Four Years of Presidential Memory: Re-use Suggestions for Toppled Statues

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Eminent Philosophers 5.5: Life of Demetrius (c. 350-280 BCE) 75 and 77

“Demetrios, the son of Phanostratos, from Phalerum. This guy was a student of Theophrastus. He was the lead of the city of Athens for ten years through his public speeches and was publicly awarded three hundred bronze statues for this, the vast majority of them had him on horse or chariot or with a pair of horse. He was supported so much that these statues were finished in not even 30 days.

[…]

Δημήτριος Φανοστράτου Φαληρεύς. οὗτος ἤκουσε μὲν Θεοφράστου· δημηγορῶν δὲ παρ᾿ Ἀθηναίοις τῆς πόλεως ἐξηγήσατο ἔτη δέκα, καὶ εἰκόνων ἠξιώθη χαλκῶν ἑξήκοντα πρὸς ταῖς τριακοσίαις, ὧν αἱ πλείους ἐφ᾿ ἵππων ἦσαν καὶ ἁρμάτων καὶ συνωρίδων, συντελεσθεῖσαι ἐν οὐδὲ τριακοσίαις ἡμέραις· τοσοῦτον ἐσπουδάσθη.

“Although he was super famous among the Athenians,  his light dimmed later on under the shadow of envy, which consumes everything. After he was indicted by some people on a charge carrying a penalty of death, he did not appear in court. When his opponents could not catch him in person, they took it out on his statues. Once they tore the statues down, they sold some, sank some in the sea, and broke others up for chamber pots. A single one is left on the Akropolis.”

Σφόδρα δὲ λαμπρὸς ὢν παρὰ τοῖς Ἀθηναίοις, ὅμως ἐπεσκοτήθη καὶ αὐτὸς ὑπὸ τοῦ τὰ πάντα 77διεσθίοντος φθόνου. ἐπιβουλευθεὶς γὰρ ὑπό τινων δίκην θανάτου οὐ παρὼν ὦφλεν. οὐ μὴν ἐκυρίευσαν τοῦ σώματος αὐτοῦ, ἀλλὰ τὸν ἰὸν ἀπήρυγον εἰς τὸν χαλκόν, κατασπάσαντες αὐτοῦ τὰς εἰκόνας καὶ τὰς μὲν ἀποδόμενοι, τὰς δὲ βυθίσαντες, τὰς δὲ κατακόψαντες εἰς ἀμίδας· λέγεται γὰρ καὶ τοῦτο. μία δὲ μόνη σώζεται ἐν ἀκροπόλει.

File:Bronze youth BM Br828 n3.jpg
A bronze statue of a young man. Roman Copy. Not Demetrius.

Demetrius may have been a pro-Macedonian puppet. Thanks to @skaios_ from twitter for suggesting this passage.

Only Bad Dudes Want Statues in the First Place

Plutarch, Precepts of Statecraft  820b (Full text on the Scaife viewer)

“Cato, since Rome was then already getting full of statues, would not allow one of himself. He said, “I would rather have people ask why there isn’t a statue of me rather than why there is one.” Indeed, these kinds of things do create envy and many believe that they owe gratitude to people who have not received them but that those who have taken them have oppressed them, as when people ask for payment for something they have done.

So, just as a person who has sailed passed the Syrtis and overturned his ship right near the channel has done nothing great nor worthy of awe, so to the man who has served in the treasury and guarded the public coffers but has done a poor job in other offices finds himself wrecked on a cliff near the sea. No, the best person is one who doesn’t want any of these kinds of things, avoiding and refusing them when needed.”

ὁ δὲ Κάτων, ἤδη τότε τῆς Ῥώμης καταπιμπλαμένης ἀνδριάντων, οὐκ ἐῶν αὑτοῦ γενέσθαι “μᾶλλον,”ἔφη, “βούλομαι πυνθάνεσθαί τινας, διὰ τί μου ἀνδριὰς οὐ κεῖται ἢ διὰ τί κεῖται.” καὶ γὰρ φθόνον ἔχει τὰ τοιαῦτα καὶ νομίζουσιν οἱ πολλοὶ τοῖς μὴ λαβοῦσιν αὐτοὶ χάριν ὀφείλειν, τοὺς δὲ λαβόντας αὑτοῖς καὶ βαρεῖς εἶναι, οἷον ἐπὶ μισθῷ τὰς χρείας ἀπαιτοῦντας. ὥσπερ οὖν ὁ παραπλεύσας τὴν Σύρτιν εἶτ᾿ ἀνατραπεὶς περὶ τὸν πορθμὸν οὐδὲν μέγα πεποίηκεν οὐδὲ σεμνόν, οὕτως ὁ τὸ ταμιεῖον φυλαξάμενος καὶ τὸ δημοσιώνιον ἁλοὺς δὲ περὶ τὴν προεδρίαν ἢ τὸ πρυτανεῖον, ὑψηλῷ μὲν προσέπταικεν ἀκρωτηρίῳ βαπτίζεται δ᾿ ὁμοίως. ἄριστος μὲν οὖν ὁ μηδενὸς δεόμενος τῶν τοιούτων ἀλλὰ φεύγων καὶ παραιτούμενος·

Marcus Porcius Cato

Re-use Suggestions for Toppled Statues

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Eminent Philosophers 5.5: Life of Demetrius (c. 350-280 BCE) 75 and 77

“Demetrios, the son of Phanostratos, from Phalerum. This guy was a student of Theophrastus. He was the lead of the city of Athens for ten years through his public speeches and was publicly awarded three hundred bronze statues for this, the vast majority of them had him on horse or chariot or with a pair of horse. He was supported so much that these statues were finished in not even 30 days.

