Signed by Phaidimos
Limestone; H. 21 in. (31.8 x 85.1 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1916 (16.174.6)
The inscription reads "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.