Papers of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens — 5.1886-1890

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THE MANTINEIAN RELIEFS.

287

doubt that the three slabs belong together, and is right in maintain-
ing that they were not part of a continuous frieze, denies that they
could have been arranged on the four sides of the bathron, inasmuch
as this base would have been decidedly too small for the three statues
which stood upon it. Though it might be urged, even against this,
that we do not know how large the pieces on either side were, into
which each one of these slabs may have been set, just as a picture hangs
with space about it upon our walls, still it would be hard to conceive
of this base as a whole, if so decorated, and supporting the three large
temple-statues. Yet, if we can, as I propose, show that all the four
slabs formed a continuous composition and decorated only the front of
the base, all the weighty arguments of Professor Overbeds and his sup-
porters against the attribution of the reliefs, so far as these arguments
depend upon the arrangement formerly proposed, fall to the ground.
Now, I will say at once, though it hardly needs much argument, that
the reliefs are more likely to have decorated a bathron than anything
else. As, from the nature of the subject represented, the whole com-
position consisted of but four slabs, they are not likely to have formed
part of an extended architectural decoration, such as a continuous frieze
or single metopes. Nor are they likely, for the same reason, to have
f ormed part of a balustrade or screen ; nor could they have been fixed
upon a sarcophagus. Four slabs of this dimension, evidently belong-
ing together, are structurally most likely to have decorated the large
base of some sculptural monument.

The first mistake in judging these works appears to have been made
in that an analogy for the base of the three statues by Praxiteles was
unconsciously found in the numerous existing open-air bathra dis-
covered at Olvmpia, Epidauros, and other places. But these inter-
esting bases of statues are chiefly those of athletic and votive figures,
and are therefore much smaller in dimensions. They can in no way
give us an adequate notion of the size, form, and decoration of the
bases belonging to great temple-statues and groups of statues.

Now, as regards the bases of great temple-statues, so far as ancient
literary records arc concerned, the two about which most was written
in antiquity are those of the Olympian Zeus and the Athena Parthenos
by Pheidias. As regards the base of the statue of the Olympian Zeus,
we learn from Pausanias (v. 11.8) that it was decorated in relief, that
the scene represented the birth of Aphrodite in the presence of all the
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