Greek Public Monuments of the Persian Wars

X. Athenian monuments of Artemisium

50. Trophy, circle of marble stelae with epigram, set up in the precinct of Artemis Proseoa at Artemisium.

Plutarch, Themistokles 8.4-6; De Herodoti malignitate 34.

Plutarch, Themistocles 8.4-6:

“Artemisium has a small temple of Artemis named Proseoa, and trees grow around it and there are stelae of white stone set in a circle. The stone has been worn by hand and gives off a reddish color and smell. On one of the stelae an elegiac poem is written.

‘Races of many men from the land of Asia

Sons of Athenians once in this sea

tamed in a naval battle, when the force of the Medes was destroyed,

and set up these markers to virgin Artemis.’

Plutarch, De Herodoti malignitate 34:

“Then is it worthy of trusting the one writing this about a man or a single city, who in a single phrase takes away the victory of Greece and pulls down the trophy and the inscriptions, which they have put up beside Artemis Proseoa, and destroys the boasting and claims? This epigram is written there:

‘Races of many men . . . etc.’

It is curious that Plutarch calls this dedication a trophy. The monument is not a trophy in the usual sense; it is of permanent nature, a circle of marble stelae upon one of which an epigram is engraved. Since the stelae do not stand over the graves of the fallen, the epigram is not an epitaph (Wade-Gery 1933: 73). It is a dedicatory inscription, concerned chiefly with the exploits of Athenian sailors (Jacoby 1945: 157, n. 3) and marking the battle site.

Artemisium was actually a victory for neither side but both sides may have claimed it. If Plutarch’s phrase is to be taken literally, Athens may have erected an actual trophy. Since Plutarch apparently visited the site (cf. Theander1950-1951: 22-23) and saw the monument, the trophy was probably rebuilt in stone. The circle of stelae may not have been part of the original trophy, which probably consisted of the usual arms and armor or even the beak of a trireme. Nevertheless the epigram may well be of the fifth century (Hiller 1926: 14); if so, we might suppose that one of the stelae was there originally, upon which it was engraved. Others may have been added, for symmetry or other artistic reasons, when the trophy was later rebuilt. The epigrapsas of the De Herodoti malignitate doubtless means epigramma used loosely.

51. Shrine to Boreas.

Herodotus 7.189.3; Pausanias 1.19.5.

Hitzig and Blümner 1896,1: 223; Macan 1907,1: 281; Rouse 1907: 120; How and Wells 1912,2: 215; Frazer 1913,2: 201-202.

Herodotus 7.189.3:

“The Athenians say, then, that Boreas came to their aid before they accomplished these things at that time, and, going away, they established a sanctuary for Boreas by the river Ilissos.”

Pausanias 1.19.5:

“At Athens the rivers Ilissos flow and the Eridanus, having the same name as the Celtic one. The Ilissos is where Oreithyia played and was seized; they say that Boreas lived with Oreithyia and on account of his love for her, in defending for them, destroyed many of the barbarian triremes. The Athenians to make the Ilissos sacred to other gods as well, and there is an altar at it for the Muses of the Ilissos.”

Herodotus connects the founding of the altar to Boreas with the battle of Artemisium and Plato (Phaedrus 229b) mentions an altar to Boreas near the stream Callirrhoe. Pausanias seems to associate the altar with worship of the river Ilissos.

The myth of the rape of Oreithyia by Boreas is older than the battle of Artemisium but it is found on Athenian rf. vase paintings which are later than the Persian Wars. Since the evidence of the paintings supports Herodotus, the shrine is probably a memorial to Artemisium.