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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.

Pergamum school of sculpture

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Page 2

The restorations are said to be: the tip of the nose, the left knee- pan, the toes, and the part of the plinth on which the right arm rests,[1] together with the objects on it. That the man represented is not a Greek is evident from the large hands and feet, the coarse skin, the un-Greek character of the head. That he is a Gaul is proved by several points of agreement with what is known from literary sources of the Gallic peculiarities – the moustache worn with shaven cheeks and chin, the stiff, pomaded hair growing low in the neck, the twisted collar or torque.

He has been mortally wounded in battle – the wound is on the right side – and sinks with drooping head upon his shield and broken battle-horn. His death-struggle, though clearly marked, is not made violent or repulsive. With savage heroism he "consents to death, and conquers agony."[2] Here, then, a powerful realism is united to a tragic idea, and amid all vicissitudes of taste this work has never ceased to command a profound admiration.

[1] Helbig, "Guide to the Public Collections of Classical Antiquities in Rome," Vol I, No 533.

[2] Byron, "Childe Harold," IV, 150.

Our knowledge of Pergamene art has recently received a great extension, in consequence of excavations carried on in 1878-86 upon the acropolis of Pergamum in the interest of the Royal Museum of Berlin. Here were found the remains of numerous buildings, including an immense altar, or rather altar-platform, which was perhaps the structure referred to in Revelation II. 13, as "Satan's throne." This platform, a work of great architectural magnificence, was built under Eumenes II. Its exterior was decorated with a sculptured frieze, 7 1/2 feet in height and something like 400 feet in total length. The fragments of this great frieze which were found in the course of the German excavations have been pieced together with infinite patience and ingenuity and amount to by far the greater part of the whole. The subject is the gigantomachy, i.e., the battle between the gods and the rebellious sons of earth.


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