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Video transcript

one of the most prominent buildings in the sanctuary at dulce the Panhellenic sanctuary was the city and treasury this is a small building meant to house treasure that was dedicated to the god Apollo whose sanctuary this was notice if nians came from a small island in the south aegean and they could afford to do this because they had both silver and gold mines and at least according to one ancient chronicler they devoted a tenth of the money that they made from these mines to Delfi now the reason they did this is because religion in ancient Greece was transactional that is if you gave sacrifice to the gods they would favor you in return sacrificing gifts exactly and the symphony in Treasury was supposedly the most beautiful most elaborate most highly decorated of the different Treasuries from the different Greek city-states at the Panhellenic sanctuary at Delfy when you walk up the sacred way the pathway that leads up into the sanctuary and you come to the symphony and treasury you first see its back or east side and the sculpture from the pediment and from that side of the frieze and there was a kind of band or ribbon of carving that went around all four sides has been preserved well it continuous frieze around the Treasury makes sense since this was a building in the ionic style so let's take a look at what that sculpture depicts in the pediment you have something that's very appropriate for this location it is the hero Heracles who's trying to steal the tripod from the god Apollo now the tripod was associated with the Oracle at Delphi the Oracle sat on the tripod and made pronouncements channeling Apollo you can see why that would upset Apollo and why Zeus has had to step in Zeus would be the figure that has lost his head in the middle who seems to be trying to negotiate between the two you can see Heracles he's got the tripod on his back and he's heading away as though he's going to be successful in this theft but the tripod is be at the other end by both Apollo and Zeus and we see Artemis the goddess who seems to be restraining Apollo who had quite a temper these figures look like archaic style figures to me here we are at the end of the sixth century that's when the SIF nians built this Treasury they have a little bit of that stiffness that we associate with archaic figures we see them from the profile view or frontal view and not a lot of twisting and turning in space which we'll see more of actually in the frieze below but we do get a sense of energy from for instance Heracles is more widely spaced legs as if he is trying to really pull away so let's look at the east side of the frieze that is the area just below the pediment it's divided into two parts on the right side we see a scene from the Iliad the great Trojan War we see two great soldiers one on the trojan side one on the Greek side so Achilles is on the right he's the Greek and memnon is on the left he's the Trojan Achilles is holding a shield which has a Gorgon head on it fighting with memnon and they're fighting over the dead body of Antilochus but while these men feel that their fate is being decided by their battle in fact what the sculptor showing us is that their fate is being decided far away on Mount Olympus by the gods so on the left side we see the gods and goddesses who are siding with the Trojans and on the right the gods and goddesses on Mount Olympus who are siding with the Greeks the figure that seated in the center is probably Zeus who's actually making the final determination and we get the sense that the gods and goddesses on either side are arguing for him to listen there have been different identifications of the figures here so we have to be careful but it does seem as though on the far left we have Ares the God of War and we may have a OS and she's the mother of memnon then we may have Artemis or Aphrodite and then the figure of Apollo now Apollo is turning back and really listening to what the women are saying we see these beautiful elegant figures there is a real nobility and a kind of stasis to these figures as opposed to the figures that are actually in battle the women seem to be leading with Apollo and the women raise their hands they open their palms and they seem to look directly at Apollo who turns around to listen to them now remember all of this would have been paid did and therefore much more visible the three gods and goddesses that remain that would have been arguing on the side of the Greeks are Athena on the left in the center Zeus is wife Hera and then possibly fetus who would be pleading for her son the kilise while there's a sense of emotion you're still primarily a sense of stability here of figures in profile but when we move to the battle that they're deciding we see foreshortening we see a real illusion into space look at these horses who are turned toward us moving almost into our space we see that sense of space even more explicitly rendered as we walk up the hill towards the front of the Treasury and we look at the north side of the frieze here we see a common scene in Greek sculpture this is a battle of the gods and the Giants so according to Greek mythology everything starts with the most primary deities and that would be the goddess earth Gaia and Uranus and the god of the sky and they give birth to the Titans they give birth to the Giants the Giants in turn give birth to the gods and so the gods are in a sense for the third generation and they rule from Mount Olympus but according to myth the Giants want to be able to rule for Mount