The Gold in the Athena Parthenos

Author(s): Samuel Eddy
Source: American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 81, No. 1 (Winter, 1977), pp. 107-111
Published by: Archaeological Institute of America
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/503656 .
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1977]
ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTES
107
the
man-eating Stymphalian
Birds are a
mythical
ex-
pression
for the
supposed pestilential vapors
exhaled
by
the marshes. The water of the lake is
beautifully
clear
but nevertheless the inhabitants of the
valley
are said
to suffer much from fever. This is not
strange,
since
the
plain immediately
to the east of the lake is
swampy."
The
representations
on our vase
depict
both hero
and
deity,
Herakles on his work of
mercy
and Artemis
"the
goddess
of wild Nature"
appeased.
The
jug
could have been dedicated to one of the numerous
cults of Artemis. It is
functionally
sound in its de-
sign
and serviceable when used as a
dispenser
of
liquid; when, however,
at rest with the handle side
displayed (fig. 3)-it
is an ikon in the full
Byzantine
sense of the
word,
the
epiphany
of
Artemis,
mistress
of man and
beast,
in whose "cult occur
orgiastic
dances and the sacred
bough"14-invisibly
visible
participant
and "foredancer" in her own cult
dance.15
J.R.A. TwELE
UNIVERSITY OF DENVER
14 M.P.
Nilsson, A
History of Greek Religion,
tr. F. Fieldsen
(Oxford 1925) 28, and W.F.
Otto,
Die Gotter Griechenlands
(Frankfurt/Main 1947) 81-91, esp.
82.
15
An
hypothesis which would offer a solution to Tolle's
problem (supra
n.
3).
THE GOLD IN THE ATHENA PARTHENOS
To
supervise purchases
of material for the
gold
and
ivory
statue of Athena Parthenos which Pheidias
made,
the
Athenians,
as
usual,
chose a number of
citizen Commissioners called
Epistatai.
There were
presumably
ten of
them,
one from each
tribe,
and if
they
served in the same
way
as the Commissioners
of the Statue of
Hephaistos, they
were in office
year
after
year
until the statue was
completed.' They
were
subject,
like all such
administrators,
to official
scrutiny,
and
simple
versions of their annual accounts were
engraved
on a number of small stelai of Pentelic
marble which were set
up
in
public
view on the
Acropolis.
We
possess fragments
of them.
They
con-
tain some
tantalizing
bits of information which
sug-
gest asking
where the Athenians obtained the
gold
which went into the statue.2
The stones show that the Commissioners
spent pub-
lic
money
over a
period
of about
eight years during
which Pheidias was
creating his awesome masterpiece.
The best
preserved
stele is the one for
440/439, which
records
simply
that the board of
Epistatai
to whom
Kichesippos
of
Myrrhine
was
Secretary
received as
income one hundred talents. We are to infer that
this was in silver
money.
It came "from the Treasurers
to whom Demostratos of
Xypete
was
Secretary." We
are to understand that the Treasurers were those of
Athena, who
supervised
Athens'
single largest
fund
of
money.
The
inscription
then states
baldly
that the
Commissioners
bought
a named
weight
of
gold
with
a
specified
amount of cash and a named
weight
of
ivory
with another
specified
sum of
money.4
The
rest of this account is broken
away,
but it
doubtlessly
recorded in a few lines that the
Epistatai spent
the
rest of their hundred talents to
purchase
other ma-
terials and to
pay
the salaries of Pheidias and his
assistants.
So abbreviated a
system
of
public accounting
was
believed sufficient because
evidently
the
only impor-
tant
thing
it was
necessary
to show was that the in-
come and
expenditures
of the Commissioners balanced.
The
Epistatai
themselves were not even
always named,
although
the board included no less a
personage
than
Perikles.5
The accounts
say simply
that the Commissioners
bought
(ZovEfly)
gold
without
specifying
their source.
Broadly speaking,
there were
only
two sources of
metal
open
to them. One was the
open
market of
private
individuals. The second was some kind of a
source under Athens' official control. There are
strong
indications that the
Epistatai
obtained their
gold
from
the latter.