[…]

Δημήτριος Φανοστράτου Φαληρεύς. οὗτος ἤκουσε μὲν Θεοφράστου· δημηγορῶν δὲ παρ᾿ Ἀθηναίοις τῆς πόλεως ἐξηγήσατο ἔτη δέκα, καὶ εἰκόνων ἠξιώθη χαλκῶν ἑξήκοντα πρὸς ταῖς τριακοσίαις, ὧν αἱ πλείους ἐφ᾿ ἵππων ἦσαν καὶ ἁρμάτων καὶ συνωρίδων, συντελεσθεῖσαι ἐν οὐδὲ τριακοσίαις ἡμέραις· τοσοῦτον ἐσπουδάσθη.

“Although he was super famous among the Athenians,  his light dimmed later on under the shadow of envy, which consumes everything. After he was indicted by some people on a charge carrying a penalty of death, he did not appear in court. When his opponents could not catch him in person, they took it out on his statues. Once they tore the statues down, they sold some, sank some in the sea, and broke others up for chamber pots. A single one is left on the Akropolis.”

Σφόδρα δὲ λαμπρὸς ὢν παρὰ τοῖς Ἀθηναίοις, ὅμως ἐπεσκοτήθη καὶ αὐτὸς ὑπὸ τοῦ τὰ πάντα 77διεσθίοντος φθόνου. ἐπιβουλευθεὶς γὰρ ὑπό τινων δίκην θανάτου οὐ παρὼν ὦφλεν. οὐ μὴν ἐκυρίευσαν τοῦ σώματος αὐτοῦ, ἀλλὰ τὸν ἰὸν ἀπήρυγον εἰς τὸν χαλκόν, κατασπάσαντες αὐτοῦ τὰς εἰκόνας καὶ τὰς μὲν ἀποδόμενοι, τὰς δὲ βυθίσαντες, τὰς δὲ κατακόψαντες εἰς ἀμίδας· λέγεται γὰρ καὶ τοῦτο. μία δὲ μόνη σώζεται ἐν ἀκροπόλει.

File:Bronze youth BM Br828 n3.jpg
A bronze statue of a young man. Roman Copy. Not Demetrius.

Demetrius may have been a pro-Macedonian puppet. Thanks to @skaios_ from twitter for suggesting this passage.

A Fanciful Story with a Surprising Climax

Yesterday Palaiophron posted a poem from the Greek Anthology on Praxiteles’ famous statue of Aphrodite on Knidos. Later accounts repeat a memorable anecdote.

Pliny the Elder, Natural History 36.4 (21)

“Later, Nicomedes the king wanted to buy the statue from the Knidians, promising to unburden the state of its public debt, which was immense. They preferred to live with this and not without good reason—for Praxiteles ennobled Knidos with this sculpture. Its temple is open all around so that it is possible to see the goddess’ image from every direction. The goddess favors this herself, as the story goes. There is no less sense of wonder from any direction. They report that a certain man was taken with love for it and, once he had hidden himself for the night, he let himself loose upon the image, and there is a stain to show his desire.”

voluit eam a Cnidiis postea mercari rex Nicomedes, totum aes alienum, quod erat ingens, civitatis dissoluturum se promittens. omnia perpeti maluere, nec inmerito; illo enim signo Praxiteles nobilitavit Cnidum. aedicula eius tot aperitur, ut conspici possit undique effigies deae, favente ipsa, ut creditur, facta. nec minor ex quacumque parte admiratio est. ferunt amore captum quendam, cum delituisset noctu, simulacro cohaesisse, eiusque cupiditatis esse indicem maculam.

Valerius Maximus, Memorable Deeds and Sayings 8.2 ext 3

“Praxiteles centered the wife of Vulcan in marble in the Knidians’ temple as if she were breathing—and she was barely safe from a lustful embrace because of the beauty of the work. In this, a mistake is rather excusable for a horse who, when he sees the picture of a mare is compelled to utter a neigh; or when a dog is excited by the sight of a painted dog to bark; or the bull in Syracuse who was compelled to lust after and mount a bronze cow that was just too close to real. Why, then, should we be amazed that animals who lack reason are deceived by art, when we see a man’s sacrilegious desire elicited by the shape of silent stone?”

Cuius coniugem Praxiteles in marmore quasi spirantem in templo Cnidiorum collocavit, propter pulchritudinem operis a libidinoso cuiusdam complexu parum tutam. quo excusabilior est error equi, qui visa pictura equae hinnitum edere coactus est, et canum latratus aspectu picti canis incitatus, taurusque ad amorem et concubitum aeneae vaccae Syracusis nimiae similitudinis irritamento compulsus: quid enim vacua rationis animalia arte decepta miremur, cum hominis sacrilegam cupiditatem muti lapidis liniamentis excitatam videamus?

Image result for knidian venus

I cannot quite gauge ValMax’s tone here–is he completely sanguine about this anecdote? How might our current, pornographically advanced society strike him? How would he feel about the ethics of sex with robots and its threat against the future of humanity?