more details in another occasion. I just want to mention that sometimes it is not necessary to read (and not reading can depend on a variety of reasons: not being able to read at all, not being able to read a foreign language, not having the opportunity or the desire to read etc.) to be aware, at least in outline, the message conveyed by an inscribed monument. It can be safely assumed that several Americans or Italians know (not necessarily verbatim) what some important inscribed National monuments read. I for instance knew the general features of the Vietnam memorial (whose visual image incidentally is monumental and impressive from a graphic point of view), i.e. the fact that it is inscribed with the names of the fallen soldiers, even before coming to the US and after visiting it, without having read all the names; or I know that in the Vittoriano in Rome is preserved the tomb of the “Milite Ignoto” (as its American counterpart is located in the Arlington Cemetery) even without having ever seen the inscription on the monument reading “Milite Ignoto” or even having been inside that part of the Vittoriano etc. Offering an example from a different context and time, i.e. the ancient world, at a symposium (where however a high level of literacy is to be expected), theoretically just one person who was able to read the inscription on, say, a painted vase would suffice to make that information accessible to all the participants (cf. Snodgrass 2000: 29).

[29] It is well known that from the half of the 6th cent. B.C. — partly because of the pressure exerted by the Persian Empire on the Ionic poleis, but mostly because of the politics of the Peisistratids — began to arrive in Athens several artists (poets, sculptors) native of East Ionia and Cycladic Islands. As to sculpture, in Athens were active Ionian artists — and if not Ionian, at least influenced by and / or trained in Ionian art — such as Aristion of Paros, Archermos of Chios, Endoios, Philergos, Pythis, Aristokles; and several “artistic schools” and workshops linked to the Ionian Eastern or insular framework, e.g. Naxos, Paros, (probably) Chios, Samos. The Ionian influence is clearly recognizable in some scultorean features or types developed in Athens from that period on: e.g. in the plastics and the introduction or evolution (morphology of the garments, of the physiognomy, the korai, seated figures, typology of the fluted votive columns, such as that of Iphidike etc.). It is therefore not surprising that the monument dedicated by Iphidike is rich in Eastern-Ionic artistic features. These elements are evident in the Nike Acr. 693, identified by the majority, but not universally, of scholars as the ex-voto dedicated by Iphidike. At any rate, the column bearing the dedication provides enough information in this sense: it is generally assumed that the fluted column equipped with an Ionic (or round) capital, surmounted by a marble statue (usually small) is a typology of ex-voto imported in Athens by East Ionia, which then became widespread and popular in Athens. On the Athenian Acropolis have been found ca. 20 columns of this type, dating between the last quarter of the 6th cent. B.C. and the first quarter of the 5th cent. B.C., equipped with the signatures of artists native from Ionia or trained in Ionian art: Archermos, Endoios, Pythis, Euenor of Ephesos, and the Chiotan who signed the column DAA 9 = IG I3 756. According to some scholars, Archermos himself would have been responsible for the introduction of this typology of ex-voto (small statues on high fluted columns). The evidence is inadequate, but it is certain that Archermos represented the prestigious artistic Ionian world and that this is the reason why he was chosen by Iphidike to craft a high-styled monument and with a well-defined connotation.

[30] The mannerism had clearly the function of attracting the attention of the reader. It should also be noted that the reading of the correct sequence is guided, since the line containing the proper dedication begins higher on the shaft so that the eye of the viewer is led to it. On the direction of the lines in Iphidike’s dedication, cf. Immerwahr 1990: 65 n. 27; Threatte 1980: 60. Other examples are the epitaph for Pediarchos (IG I3 1267) and the dedications IG I3 775; 777; 809, cf. also Wilhelm 1898: 1-12; Immerwhar 1990: 93.

[31] Also the lack of the sign for aspiration in the article (which could however be tolerated by an Attic dedicator) is an Ionic feature, cf. in details Kaczko 2010. The presence of Ionic letters in private inscriptions (on stone and vase) was an outcome of the arrival of Ionian artists in Athens under the Peisistratids; especially four-bars sigma, dotted theta, lambda with high-corner and then gradually the others: heta, omega, gamma and the digraphs xi and psi, between 480 and 430 B.C., cf. Immerwahr 1990: 143-146, 148, 152, 157ff., 176ff.; Threatte 1980: 38ff. DAA, pp. 447ff. On the strong style, which will be important for the development of the standard Attic script of the 5th cent. B.C. see Immerwahr 1990: 79, 150-151, 181.

[32] As convincingly demonstrated by Keesling 2005: 413f.

[33] Of course the formulas would have had the verb without the nu movable, i.e. ἀνέθε̄κε γλαυϙόπιδι ϙόρει and ἀνέθε̄κε Διὸς κρατερόφρονι παιδί.