A
weight
of not less than
forty-four
talents of
gold
was
required
for the
great
statue.6
In
440/439
the Commissioners
paid eighty-seven talents,
4,652
drachms,
five obols of silver for
gold weighing
six
talents, 1,618 drachms,
and an uncertain number of
obols. Meiggs-Lewis
read the
figure
for obols as
I
for
one, but
Donnay
reads it as
T
for one
quarter-obol.7
This
disagreement
is of no
importance
in this
enquiry.
1 IG
12,
370, lines 2-4.
2
G.
Donnay, "Comptes
de
l'Athena chryselephantine
du
Parthenon,"
BCH
91 (1967) 50-86;
R.
Meiggs
and D.M.
Lewis,
A Selection
of Greek
Historical
Inscriptions (Oxford
1969)
no.
54 (hereafter
cited as
Meiggs-Lewis, GHI).
The
argumentation
of a new
sequence
of the
fragments promised
by
Lewis on
p. 149
of
Meiggs-Lewis, GHI, has not
yet ap-
peared, although
the author has
kindly supplied
me with
notes,
and I follow his
chronology
here.
SB.D. Meritt,
Athenian Financial Documents
(Ann
Arbor
1932) 230-31;
W.D.
Dinsmoor,
"The Tribal
Cycles
of the
Treasurers of
Athena," HSCP
Suppl. I (1940) 163.
4
G.
Donnay (supra
n.
2) 54-55; Meiggs-Lewis, GHI,
no.
54.
5 Philochoros, FHG
328
F 121. The Secretaries of the board
were
evidently
named so that if accusations of malfeasance were
made, the Commissioners could be
identified from
presumably
more detailed records in the state archives.
Perhaps
the con-
viction of Pheidias
(Philochoros, loc. cit.; Plut. Per.
31.2-5)
was one of the reasons that the
public
accounts of the Com-
missioners of the
Propylaia
were rather more detailed about
both income and
outlay:
IG
12,
363-67=Meiggs-Lewis, GHI,
no. 60.
6
1
follow the
figure
for
weight
of
gold given by Philochoros,
FHG
328
F
121. He was a scholar of exact
learning,
and his
precise
number makes the
forty
talents of Thuc. 2.13.5
look
like a
rounding-off.
The
fifty
talents of
Ephoros (Diod. Sic.
12.40.3)
is
simply
inflation of
Thucydides.
The ratios of
gold
to silver at this time are discussed
by W.E. Thompson,
"Gold
and Silver Ratios at Athens
during
the Fifth
Century,"
NC
(1964) 103-23;
D.M.
Lewis, "New Evidence for the Gold-Silver
Ratio," Essays
in
Greek Coinage
Presented to
Stanley
Robinson
(Oxford 1968) 105-10.
7
G.
Donnay (supra
n.
2) 68; Meiggs-Lewis, GHI, 147.
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108 AMERICAN
JOURNAL
OF ARCHAEOLOGY
[AJA 81
Assuming
that the
silver:gold
ratio was on the order
of
13:1,
five obols of silver would
purchase only /13
of an obol of
gold,
and the Athenians did not write
so
complex
a fraction in
public inscriptions.
The stone
cutter was almost
certainly
asked to
engrave
the
amount of
gold bought
either as the nearest full obol
-as
Meiggs-Lewis
read the stone-or as the nearest
small fraction for which there was a
simple sign,
the
quarter
obol-as
Donnay
reads it. The
important
figure, anyway,
was the one for the silver
money,
which must have been exact so as to add
up
with the
other lines to make the round hundred talents which
were
given
the
Epistatai.
If we use the
reading
for one
obol,
then the silver:
gold
ratio was
13.9993:1,
and this is so close to ex-
actly
i4:I,
that, given
Greek methods of
notation,
we
must understand that the
precise weight
of
gold
bought
could not be
expressed by
the usual
signs,
and
that the
price
in
question was,
in
fact, exactly
I4:1.
The metal
acquired
this one
year
was about a sev-
enth of the entire amount needed.
