Kroisos statue

The head of the Kroisos statue

Artifact: The Kroisos Kouros is now situated in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.

The Kroisos Kouros is a statue of an Athenian soilder that functioned as a grave marker, it was located in Anavyssos in Attica. Dated between. 540-515 B.C., made of marble and stands 1.95m high.

The inscription on the base of the statue reads:

"Stop and show pity beside the marker of Kroisos, dead,
whom once in battle's front rank raging Ares destroyed." [1]

The sculpute has a distinctive Egyptian feel to it, especially the eyes. Grave markers up until c525 B.C. were usually made of wood and so none have passed down to us today. The Greeks by then were trading with Egypt and so how their statues were made with the use of iron tools were now known in Greece.

The Kroisos Kouros is thought to represent the ideal image of the person rather than an actual protrail of what Kroisos looked like. Portrait statues and busts were not thought to have been made during this time. Nevertheless, it's paramount segnificance is due to the fact that it displays that in ancient Greece statues were errected for the common man. Compared to other nations were displayed statues were in the form of gods or kings.

This idea of immortality through heroic death is also treated by some of the lyric poems from the archaic era. It is worthy of note that the Spartan poet Tyrtaeus uses the phrase "..raging Ares destroyed", as the last line in one of his poems, deplicting a heroic citizen preforming his duty as a solider in the front ranks.

His noble memory is not destroyed nor his name, but he is immortal, though he lies beneath the earth,
Whomever, excelling in valor, standing fast, and fighting for his land and children, raging Ares destroyed.
Hurwit (1985): 255

Tyrtaeus's poem uses the same phrase "raging Ares destroyed" as we found in the inscription on the Kroisos statue. The phrases "battle's front rank" and "raging Ares destroyed" could, in fact, be phrases right out of the Iliad. Homer has been appropriated here in the lyric poem by Tyrtaeus and the statue's inscription for the maker's own ends. In this case, Homer, if not quoted literally, is a least alluded to, in order to transform the deceased into a hero in the traditional Homeric mode.

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*01 J. M. Hurwit, The Art and Culture of Early Greece, 1100-480 B. C. (Ithaca NY, 1985)

Kroisos Kouros


Also in 525 B.C. the last pharaoh of the Twenty-Sixth dynasty, Psammetichus III from Egypt, was defeated by Cambyses II of Persia in the battle of Pelusium in the eastern Nile delta, Egypt was then joined with Cyprus and Phoenicia in the sixth satrapy of the Achaemenid Empire. Thus began the first period of Persian domination over Egypt (also known as the Twenty-Seventh dynasty of Egypt)

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