Glaucus of Chios

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Glaucus of Chios (Greek: Γλαῦκος) was a Greek sculptor in metal, distinguished as the inventor of the art of soldering metals (Greek: σιδήρου κόλλησις, lit. "gluing together of iron").

His most noted work was a base of welded iron supporting a silver krater. According to Herodotus, it was given by Alyattes, the Lydian King and father of Croesus, to the Oracle of Delphi.[1] The base, perhaps already without the krater, was also seen by Pausanias, who describes its construction,[2] and by Athenaeus,[3] who says that it was chased with small figures of animals, insects, and plants. Perhaps it is this passage that has led Meyer[4] and others into the mistake of explaining κόλλησις as that kind of engraving on steel which is now called damascene work. Actually there is no doubt that κόλλησις meant a mode of uniting metals without the help of the nails, hooks, or dovetails.[2][5] Plutarch also speaks of this salver as very celebrated.[6]

The proverb Γλαύκου τέχνη "the skill of Glaucus", purported by some to refer to Glaucus of Chios, could as well refer to a writing technique invented by Glaucus of Samos.[7] Cf. Stephanus Byzantinus (s. v. Αἰθάλη) and Suda (s. v. γλαῦξ ἴπταται), who appear to confuse these two persons of the name Glaucus. A scholiast on Plato identifies the two.[8]

Glaucus is placed by Eusebius at the 2nd year of the 22nd Olympiad (691 BC). Alyattes reigned 617–560 BC. But the dates are not inconsistent, as there is nothing in Herodotus to exclude the supposition that the iron base had been made some time before Alyattes sent it to Delphi.


  1. ^ Herodotus, Histories, 1. 25
  2. ^ a b Pausanias, Description of Greece, 10. 16. 1
  3. ^ Banquet of the Learned, 5. 210b–c, citing Hegesander of Delphi
  4. ^ Kunstgeschichte vol. 2. p. 24
  5. ^ Müller, in Bottigers Amalthea vol. 3. p. 25.
  6. ^ De defectu oraculorum, 47
  7. ^ Realencyclopädie, p. 1422
  8. ^ Scholia on Plato's Phaedrus, p. 13, Ruhnken, pp. 381–2, Bekker.