The Ancient Library

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b. c. 600. [chersiphon.] The most probable conclusion, then, (for anything like certainty is clearly unattainable,) we think to be this : that the genealogy and dates given under Rhoecus are tolerably correct: that Rhoecus was the inventor of the casting of metals, and that this art was carried on by the family of which he was the head: that Rhoecus and his son Theodorus erected the Heraeum and the Lemnian labyrinth, and that the latter laid the foundation of the temple of Artemis: that the younger Theodorus devoted himself more especially to the task of perfecting the art of casting-metals, and that this is the reason why he, rather than other members of the family, is mentioned, with Rhoecus, at the head of that branch of art ; and that to this younger Theodorus should be ascribed the silver crater of Croesus and the ring of Polycrates. We are quite aware of some minor objections to this theory, which remain unanswered; but the subject, interesting as it is, both critically and historically, has already been pursued almost beyond the proper limits of. this article.

Another question, important in the early history of Greek art, arises out of the statements respecting these Samian artists, namely, how far they were affected by foreign influence. The story told by the Egyptians, and repeated by Diodorus, must be received with great caution ; but even those, who contend most strongly for the native origin of Greek art, admit that Telecles and Theodorus may have learnt some mechanical processes from the Egyptians. But the fact is, that the point involved in the story relates not so much to mechanical processes as to rules of proportion ; for, in order to accomplish the result stated, the precise proportions of the human figure must have been settled by rule, as well as the precise attitude; and the question is, whether the Greeks, at this early period, had esta­blished such rules of proportion independently of the Egyptians. On the other hand, the statements with respect to the invention of metal-casting make it of purely native origin ; whereas we know that it existed long before, among the Phoenicians, for the two bronze pillars and various vessels of Solomon's temple are expressly said to have been cast in earthen moulds by Phoenician artists. (1 Kings vii. 46.) Now, when we remember that an extensive commerce was carried on in very early times by the Phoenicians in the Levant and the Aegean, and also that Samos is said to have been the earliest Grecian maritime state in those parts, a strong probability is established, that arts already existing in Egypt and Phoenicia may have been transferred to Samos. The full discussion of these questions belongs to the general history of Greek art: we will here only add that we believe the Egyptian and Phoenician influence on Greece in early times to have been lately as much undervalued as it was formerly exaggerated.

It only remains to explain one or two points connected with the works ascribed to these artists.

Besides the silver crater presented by Croesus to the Delphians, there was a golden one found by Alexander among the treasures of the Persian kings, which was also said to be the work of Theodorus of Sarnos. (Amynt. ap, Ath. xiv. p. 515, a.)

With respect to the ring of Polycrates, it has been much disputed whether the stone in it was engraved or not. The words of Herodotus (iii. 41,




, epyov Se k. t. A.) will, we think, bear either meaning. Of course no great weight can be assigned to the statements of later writers, such as Strabo (xiv. p. 638), Pausanias (I. c.), Pollux (v. 100), and Clemens (Protrept. iii/ p. 247, ed. Sylburg), who assert that it was engraved, any more than to that of Pliny, who says that it was not, and that the art of gem-engraving was inventpd many years later. (//. A^. xxxvii. 4.) This last statement can be positively contradicted, so far as the East is concerned, by the account of Aaron's breast-plate (Eocod. xxviii. 17—21), in which not only were the precious stones engraved, but they were " like the engravings of a signet; " and other evidence might be adduced to prove the very early use of engraved seal-rings in the East. Some evi­dence that the art was known in the islands of the Aegean, and particularly in Samos, even before the time of Polycrates, is furnished by the tradition that the father of Pythagoras was an engraver of seal-rings, SaKTvXioyXvfyos (Diog. viii. 1 ; mne-sarchus), and there is another tradition which would prove that it had been introduced at Athens in the time of Solon. (Diog. i. 57.) Lastly, with respect to bronze statues by Theodorus, Pausanias expressly says that he knew of none such (x. 38. § 3. s. 6) ; but Pliny, on the contrary (H. N. xxxiv. 8. s. 19. § 22), tells us that the same Theo­doras, who made the labyrinth, cast in bronze a statue of himself, which was equally celebrated for the excellence of the likeness and for its minute size. It held a file in the right hand, and a little quadriga in the left, the whole being so small as to be covered by the wings of a fly, which formed a part of the work (tantae parvitatis ut totam earn currumque et aurigam integeret alis simuL facia musca). It is obvious that a work like this could not belong to the age of Croesus and Polycrates. Such productions of patient ingenuity were made at a later period, as by myrmecides ; and, consider­ing how common a name Theodorus was, it seems very probable that there may have been, at some period, an artist of the name, who made such minute works, and that some thoughtless transcriber has introduced the words " qui labyrinthum fecit"

To sum up the whole, it seems probable that there were two ancient Samian artists named Theodorus, namely: —

1. The son of Rhoecus, and brother of Telecles, flourished about b. c. 600, and Avas an architect, a statuary in bronze, and a sculptor in wood. He wrote a work on the Heraeum at Samos, in the erection of which it may therefore be supposed that he was engaged as well as his father. Or, con­sidering the time which sucli a building would occupy, the treatise may perhaps be ascribed to the younger Theodorus. He was also engaged, with his father, in the erection of the labvrinth of Leni-

y •/

nos ; and he prepared the foundation of the temple of Artemis at Ephesus. We would also ascribe to him the old Scias at Sparta. In conjunction with his brother Telecles, he made the wooden statue of Apollo Pythius for the Samians, according to the fixed rules of the hieratic style.

2. The son of Telecles, nephew of the elder Theodorus, and grandson of Rhoecus, flourished about b. c. 560, in the times of Croesus and Poly­crates, and obtained such renown as a statuary in bronze, that the invention of that art was ascribed to him, in conjunction with his grandfather. He also practised the arts of engraving metals

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