Ivory plaque showing Aristaios

Greek, about 650-600 BC
Possibly from the Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia, Sparta

A rustic deity, the discoverer of olive-oil and honey

Aristaios was a minor Greek deity particularly connected with agricultural pursuits. He was credited with the discovery of how to make olive oil and keep bees for honey, and also associated with the care of sheep and with hunting. He is rarely depicted in art, but where he does appear, he is often bearded and winged, as in this fine ivory plaque carved in relief. He carries a deep bag in his right hand, and probably held an agricultural implement of some sort in his left.

The relief is in the style of Spartan ivory carvings, and though the exact circumstances and location of its discovery are not known, it is possible that the plaque comes from the Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia at Sparta.

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More information


B.F. Cook, 'Aristaios' in Lexicon Iconographicum Mytholo, vol. II (1) (Artemis Verlag Zürich und München, 1981), pp. 603-7


Length: 2.000 inches
Width: 1.000 inches

Museum number

GR 1954.9-10.1



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