Twenty kilometres south of Miletus lies Didyma, the main sanctuary of the city. A ‘holy road’ connected the city that flourished very early on, in the Archaic period, with the rich oracle of Apollo, where a huge temple stood. The marble statue was found in Didyma during German digs conducted on the site by Theodor Wiegand (1899–1913). The naked, slightly over life-sized statue of a youth has lost parts of its arms and legs and has incurred damages to the right side of its face. The statue once held in its hands a sacrificial animal, a young bock or a calf. The animal was fashioned separately. We can tell this from the support in front of the breast, which contains three, finger-thick holes and two flat sprues (channels through which metal is poured). By comparing this work with a similar kouros from Clarus we can suppose that the lower arms were held horizontally to the body while the hands gripped the front and hind legs of the animal. The young man stands upright with his left leg forward; it is a conventional pose used by Greek sculptors in the Archaic period for kouroi (male statues). And yet there is a barely perceptible sense of dynamism in the figure that counteracts the rigidity of the conventional standing motif. The head is slightly turned to the left, the shoulder and the entire left side of the torso are pulled backwards. The result is a light twisting of the body, which can be clearly made out when one studies the back. The left side of the torso corresponds to the forward position of the left leg, bringing tension to the posture. This division of the carried load can also be traced on the hips. The reverse of the figure most clearly shows the uneven strain placed on the gluteal muscles (or buttocks). The muscles on the left are depicted more clearly and match the left leg as it is placed forward. Bodily details like the nipples have hardly been sculpted at all. Like the depiction of pubic hair, which was subjected to the fashions of the day, the nipples were also rendered in painting and originally highlighted by being circled in a pinkish hue. Disc earrings were painted on the ears. Much can be deduced about East Ionian art through this naked youth from Didyma, who was produced in a Miletian workshop between 530 and 520 BCE.


  • Title: Monumental votive for Apollo
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: -530/-520
  • Location: Didyma
  • Physical Dimensions: h166 cm
  • Type: Statue
  • Medium: Marble with yellowish patina
  • Inv.-No.: Sk 1710
  • ISIL-No.: DE-MUS-814319
  • External link: Altes Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Copyrights: Text: © Verlag Philipp von Zabern / Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Max Kunze || Photo: © b p k - || Photo Agency / Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Johannes Laurentius
  • Collection: Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz

Additional Items

Monumental votive for Apollo

Monumentales Weihgeschenk für Apollon

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