Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Front of a limestone block from the stepped base of a funerary monument

Signed by Phaidimos as sculptor
Period:
Archaic
Date:
mid-6th century B.C.
Culture:
Greek, Attic
Medium:
Limestone
Dimensions:
Overall: 12 1/2 x 33 1/2in. (31.8 x 85.1cm)
Classification:
Stone Sculpture
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1916
Accession Number:
16.174.6
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 154
Inscribed: on the death of Chairedemos his father Amphichares set up this monument mourning a good son. Phaidimos made it.
The epitaph consists of two lines of verse in the form of an elegiac couplet (consisting of an hexameter and a pentameter), which was often used in classical antiquity to express grief over a death. It is followed by the name of the sculptor, Phaidimos, who is known from two other inscriptions found in Attica. The lines were inscribed to read alternately from right to left and left to right. The Phoenicians, from whom the Greeks derived the alphabet, wrote from right to left. The Greeks soon found that writing from left to right was more convenient, but, until the end of the sixth century B.C., lines of inscriptions were sometimes carved in alternating directions. This method of writing was called boustrophedon (ox-turning) because it turns at the end of each line, as the ox turns with the plow at the end of each furrow.

The epitaph consists of two lines of poetry in the special form (dactylic hexameter) that was used at this time to express grief over a death. It is followed by the name of the sculptor, Phaidimos, who is known from two other inscriptions found in Attica. These lines are inscribed to read alternately from right to left and left to right. The Phoenicians, from whom the Greeks derived the alphabet, wrote from right to left. The Greeks soon found that writing from left to right was more convenient, but, until the end of the sixth century B.C., lines of inscriptions were sometimes carved in alternating directions. This method of writing was called boustrophedon (ox-turning) because it turns at the end of each line, as the ox turns with the plow at the end of each furrow.
Said to be from Athens

Alexander, Christine. 1925. "Classical Inscriptions: Recent Accessions." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 20(11): p. 269, fig. 1.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1927. Handbook of the Classical Collection. pp. 236, 238, fig. 162, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1930. Handbook of the Classical Collection. pp. 236, 238, fig. 162, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1953. Handbook of the Greek Collection. pp. 49, 194, pl. 34d, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1954. Catalogue of Greek Sculptures. no. 14, pp. 10-11, pl. 14d, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1961. The Archaic Gravestones of Attica. pp. 24, 34, fig. 201, London: Phaidon Press.

Cook, Brian. 1998[1987]. Greek Inscriptions. p. 39, fig.29, London: Trustees of the British Museum.

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