The Choragic Monument of Lysicrates
Its cubic base 4 m. (13 ft.) high and 3 m. (10 ft.) broad is built of porous stone and crowned with a cornice of Hymettos marble. On this base rests a monoptere rotunda of Penteli marble 6.5 m. (21 ft.) in height and 2.8 m. (9 ft.) in diameter with Corinthian-style half-columns which support an architrave divided into three fillets and a frieze with sculptures. On the SE side of the architrave, where the ancient Tripodon Street still runs along, an inscription may be read with some difficulty, here translated:
"Lysicrates, son of Lysitheos, from Kikineus, was the choregus; the Acamantide tribe won the prize of the boys' chorus; Theon was the flute player, Lyciades, the Athenian, was the master of the chorus; Evainetos was the Archon in charge".
Evainetos tenure in office dated 335-334, that is to say during the second blooming of Attic art, in this case attested by the exquisite taste and decoration of the frieze. A tragic episode of the adventurous god of wine is represented on it. Sailing from the island of Icaria to that of Naxos, Dionyssos was arrested by Tyrrenean pirates who wanted to sell him as a slave. However, the god, guessing their designs, changed the masts and oars of the ship into serpents and the pirates themselves into dolphins, and thus saved himself and his companions. The god is represented as a slender youth, sitting on a rock and caressing a panther, six young satyrs serve him wine out of two craters. Other satyrs armed with thursus, torches and clubs, pursue and chastise the pirates, cudgel, chain and submit them to all sorts of torture, on the West side of the frieze two of these highwaymen, already half-dolphins, precipitate themselves into the sea.
This lovely monument, that historian Pausanias does not mention, owes its relative preservation to the French Capuchin monks, who founded a French Capuchin monastery in 1658 by the site. In 1669 the monastery succeeded in purchasing the monument and incorporated it with the library of their Convent.
The young British architects James "Athenian" Stuart and Nicholas Revett published the first measured drawings of the monument in their Antiquities of Athens, London 1762. The monument became famous in France and England through engravings of it, and "improved" versions became eye-catching features in several English landscape gardens. It is in this Library of the Convent of the French Capuchin monks where Lord Byron found hospitality for several months in 1810, and where his famous poem "The Maid of Athens" was written.
French archaeologists cleared the rubble from the half-buried monument and searched the area for missing architectural parts. In 1876–1887, the architects François Boulanger and E. Loviot supervised a restoration under the auspices of the French government.
|Athens City Highlights Segway Tour |
See the sights of modern and ancient Athens on a 2-hour Segway tour, led by a local guide! On your self-balancing electric Segway, glide through the city streets, stopping by famous monuments to hear tales about this charismatic city. Admire sights of the Acropolis of Athens, visit Zappeion Gardens, and then see top Athens' attractions like Hadrian’s Arch, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Panathenaic Olympic Stadium and more! This small-group tour is limited to 12 people,