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had a moral similar to that of the well-known tale of Prodicus
of the choice of Herakles between Pleasure and Virtue.

In the Hellenistic age, as reflected to us in the Roman poets,^
the contest between the goddesses is represented as strictly one
in beauty, and they come undraped before their judge. The
apple is mentioned by Lucian and Apuleius, but of course we
cannot tell when it first really came into the tale.

This being in brief the literary history of the tale, let us
turn to the evidence of the vases for a parallel development.^



In the early black-figured vases we find a merely processional
scheme. Hermes walks first; the three goddesses, not dis-
tinguished one from the other, follow him. Paris is not
always to be seen; when he is present he usually shows his
unwillingness to act as judge by flight, while Hermes pursues,
or grapples with him to hold him fast. We can scarcely fail
to see here the influence of fixed schemes. When there is no
Paris, no judgment, and no discrimination of the goddesses, it
can scarcely be j^retended that there is a serious attempt to
tell the story. The scheme of Hermes leading three nymphs,
who in early art are usually represented as draped, was prob-
ably familiar to the vase-painter, and guided his hand. In the
grappling of Hermes and Paris we have also an ordinary
wrestling scheme.

In later black-figured vases the simple scheme begins to
change. The midmost of the three female figures begins to be
differentiated, and naturally becomes Athena, since Athena is

1 Propertius, II., 2, 14; Ovid, Herokles, 17, 115.

2 The subject is treated of by Miss Jaue Harrison in Journal of Hellenic
Studies, VII., 19G.



XV



THE LIFE-HISTORY OF A MYTH



247



far easier to discriminate, being armed, than her colleagues.
In the painting here figured, from a vase at Florence (Fig. 81),^
the dress of the middle figure is varied. Also the dog of Paris,
which is his attribute as shepherd, comes in, and appears in




Fig. 81. — Vase at Florence.



curious connections, sometimes leading the procession.^ The
dog marks the scene as pastoral, as the presence of Hermes
indicates the divine purpose.

With the coming of the severe red-figured technique, we have
of course an immense improvement in the drawing of the scene,
and a number of fresh details and attributes are introduced.
In a vase from the workshop of Hiero Paris is playing the
lyre, while his goats sport about him ; and Aphrodite is con-
voyed by four fluttering companions, various forms of Eros.
In a vase of Brygus Paris is singing to the lyre, with head
thrown back, as the goddesses draw near. Towards the middle
of the fifth century the cortege of the goddesses becomes more

1 Journal of Hellenic Studies, PL LXX. The two figures on the left are
merely fillers of space.

2 In a vase of the Louvre {Cat., I., PI. 17, A. 478) a huge dog and a winged
female figure (Iris) are interposed between Hermes and Paris. I am surprised
that Miss Harrison {Proleg. to Greek Religion, p. 226), adopts the view which
refers the picture to the myth of the stealing of the golden dog of Minos.



248



A GRAMMAR OF GREEK ART



CHAP.



and more elaborate. On the cover of a pyxis at Copenhagen ^
Hera travels in a chariot drawn by four horses, Athena in one
drawn by two serpents, while to the chariot of Aphrodite two
winged figures of Eros are harnessed. Perhaps more signifi-
cant is a kylix in Berlin (Fig. 82),^ on which one sees Paris
holding a sceptre and a lyre, seated in a stately palace,
supported by Ionic columns : he is clearly here not the
shepherd but the king's son. Of the goddesses, Hera holds a
small lion, Athena a helmet. Aphrodite a wreath and a small




Fig. 82. — Vase at Berlin.



figure of Eros. Among all the vases of the fifth century which
represent the subject, this alone perhaps introduces fresh
meaning. In the others the picture grows in beauty, fresh
details are added, but the plan remains the same. But on the
Berlin vase the goddesses are clearly contending with gifts :
Hera offers sovereignty, Athena military fame, Ai)hrodite love,
just as in the Troades of Euripides. It would be contrary to
all analogy and all probability to suppose that the vase-painter
has followed the text of Euripides, even apart from the fact

1 Dumont et Chaplain, Vases Feints, PI. X.

2 Roscher, Lexikon, III., p. 1615, Berlin Cat., 2536.



XV THE LIFE-HISTORY OF A MYTH 249

that the Troades appeared on the stage many years after the
painting of the vase. We have therefore a parallelism between
tragedian and painter, both of whom doubtless depend upon
some earlier source.

