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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
 

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

The Hellenistic Period of Greek Sculpture. 323-146 B.C.

The Victory of Samothrace

ELPENOR EDITIONS IN PRINT

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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The Victory of Samothrace can also be dated at about the end of the fourth century. The figure is considerably above life-size. It was found in 1863, broken into a multitude of fragments, which have been carefully united. There are no modern pieces, except in the wings. The statue stood on a pedestal having the form of a ship's prow, the principal parts of which were found by an Austrian expedition to Samothrace in 1875. These fragments were subsequently conveyed to the Louvre, and the Victory now stands on her original pedestal. For determining the date and the proper restoration of this work we have the fortunate help of numismatics. Certain silver coins of Demetrius Poliorcetes, who reigned 306-286 B.C., bear upon one side a Victory which agrees closely with her of Samothrace, even to the great prow-pedestal. The type is supposed on good grounds to commemorate an important naval victory won by Demetrius over Ptolemy in 306. In view, then, of the close resemblance between coin-type and statue, it seems reasonably certain that the Victory was dedicated at Samothrace by Demetrius soon after the naval battle with Ptolemy and that the commemorative coins borrowed their design directly from the statue. Thus we get a date for the statue, and, what is more, clear evidence as to how it should be restored. The goddess held a trumpet to her lips with her right hand and in her left carried a support such as was used for the erection of a trophy. The ship upon which she has just alighted is conceived as under way, and the fresh breeze blows her garments backward in tumultuous folds. Compared with the Victory of Paeonius this figure seems more impetuous and imposing. That leaves us calm; this elates us with the sense of onward motion against the salt sea air. Yet there is nothing unduly sensational about this work. It exhibits a magnificent idea, magnificently rendered. 

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