Return to Home Page Harrys Greece Guide

here he isThe Oracle of Delphi Page 8

The naxiam (from Naxos) SphynxThe Naxian Sphinx is housed in a room exhibiting Archaic finds from the two Cycladic islands of Sifnos and Naxos. It dates from 565 BC This woman with the breast and wings of a bird and the lower body of a lion (described in article on site) is exquisitely rendered, to the point that it seems quite real. It has the enigmatic quality found in the kouroi (the female version being a 'kore', which also means 'daughter' in Greek).

This hall also contains finds from the Treasury of the Sifnians, including frieze sculptures of the Trojan War with Ares, Aphrodite, Artemis, Apollo and Zeus. These among the rare Archaic pieces from temples that have been preserved (as many were destroyed or lost during reconstruction in Classical or Hellenistic times). The Athenian Treasury room contains musical notation for two hymns to Apollo which date from 128BC and were connected with the Pythian festivals.

Letters and dots variously positoned signify both notes and finger positions for the lyre. The Acanthus Column of the Dancing Girls (right) is in a room housing Classical sculpture. This is a colossal sculpture with the maidens grouped around a Corinthian column resembling an acanthus stalk. The figures may have been Thyiads, who celebrated Dionysian feasts. A sacred tripod sits on their heads. There is also a figure of Dionysos in this room, made around 340BC, which was one of the huge sculptures that adorned the southwestern pediment of the final Temple of Apollo. The sculptor was Androsthenes of of Athens. On the same pediment are the Maenads, who were Dionysiac celebrants. The depiction of Dionysos is one of the finest of him, showing a feminine side not seen in the masculine figures of Ares, Zeus and Poseidon.

reconstruction of the dancersThe Bronze Charioteer (left) is one of the most beautiful and well preserved statues from the late Archaic period, and perhaps the most exceptional treasure exhibited in the Delphi museum. Made in 478 or 475BC, and found near the theate, this statue was a votive offering depicting the winning quadriga (four horse chariot) in the Pythian Games of 473 and 474, and was presented by a the Sicilian Tyrant of Gela, Polyzalos, to the Delphic shrine. It is 1.80meters/5 feet 11inches tall-the size of a man of tall stature-and is facing a little to the right, with the horses reins in his right hand. The left arm is missing, crushed during the earthquake of 373 BC. On his headis the headband that indicated the victor in the Games. The original eyes, made of enamel and colored stones (magnesium and onyx) remain, and the entire figure is beautifully formed,though some complain that the proportions aren't right, something that might have had to do with the angle from which the sculptor had intended it be viewed. The head and feet especially beautiful and real seeming.

The figure was discovered in 1896 where it had fallen during the earthquake. The sculptor may have been Pythagoras of Samos. There is an interesting story about the events leadings to its unearthing during the excavation of the area, according to which an old woman, who had refused to relinquish her home to the excavators and be relocated along with the others who had lived in the village that was there, had a dream one night that enabled her to agree to the move. In the dream she heard a boy crying from under a green sea to her, begging to be set free, and this startled her so much that she gave up her house, under which the excavators found the bronze figure. Whether there is any truth to the legend is, of course, anyone's guess.

Delphi page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8