Towards the end of the fifth century a process of dissolution
sets in in the vase-paintings. The order of the goddesses is
broken up, fresh figures interrupt the scheme, but meaning is
rather lost than gained. On a vase in the Sabouroff Collec-
tion,^ Athena stands behind Paris, and Victory makes her
appearance, advancing, as it seems, rather towards Hera than
towards Aphrodite. In another vase-painting of the period,^
which is unfortunately fragmentary, a full-sized Eros stands
betw^een Athena and his mother.

In the large and elaborate vases of late fine style Avhich
reach us from Italy, but some of which seem to be Athenian,
we have further modifications and developments. As a residt
of the working of the Potygnotan notion of perspective, the
figures of the picture are no longer in one plane. Paris, who
is seated, and Hermes form the centre, and the goddesses with
their dependants and ministrants are grouped around them,
and to these are often added other figures whose appositeness
does not appear. On one vase'^ we have Eros, Himeros, and
Pothos, and an unexplained youth riding on a dolphin. On
another"* we have Eris looking down from a hill in the back-
ground ; but there are also present Zeus, Clymene, Eutychia,
and Helios driving his chariot. Paris gives up his Hellenic
appearance and wears the Phrygian dress with long sleeves
and trousers. In these cases we have a series of artistic vari-
ations on the original theme, but no addition to the meaning.

In a few vases of this class, however, we have elements
which tell of thought or of learning. In one scene, we see Eris

1 PI. 61. 3 Gerhard, Apulische Vasenbilder, PI. C.

2 Ann. d. Inst., 1833, Tav. E. ^ jfyid^ pi. D.



250 A GRAMMAR OF GREEK ART chap, xv

and Themis, clistinguislied by inscriptions, conversing together
in the background.^ Eris, of course, comes in naturally, but
Themis makes one pause. And although names are added
almost at random on vases of this age, it seems likely that the
painter was thinking of the beginning of the epic Cypria,
where Zeus and Themis discuss the excessive multiplication of
men on the earth, and set moving the course of events which
leads through the judgment of Paris to the Trojan war.
Another vase which calls for special mention represents, not
the judgment, but the immediate preparations for the contest
in beauty (Fig. 83).^ Hera holds a mirror, and by its evidence
adjusts her veil, Athena has laid aside helmet and shield, and
is washing her hands at a fountain, while Aphrodite, with
Eros for a helper, is decking herself with jewels. As we saw
in the Berlin kylix a parallel to the play of Euripides, so in
this vase we may discern, if we will, an artistic counterpiece to
the " morality " of Sophocles, the characters of the three deities
being charmingly discriminated.

Another curious innovation in some vases of the Italian
potteries ^ is the transfer of the office of arbiter between the
deities from Paris to Apollo, who is represented as seated by
his Delphic Omphalos while Zeus addresses him. This curious
change in the referee has naturally puzzled archaeologists, and
some have conjectured the existence of an alternative story,
according to which the oracle of Apollo, the highest court of
appeal in Greece, was the judge appointed to award the prize
of beauty. It seems, however, very unlikely that any such
story could be of really early date. In Plato's Republic^ there
is a phrase which seems to have a bearing on the question.
Socrates there says that among other Homeric stories which
should be rejected is that concerning the strife of the goddesses

1 Wiener Vorlegeblatter, A. XI. 3 Wiener Vorlegebldtter, A. X; E. XI.

2 Mo7i. d. List., IV., 18. 4 p. 379 e.



252 A GRAMMAR OF GREEK ART chap.

and the decision which came through Zens and Themis. Now
Themis at Delphi inherited the oracle of the Earth (Ge), and
was in turn succeeded by Apollo ; so possibly the phrase in
Plato may have reference to some Delphic decision. But it
seems more probable that Plato is referring only to the share
which Themis had from the beginning in the whole series of
events, and that the vase-painter, with that little knowledge
which is always dangerous, merely inserted Apollo in the scene
as the general judge of difficult questions.

In Pompeian paintings the judgment of Paris is a not rare
subject. In these the scene is again simpler, usually confined
to the main actors. Aphrodite is sometimes naked, or all but
naked, but the other goddesses retain their robes and their dig-
nity. The poets take greater liberties with them than the
painters. In a painting of the baths of Titus, however, we
have a triad of undraped deities standing before Paris.



