Demeter of Knidos

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Demeter of Knidos
Marble Statue of Demeter.jpg
Demeter of Knidos
Material Marble
Size 150 cm high
Created c. 350 BC
Present location British Museum, London
Registration 1859.12-26.26

The Demeter of Knidos is a life-size, seated ancient Greek statue that was discovered in the port of Knidos, south-west Asia Minor (present-day Turkey). Now part of the British Museum's collection, it is an impressive example of Hellenistic sculpture from around 350BC.[1][2][3]


The statue is made of marble and in its seated position is approximately 150 centimetres (4 ft 11 in) high. The goddess is seated on a throne and while parts of the sculpture are in excellent condition, the back and arm-rails of the throne, as well as her lower arms and hands, separately carved, are missing. The head was also carved independently from the body and fixed onto the neck. Demeter is depicted in a serene, timeless manner, that unveils her motherly role in the Greek pantheon of gods.

Sanctuary of Demeter[edit]

Demeter was the goddess of fertility, she created the harvest, the grain and other crops and the circle of the seasons. At Knidos she was worshipped with Hades and the other underworld deities including her mythical daughter Persephone.[1] The Sanctuary of Demeter at Knidos was laid out in 350 BC, when the city was reestablished. The sanctuary consisted of a long terrace built into the side of an acropolis, overlooking the city and seascape below. Many votive sculptures were deposited within the sanctuary. Most of these were discovered by excavators in fragments, but the statue of divine Demeter herself remains relatively intact.


The Demeter of Knidos was found by the British archaeologist Sir Charles Thomas Newton in 1857-58[4] and was almost immediately sent to London to become part of the British Museum's Ancient Greek and Roman collection.


  1. ^ a b British Museum Highlights Marble statue of Demeter,, retrieved 30 November 2013
  2. ^ British Museum Collection Statue,, retrieved 30 November 2013
  3. ^ British Museum Research Project at Knidos Return to Cnidus,, retrieved 30 November 2013
  4. ^ Martin-Luther Universität: "Dermeter of Knidos".

Further reading[edit]

  • B. Ashmole, 'Demeter of Cnidus', Journal of Hellenic Studies-1, 71 (1951), pp. 13–28
  • C. Bruns-Ozgan, Knidos: A Guide to the Ancient Site, Konya 2004
  • G.Bean, Cnidus, Turkey beyond the Maeander, London 1980, chapter 12, pp 111–127