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An Interpretation of the North Frieze of the Siphnian Treasury


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  • シフノス・フリーズ北面ギガントマキア解釈試論
  • シフノス フリーズ ホクメン ギガントマキア カイシャク シロン

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<p>The frieze of the Siphnian Treasury is famous for its monumental relief sculpture, which summarizes the whole development of the archaic Greek art. This paper presents a new interpretation of the north side of this frieze, representing the Gigantomachy, the fight between the Olympian gods and the giants. Despite the remarkable discovery in 1985 of the numerous inscriptions on the relief surface of the north frieze, which indicate the names of the sculptured gods and giants, several important relief figures remain anonymous. In this paper, we consider the problem of identifying two figures, a female figure at the east end of the frieze and a male at the west end. The scene in the west end : the warrior represented at the far right of the frieze, who fights on the side of the gods, has previously been identified variously as Ares, Briareos(a Titan)or Karneios(a local Spartan god). However, we find the theory by Vian more convincing than these hypotheses. Vian suggested that this figure represents one of the giants who has deserted his side. The episode of the betrayal in the Gigantomachy is known from a hellenistic literary version by Diodorus Siculus, who reveals the name of this cowardly giant, Mousaios. Because of this act, Diodorus says, all giants were destroyed by the Olympian gods. The scene in the east end : on the right of the Hephaistos, two goddesses are represented. Moore reconstructed still another goddess to the right of these figures and regarded these three goodesses as representing Moirai, the goddesses of Fate. However, Moore does not seem to have made a strong case. The two preserved goddesses differ from each other not only in size but also in costume. So the two goddesses most probably belong to different levels of hierarchy : the left smaller figure being perhaps a lesser goddess, while the right one a higher Olympian deity. According to our theory, it is possible that this left smaller figure represents Gaia, goddess of the Earth. Gaia is the mother of the giants and so often appears in scenes representing the Gigantomachy. She is depicted as intervening in the fight asking the Olympian gods not to destroy her children. The representation of the goddess in this frieze seems to correspond to the conventional iconography of Gaia. She holds up the left arm, bent in a right angle at the elbow. In the iconographical tradition of Greek art, this gesture indicates that she is speaking and seems to support our interpretation, because representation of a goddess who is not taking part in the fight between the gods and giants could be no other than Gaia herself. It seems that no serious consideration was previously given to this gesture. There are also several vase paintings from the sixth century B. C. depicting the Gigantomachy, in which Gaia appears. In these examples she is represented as intervening in the fight using almost exactly the same gesture as the figure in the Siphnian frieze. If this interpretation is accepted, the next question should be as following : what is the Gaia in this frieze saying, and to whom? A parallel example should help us to solve this problem. The vase painting of the slaughter of Troilos by Achilleus on the famous Frangois vase from the sixth century B. C. provides an appropriate parallel. On this vase, the successive events are depicted in one picture, demonstrating the development of the story. The left part of the vase painting represents the beginning of the story(the warning to Troilos by Apollon) , in the center the main scene(the slaughter of Troilos by Achilleus)and on the right, the end of the story(the father king, Priamos, hears about the catastrophe). It seems that the same narration system with a three-part composition was also adopted in the Gigantomachy frieze of the Siphnian Treasury. The goddess Gaia was, like Apollon, known to the ancient Greeks for her predictions. The Gaia in our frieze also seems, like the</p><p>(View PDF for the rest of the abstract.)</p>



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