Taking the vases which represent the judgment, not as a se-
ries, but one by one, some eminent archaeologists have fallen
into the mistake of too closely connecting them with myth
and literature. Thus Stephani of St. Petersburg comments on
a black-figured vase on which, besides Paris and Hermes, only
Athena and one other goddess are present.^ This vase shows
the usual processional scheme, and the abridgment of the de-
sign for economy of space or time is a familiar phenomenon in
vases. But Stephani wants to see the influence of the above-
mentioned drama of Sophocles, wherein Paris has to decide
between Athena and Aphrodite. The vase dates from nearly
a century earlier than the play of Sophocles ; but apart from
this conclusive objection, the faultiness of Stephani's method
is obvious.

1 Gerhard, Auserlesene Vasenbilder, PL 172.



XV THE LIEE-IIISTORY OF A :\IYTII 253

Welcker again wanted to infer from the prominence in vase-
paintings of the processional scheme that the journey of the
goddesses to Mount Ida was an important feature in the Cypria.
Here again we have a complete misconception. According to
the earlier vase-painters, the procession of deities is not a pre-
liminary to the judgment, but is a manner of representing the
judgment itself; they know no other. The scheme of the
judgment is gradually developed out of the processional
scheme, and there are almost identical designs in which Paris
is standing or seated, present or absent.



Nothing could show more clearly than does this brief history
how poetry and art in Greece take quite independent lines.
They follow parallel courses, but there can seldom be traced
any line of influence running from one to the other, apart from
the influence exercised by the Homeric and cyclic poems. The
most notable exception to the rule is to be found in the influ-
ence of the Euripidean dramas on the vase-painting of South
Italy in the Hellenistic age. And even here, as we have seen,
the influence seldom reaches beyond suggesting a subject or
giving hints as to its treatment. Illustration, in the modern
sense of the word, was, as I observed at the outset, unknown in
Greece.



CHAPTER XVI

COINS IN RELATION TO HISTORY

So far as we have gone at present Greek art wonkl seem to
have very much to do with ideas, and but little with facts of
history. Its message to us would seem to be concerned rather
with the vivijication than with the verification of the facts of
Greek life. It rather displays to us the background against
which the Greek race acted out its drama, than the plot of the
drama itself. To correct what may perhaps be the excess of
this impression, we will devote our final chapter to a brief
consideration of the place taken in archaeology by coins.

The study of coins, numismatics, has sometimes been termed
the Grammar of Greek Art. By this it is meant that of all
classes of Greek remains coins are the most trustworthy, give
us the most precise information, introduce us to the greatest
variety of facts. As regards epigraphy, art, religion, commerce,
they are monuments of the first importance. Their date and
locality can be determined with greater precision than those of
any other classes of remains, except the remains of buildings
found in situ. Thus coins furnish, if not exactly a grammar,
at least a valuable epitome or index of Greek -art. Work upon
them is perhaps the best possible introduction to archaeology.
The student who takes this road avoids areas of controversy ;
he trains his eyes by the contemplation of works of unques-
tioned genuineness and beauty ; he learns to think by periods
and by districts. It is only practical diificulties, arising from

254



CHAP. XVI COINS IN RELATION TO HISTORY 255

tlie small size of coins and the great value of fine specimens,
which prevent tlie study of numismatics from lying at the
root of archaeological training.

Detailed numismatic studies can only be carried on when
there is free access to one of the large collections of Greek
coins, such as exist in the great national museums of Europe.
It is this inaccessibility of the material for study which long
delayed the development of numismatics as a branch of archae-
ology, and still causes this field to be less highly cultivated
than others. For example, much more light than has hitherto
been discovered in the study of coins might be brought to bear
upon the detailed history of ancient commerce. The mone-
tary standards on which the coins of cities Avere at any period
issued are at once an indication of the commercial sphere to
which those cities belonged. For example, about 409 b.c. the
cities of the island of Khodes combined to found tlie city of
Khodes, which almost immediately began greatly to flourish,
and to extend its commerce along the shores of Asia. The
coins of the new city were almost from the first issued on a
new and distinctive standard; and when we find that stand-
ard, in the early part of the fourth century, spreading not only
to cities of the southern coast of Asia jMinor, but farther, as far
as the Thracian coast, we may well find in it a witness to the
rapid spread of lihodian commerce in the great gap left by the
fall of Athens.