Fragments
of other
stelai show that in some
years
before
440/439
rather
less was obtained.' But whatever the amounts
bought
year by year,
to
purchase forty-four
talents of
gold
within a
period
of
eight years
was to create an extraor-
dinary
demand for the metal which must have driven
up
the
price
in the
open
market. The remarkable facts
which
emerge
from the stele for
440/439
are that the
price
was
exactly
I4:i
and that the Commissioners ob-
tained the
gold
from a
single
source. We can infer the
latter because the stele for
(probably) 439/438
distin-
guishes
two
sources, having
two entries for
purchases
and a
summary
in the dual.9
The
price
of
I4:I
for
440/439
is not an isolated in-
stance. The same
price
was received
by
the Commis-
sioners of the Parthenon when
they
sold excess
gold
in
434/433-10
We are almost
certainly
in the
presence
of an official
price,
for if this
buying
and
selling
was
conducted on a free
market,
this
identity
of a round
number is a
very
remarkable coincidence. It is easier
to believe that we are
dealing
with transfers of metal
from one fund to another.
There is abundant
contemporary
evidence that the
market
price
of
gold
was otherwise.
Herodotus,
writ-
ing
about
440
or
so, says
without
qualification
that
normally
it was
I3:I.11
How and Wells believe that
his
figure
is a
rounding
off of the exact ratio of
131/:1.12 They argue
that the latter was the
price
which
Xenophon
knew around
400 B.C.13
It is also
the measurable
relationship
of silver to
gold
in extant
Lydian
and Persian coins:
twenty
silver
sigloi
of
5-5
grams
were
equivalent
to one
gold
daric of
8.4 grams.
This ratio remained constant in Asia from about
570
to
350 B.C., showing incidentally
that the
availability
of
gold
must have been
fairly
uniform over this
long
period.'4
We have some actual
prices
of
gold
which show
that about the time Herodotus wrote the
price
of
gold
at Athens fluctuated above the
131/3:I
ratio. Some time
before the
inventory
of Athena's
property
for
434/433
was
made,
the
goddess
had been
given
a
gold
crown
weighing sixty
drachms.15
Assuming
that it cost
I,ooo
silver drachms to
make,
as D.M. Lewis has
argued-
Athenian crowns almost
always
cost
multiples
of even
hundreds of drachms-the
silver-gold
ratio when the
gold
was
bought
was about
1623:1.16
She also owned
a
gold phiale weighing 1,200 drachms.'7 If it cost
three
talents,
the ratio when it was made was
i5:1.
And there were two
gold
crowns made not
long
be-
fore
432/431
which
weighed eighty drachms."8
If
they
were worth
i,200 drachms,
the ratio was now hold-
ing steady
at
15:1. Actually,
we should deduct about
five
percent
of these
prices
to cover the cost of manu-
facture,
so that the ratios should be lowered
to, say,
16:1 and
i41/3:1
respectively.
Whatever the exact
figure,
neither was the
14:1
of the
purchases
for
the Parthenos.
The reason was that what little we know of
gold
production
in the fifth
century
B.C. shows that the
metal was scarce because it was mined in
only
a
very
few
places
in the
Aegean
world. Macedonia had small
workings opened probably
in the sixth
century.19
Gold was also found
along
the Thracian
coast, notably
around Mount
Pangaios
and in the Hebros river.20
8
IG
12,
359
from
447/446-445/444;
IG
12,
358
for
442/441;
and IG
12,
356
from some
year
in the
intervening period.
If
Hesperia 30 (1961) 262, no. 74
is
really
a
fragment
of these
accounts,
and if Meritt has
correctly
restored the amount of
silver as
[M]•L]
,
and if all this
money
was
spent
on
gold,
then over eleven talents
weight
was obtained this one
year. But, because this bit of stone is so
badly
mutilated that
no more than three
signs
are
preserved
on it, it is best to
regard
Meritt's attribution as
unproven.
9
IG I2, 356.
10
IG
12,
352, lines 21-23=Meiggs-Lewis, GHI,
no.
59.
11 Hdt. 3.95.
12 W.W. How and
J. Wells,
A
Commentary
on Herodotus
(London I9I2) I, 287.
13 Xen. An.
1.7.18.
14B.V.
Head,
Historia Nummorum2 (London 1911), pp.
xl, 826; (hereafter HN2);
C. Seltman, Greek
Coins2
(London
1955) 61-62;
S.P. Noe,
Two Hoards
of
Persian
Sigloi (Numis-
matic Notes and
Monographs
no.
136,
New York
1956);
E.S.G. Robinson, "The
Beginnings
of Achaemenid
Coinage,"
NC
(1958) 189, 191.
15IG
12, 276, line 4.
