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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



9458
Pliny The Elder, Natural History, 35.46


nanStatues of this kind are still to be found at various places. In fact even at Rome and in the Municipal Towns there are many pediments of temples, remarkable for their carving and artistic merit and intrinsic durability, more deserving of respect than gold, and certainly less baneful. At the present day indeed, even in the midst of our present rich resources the preliminary libation is made at sacrifices not from fluorspar or crystal vessels but with small ladles of earthenware, thanks to the ineffable kindness of Mother Earth, if one considers her gifts in detail, even though we omit her blessings in the various kinds of corn, wine. fruit, herbs and shrubs, drugs and metals, all the things that we have so far mentioned. Nor do our products even in pottery satisfy our needs with their unfailing supply, with jars invented for our wine, and pipes for water, conduits for baths, tiles for our roofs, baked bricks for our house-walls and foundations, or things that are made on a wheel, because of which King Numa established a seventh Guild, the Potters. Indeed moreover many people have preferred to be buried in earthenware coffins, for instance Marcus Varro who was interred in the Pythagorean style, in leaves of myrtle, olive and as black poplar; the majority of mankind employs earthenware receptacles for this purpose. Among table services Samian pottery is still spoken highly of; this reputation is also retained by Arezzo in Italy, and, merely for cups, Sorrento, Asti, and Pollentia, and by Saguntum in Spain and Pergamum in Asia Minor. Also Tralles in Asia Minor and Modena in Italy have their respective products, since even this brings nations fame, and their products also, so distinguished are the workshops of the potter's wheel, are carried to and fro across land and sea. In a temple at Erythrae even today are on view two wine-jars which were dedicated on account of their fine material, owing to a competition between a master potter and his apprentice as to which would make thinner earthenware. The pottery of Cos is most famous for this, but that of Adria is most substantial; while there are also some instances of severity also in relation to pottery. We find that Quintus Coponius was found guilty of bribery because he made a present of a jar of wine to a person who had the right to a vote. And so that luxury also may contribute some importance to earthenware, the name of a service of three dishes, we are told by Fenestella, used to denote the most luxurious possible banquet: one dish was of lamprey, a second of pike and a third of a mixture of fish. Clearly manners were already on the decline, though nevertheless we can still prefer them even to those of the philosophers of Greece, inasmuch as it is recorded that at the auction held by the heirs of Aristotle seventy earthenware dishes were sold. We have already stated when on the subject of birds that a single dish cost the tragic actor Aesop 100,000 sesterces, and I have no doubt that readers felt indignant; but, good heavens, Vitellius when emperor had a dish made that cost 1,000,000 sesterces, and to make which a special furnace was constructed out in open country, as luxury has reached a point when even earthenware costs more than vessels of fluorspar. It was owing to this dish that Mucianus in his second consulship, in a protest [AD. 70] which he delivered, reproached the memory of Vitellius for dishes as broad as marshes, although this particular dish was not more disgraceful than the poisoned one by which Cassius Severus when prosecuting Asprenas charged him with having caused the death of 130 guests. Artistic pottery also confers fame on towns, for instance Reggio and Cumae. The priests of the Mother of the Gods called Galli castrate themselves, if we accept the account of Marcus Caelius, with a piece of Samian pottery, the only way of avoiding dangerous results; and Cacius proposed as a penalty for an abominable offence that the guilty person should have his tongue cut out in the same way, just as if he were already himself inveighing against the same Vitellius in anticipation. What is there that experience cannot devise? For it employs even broken crockery, making it more solid and durable by pounding it up and adding what is called Signia lime, a kind of material used in a method which experience has also invented for making pavements.


Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

3 results
1. Pliny The Elder, Natural History, 34.55, 34.57-34.60, 34.62, 35.2-35.13, 35.15, 35.18, 35.20, 35.22-35.28, 35.31, 35.34, 35.44, 35.49, 35.51-35.52, 35.57-35.58, 35.60, 35.64-35.68, 35.70, 35.72, 35.74, 35.76-35.77, 35.81-35.83, 35.85-35.86, 35.88, 35.91, 35.93, 35.95, 35.97-35.98, 35.100, 35.102-35.103, 35.108-35.110, 35.114, 35.116-35.117, 35.119-35.120, 35.127-35.128, 35.130-35.133, 35.136, 35.139, 35.144 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

2. Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria, 12.10.3-12.10.9 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

12.10.3.  The first great painters, whose works deserve inspection for something more than their mere antiquity, are said to have been Polygnotus and Aglaophon, whose simple colouring has still such enthusiastic admirers that they prefer these almost primitive works, which may be regarded as the first foundations of the art that was to be, over the works of the greatest of their successors, their motive being, in my opinion, an ostentatious desire to seem persons of superior taste. 12.10.4.  Later Zeuxis and Parrhasius contributed much to the progress of painting. These artists were separated by no great distance of time, since both flourished about the period of the Peloponnesian war; for example, Xenophon has preserved a conversation between Socrates and Parrhasius. The first-mentioned seems to have discovered the method of representing light and shade, while the latter is said to have devoted special attention to the treatment of line. 12.10.5.  For Zeuxis emphasised the limbs of the human body, thinking thereby to add dignity and grandeur to his style: it is generally supposed that in this he followed the example of Homer, who likes to represent even his female characters as being of heroic mould. Parrhasius, on the other hand, was so fine a draughtsman that he has been styled the law-giver of his art, on the ground that all other artists take his representations of gods and heroes as models, as though no other course were possible. 12.10.6.  It was, however, from about the period of the reign of Philip down to that of the successors of Alexander that painting flourished more especially, although the different artists are distinguished for different excellences. Proto­genes, for example, was renowned for accuracy, Pamphilus and Melanthius for soundness of taste, Antiphilus for facility, Theon of Samos for his depiction of imaginary scenes, known as φαντασίαι, and Apelles for genius and grace, in the latter of which qualities he took especial pride. Euphranor, on the other hand, was admired on the ground that, while he ranked with the most eminent masters of other arts, he at the same time achieved a marvellous skill in the arts of sculpture and painting. 12.10.7.  The same differences exist between sculptors. The art of Callon and Hegesias is somewhat rude and recalls the Etruscans, but the work of Calamis has already begun to be less stiff, while Myron's statues show a greater form than had been achieved by the artists just mentioned. Polyclitus surpassed all others for care and grace, but although the majority of critics account him as the greatest of sculptors, to avoid making him faultless they express the opinion that his work is lacking in grandeur. 12.10.8.  For while he gave the human form an ideal grace, he is thought to have been less successful in representing the dignity of the gods. He is further alleged to have shrunken from representing persons of maturer years, and to have ventured on nothing more difficult than a smooth and beardless face. But the qualities lacking in Polyclitus are allowed to have been possessed by Phidias and Alcamenes. 12.10.9.  On the other hand, Phidias is regarded as more gifted in his representation of gods station of men, and indeed for chryselephantine statues he is without a peer, as he would in truth be, even if he had produced nothing in this material beyond his Minerva at Athens and his Jupiter at Olympia in Elis, whose beauty is such that it is said to have added something even to the awe with which the god was already regarded: so perfectly did the majesty of the work give the impression of godhead. Lysippus and Praxiteles are asserted to be supreme as regards faithfulness to nature. For Demetrius is blamed for carrying realism too far, and is less concerned about the beauty than the truth of his work.
3. Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.14.3, 1.38.7, 4.33.5, 5.27.3, 10.18.5, 10.32.13 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