The precision of the information given us by coins, and their
complete freedom from modern restoration, admirably fit them
to become the basis of various lines of archaeological study. It
will be found that through the coins of each district of the
Greek world there runs something of common character. The
coins of the Greek cities of southern Italy are not to be con-
fused with those of the Doric and Chalcidian cities of Sicily ;
but Italian and Sicilian coins stand together as a species in



256 A GRAMMAR OF GREEK ART chap.

comparison with the coins of northern Greece, which again
present a marked contrast to the money of the cities of the
Asiatic coast. It is true that when a great school of sculpture
or painting arises in a city, it usually reaches beyond a mere
local character to one which is national or cosmopolitan ; but,
nevertheless, local traditions and conditions tell upon it. Thus
a general geographical arrangement of character in art, based
npon the testimony of coins, is a good preliminary study to
work upon sculpture. AVhen Professor Brunn produced his
noted theory of a North Greek School of Art, the most trust-
worthy section of his evidence was the numismatic. And in a
letter to the writer of this book he stated his opinion that the
question of the date and extent of the archaizing tendency in
later Greek art would be finally settled only by an appeal to
coins.

In the special study of ancient portraiture, a branch of ar-
chaeology which has long been neglected, but is now rapidly
returning into favour, the most trustworthy evidence is that of
coins. Coins give us portraits of nearly all the kings and
rulers of Asia, Greece, and Rome, from the time of Alexander
the Great onwards. And in the Roman age it was no un-
common thing to place on coins the figure or the head of any
citizen who had in past time brought renown to his city.

The consideration of coins in relation to commerce, to reli-
gion, to epigraphy, does not enter into the scope of this work.
Coins regarded as works of art follow in their designs those
laws of balance and symmetry, of relief and perspective, of
which I have spoken in previous chapters. Thus considered,
they are Avorks in medium relief, of small size and circular
form. Their designs, when consisting not of a head but of
figures, are much like those of the metopes of temples, but
even simpler. But the fact to which I propose now to call
attention is that every important city in Greece, and many



XVI COINS IN RELATION TO HISTORY 257

towns which were imimportant, issued during most of their
autonomous existence series of coins, bearing the arms of the
state as type, series which run strictly parallel to the political
history of the state, reflecting its changes, rising with its rise,
and disappearing at its fall. Thus we have a numismatic
record of Greek history, sometimes far more complete in de-
tail than the history recorded by writers, and possessing the
great advantage of consisting wholly of objects, visible to the
eye, to be weighed by the hand, and ready on close investiga-
tion to furnish facts, the validity of which can scarcely be
denied.



In the Introduction to a work on Greek coins,^ I have tried
to set forth the method whereby it is possible to range the
coins of cities in series running parallel to the fortunes of
those cities. Two processes have to be gone through. First,
it is necessary to arrange the whole -of the series in order of
date, by the aid of our knowledge of the forms of letters used
in the inscriptions, our perception of style in art, our know-
ledge of weights and of fabric, not neglecting such more de-
tailed evidence as may be furnished by the discovery of hoards,
observation of restriking of one type over another, and the like.
In the second place, we turn to the recorded history of our
city, and endeavour to find lines of evidence, the more exact
and objective the better, connecting particular issues of coins
with particular historic events, a military success, an alliance,
the accession of a ruler, the introduction of a fresh cultus of
som.e deity, and so forth. Before this can be done, the ancient
historians must of course be read with keen and critical eyes.
The historian only gives us an opinion, which may be true or
false, but in either case is certain to be largely moulded by

1 The Types of Greek Coins, Cambridge, 1883, p. 56.
s



258 A GRAMMAR OF GREEK ART chap.

his own subjective views, his sense of style, his political pre-
possessions, his chances of obtaining good information.

It will be clear that this process is a cumulative one. The
beginner will be apt to find in coins all kinds of historic coin-
cidences and allusions which do not exist. But every time an
arrangement is made on really good evidence, it will shed light
on the successive issues of coins of all cities in the same dis-
trict or the same political circle; and thus by degrees the
coinage of city after city will fall into order and sequence.

One may fairly say that the chronological classification of
Greek coins, if we except certain districts, has now been car-
ried out to a generally recognized conclusion. A summary of
the results will be found in Dr. Head's Historia Nmnonim}
But as recently as 1870 the process had scarcely been begun,
and the same writer's Chronological Sequence of the Coins of
Syracuse, which appeared in 1874, was the first consecutive
and satisfactory attempt at coordinating the history of a
Greek city with its coins. To the English-speaking student
several monographs of this kind are accessible in his own
language,- numismatics being the only branch of classical
archaeology which can be studied beyond the rudiments with-
out the use of books other than English.

