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The Gods of Ancient GreeceIdentities and Transformations$
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Jan Bremmer and Andrew Erskine

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780748637980

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748637980.001.0001

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New Statues for Old Gods

New Statues for Old Gods

(p.126) 7 New Statues for Old Gods
The Gods of Ancient Greece

Jan N. Bremmer

Andrew Erskine

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter addresses the circumstances surrounding the production of monumental new statues of deities in precious materials (such as gold and ivory) in fifth- and fourth-century B.C. Greece. Most famous are the statues of Pheidias—Athena Parthenos and Zeus Olympios—but neither these, nor others (e.g., Aphaia at Aigina, Hera at Argos, Dionysos at Athens, Artemis Laphria at Kalydon) resulted from the needs of new cults. Rather they supplemented older, more venerable statues of lesser materials and/or scale that stood in adjacent temples or even, on occasion, were moved off to the side in the very same temple while the new works received prominent central placement. This chapter seeks to analyze specifically the possible motivations behind and reactions to the supplementation of numinous ancient “cult” statues that often possessed some divine pedigree—such as having fallen from the heavens or been dedicated by a legendary hero—by massive new works fashioned by renowned artists at great expense by mortal artists and explores the role of inter-state competition through the iconography of the precious.

Keywords:   Statues, Temples, Heroes, Art, Pheidias, Athena Parthenos, Zeus Olympios, Gold, Ivory

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