[34] As to the literary sources, Pliny testifies that Archermos, son of Mikkiades and member of a Chian family of artists (he was the father of Bupalos and Athenides, contemporaneous or slightly younger than Hipponax; the former is the notorious target of Hipponax’ satyre) was a famous artist who crafted several statues, some of them visible in Lesbos and Delos. Moreover, according to schol. Aristoph. Birds 574, Archermos sculpted the earliest Winged Nike. As to the archaeological and epigraphic evidence, the name of Archermos occurs also engraved in (mostly) Delian alphabet on a marble capital, found in Delos, CEG 425, and dated at 550-530 B.C. by Jeffery & Lewis and Hansen ad locc.; cf. Kaczko 2010: 200ff.

[35] Cf. e.g. the signature of Kresilas, Κυδονιέ̄τας Κρε̄σίλας ἐργάσσατο (CEG 280, ca. 440 B.C.); that of Aristion, Ἀριστίο̄ν : Πάρι[ός μ’ ἐπ]ο[ίε̄]σ̣ε (CEG 24, ca. 540 B.C.) and of Kallon of Aigina, Κάλο̄ν ⋮ ἐποίε̄σεν hαι̣[γινέτε̄ς] (IG I3 753, ca. 500-480 B.C.).

[36] “I am the beautiful agalma of Phebus, son of Leto / Alcmeonides, son of Alcmeon / dedicated me, having won with swift mares, that Cnopidas, son of…, drove / when the festival of Pallas was held in Athens”.

[37] According to Pind. Pyth. 7, 10-11, the Alcmeonidai (among their members one of the most important for Athens’ history was Cleisthenes) could celebrate seven victories in 486 B.C. Alcmeonides, son of Alcmeon and brother of Megakles, possibly replaced Megakles himself as head of the family after Megakles’ death; cf. Davies, APF, 372.

[38] See e.g. Rausa 1964; Kyle 1987; Smith 2007.

[39] On the datation of the present inscription and the exile of the Alcmeonides cf. Kaczko (forthcoming a).

[40] It has been reconstructed either as a bronze charioteer (the likeliest one), a kore, a small bronze chariot, a tripod, for the discussion and previous bibliography, cf. Jeffery at IG I3 1469; Day 2010: 127.

[41] According to Day 2010: 209, the extent of the space devoted to the charioteer, a line, exactly the same as that allowed to the dedicator, with the personal name and the mention of the father or of the city, suggests that the charioteer was presented as a man of status in Boeotia and therefore a hint of aristocratic family connection of the Alkmeonidai and their regional and political interests. Moreover, this would explain why less attention is paid to the victor’s city, whose mention is postponed to the last line, and only as the site of the festival.

[42] In the syntagma [Φοί]βο̄ μέν εἰμ᾽ ἄγαλ[μα… καλ[ό]ν: — as Gallavotti 1978 and Day 2010: 208 among others rightly pointed out — the genitive is possessive and ἄγαλμα has the usual meaning of ‘gift’; meaning ‘I am the fair gift of Phoebus’, a typology well attested in dedicatory epigrams (cf. Ἀρ̣τέ̄μιδος τόδ᾽ ἄγαλμ[α]· ἀνέθε̄κε{ν} με Ε[ὔ]πολις αὐτε͂ι CEG 407, Delos 500-450 B.C.).

[43] The model for the first epithet is Homer, cf. ὠκέες ἵπποι Il. 23, 373 and ὠκέας ἵππους Il. 23, 516. The verb νικάω, usually in the aorist, and the indication of the place where the games were hosted are almost fixed and necessary elements in agonistic epigrams, sometimes completed by the specification of the type of the contest as here (a variation of it in Pind. Isthm. 2, 12-13 ἀείδω / Ἰσθμίαν ἵπποισι νίκαν). As to [h]ὰς Κνο̄πι̣[ᾱ́δα]ς ἔλαυν᾽, the line is clearly modeled on the epics, cf. Hom. Il. 2, 763 τὰς Εὔμηλος ἔλαυνε, and in fact the verb ἐλαύνω is epic, to be found in poetry and extremely rarely in Attic; here is clearly a poetic form: aside the Homeric model the form is used in the present epigram without augment.

[44] The first syllable of καλ[ό]ν is short, with “recent” syllabification, i.e. no compensatory lengthening after [w] was dropped, a development corresponding to that of the Attic dialect and attested also in lyric poetry. Forms without compensatory lengthening foreign, aside from rare instances, to Homer, are found in Hesiod, Alcman, Theognides (cf. 1200 W.), Archilochus (ἐν δορὶ μέν μοι etc. fr. 2, 1 W.), tragedy, Pindar etc. As to κᾰλός, it is attested in Hesiod, (where κᾱλ- however still prevails), Alcman, Pindar, tragedy; Alcman and the Doric lyric tradition have both κᾱλ- and κᾰλ‑: the two different possibilities alternate mostly out of metrical convenience. The iambic meter allowed to insert into the present epigram more modern forms, both attested in the local dialect (Attic and Boeotian) and in poetic genres different from the epics, whose pressure was responsible for the insertion of forms such as κούρη in formulas found in dactylic dedicatory epigrams (cf. e.g. Διὸς γλαυκῶπις κούρη at CEG 180): in Archaic and Classical Attic dedications from the Acropolis only κούρη and never κόρη is to be found; most notably the unique case of this form with “recent” syllabification, i.e. κόρᾱ (CEG 284) has not Ionic-Attic phonology, but the “Doric” (in fact inherited) [a:], cf. Kaczko (forthcoming a).

