07 May 2011

The Loot of Herodes Atticus

In two previous entries I have lamented the fact that the sculptures found by the archaeologists Spyropouloi in the Eva-Loukou villa of Herodes Atticus have been left to languish in the humid apotheke of the Astros museum.  I have just come across the dissertation of Georg Spyropoulos from which I learn that the best sculpture was found in time for this dissertation to be published in 2000.  The dissertation covers three pieces of sculpture and an accompanying mosaic: this lovely dancer whom I have mentioned before ("A Missing Acropolis Marble"), a young man, and two representations of Achilles and Penthesilea.  

I cannot absolutely say that the young man and Achilles are concealed in the apotheke -- as is the Marathon Stone -- it was too badly lit and we were too crowded together for too short a time to see even a quarter of the archaeological loot stashed in there, but the dancer is.  The Astros museum has been closed for years, ostensibly because of earthquake damage, but there is no assurance any of these pieces would be exhibited there if it were open.  These lovely sculptures are part of the Greek heritage, their excavation was paid for by Greek taxes, and yet Greeks -- unless they know the right people or have the right prestige -- are denied the privilege we thirty-five Americans had ever so briefly. (We might have had twenty, instead of ten, minutes, but disgruntled museum employees insisted on leaving precisely at 5 PM.)

Herodes Atticus looted the dancer from the Acropolis: why does the Acropolis Museum not reclaim her?  Why excavate only to hoard? Should archaeology be about providing pretty pictures for archaeologists' books?

The images here are taken from Georg Spyropoulos' dissertation, Drei Meisterwerke der Griechischen Plastik aus der Villa des Herodes Atticus zu Eva-Loukou.


1 comment:

  1. These are wonders! What a shame! Thank you for 'airing' them.

    Best regards,



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