There are few and isolated preserved pieces of monumental sculpture from Aeolis. On the contrary, there are a lot of small clay sculptures bearing original elements. According to F. Croissant, a set of clay busts made in an unidentified place during the second half of the 6th c. BC, and with characteristics quite different from respective works from northern Ionia, is attributed to Aeolis.
2. Local Workshops
2.1. Larisa at Hermos
The architectural decoration in colourful clay is a typical expression of Aeolian art. Larisa at Hermos is represented by numerous friezes with relief representations of chariot races, pediment reliefs, crest tiles and acroteria covering the entire second half of the 6th century BC and repeating stereotypical motifs. These works, which should have decorated a palace or a temple, are greatly influenced by neighbouring Phokaia. Friezes depicting chariot races in the Aeolian style were made by Ionian sculptors at Artemisium of Ephesus and elsewhere. A bronze sheet with an imprinted representation of a chariot race in Olympia probably comes from Larisa, as it is very similar to the clay friezes.1 An ivory relief found in Persepolis probably comes from the same region. On the contrary, the few clay figurines from Larisa lack originality.2
2.2. Myrina – Cyme
Regarding monumental sculpture, it seems that limestone and porous stone were the preferred media for Aeolian architects and sculptors. From the region of Myrina comes the upper body with a head of an enthroned goddess, possibly Cybele, which adorned a small votive temple (570-560 BC).3 The strong vertical folds of the chiton and the himation covering the head are highly reminiscent of a similar work from Clazomenae. Probably both works come from the same workshop. On the other hand, a statue of a sitting Cybele coming from Cyme, almost half the life size and wearing a chiton and a long himation draped round the shoulders, is a local work of poor quality made in the late 6th c. BC. Its rugged and angular features differ markedly from the usual female figures of eastern Greece.4 There are another two similar small temples with Cybele coming from Cyme.5 This typical type of monument probably comes from northern Ionia or Aeolis.6
2.3. Pitane – Gamvrion
The funerary statue of a dressed male figure from Pitane was also produced by a local workshop circa 530 BC; the statue imitates examples from Miletus, although with some variation. This work belongs to a group of quite similar cubic figures with rounded features, wearing chitons and himatia and having their hands close to their sides, while one foot is clearly advanced.7 The bronze statuette of a young draped man from Gamvrion is dated slightly earlier.8
Two lying lions with cubic bodies come from Pergamon and are the earliest representatives of Hittite-style lions in Asia Minor; they date from the early 6th c. BC.9 Regarding the archaic korai from Pergamon,10 due to their poor state of preservation, it is difficult to decide whether they are sculptures of a 6th c. BC local workshop or foreign works of art bought by the Attalids for their collection in the 3rd and 2nd c. BC. However, it is certain that a late archaic votive relief depicting Europe on a bull is a local work.11 On that relief the heroine with a voluptuous body under a heavy dress and a round face appears as the typical representative of the female figure from Aeolis. Finally, the head of a funerary sphinx comes from an area west of Pergamon.12
The Aeolian artistic tradition also incorporates the sculptural production of neighbouring Lesvos: a statue of a Muse made by Lesvothemes for the city of Mytilene13 and some fragments of relief clay simas.14 The ‘anonymous’ Aeolian treasure at Delphi dates to the last quarter of the 6th c. BC and is attributed to Phokaia. The largest fragment of the preserved relief decoration depicts a quadriga and warriors with helmets.
1. Olympia, Archaeological Museum, no. Μ 112.
2. Boehlau, J. – Schefold, K., Larisa am Hermos 3 (Berlin 1942), pp. 23-32, table 4-6; Langlotz, E., Studien zur Nordostgriechischen Kunst (Mainz 1975), p. 103, table 23.4-8.
3. Smyrna, Archaeological Museum, no. 964. Akurgal, E., ‘Bemerkungen zur Frage der örtlichen und zeitlichen Einordnung der griechischen archaischen Grossplastik Kleinasiens’, in Festschrift für Nikolaus Himmelmann (Mainz 1989), p. 38, table 8.1-2. Preserved height 43 cm.
4. Constantinople, Archaeological Museum, no. 522.
5. Constantinople, Archaeological Museum, no. 520-521. Akurgal, E., Die Kunst Anatoliens von Homer bis Alexander (Berlin 1961), p. 240, fig. 209.
6. Hermary, A., ‘Les naïskoi votifs de Marseille’, in Les cultes des cités phocéennes, Actes du colloque international organisé par le Centre Camille-Julian (Aix-en-Provence – Marseille 1999) (Et. Massa. 6, Aix-en-Provence 2000), pp. 119-133.
7. Pergamon, Archaeological Museum, no. 16-359. Akurgal, E., Die Kunst Anatoliens von Homer bis Alexander (Berlin 1961), p. 229, fig. 195-197.
8. Berlin, Museum of Pergamon, list of bronze objects 1, no. 208.
9. Smyrna, Archaeological Museum, nos 509, 511.
10. Berlin, Museum of Pergamon, Winter, F., AvP 7 (1908), nos 2-17.
11. Berlin, Museum of Pergamon (lost today), list 2 (1964), no. 29. Langlotz, E., Studien zur Nordostgriechischen Kunst (Mainz 1975), p. 125, table 39.2.
12. Langlotz, E., Studien zur Nordostgriechischen Kunst (Mainz 1975), p. 134, table 31.5.
13. ΕΑΑ 4, p. 597. Europion, in Αthin. 4.182, 14.635.
14. Constantinople, Archaeological Museum, 1467-1470. Åkeström, Å., Die Architektonischen Terrakotten Kleinasiens (Lund 1966), pp. 24-33, table 10.2-3.