Phrasikleia Kore

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Phrasikleia Kore
Phrasikleia Kore on display at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens
Artist Aristion of Paros
Year Between 550 and 540 BC
Location National Archaeological Museum of Athens

The Phrasikleia Kore is an Archaic Greek statue by the artist Aristion of Paros created between 550 and 540 B.C. It was found on a tomb in the ancient city of Myrrhinus (modern Merenda) in Attica. Due to its exceptional state of preservation, it is one of the most important works of Archaic art.


Michel Fourmont, who visited Greece in the years 1729–1730, described a block of marble with an inscription that was found in the church of Panagia (All Saints) of Merenda. The inscription[1] had been rendered illegible before being used in the church, but it was able to be reconstructed.

— Front inscription
— Inscription on the left side

In 1968, the block was removed and placed in the Epigraphical Museum of Athens. Four years later, the archaeologist Efthymios Mastrokostas discovered two marble statues in the tombs at Myrrhinus, a kouros and a kore, which obviously belonged with the same inscription. They immediately remembered the base with the inscription that had been found by itself 200 metres (660 ft) away, in the church. In the lower part of the statues were found pieces of lead that had once attached them to their base. Based on this mass of lead, which exactly fit the marble block with the inscription, the fact that they belonged together was clearly demonstrated.[2] Although the name of Aristion had been known from being mentioned in inscriptions, none of his work had been identified until Phrasikleia was found.[2] The inscription may be the earliest known example of stoichedon, in which evenly spaced letters are aligned both horizontally and vertically.[2] The statue is now in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens and is displayed in Room 11, catalog number 4889.[3]

Reconstruction of the original coloring

Description and style[edit]

The statue, of Parian marble, is 211 centimetres (6.92 ft) high and rises on a pedestal 26 centimetres (10 in) high. As the inscription suggests, it depicts a young woman who died unmarried and therefore must be known forever as a maiden. She is standing erect and wearing a long peplos,[4] decorated with flowers and meanders. Around her waist she wears a girdle. The foreparts of her feet and sandals are visible. Her right arm hangs down and firmly holds onto her peplos. Her left arm is bent in front of her body and holds a still-unopened lotus flower. On her head she wears a garland of flowers, round about her neck a necklace, and on each arm a bracelet.

It is possible to see traces of the original polychrome.[5] In the Gods in Color exhibit, a reconstruction of the coloring is presented.


  1. ^ "Inscriptiones Graecae I³ 1261". Searchable Greek Inscriptions. Retrieved January 27, 2014.  From the Inscriptiones Graecae (IG)
  2. ^ a b c Stieber, Mary Clorinda (2004). The Poetics of Appearance in the Attic Korai. Austin: University of Texas Press. pp. 146–147. ISBN 0292701802. Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  3. ^ Goette, Hans Rupprecht (2001). Athens, Attica, and the Megarid: An Archaeological Guide. London and New York: Routledge. p. 114. ISBN 041524370X. 
  4. ^ Osborne, Robin (1998). Archaic and Classical Greek Art. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. p. 84. 
  5. ^ Fuchs, Werner; Floren, Josef (1987). Die griechische Plastik: Die geometrische und archaische Plastik. Munich: C.H. Beck. p. 164. ISBN 3406317189. Retrieved January 27, 2014. 


  • Jesper Svenbro. Phrasikleia: an anthropology of reading in ancient Greece. Cornell University Press, Ithaca 1993, ISBN 0-8014-9752-3 (Extract on Google Books).
  • Vinzenz Brinkmann, Ulrike Koch-Brinkmann, Heinrich Piening. The Funerary Monument to Phrasikleia, in: Circumlitio. The Polychromy of Antique and Mediaeval Sculpture, Akten des Kolloquium Liebieghaus Frankfurt 2008, (V. Brinkmann, O. Primavesi, M. Hollein, eds.), 2010, p. 188-217. (Stiftung Archäologie Electronic Resource).

External links[edit]