About the Image on the Front Cover
This image is one the most endearing of all the sculptures made during the Classical Period of Athens. It shows a husband and wife whose names, inscribed above their heads,
are Philoxenos, dressed in the uniform of a hoplite, one of many foot soldiers fighting in phalanx formation, wearing a metal helmet,
breastplate, short tunic called exomis and sandals, and holding a shield on his left arm, and Philoumene, his wife, wearing a long robe,
called peplos, flowing down yet attached at the waist, with her hair in a snood and elevated shoes. The pose is classic, standing straight
in serene elegance, one knee bent as if they were ready to walk away from each other. They gaze at each other for a tender and sad farewell
and shake hands to express their mutual love and loyalty.
This scene is carved in relief on a grave stele made of marble, white with a hue of grey, from a quarry on the south side of Mount Pentelikon, about ten miles northeast of Athens. It may have been painted originally, but the paint has disappeared. The dimensions are 102.2 cm (40¼ in.) in height, 44.5 cm (17 ½ in.) in width and 16.5 cm (6½ in.) in depth. It is dated of about 400 BCE, during the return to normal life in Athens after the end of the Peloponnesian
War in 404 BCE. The timing may indicate that the tribute was from the wife to her husband killed in action and, for this reason, that the
gravestone was paid for by her wealthy family.
This image is reproduced here from the J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California, 83.AA.378. See the Museum’s
Handbook of the Antiquities Collection, p. 22.
About Joseph R. Laurin
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Published January 2, 2013
Education & Reference, Parenting & Relationships, History.