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The Date of the Nike of Samothrace1

  • A. W. Lawrence


The problem of the Nike has long been confused by Benndorf's theory that it is the Victory represented on the coin of Demetrius Poliorcetes of c. 306. ‘But,’ it has been said, ‘the statue has no connection with the coin, for a detailed study of the neck and fragments of the right shoulder reveals the impossibility of the trumpet-blowing attitude. The right hand and arm are raised high and backwards, probably with a victor's wreath.’ It may be objected that the condition of the statue does not admit of absolute proof; while the fact that the coin does not show a mantle such as the statue had is poor evidence against the identity of the figures, for small variations must be expected in coins of Hellenic period. A more valid argument against the connexion with Demetrius lies in the circumstance that Samothrace belonged to Lysimachus, who was a bitter personal enemy and would not have allowed the setting up of a trophy on his ground. Benndorf's interpretation must accordingly be given up. Klein produced a theory that the statue was of the time of Mithradates, and then he changed his views on the development of ‘ancient rococo art’ and said it was a Rhodian memorial for the Battle of Actium; but a gigantic Rhodian monument for a Roman civil war would hardly be met with on a distant island, and when Augustus himself wanted a good Nike he had to use an old one from Tarentum.



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2 Bulle, 139, Dickins, Hell. Sculpt. Fig. 34; Brunn-Bruckm, ., Denkm. Pl. 85, and Ersatz; Rayet, , Mon. de l'Art Ant. ii. Pl. 62; collignon, , Histoire, ii. Pl. X. at p. 464; Cultrera, , Saggi sull' Arte Ellenistica, p. 124, on it and Niobe; Studniczka, , Siegesgöttin, p. 23.

3 Reinach, S., Gaz. des Beaux Arts,3 v. 1891, p. 89; summarised by Dickins, , Hell. Sculpt. p. 46; restoration republished, Jahrb. xxxviii–ix., 1923–4, p. 125, Fig. 21.

4 Hatzfeld, , Rev. Arch., 1910, i. p. 132.

5 Gr. Kunstgesch., iii. p. 293.

6 Vom antiken Rokoko, 106.

7 Dio Cassius, li. 22.

8 C.R. Acad. Insc. 1891, p. 269.

9 Münch. Jahrb. vii. 1912, p. 123.

10 Röm. Mitt. xxxviii–ix., 1923–4, p. 151.

11 Br.-Br. 79; Krahmer's Fig. 3.

12 Ath. Mitt. xxxv. 1910, p. 495, Pl. XXIII. 4.

13 Br.-Br. 19, 20.

14 Amelung, , Ausonia, iii. 1908, p. 98, Figs. 5, 6; Caskey, Cat. No. 40; Br. Br. 674; Chase, Sculp. in America, Fig. 109.

15 Glypt. No. 472.

16 B.M. Cat. II. Pl. XIX; Br.Br. 71.

17 Beschreibung, 494; Kekulé, Gr. Skulp. 3 p. 292.

18 Herrmann, 396; Collignon, Stat.funer., Fig. 187.

19 List in B.M. Cat. III. No. 1710. The Hanover copy is Einz. 1073.

20 Aus. iii. 1908, p. 101 and Fig. 7.

21 Mon. Piot. i. 1894, Pl. XX.

22 Bull. Comm. Arch. xxxv. 1907, p. 34, Pl. VI.; Lippold, , Kopien, p. 154.

23 Ny C.G. Cat. No. 83, Billedtavler, Pl. VII; Iphigenia alone, Bull. Comm. Arch. xiv. 1886, Pls. XIV–XV. Photo by courtesy of Mr. Harold Ingholt and the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek.

24 In the Danish, version of his restoration, Fra Ny C. G. Samlinger, ii, 1922, p. 60; in his Artemis und Iphigenie, published since this article was written, the date suggested is the decade 340–330.

25 Röm. Mitt. xxxiv, 1919, p. 65.

26 B.C.H. xxv. 1901, Pl. VI; Dugas, Berchmans, Clemmensen, , Sanctuaire à Tégée, Pls. XCVI.–XCVIII.

27 Ibid., Pl. CVII. c.(lO). They give 380–350 as the date of the temple, p. 127.

28 Reinach, , Rep. ii. 310, 6; Einz. 112; Klein, , Praxiteles, p. 336, note 1, compares Nike of Samothrace; Mahler, , Rev. Arch. 4 i. 1903, i. p. 383; Sauciuc, , Andros (Sonderschriften d. Österr. Inst. viii), p. 45, Fig. 56.

29 Klein, , Rokoko, p. 114, Fig. 48, and Prax. Stud. p. 55, Fig. 15.

30 Mendel, , Cat. I. pp. 171, 197 (bibliography); Hamdy, Reinach, , Nécrop., Pls. XXIII–XXXVII.

31 Jahrb. xxxviii–ix., 1923–4, p. 124, Fig. 20 (pediment fragments).

32 Johnson, , A.J.A. 2 xvii, 1913, p. 515.

33 Iliad, XIII, ii; Kinglake, Eothen, chap. iv.

34 Map in Conze, and Benndorf, , Samothr., ii, Pl. I.

35 Röm. Mitt. xxxviii–ix., 1923–4, p. 151.

36 Studniczka, , Jahrb. xxxiv., 1919, p. 112, note 4; Artemis u. Iph., p. 90, no example certainly previous to 336.

37 Bears an inscription of Mnesimachus, who is probably the Diaetetes of a list of 325/4. Duhn, v., Ath. Mitt. ii. 1877, Pl. XVI. p. 220; Svoronos, , Nat.-Mus. Pl. 36, 4, No. 1335; Einz. 1231, where Löwy says the date suits excellently.

38 Lippold, , Röm. Mitt. xxxiii, 1918, p. 95, Fig. 10; Kopien, p. 25; Bull. of Arch. Inst. of Amer. ii, 1911, p. 161, and Pl. LXXV, from which my photo is copied. Cf. the Chiaramonti Niobid for the position of the girdle.

39 Br.-Br. 211–213 (statues), 214–219 (frieze).

1 I am indebted for valuable criticisms to Prof. E.A. Gardner, Mr. A. J. B. Wace and Mr. Roger Hinks.


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