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South frieze of the Altar: Phoibe and Asteria

Unknown2nd Quarter 2nd century BCE

Pergamonmuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Pergamonmuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Berlin, Germany

The south frieze continues the thematic and genealogical groupings established by the series of goddesses on the east frieze. Just around the corner from the east frieze is Asteria, mother of Hekate and sister of Leto […]. Along with her mother Phoibe, she heads the sequence of Titans who preside over the forces of light and time. Asteria wrenches back the head of a snake-legged Giant in order to drive her sword into his chest. As he sinks to the ground, attacked from behind by a dog, he adopts the same poseas Klytios does around the corner. The upraised arm visually links the Giants, creating an uninterrupted flow from the east to the south side of the Altar. Standing back-to-back with her daughter, Phoibe drives a long torch at a retreating Giant. Although the Giant’s body is basically human, he has wild hair, pointed ears, and scaly horns, not to mention wings that combine feathers with acanthus-like leaves. Ayoung snake-legged Giant crouches on the ground behind him, trying to pull an arrow out of his chest. The next figural grouping to the left can be reconstructed based on the inscriptions. A goddess charging to the right is preserved in just a few fragments of her garment, while her fallen enemy survives in the fragments of his back and right arm. Here Themis, defender of divine law, fights the otherwise unattested Giant Maimaches. The Giant’s name can be translated as “savage” or “brute,” and recalls Maimakterion, the month of autumn storms in Attika. This pairing exemplifie show the majority of figures in the frieze were new personifications, consciously combined in new ways and realised in impressive visual form.

Details

  • Title: South frieze of the Altar: Phoibe and Asteria
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 2nd Quarter 2nd century BCE
  • Location: Pergamon / Turkey
  • Type: Frieze
  • Medium: Marble
  • Inv. no.: AvP III.2 GF 9, 1 - 9, 6
  • ISIL no.: DE-MUS-814319
  • External link: Pergamonmuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Copyrights: Photo © bpk - Photo Agency / Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz / Johannes Laurentius || Text © Verlag Philipp von Zabern / Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz / Volker Kästner
  • Collection: Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz

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