Anytus, Damophon, Lycosura 74 cm, Artemis , Damophon, Veil of Despoina. Despoina Temple

Damophon (3nd century BC), son of Philip of Messene, was an ancient Greek sculptor of the Hellenistic period from Messene, who executed many statues for the people of Messene, Megalopolis, Aegium and other cities of Peloponnesus. His statues were acroliths. Considerable fragments, including three colossal heads from a group by him representing Demeter, Persephone, Artemis and the Titan Anytus, were discovered on the site of Lycosura in Arcadia, where was a temple of the goddess called The Mistress. They were preserved in part in the museum in Athens and partly on the spot. Damophon also restored Phidias' statue of the Greek god Zeus, which had been damaged in an earthquake.

From L-R: Artemis, Demeter, Veil of Despoina, Anytus, Tritoness from the throne. (Source)

217-213 BC

List of ancient Greek sculptors


The most remarkable work in the market-place of Messene is an image of the Mother of the Gods, of Parian marble, the work of Damophon. who restored the Zeus at Olympia with the greatest possible precision when the seams of the ivory opened. This Damophon also made the statue of Artemis, called Laphria, for the Messenians. The most numerous and remarkable of their works of art are to be found in the Sanctuary of Asklepios. In one part stand images of the god and his children, in another those of Apollo, the Muses, and Herakles, the city of Thebes, and Epameinondas, the son of Polymnis, besides Fortune and Artemis of the Dawn. The marble statues are the work of Damophon who, so far as I know, was the only Messenian sculptor of repute while the portrait of Epameinondas is of iron, and is the work of a different artist.


At Aigion there is an ancient precinct of Eileithuia ; the image of the goddess is clothed from head to foot in a fine woven garment, and is made of wood, except the face, hands, and feet, which are of Pentelic marble ; one hand is extended, while the other holds torches. The image is the work of Damophon of Messene. Not far from this Eileithuia is a precinct of Asklepios, containing images of Hygieia and Asklepios. On the base is inscribed an iambic verse, which states that Damophon of Messene wrought them.


At the opposite or western end of the colonnade is an enclosure sacred to the great Goddesses. Before the entry are represented in relief on the one side Artemis, on the other Asklepios and Hygieia. Of the great Goddesses, Demeter is made entirely of marble, while the Saviour, so far as her garments are concerned, is of wood; each figure is, I suppose, about fifteen feet in height. Damophon of Messene made the statues, as well as the small female figures which stand before them, clothed in tunics reaching to the ankles, and bear each a basket full of flowers on her head. They are said to be the daughters of Damophon ; but those who refer them to a divine origin believe that they represent Athena and Artemis gathering flowers with Persephone. Beside Demeter stands Herakles, about a cubit in height ; this Herakles is stated by Onomakritos, in his poems, to be one of the so-called Idaian Daktyloi. Before them stands a table, on which are wrought in relief two Seasons, Pan holding a pipe, and Apollo playing the lyre. There is an inscription relating to them, which states that they are amongst the first of the gods. Nymphs are also represented on the table ; there is Neda carrying the infant Zeus, and Anthrakia, also an Arkadian nymph, holding a torch, and Hagno with a pitcher in one hand and a bowl in the other ; there is Archirroe, too, and Myrtoessa, each of whom bears a pitcher, from which water, no doubt, is supposed to be flowing. There is also a sanctuary of Aphrodite within the precinct of the great Goddesses. Damophon made the images in the temple ; there is a Hermes of wood, and a wooden image of Aphrodite, which also has hands, face, and feet of marble. The goddess received the surname of Machanitis.


The sanctuary of Despoina is four stades distant from Akakesion. The images of the goddesses themselves, Despoina and Demeter, and the throne whereon they are seated, and the footstool beneath their feet, are all of one block ; and no part of the decoration, either of their garments, or of the throne itself, is made of a separate block, or fastened with clamp or solder, but the whole is one block. This block was not imported, but (as they say) they found it by digging a hole within the precinct at a spot indicated by a vision. Each of the images is about equal in size to that of the Great Mother at Athens ; they also are the work of Damophon. Demeter bears a torch in her right hand, while she has laid the left on Despoina; Despoina bears a sceptre and ' cista' as it is called, in her lap ; with one hand the right she holds the ' cista.' On each side of the throne is a figure ; beside Demeter stands Artemis, clad in a deer-skin, with a quiver on her shoulder; in one hand she holds a torch, in the other two snakes; beside Artemis lies a bitch, like those used in hunting. Close to the image of Despoina stands Anytos, attired as a warrior in full armour ; the attendants of the temple say that Despoina was reared by Anytos, and that he is of the number of the Titans, as they are called. The legends of the Kouretes, who are represented beneath the images, and of the Korybantes, who are wrought in relief on the base, I omit, although I know them.

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