16
1
owe this
argument
to U.
Koehler,
"Aus der Finanz-
Verwaltung Lykurgs,"
Hermes
5
(187I)
225-26,
and
especi-
ally
to D.M.
Lewis, "New Evidence for the Gold-Silver Ratio,"
Essays
in
Greek Coinage (Oxford 1968)
Io6-Io7.
17 IG
12,
256,
lines
6-7.
18 IG 12, 258,
line
I9.
19Hdt.
5.I7;
Str.
14.5.28 (68o);
Orth in RE
Suppl.
Bd.
IV
(1924) 117; O. Davies,
Roman Mines in
Europe (Oxford
1935) 233-35; R.J. Forbes, Studies in Ancient
Technology
(Leiden 1963) VII, 140 (hereafter Forbes, Technology).
20Hdt. 6.46.7; 7.112-3; 9.75;
Thuc.
1.100.2;
Xen. Hell.
5.2.17;
Diod. Sic.
16.3.8;
Str.
7.frr. 33-34;
Bliimner in RE VII
(1912) 1555-78; S. Casson, Macedonia, Thrace, and
Illyria
(Oxford 1926) 68-69, 71-73; 77-79; Forbes, Technology, VII,
139.
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1977]
ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTES
109
There were
placers
in
wealthy Lydia,
in her
gold-
bearing
Paktolos river and its sources in Mount Tmo-
los.21
Gold came from
Lampsakos, Abydos,
and As-
tyra.22 Except
for
Pangaios,
the
output
of most of
these
places
seems to have been so short-lived that
by
the end of the sixth
century
most were
probably
ex-
hausted.23
In the fifth
century
none of these states
issued a
gold currency
which we could associate with
the
blessing
of
continuous,
abundant mineral
wealth.
Lampsakos,
it is
true,
had an electrum
currency,
but
it was scarce.24 In the
Aegean
the island of Thasos
may
have
produced
a little
gold,
as did
Siphnos,
but
by
the fifth
century
the
workings
of the latter had been
flooded
by
the sea.25
We know the names of
only
a few
private gold sup-
pliers.
There were the Athenians Oloros and his son
Thucydides,
who owned mine on the coast of
Thrace,
and also the Corinthian Architeles.26 But their
sources cannot have
produced large
amounts. Even so
powerful
a man as the
tyrant
Hieron of
Syracuse
had
trouble
finding enough gold
to make a
tripod
and
Nike as
presents
for
Apollo,
and he had to look as far
afield as
Corinth,
where Architeles
had,
we are
told,
been
accumulating
small amounts over a
long pe-
riod.27
Attica itself
produced
no
gold.28 Hence,
if the Com-
missioners of the Statue had to
buy gold
in the
open
market,
they
had to obtain it either from dealers like
Architeles or one of the
gold-producing
states. The
nearest and easiest of the
latter,
the
only polls
whose
mines we know were
functioning
in the mid-fifth cen-
tury,
was the
mining
district of Thasos on the main-
land near
Skaptesyle.
Herodotus visited these
mines
and knew
quite
a lot about them. He
says they pro-
duced the abundant annual revenue of
eighty
talents.29
He cannot mean the
weight
of
gold produced.
If he
does,
Thasos would have had an annual income from
gold mining
alone
equivalent
to more than
I,ooo
silver
talents,
a
greater
sum than
imperial
Athens
enjoyed
from all sources at the
height
of her
power.30
He must
be
expressing
the value of the
gold
in silver. At a ratio
of 13'/3:1,
the
weight
of
gold produced by
the
Skapte-
syle
mines would have been on the order of six
talents,
some
340 pounds,
a
year.
With so small an
output
as
this,
it is understandable
why
Hieron had trouble
finding
metal for his
offerings. And,
if Hieron had
trouble,
how could
Athens,
in
440/439,
in one of
eight years in which the statue was being made, find
six talents weight of gold at a price of exactly
14:i
?
Moreover, about 465 B.C. when Thasos rebelled
from Athens, the Thracians
gained
control of the
mines, and Athens' effort to claim them for herself
ended disastrously in the bloody defeat inflicted by
the Edonoi near Ennea
Hodoi.31
In the
450s and
440s,
Athens was not, as some have
thought,
in con-
trol of the Thracian mines. While the statue was
being
built, therefore, Athens could not have dictated the
price
of Thracian
gold,
but would have had to
pay
whatever the
Odrysian
middlemen demanded.