1.14.3. Some extant verses of Musaeus, if indeed they are to be included among his works, say that Triptolemus was the son of Oceanus and Earth; while those ascribed to Orpheus (though in my opinion the received authorship is again incorrect) say that Eubuleus and Triptolemus were sons of Dysaules, and that because they gave Demeter information about her daughter the sowing of seed was her reward to them. But Choerilus, an Athenian, who wrote a play called Alope, says that Cercyon and Triptolemus were brothers, that their mother was the daughter of Amphictyon, while the father of Triptolemus was Rarus, of Cercyon, Poseidon. After I had intended to go further into this story, and to describe the contents of the sanctuary at Athens, called the Eleusinium, I was stayed by a vision in a dream. I shall therefore turn to those things it is lawful to write of to all men. 1.38.7. My dream forbade the description of the things within the wall of the sanctuary, and the uninitiated are of course not permitted to learn that which they are prevented from seeing. The hero Eleusis, after whom the city is named, some assert to be a son of Hermes and of Daeira, daughter of Ocean; there are poets, however, who have made Ogygus father of Eleusis . Ancient legends, deprived of the help of poetry, have given rise to many fictions, especially concerning the pedigrees of heroes. 4.33.5. I may not reveal the rites of the Great Goddesses, for it is their mysteries which they celebrate in the Carnasian grove, and I regard them as second only to the Eleusinian in sanctity. But my dream did not prevent me from making known to all that the brazen urn, discovered by the Argive general, and the bones of Eurytus the son of Melaneus were kept here. A river Charadrus flows past the grove; 5.27.3. This is the horse in which is, say the Eleans, the hippomanes (what maddens horses). It is plain to all that the quality of the horse is the result of magic skill. It is much inferior in size and beauty to all the horses standing within the Altis. Moreover, its tail has been cut off which makes the figure uglier still. But male horses, not only in spring but on any day, are at heat towards it. 10.18.5. The men of Orneae in Argolis, when hard pressed in war by the Sicyonians, vowed to Apollo that, if they should drive the host of the Sicyonians out of their native land, they would organize a daily procession in his honor at Delphi, and sacrifice victims of a certain kind and of a certain number. Well, they conquered the Sicyonians in battle. But finding the daily fulfillment of their vow a great expense and a still greater trouble, they devised the trick of dedicating to the god bronze figures representing a sacrifice and a procession. 10.32.13. About forty stades distant from Asclepius is a precinct and shrine sacred to Isis, the holiest of all those made by the Greeks for the Egyptian goddess. For the Tithoreans think it wrong to dwell round about it, and no one may enter the shrine except those whom Isis herself has honored by inviting them in dreams. The same rule is observed in the cities above the Maeander by the gods of the lower world; for to all whom they wish to enter their shrines they send visions seen in dreams.


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
behaviour, associations concerns for members Gabrielsen and Paganini, Private Associations in the Ancient Greek World: Regulations and the Creation of Group Identity (2021) 216
cult images, danger of Elsner, Roman Eyes: Visuality and Subjectivity in Art and Text (2007) 42
cults, role of associations in Gabrielsen and Paganini, Private Associations in the Ancient Greek World: Regulations and the Creation of Group Identity (2021) 216
cunnilingus Lateiner and Spatharas, The Ancient Emotion of Disgust (2016) 248
deity, powers of Elsner, Roman Eyes: Visuality and Subjectivity in Art and Text (2007) 42
delphi, offering of the orneatai Elsner, Roman Eyes: Visuality and Subjectivity in Art and Text (2007) 42
dreams, and images Elsner, Roman Eyes: Visuality and Subjectivity in Art and Text (2007) 42
excrement Lateiner and Spatharas, The Ancient Emotion of Disgust (2016) 248
galli Lateiner and Spatharas, The Ancient Emotion of Disgust (2016) 248
identity, xv–xvi, of prototype and representation Elsner, Roman Eyes: Visuality and Subjectivity in Art and Text (2007) 42
image, and ritual Elsner, Roman Eyes: Visuality and Subjectivity in Art and Text (2007) 42
image, as ritual Elsner, Roman Eyes: Visuality and Subjectivity in Art and Text (2007) 42
image, identified with prototype Elsner, Roman Eyes: Visuality and Subjectivity in Art and Text (2007) 42
local community/society, associations involvement in Gabrielsen and Paganini, Private Associations in the Ancient Greek World: Regulations and the Creation of Group Identity (2021) 216
magic Elsner, Roman Eyes: Visuality and Subjectivity in Art and Text (2007) 42
mimesis Elsner, Roman Eyes: Visuality and Subjectivity in Art and Text (2007) 42
miracles, pagan Elsner, Roman Eyes: Visuality and Subjectivity in Art and Text (2007) 42
offering, art work as Elsner, Roman Eyes: Visuality and Subjectivity in Art and Text (2007) 42
orneatai, offering at delphi Elsner, Roman Eyes: Visuality and Subjectivity in Art and Text (2007) 42
pausanias, and ritual-centered visuality Elsner, Roman Eyes: Visuality and Subjectivity in Art and Text (2007) 42
ritual, image and Elsner, Roman Eyes: Visuality and Subjectivity in Art and Text (2007) 42
ritual, image as Elsner, Roman Eyes: Visuality and Subjectivity in Art and Text (2007) 42
womb' Lateiner and Spatharas, The Ancient Emotion of Disgust (2016) 248