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Slabs from the Amazonomachy frieze from the Mausoleum at Halikarnassos

 

Length: 2.830 m (combined)

Gift of Sir Stratford Canning

GR 1847.4-24.13 (Sculpture 1008);GR 1847.4-24.3 (Sculpture 1010)

Room 21: Halikarnassos

    Slabs from the Amazonomachy frieze from the Mausoleum at Halikarnassos

    Greek, around 350 BC
    From the walls of Castle of St Peter, Bodrum, modern Turkey

    Herakles and the Amazons

    This is one of the most interesting sections of the Amazonomachy frieze, though one of the least well-preserved. It shows the hero Herakles grasping a kneeling Amazon - possibly Hippolyte, their queen - by her hair, while he swings his knotted-club behind his head ready to strike her. The Amazon tries to release herself from his grasp in a twisting movement that causes her cloak to billow over her head.

    Behind Herakles is a more evenly-matched fight between an Amazon (cut in half at the join of a new slab) and a Greek, clashing their shields together. The scene with Herakles joins another slab to form the longest slab of the frieze. This shows a mounted Amazon, his horse is rearing up to attack a Greek, who uses his shield to protect himself from the horse's front hooves. This figure may be Theseus, who, according to some versions of the legend, joined Herakles in the battle with the Amazons. Behind him, a clothed Greek plunges his sword into a fallen victim, most of whom is missing.

    B. Ashmole, Architect and sculptor in clas (London, Phaidon Press, 1972)

    B.S. Ridgway, Fourth-century styles in Greek (University of Wisconsin Press, 1997)

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    On display: Room 21: Halikarnassos

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