Homer Hesiod Hymns Tragedy Remythologizing Tools Blackboard Info
These sculptures belong to the acropolis of Pergamon in Asia Minor, discovered by the accomplished architect Humann in 1871, and excavated in and after 1878 under the superintendence of Humann and the distinguished archaeologist Conze, with the assistance of R. Bohn and others. The work was done at the expense of the Prussian government, and the sculptures then brought to light are now in the Museum at Berlin. The first rank among them is occupied by the remains of the sculpture representing the fight between the gods and the snake-legged Giants, a colossal composition in high relief, which occupied a space 7 ft. 6 1/2 ins. high, and extended over the outer surface (about 118 sq. ft. in area) of the upper part of the platform of an altar about 39 ft. high, which was probably built by king Eumenes II (197-159 B.C.). Of this about half remains, whereof a third consists of more or less well-preserved slabs, and the rest of fragments large and small. They exhibit an astonishing mastery of form and technique,and a vivid realism that is often terrible, combined with a truly grand style, and are among the most important productions of ancient art. Only fragmentary portions of the names of the sculptors in marble belonging to the Pergamene school (see SCULPTURE) have been found. [Sogonus, Phyromachus, Stratonicus, and Antigonus, mentioned in Pliny, N. H. xxxiv 34, were sculptors in bronze. The name of Menecrates in the genitive case has been traced in one of the inscriptions, and has led to the conjecture that his sons Apollonius and Tauriscus, the sculptors of the Farnese Bull, were among the artists who worked at Pergamon. The "great marble altar, 40 ft. high, with colossal figures, comprising a battle of the Giants," is mentioned in the the Liber Memorialis of Ampelius q.v.).] The most important parts of the work are shown in the cuts. The powerful figure of Zeus (fig. 1), wrapped in flowing drapery, is most impressive. With his thunderbolt of triple fork and flaming crest, he has already transfixed the thigh of a Giant, who has sunk to the earth. In his left hand he shakes his aegis over a second opponent, who writhes on the ground in pain. A snake-legged Giant holds out his left arm, wrapped round with the skin of a wild beast, to protect him from the onslaught of the god. By the side of Zeus, and taking part in the conflict, hovers his eagle. The counterpart to this was presumably the group with Athene in the centre (fig. 2). The goddess appears in full armour, with the heavy round shield on her left arm; on her head, the front portion of which is unfortunately destroyed, is the tall Corinthian helmet; and on her breast, the aegis, carved with the greatest care. She is advancing with fierce strides towards the right, dragging along with her by the hair a young Giant with a vast pair of wings. Her sacred serpent is also fighting for her. The motive of the piece vividly reminds one of the Laocoon group, which is closely allied in form and expression. The group of Athene and the Giants is most effectively completed by the figure of Nike with outspread wings flying up to the victorious goddess, and by the mighty form of Mother Earth, with the upper portion of her body rising up from the deep. Her name (Ge) is written over her right shoulder. With imploring gestures she is raising to heaven her face, surrounded by her unbound locks; for they are her own children who are thus being laid low by the might of the celestial gods. One of the most remarkable groups is that in which the triple Hecate appears among the fighting Olympians. The sculptor has given her three heads (one wanting); and three pairs of arms, all of them bearing weapons (fig. 3). In other groups of combatants we find Helios on his four-horse chariot, with Eos riding in front; Dionysus; the sea-gods with their stately following of sea-centaurs and other divinities of the ocean; the goddess Cybele, seated on a lion, etc. Beside these there have been found about thirty other slabs carved in relief, of smaller dimensions (5 ft. 2·8 ins. high), including some on the story of Telephus, the patron hero of the State of Pergamon. These formed part of a smaller frieze, running round the inner side of an Ionic colonnade, rising above the larger frieze, on the platform, and inclosing the altar proper. The torsoes of a large number of colossal statues, mostly female, which likewise originally stood on the platform, have also been discovered. On the Pergamene School, see SCULPTURE.

Pictures and Media
BATTLE OF ZEUS AND THE GIANTS.(Relief from Pergamon: Berlin Museum.)
ATHENE IN THE BATTLE OF THE GIANTS.(Relief from Pergamon: Berlin Museum.)
HECATE, ARES, AND GIANTS.(Relief from Pergamon: Berlin Museum.)
Type: Standard
gutter splint
gutter splint
gutter splint