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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
 

F. B. Tarbell, A History of Ancient Greek Art

The Great Age of Greek Sculpture. First Period 450-400 B. C.

Phidias

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HOMER

PLATO

ARISTOTLE

THE GREEK OLD TESTAMENT (SEPTUAGINT)

THE NEW TESTAMENT

PLOTINUS

DIONYSIUS THE AREOPAGITE

MAXIMUS CONFESSOR

SYMEON THE NEW THEOLOGIAN

CAVAFY

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Page 2

According to the other tradition he was accused in Athens, apparently not before 432, of stealing some of the gold destined for the Athena and, when this charge broke down, of having sacrilegiously introduced his own and Pericles's portraits into the relief on Athena's shield, being cast into prison he died there of disease, or, as some said, of poison.

The most famous works of Phidias were the two chryselephantine statues to which reference has just been made, and two or three other statues of the same materials were ascribed to him. He worked also in bronze and in marble. From a reference in Aristotle's "Ethics" it might seem as if he were best known as a sculptor in marble, but only three statues by him are expressly recorded to have been of marble, against a larger number of bronze His subjects were chiefly divinities, we hear of only one or two figures of human beings from his hands.

Of the colossal Zeus at Olympia, the most august creation of Greek artistic imagination, we can form only an indistinct idea. The god was seated upon a throne, holding a figure of Victory upon one hand and a scepter in the other. The figure is represented on three Elean coins of the time of Hadrian (117-138 A.D.) but on too small a scale to help us much. Another coin of the same period gives a fine head of Zeus in profile, which is plausibly supposed to preserve some likeness to the head of Phidias's statue.


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