Olympus they want what the gods have so this is the great battle that takes place between them the Giants are really standings for humans having a great you Burris and really wanted to take from the mighty gods of Mount Olympus upas meaning a kind of pride a sense that you can accomplish more than you can really accomplish as a human being in fact so much of the sculpture at the symphony in Treasury is re-establishing the power of the gods and the full hardiness of trying to upset that natural order so let's take a look at the action on the very far left side of the north freeze we have the god Hephaestus now this is the god that is associated with craftsmanship he's a blacksmith that's right so he's associated with a fortune we see him actually pushing down the bellows manufacturing a lightning bolt which Zeus can use against the Giants or a weapon of some sort in any case and we see the Giants advancing from the right luckily Hestia and Demeter are there to meet them without a doubt the most famous part of this frieze is the chariot of Dionysus which is pulled by two lions those lions are attacking one of the Giants biting and clawing the torso and the other line is rearing up and it looks like it's about to bear down in fact that further lion wood which is almost completely gone but you can just make out its Mane is also wrapping its fore paw around that Giants neck that giant has had it now that giant who's being devoured wraps his arm around the lion as if to pull it away from him the artist has done something really quite exceptional for the archaic period he has turned the head and a kind of three-quarter pose it's helmeted but that mouthpiece is it means of expressing the pain that this figure is feeling even though if you look very closely the mouth is still closed in the traditional noble expression look at how Dionysus strides forward and he looks so powerful and just in front of him is the local goddess Themis and she actually rides on the chariot what we have here is a sense of the chaos of battle as our eye moves to the right to follow this story we see two archers those are apollo and artemis but just to the right of them we see a fleeing giant who looks absolutely terrified he looks back behind him but runs forward with his sword look at his drapery flowing back behind him we get a sense of real movement he's so terrified he's abandoning his colleague to those lions and below him is a fallen giant so the Giant is so interesting because he's in back of Apollo and Artemis but there's an expression of distance between them because of the distinction in the depth of relief in other words Apollo and Artemis are carved fairly deeply while he is at a slightly smaller scale and carved in a more shallow way so that we know he's part of the scene in back of them so we have a real sense of deep space here in the battlefield look at the way that the artist links that fleeing giant through his shield which is concave with the convex shields of the three giants they're confronting Apollo and Artemis and we have a sense of the imminent danger that he's in because one of his colleagues has fallen below the other being gods are almost always overmatched and yet they triumph the other thing that happens is that the Olympian gods are represented very individualistically very heroically fighting together but also a sense of them fighting individually with their own strength and power whereas the Giants are fighting as an anonymous group the next section of the North frieze is missing but we know it would have been there it would have been the chariot of Zeus in the middle with horses which we can still see and he would probably have been throwing a thunderbolt and those horses are rearing up and you can almost hear them galloping and they're followed by two more Giants with their shields throwing spears and so Zeus a single god is taking on at least two Giants and below we see Aphrodite who's aiming a spear so intensely at a falling giant on the ground we can just barely make out his body his knee has bent under his weight his arm is holding him up it's as if he's in the process of dying next comes Athena oh ways a hero we can identify her quickly because of the aegis that she wears which is fringed by snakes we can see the inside of her shield and we can actually there see a little bit of the very bright paint that would have covered this entire frieze and she's clearly advancing on the enemy in front of Athena we have another giant that's falling this time backwards and then there's another dead giant just behind him in back of him is yet another giant still standing ready to throw a spear we know he won't be successful against Athena that's apparent and at the head of all of the gods we have Ares the God of War he strides forward his shield in his left hand actively in pursuit of the Giants and it's quite a collection of Giants that he's after we can see the one just beside him is actually ready to hurl an enormous rock while another has his spear ready to throw and finally we can recognize Hermes under a conical helmet and he's taking on what looks like a small army of giants it looks like he's about to pull a dagger from a sheath in back of him there are just a few traces of what would probably be Poseidon but that part is mostly lost so what we see here is this really interesting moment of transition from the more static and symbolic representations that we so much associate with the archaic period and this increasing interest in the complexity of human interaction and storytelling absolutely as we move towards the classical