The answer must be, of course, that the Commis-
sioners' gold, or, at least much of it, was not found
on the open market. This
being so, the
only other
source
open to them was the
supply
of electrum
and gold coinage
which flowed into Athens as
part of
the annual tribute of her allies. And there is certain
evidence that while
gold
was
coming
into Athens'
treasure in the
450s and
440s, there is no evidence of
expenditure or of accumulation unless it was in the
metal which went into the Parthenos.
The
postscript of
tribute-quota list I for
454/453
says that the tribute came in both as silver and as
chrusion,
which means either electrum or
gold. In
this year, the
postscript says,
the chrusion was
paid
in the electrum
currency
of
Kyzikos, equivalent to
about-the
inscription
is
damaged-fifteen
talents of
Athenian silver.32
No
subsequent
list has such an
addendum,
but we
can show that after
454/453
some states continued
to
pay
with
Kyzikene
electrum or with Persian
gold.
Athens valued
Kyzikenes
at
twenty-four
Attic drachms
when offered
by
a state in
payment
of tribute.33 We
can detect
payments
in electrum when
partial pay-
ments are made in amounts
exactly
divisible
by
twen-
ty-four. Thus, in
443/442
Tenedos
paid
two
talents,
5,280 drachms,
exactly equivalent
to
720 Kyzikenes.34
Other states which made
payments
in electrum were
Drrdanos, Elaious, Madytos,
and
Alopekonnesos,
all
neighbors
of
Kyzikos
in the
Hellespontine
tribute dis-
trict.35
And if the
relatively
small number of
partial
payments
shows a few states
paying
with
electrum, it
must be a fair inference that
many
other states also
used the same
currency
in
years
of
normal,
full
pay-
ment.
As for darics, the
unique
amounts of tribute
paid
21
Hdt.
1.93;
5.49,
I10;
Str.
I3.4.5
(625-26); 14.5.28 (68o).
22
Lampsakos: Theophr.
de
lap. 32; Abydos:
Xen. Hell.
4.8-37; Astyra:
Str.
13.1.23 (59I).
23
Forbes, Technology, VIII, 163.
24 C.
Seltman (supra
n.
14) 113.
25
Thasos: Hdt.
6.46-47;
Thuc.
I.Ioo.2. Siphnos: Hdt. 3.57;
Paus. 10.11.2.
26
Oloros and
Thucydides:
Thuc.
4.105.1;
Plut.
Cim.
4.I.
Architeles:
Theopompos, FGH 115
F
193.
27Theopomp. (supra
n.
26); G. Glotz, Ancient Greece
at
Work (New
York
1926) 231-32.
28 Orth in
RE, Suppl.
Bd.
IV,
117;
Forbes, Technology, VII,
139.
29 Hdt.
6.46.7.
30 In 431,
Athens' income from all sources was about
i,ooo
talents (Xen. An. 7.1.27).
31Hdt.
9.75;
Thuc.
1.100.2-3; 4.I02.I-2;
Diod. Sic.
11.70-
75. The
argument on
possession
of these mines is
developed
by P. Perdrizet, "Scaptisyl6," Klio io
(910o) 1-27,
and it is
followed by J. Pouilloux, Recherches sur l'histoire et les cultes de
Thasos, I (Paris 1954)
Io7-1o9.
32 B.D. Meritt, "The Tribute
Quota
List
of 454/3," Hesperia
41 (1972) 416.
33
S.
Eddy, "The Value of the
Cyzicene
Stater at Athens
in the Fifth
Century," Museum Notes 16
(1970) 13-22.
34 List
I3.V.6.
35
S. Eddy, "Some
Irregular Amounts of Athenian
Tribute,"
AJP 94 (1973) 47-54.
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110 AMERICAN
JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGY
[AJA 81
by
the
dynast Sambaktys
and certain small states in
Karia in the
450s
show that their
payments
were
probably
made in Persian
gold.36
It
is, therefore,
also
quite possible
that some of the Greek states in Asia
which had no
coinage
of their own
paid
in darics,
which were one of the
very
few
truly
international
currencies of the fifth
century. They
were
certainly
plentiful;
Herodotus believed that a certain
grandee
of
Lydia
had
possessed
not fewer than
3,993,000.37
Athens received almost
enough
chrusion to make
the statue. If the amount received in
454/453
was
fifteen
talents,
we
might
assume that a
roughly
simi-
lar amount came in
during
each of the four
years
of
this first
period
of assessment
(454/453-451/450).
