Serpentarium Mundi by Alexei Alexeev The Ancient Ophidian Iconography Resource (Mundus Vetus, 3000 BC - 650 AD)
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Description. Volume I contains a selection of iconographical subjects represented on three-dimensional art objects: sculptures and reliefs in a variety of materials (stone, terracotta, bronze, wood, etc.).

This volume is divided into 6 specialized chapters, based on the type of iconographical subject and the context. Every chapter has a different number of articles (currently none). Each article has a different number of figures (currently none), which are divided into sets (5 x 6 content grids, accommodating up to 30 figures' thumbnails; currently none). The figures contain varying numbers of artefacts (currently none), depending on the scale of the source-image. Some artefacts are represented by several figures (offering a general view and details).

Currently, 0 articles in 0 chapters are available, and Volume I contains 0 figures.

------------------------- « ● Quotations from the Father of History about Sculptures & Reliefs ● » -------------------------

I have acquired knowledge about the customs of the Persians, and here is what I have learned. They do not erect statues, temples, and altars; they deem anyone who does these things a fool, and they feel this way, I presume, because unlike the Hellenes, they do not believe that the gods have human qualities.

● Herodotus (484-425 BC), Histories I: 131, 1 | Translated by Andrea L. Purvis & Robert B. Strassler. Copyright © 2007.

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The same sanctuary in Babylon contains another temple below the one just described. Here there is a huge statue of Zeus [Bel, Baal, or Marduk], seated and made of gold. And next to him is set a table, also of gold, as are his footstool and throne. The Chaldeans say that 800 talents [~20,800-24,000 kilograms / 20.8-24 tonnes] of gold were used to make all of this. {...} At the time of Cyrus [Cyrus the Great, r. 549-530 BC], there was still a solid-gold statue twelve cubits [~6 meters] high in this precinct. I myself did not see it but am reporting what is said by the Chaldeans. Darius son of Hystaspes [Darius I, r. 522-486 BC] had designs on this statue but did not dare remove it; Xerxes son of Darius [Xerxes I, r. 486-465 BC], however, did take it and killed the priest who was trying to forbid him to disturb the sacred image.

● Herodotus (484-425 BC), Histories I: 183, 1-3 | Translated by Andrea L. Purvis & Robert B. Strassler. Copyright © 2007.

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They said that the Egyptians were also the first to establish the tradition of identifying names for the twelve gods, and that the Hellenes adopted this practice from them. They were also the first to assign altars, statues, and temples to the gods and to carve their figures in relief on stone.

● Herodotus (484-425 BC), Histories II: 4, 2 | Translated by Andrea L. Purvis & Robert B. Strassler. Copyright © 2007.

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Sesostris [Legendary ruler, whose semi-fictional character is loosely based on Senusret III, r. 1878-1839 BC with possible compilatory admixture of Seti I, r. 1290-1279 BC and Ramses II, r. 1279-1213 BC] was the only Egyptian king to rule Ethiopia. As a memorial to his reign, he erected in front of the sanctuary of Hephaistos [Ptah] two stone statues thirty cubits [~15 meters] tall, representing himself and his wife, and also statues of his four surviving children, each of them twenty cubits [~10 meters] tall. A long time after this the priest of Hephaistos refused to permit Darius the Persian [Darius I, r. 522-486 BC] to put up a statue in front of these, declaring that the Persian's deeds did not equal those achieved by Sesostris the Egyptian, for Sesostris had not only conquered as many nations as he had, but had gone even farther and had subdued Scythia [!], which Darius had not been able to to subjugate. Therefore, it was not right that someone whose deeds did not surpass those of Sesostris should erect offerings in front of his. Darius, they say, agreed with this.

● Herodotus (484-425 BC), Histories II: 110, 1-3 | Translated by Andrea L. Purvis & Robert B. Strassler. Copyright © 2007.

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The Egyptians at first despised Amasis [Ahmose II, r. 570-526 BC] and paid him no respect, since he had formerly been a common man and was not from a prominent family. But then Amasis won them over by his cleverness and sensible tact. Among his countless valuable posessions was a golden foot basin, in which Amasis himself and all his dinner guests always washed their feet. Well, Amasis broke this basin into pieces and had them reworked into a statue of a divinity, which he erected at the busiest location in the city. And the Egyptians frequently visited the statue and worshiped it with reverence. When Amasis learned how the Egyptian citizens were reacting to the statue, he summoned them and revealed that the statue had come from the foot basin into which they had previously vomited, urinated, and placed their dirty feet, but now they were worshiping it with reverence. Then without further ado, he told them that he himself had turned out just like the foot basin: he had been a common man before, but now he was their king. And that is how he won over the Egyptians so that they considered it just to become his slaves.

● Herodotus (484-425 BC), Histories II: 172, 2-5 | Translated by Andrea L. Purvis & Robert B. Strassler. Copyright © 2007.

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Amasis [Ahmose II, r. 570-526 BC] also dedicated offerings to other sanctuaries in the Greek world: he offered a gilded statue of Athena and a painted image of himself in Cyrene; to Athena in Lindos he sent two stone statues and a spectacular breastplate of linen; to Hera on Samos he sent a pair of wooden images of himself, which were set up in the huge temple there and were still standing in my time behind the doors.