I will cite a few examples of coins, the date of which can be
fixed, and which thus serve as landmarks in the coinage of
the cities to which they belong.

When Gelon of Syracuse won in 479 his great victory over
the Carthaginians at Himera, the defeated city was able to
obtain tolerable terms of peace through the intercession of

1 Oxford, 1887. A new edition is in preparation.

2 I may name tlie following, which originally appeared in the Numismatic
Chronicle: B. V. Head, Coins of Boeotia, Coins of Ephesus; P. Gardner,
Sicilian Studies, Coins of Elis, Coins of Samos ; A. J. Evans, Syracusan
Medallions, Horsemen of Tarentum. Mr. G. F. Hill's Coins of Ancient Sicily
is a good conspectus.



XVI



COINS IN RELATION TO HISTORY



259



Dam arete, wife of Gelon, and in gratitude presented to her
a hundred talents of gold ; such at least is the story of Diodorus
Siculus.^ From the proceeds were issued silver coins of the
weight of ten Attic drachms, that is, as we know, about six hun-
dred and seventy-five grains. Now we have surviving a few coins
of Syracuse of archaic style and of this very unusual size and
weight ; and there can be scarcely any doubt that they are the
very pieces mentioned by Diodorus and Julius Pollux as
Damareteia (Fig. 84). We can assign them unhesitatingly to





-ff^



Fig. 84. — Damareteion.

479-8 B.C. Every archaeologist will appreciate the advantage
of being able to assert that all coins of Syracuse of more
archaic style than the Damareteion were struck before 479 b.c.
and pieces of later style after that date. And since coins of
closely similar style, though not of the same weight, make
their ax^pearance at Leontini, the coinage of that city also can
be divided into two groups by a line of rigid date.

To take another example. When Dion, the disciple of Plato,
was planning his fateful expedition against Dionysius of Syra-
cuse in 357 B.C., he made his headquarters in the island of
Zacynthus, there collected troops, and thence sailed against
Syracuse. We have coins struck at Zacynthus, as inscription



1 XI., 26.





260 A GRAMMAR OF GREEK ART chap.

and types abundantly prove (Fig. 85), and belonging to about

the middle of the fourth century b.c, which are stamped also

with the name of Dion. We may fairly suppose that he struck

them for the payment of

his mercenaries, many of

whom were Zacynthians.

Here again we have a

valuable fixed date in

the coinage of a city.

^ „, ^. . And the types used by

Fig. 85. — Dion coin. _ '^ ^ ^

Dion, the head of Apollo
and the Delphic tripod, correspond to the assertion of Plutarch,
that before Dion left the island he made splendid sacrifices to
Apollo, the patron god of Zacynthus, thus placing himself
under his special protection.

Sometimes an event which is barely mentioned by ancient
historians is written large in the coinage. An often cited, but
very characteristic, example is to be found in the alliance
formed by certain of the cities of Asia against Sparta just after
the victory of Conon at Cnidus. Xenophon and Diodorus^ tell
us that after the battle of Cnidus many of the cities of Asia
expelled their Spartan governors and declared themselves inde-
pendent. But Xenophon and Diodorus give us scanty details.
M. Waddington first pointed out that we can prove from coins
that certain cities, including Ephesus, Rhodes, Cnidus, and
Samos, entered into a definite anti-Laconian compact. All
these cities issued coins of uniform weight, a weight not in use
before in those parts, which bore on one side the usual device
of the issuing city, on the other a figure of the child Herakles
strangling the serpents, and the inscription ^YN which doubt-
less stands for o-v/x/xaxiKoy vo/uLLafxa, alliance coin (Figs. 86, 87).
The uniformity of these coins proves that they were the result of
1 Xenophon, Hist., IV., 8, 1; Diodorus, XIV., 83.



XVI



COINS IN RELATION TO HISTORY



261



a convention, their weight that a commercial understanding was
involved. The type, which is taken from the coins of Thebes,
has clearly a political purpose, showing that the cities ranged
themselves on the side of the greatest enemy of the Spartan
domination, Thebes. The type without the inscription is copied






87.



Coins of Samos and Ephesus.


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