Byzantine and Russian icons, £15.99
Length: 1.200 m
Excavated by Sir Charles Fellows
GR 1848.10-20.62 (Sculpture 879)
Room 17: Nereid Monument
Marble frieze slab from the Nereid Monument
Lykian, carved about 390-380 BC
From Xanthos, (modern Günük, south-western Turkey)
Relief showing a Lykian ruler in oriental dress
This slab comes from a frieze on the base of the Nereid Monument. An embassy of elders approach a figure enthroned and dressed in the manner of a Persian satrap (local ruler). A youthful bodyguard stands behind the throne and the nearest attendant shades his master with a parasol. The subject perhaps records a real-life episode in which the seated ruler received an embassy from a captured city. The siege of a city is shown elsewhere in the same frieze.
It is presumed that the ruler portrayed here and his family are the occupants of the tomb. He is likely to be Arbinas, whose name appears on other monuments of Xanthos. As a Lykian ruler, he was ultimately answerable to the Great King of Persia. The political authority of Persia is reflected in his oriental costume, while his pretensions to Greek culture are reflected in the costume of his entourage.