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Museum of Classical Archaeology Databases

Sicyonian Treasury at Delphi, metopes

The town of Sicyon, near Corinth, had a reputation among ancient writers for sculptural innovation, and also possessed excellent limestone quarries. Much of the stone used at Delphi was from Sicyon.

These four metopes show: (a) the Dioscuri, twins worshipped at the town, returning with others from a cattle raid; (b) The boar of Kalydon; © Zeus in the guise of a bull abducting Europa; (d) Jason’s ship Argo (illustrated). These myths have particular meaning for Sicyon but were still unusual subject matter, which is maybe why the names of the characters were originally added in paint.

The sculptures are very inventive for their date. The Europa relief in particular is notable for capturing a fleeting moment, and for the female figure being in proportion to the animal; most archaic sculpture of this period was not concerned with the accuracy of relative sizes

Fine limestone
Location of Original: 


0.58m tall

Purchased in 1922


Lippold: Griechische Plastik, 24- (n.8)
Kähler, A: Das Griechische Metopenbild (1949), 39-; 48-
Karo: Personality in Greek Archaic Art, 133-
Fouilles de Delphes IV: 18-
Stewart: Greek Sculpture, pl. 80
Richter: Ancient Italy, 2 (a only)

c.560-550 BCE

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