Cook, Arthur B.
Zeus: a study in ancient religion (Band 1): Zeus god of the bright sky — Cambridge, 1914

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292 Zeus and the Solar Disk

found at Corinth and is now in the Berlin Museum. It is decorated
on both sides with a love-scene in relief (fig. 211)1. A very similar
disk, likewise found at Corinth, is in the Louvre2. Almost the only
difference between the two is that on the Paris specimen the young
man and the maiden have each a thyrsos in hand. The fact that
both disks hail from Corinth, where Helios and Aphrodite held
the citadel in succession3 and were worshipped in the same temple4,
is suggestive of solar magic. Nor need the intrusion of a Dionysiac
motif make difficulties. A well-known Orphic verse identified
Dionysos with Helios5. However, the exact purpose to which
these implements were put, and indeed the precise name by which
they were called, escapes us.

Sometimes the solar disk was affixed to buildings by way of
prophylaxis6. O. Benndorf has shown that the earliest Greek
akroteria were developments from the ornamented end of the ridge-
pole and consequently were circular or nearly circular in form7.
He further observes that they were patterned in a variety of ways.
The oldest example known to us, that of the Heraion at Olympia
(c. 700—650 B.C.), is a great disk of terra cotta measuring some
seven and a half feet in diameter. Its interior is strengthened with
spoke-shaped ribs. Its exterior is painted with concentric zones
and has a radiate rim8. Another akroterion from the same precinct
was the golden phidle with a relief of Medousa, which the Lace-
daemonians and their allies set up over the temple of Zeus after
the battle of Tanagra (457 B.C.)9. In other cases too the disk of
terra cotta or marble bore an apotropaeic face10. Thus an Apulian
krater in the Louvre shows both gables of a richly decorated

1 A. Furtwangler in the Jahrb. d. kais. deutsch. arch. Inst. 1894 ix Arch. Anz.
p. 119!". no. 17, id. Ant. Gemmen ii. 122.

2 /ahrb. d. kais. deutsch. arch. Inst. 1900 xv Arch. Anz. p. 157 no. ill, E. Saglio in
Daremberg—Saglio Diet. Ant. iv. 864 fig. 5942.

3 Paus. 2. 4. 6.

4 Id. 2. 5. 1. See also Gruppe Gr. Myth. Rel. p. 132 f.

5 Supra p. 187 n. 4.

6 Northern parallels are not wanting : see S. Baring-Gould Strange Survivals
London 1905 pp. 36—61 'On Gables' with frontisp. and figs. 2—13.

7 O. Benndorf ' Uber den Ursprung der Giebelakroterien' in the fahresh. d. oest.
arch. Inst. 1899 ii. 1—51, Am. /ourn. Arch. 1899 iii. 602 f.

8 A. Boetticher Olympia: das Fest und seine Stdtte2 Berlin 1886 p. 201 ff. fig. 44 and
pi. 4, R. Borrmann in Olympia ii. 190 ff. col. pi. 115, cp. ib. pis. 84 f. and 129, A. Mar-
quand Greek Architecttire New York 1909 p. 2386°.

9 Olympia v. 370 ff. no. 253, Roberts Gk. Epigr. i. 125 f. no. 93. Paus. 5. 10.4
cites the inscription vabs /j-ev fa&Xav xPV(T^av ^Xec k.t.X. but describes it as being M rfj
dcr7rt5t. Benndorf loc. cit. p. 8 cp. Paus. 6. 19. 13 dawls virep rod derov of the Megarian
treasury at Olympia.

10 Benndorf loc. cit. p. 10 f., cp. Ant. Denkm. ii. 5. 7 f. pis. 53, 53 A (antefixes from
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