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Gifts to the Gods in Greece and Rome


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Asklepios

This fragment of a votive relief shows Asklepios, Greek god of healing and medicine, wearing a cloak and leaning on a stick. Even without his head the god may be identified by the snake that always curls around the base of his stick. Another figure once stood behind him, probably his daughter Hygeia (‘Health’), but all that survives is a hand on his right shoulder and part of a veil. This relief would have been dedicated at a sanctuary of Asklepios, as an expensive gift from someone requesting or giving thanks for a cure from illness.

The rich golden colour of the stone, which contrasts with the white broken edges, is caused by a patina, a crust of minerals that may form on marble over time.

Production place: Greece
Date: around  350–325 BC
Marble (Pentelic)
Bequeathed by Shannon, C.H.
Ricketts and Shannon Collection

Object Number: GR.98.1937

see the online collections database




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Relief with a hero holding a drinking-horn

One common type of sanctuary relief shows a man reclining on a couch with food or offerings in front of him, and other people in attendance. In the Greek period these reliefs were dedicated by cities to honour local figures thought to have super-human powers (heroes). The scenes that show heroes include a snake or horseman, both symbols of the cult of the dead. In the Roman period similar reliefs were used by individual families to honour their dead relatives (such as GR.21.1865).

Beside the reclining hero sits his wife, and behind her a slave boy prepares to ladle wine from a bowl. In the upper left is a window with the head of a horse. At the bottom of the relief is a tang, used to fix it into a socket.

Production place: Attica, Greece
Date: around  350–300 BC
Find spot: Athens Attica Greece
Marble (Pentelic)
Given by Earl of Aberdeen

Object Number: GR.16.1865

see the online collections database




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