Then,
about
450,
the Decree of Klearchos banned the
minting
of silver. The effect
ought
to have been to
force more states than before to use
gold
and electrum.
We
might
assume that double the amount of chrusion
came in
during
each of the three
years
of the second
period
of assessment
(450/449-447/446).
We
might,
then,
estimate that between
453
and
446, by
which
time work on the statue had
begun,
a minimum of
150
talents
(silver value)
of electrum and
gold
had
come into Athena's treasure. But that would not
have been all that was
available,
because
gold
and
electrum must have been accumulated before
454/453-
By 450,
we
know,
the entire treasure amounted to
up-
wards
of
5,000
talents
(silver value).38
It is
impos-
sible to know how much chrusion was
included,
but
a minimum amount
may
be estimated
very roughly.
On the basis of the fifteen talents received in
454/453,
let us assume that
during
the nine
years following
the
organization
of the Delian
Confederacy
in
478/477,
out of the
460
talents assessed
only
five a
year
came
in as
gold
or
electrum; that,
as the
league expanded,
during
the next seven
years
the amount increased to
ten; and,
finally,
that
during
the last seven
years,
down
to
455/454,
to fifteen. This would make a total of
220 talents
(silver value). Adding
this to the amount
estimated for the
period 454/453-447/446,
we reach
a
grand
total
of
370
talents. The real amount of chru-
sion which came in was
probably greater. Athens,
then,
accumulated more than half of the
forty-four
talents
(by weight) required.
One
might argue
that some of the chrusion received
did not accumulate but was
expended
as
pay
for the
crews of the
Confederacy's warships. Possibly. But,
after
455
or
so,
when
nearly
all the states had
stopped
furnishing warships,
the
navy
was
predominately
Athenian. Athens found it inconvenient to
pay her
own men with
foreign gold.
The Commissioners of
the Parthenon were
given
at least
seventy-four Lamp-
sakene and
twenty-seven
and one-sixth
Kyzikene
staters when construction of the
building began, and,
although
these coins were
equivalent
to
nearly
half
a talent of silver, the Commissioners never
spent
them,
one annual board
passing
them on to the next.3" The
inscription
which lists the
military expenses of 432/431
twice mentions
payments
made
by
the Treasurers of
Athena in
drachms,
which
proves
that these
expenses
were not met with
gold.40
If Athenian workmen or
sailors had been
paid
in darics or
staters, they
would
have had to wait
twenty-five days
for their
wages-
assuming
a scale of a drachm a
day-because
these
foreign
coins were worth so
much.41
And
payments
in
foreign currency
would have made
money-changing
necessary,
which would have cost an
exchange premi-
um. The
unsuitability
of
gold money
in Athenian
eyes
is best shown
by
the fact that Athens
normally
minted
none.
We know that little
gold
accumulated in the state
treasuries.
By 434/433,
at least
3,000
talents had been
carried
up
to the
Acropolis
for
safe-keeping,
all in
"national coin,"
which means silver.
Thucydides says
that the entire treasure on the
Acropolis
in
431, very
nearly 6,000
talents,
was in coined silver.42 The
frag-
mentary inventory
of the Treasure of the Other Gods
from
429/428 shows
that down to that
year they
had
amassed little
gold
or
electrum.43
Yet this
fund,
which
was
largely
built
up
between
434/433
and
429/428
was rather
large,
because
by 423/422
it had loaned
the Athenians
just
over 820
talents.44
If, then,
there is reason to think that little
gold
was
spent
as
pay,
and
perfect
evidence that
virtually
none
was laid
up
in the treasure down to
429/428,
what
became of the
large
amount of
chrusion which we
know was received as tribute? Since the
gold
for the
statue was not
bought
at market
price,
but at the con-
trolled
price
of
I4:I,
and since the
only gold
which
Athens could control was that which had been re-
ceived as
tribute,
it must be that much of the
gold
which went into the
big
statue was from
currency.