● Herodotus (484-425 BC), Histories II: 182, 1 | Translated by Andrea L. Purvis & Robert B. Strassler. Copyright © 2007.

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At one time when the land of the Epidaurians was producing no crops, they consulted the oracle at Delphi about their misfortune. The Pythia told them to set up statues of Damia and Auxesia, and that once they had done this, their fortunes would improve. The Epidaurians then inquired whether they should have the statues made of bronze or of stone. The Pythia authorized neither of these but recommended the wood of a domesticated olive tree instead. The Epidaurians asked the Athenians to grant them permission to cut down one of their olive trees, since they considered these to be the most sacred. Actually, it is said that at the time, no olive trees grew in any territory other than that of Athens. The Athenians granted their request on the condition that each year the Epidaurians would bring sacred offerings for Athena Polias and for Erechtheus. The Epidaurians agreed to these terms, obtained approval of their request, made the statues out of the wood of olive tree, and erected them. After this, their land produced crops, and they fulfilled their agreement with the Athenians.

● Herodotus (484-425 BC), Histories V: 82, 1-3 | Translated by Andrea L. Purvis & Robert B. Strassler. Copyright © 2007.

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{...} of all his wives, Darius [Darius I, r. 522-486 BC] was most fond of Artystone [Daughter of Cyrus the Great, r. 549-530 BC] and had an image of her crafted out of beaten gold.

● Herodotus (484-425 BC), Histories VII: 69, 3 | Translated by Andrea L. Purvis & Robert B. Strassler. Copyright © 2007.

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Realizing that he would not be able to persuade the majority to sail to the Hellespont, Themistokles [524-459 BC] turned his attention to the Athenians {...} He said to them: "{...} But we are lucky, and so is Hellas, that we found a way to repulse such a huge and ominous multitude, so let us not pursue men who are fleeing from us. For it not we who have achieved all this, but the gods and heroes; they were jealous that one man [Xerxes I, r. 486-465 BC] should become king of both Asia and Europe, particularly an ungodly man who is doomed by his own folly. This man made no distinction between sacred and private property when he burned and demolished the statues of the gods; he whipped the sea violently and then sank shackles into it."

● Herodotus (484-425 BC), Histories VIII: 109, 1-3 | Translated by Andrea L. Purvis & Robert B. Strassler. Copyright © 2007.

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After bringing all the goods together [After the Battle of Plataea, 479 BC], the Hellenes took out a tenth for the god at Delphi, and from this they dedicated a golden tripod set upon a three-headed serpent [ὄφις] of bronze, which stands next to the altar. They removed another tenth for the god at Olympia, and from it dedicated a bronze statue of Zeus ten cubits [~5 meters] tall, and another for the god at the isthmus [Isthmus of Corinth], from which was made a bronze Poseidon seven cubits [~3.5 meters] tall.

● Herodotus (484-425 BC), Histories IX: 81, 1 | Translated by Andrea L. Purvis & Robert B. Strassler. Copyright © 2007.

Editorial notes: {...} - Omitted text; [...] - Translation back to the original, clarification, or curator's commentary.

Source-Image(s): The Volume I source-images come from both internal and external resources. Every attempt is made to maximize use of the curator’s own photographic database. The rest of the source-images come from online resources and digital scans. In each case, the copyright holder’s permission was acquired and the courtesy gratefully acknowledged.
● Personal Photo Archive:
Alexei Alexeev Curator Ottawa, Canada
● Museums' Collections Online:
Bibliothèque Nationale
de France
Cabinet des Médailles Paris, France
British Museum

Main Collection London, UK
Main Collection Vienna, Austria
Metropolitan Museum
of Art
Main Collection New York, USA
Musée du Louvre

Main Collection Paris, France
Museum of Fine Arts

Main Collection Boston, USA
Staatliche Antikensamm-lungen und Glyptothek Main Collection Munich, Germany
Staatliche Museen
zu Berlin
Altes Museum: Antikensammlung;
Neues Museum: Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte, Ägyptisches Museum,
Pergamonmuseum: Antikensammlung, Vorder-asiatisches Museum, Museum für Islamische Kunst;
Bode Museum: Skulpturen-sammlung, Museum für Byzantinische Kunst;
Museum für Asiatische Kunst
Berlin, Germany
State Hermitage
Main Collection St. Petersburg, Russia
● Printed Publications:
1991 Greek Sculpture: The Archaic Period. London Thames & Hudson
Same Author

1991 Greek Sculpture: The Classical Period London Thames & Hudson
Same Author

1995 Greek Sculpture: The Late Classical Period and Sculpture in Colonies and Overseas. London Thames & Hudson
John, ed.
Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC). Volumes I-VIII. Indices. Supplementum. Zürich Artemis & Winkler Verlag

Note(s): (1) A minimalist approach is adopted for the descriptions of the bibliographic entries: in cases of multiple authors, publishers, or publishing locations, only the first entry from the full bibliographic description is listed. (2) In cases of modern reprints of the important works from the past, the date of the original publication is placed inside parentheses. In cases of translated works, both the original and English versions are listed. (3) An idiosyncratic universal formatting of entries is employed: all nouns, pronouns, numerals, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and some categories of determiners are capitalised.

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