Sculpture and Society in Archaic and Classical Athens
Chapter II: A city of statues
← 24 | 25 →CHAPTER II
A city of statues
II.1 The sculptural evidence in numbers
Almost two centuries ago, the Akropolis of Athens yielded an extraordinary find of votive sculpture, buried there in the fifth century. To this day, the impact of this discovery on the archaeology of ancient Greece can be felt: by sheer numbers the collection is impressive, and many of the statues are among the most appreciated of Greek sculpture. But despite the seemingly clear circumstances of the deposition of the Akropolis material, it raises many questions. This chapter will investigate this evidence by relating it to dedications from elsewhere in Athens, gravestones from the city, and some non-sculptural material. The purpose of this analysis is threefold. The first is to establish trends in the extant material; the second, to test the reliability of these trends, or in other words, the degree to which they represent actual developments in the sixth and fifth centuries; and the third to uncover preliminary explanations that can be deduced from this evidence in its historical context.
At first glance the record of sculptures offers a straightforward picture (Fig. 2.1). Numbers of votive and grave sculpture from Athens in the sixth and fifth centuries change noticeably in three of the eight quarter-century intervals in which they have been divided here (Table 2.1). In the first of these transitions, at the turn from the third to the final quarter of the sixth century, the number rises...
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