[45] The original form is quadrisyllabic: Λατοΐδας / Λητοΐδης (Ion.–Att.) attested in Hom. Hymn. in Merc. 158, 253 and passim; Hes. Scut. 479; Alcm. 48, 1 Page; Alc. 67, 3 L.-P.; Aristoph. Eq. 1081; the quadrisyllabic form is still the more frequent in Pindar, cf. e.g. Pyth. 3, 67; Nem. 9, 53, where however also the contracted form, hence trisyllabic, is found (cf. Λατ̣οίδᾱ at Pind. Pyth. 1, 12); the trisyllabic form is attested also in Bacch. 3, 39 and possibly Hes. fr. 51, 3 (with Ionic-Att. phonology). Notably the genitive ‑ᾱο is contracted (‑ᾱ), as in Doric and East Aeolic but not in Thessalian and, more importantly, in Boeotian, where ‑ᾱο is maintained; the lyric tradition, both choral and monodic, uses both ‑ᾱο and –ᾱ, the contracted form occurs e.g. in Bacchylides; Alcman (Λατοΐδᾱ 48, 1 Page); Stesichorus where also ‑ᾱο is attested (cf. e.g. Stes. 45, 9 Page), Pindar Ol. 8, 44, but e.g. Κρονίδᾱο Pyth. 4, 171, also Sappho and Alcman (the latter has both Ἀίδᾱ and Ἀίδᾱο). The distribution of ‑ᾱο and ‑ᾱ in the Greek dialects and literary traditions clearly show that in the present epigram the form is derived from the literary tradition, and is not, as FH argues, an “adaptation to a local pronunciation.” The latter seems in fact unlikely in this context, except for the name of the charioteer: it is well known that the local dialect and local alphabet can be adopted in personal names in dedications or epitaphs for reasons of recognisability. The example of the epitaph for Mnasithios, SEG 49, 505 is revealing: the epigram is entirely composed in Ionic dialect, except the name of the deceased, spelled in the epichoric phonology, of course to allow the compatriots to identify the protagonist of the epigram; cf. Cassio 2010: 10ff.

[46] For Ἀλκμαίων, Ἀλκμάων, Ἀλκμαιωνίδᾱς of other dialects, including Doric and some Aeolic dialects.

[47] One may wonder if in CEG 430, the monument for Harmodios and Aristogeiton, the dual was used not (only) because the two tyrant-slayers were conceived as a pair, but if there was a deliberate attempt to stress the Attic identity via linguistic means. In fact, it is well known that the dual was perceived as a strong Attic feature and was, therefore, avoided in high-styled poetry, such as tragedy, but e.g. in Aristophanes it was regularly used and sometimes even on purpose precisely to distance comedy from tragedy and as means to stress the “Atticness” (in terms of parochialism; cf. Willi 2002). One may also wonder if the linguistic choice of CEG 430 was also due to the desire to oppose the democratic Athens to the Ionicized tyrants (the ties of the Peisistratids to East Ionia are well-known); cf. Kaczko (forthcoming a).

[48] Micon, son of Phanomachos, is known to us from both the literary tradition (Pausanias; Pliny; schol. Ar.) and two signatures on stone, one in Athens (CEG 279) and one in Olympia on the victory monument of Kallias from Athens (the present IvO 146 = IG I3 1473, 472 B.C.). Micon was an Athenian (cf. the signature in IvO 146 = IG I3 1473) active from ca. the first quarter of the 5th cent. B.C. Micon as a sculptor particularly famous for his statues of athletes (cf. Pliny NH 34, 88), but he was primarily a painter: to him were commissioned the decorations of several public buildings at Athens during the Cimonian era (second quarter of the 5th cent. B.C.), such as the sanctuary of the Dioskouroi (with Polygnotus), the Stoa Poikile, the Theseion (after 475 B.C.), cf. Lippold RE XV 1932, 1557-61; DAA, 519-520.

[49] Incidentally, the artist Micon signed at least another victory dedication, CEG 279 (ca. 440 B.C.), in Pentelic marble, which was set up on the Acropolis probably to celebrate the victory of the dedicator (····]αιος, the personal name is fragmentary) in an important athletic contest (e.g. the Isthmic games). The dialect is Attic (or, better Ionic-Attic), while the alphabet used in the inscription has been defined by scholars as as mixed (Ionic and Attic), but to my mind it should be better defined as showing strong Attic features (cf. especially Ε = ε, η and Ο = ο, ω) and some Ionic letters, most notably those which were already circulating in private inscriptions in Athens, i.e. dotted theta, Λ = λ; four-bars sigma, and also Γ = γ, for a certain amount of time (the inscription dates back to 440 B.C.). It is therefore conceivable that in CEG 279 the Ionic letters were selected to give a more modern and perhaps international look to a dedication, notably in verses, by an Athenian who won a contest held in a Panhellenic sanctuary.


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