It
would
certainly
have been an enormous convenience
and
advantage
for the Athenians to have
tapped
such
a
source,
because that would have made
dealing
in
the
open
market
wholly
or
partly unnecessary.
The
amount of
gold required
for the statue was doubtless
calculated before Pheidias's work
began
to be worth
36
Eddy (supra
n.
35) 54-59.
37 HN2, 826; C.M. Kraay
and M.
Hirmer, Greek
Coins
(London 1966) 358.
Grandee: Hdt.
7.28-9.
38
Papyrus Decree,
ATL
II,
D
13.
3"IG I2, 339-54.
IG
12, 352
of
434/433
is
reproduced
in
Meiggs-Lewis, GHI, no. 59,
with the new
reading
for the num-
ber of
Lampsakenes.
40
Hicks-Hill, Sources
for Greek History2 (Oxford 1951)
no.
79, lines 21, 25.
The
perfectly preserved
sum of
5,535 drachms
in line
25
will not allow substitution of a whole number
of
sigloi
or
Kyzikenes, proving
that the
payment
was in Attic
silver. Neither IG
12,
293=Hicks-Hill,
Sources
for Greek
His-
tory2 (Oxford 1951)
no.
61, which summarizes the
money spent
to subdue Samos and
Byzantion
in
440,
nor IG
I1, 295+=
Meiggs-Lewis, GHI, no.
61, which is the
expenses
of the two
squadrons
sent to
Kerkyra
in
433, specifies
what sort of
money
was
provided.
41Eddy (supra
n.
33).
42
3,000 talents: IG
IV, 91I=Meiggs-Lewis, GHI,
no.
58A.
6,00o talents: Thuc. 2.13.3.
43IG
12,
3I0.
44 IG
12, 324,
lines
II9-20•=Meiggs-Lewis,
GHI,
no.
72.
The
fund of the Other Gods was
organized
in
434/433 by
one of
the Decrees of Kallias: IG
12, 91=Meiggs-Lewis, GHI, no.
58A.
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19771
ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTES
111
more than
600
silver
talents, equivalent
to the tribute
received from the allies in a
year
and a
half,
a
really
enormous sum. The Athenians must have
thought
how to
keep
this
outlay
as small as
possible,
and
they
must have known that to
buy
all the
gold
on the
open
market would force the
price up
and
up, per-
haps
to
16:1
or even more. In a
purchase
as
large
as
forty-four
talents
(weight)
of
gold,
the difference be-
tween
I4:I
and
15:1
was some
forty
talents of
silver,
itself a
good
deal of
money,
more than the tribute of
the most
heavily
assessed state.
How can the difference between the normal market
price
of
13/:1
known to Herodotus and
Xenophon
and the
14:1
which the Commissioners
paid
be ac-
counted for? It is
probably
the cost of
purifying
the
gold.
The Athenians did refine the metal in the Par-
thenos,
the
point being explicitly
made
by
Perikles
when he was
enumerating
the financial resources of
Athens.45 If it had not been
refined,
metal from dif-
ferent sources would have had a different color.
Contrary
to what some scholars have
written,
the
ancients did have
processes
for
refining gold
and even
electrum. The coins would have been
finely ground
and the
pieces
heated with salt or
sulphur
in bone ash
cupels.
The silver in the
alloy
would form silver
chloride or silver
sulphide
and be absorbed
by
the
bone ash.46 If a hundred
pounds
of
Kyzikenes
were
refined,
theoretically
the Athenians would recover the
forty-six pounds
of
gold
in them and lose the
fifty-
four
pounds
of
silver.47
At Herodotus's value of
13 ":1,
this would amount to a loss of
nearly 90%
of
the value of the electrum. The actual
process
would
result,
of
course,
in the loss of some
gold
as
well,
so
that we
might suppose
a total loss of ten
percent
or
more of the value of the
Kyzikenes
refined. The dif-
ference in value between
13%:1
and
i4:I
is five
percent. But,
if we assume that about half the
gold
came from Persian
darics,
which were
nearly pure
gold themselves,
the overall loss would have been in
the
region
of five
percent.
There can be no doubt that some
gold
in the statue
came from coins. IG
IJ, 356 from, probably, 439/438,
shows that the
Epistatai acquired I10 (or more) Lyd-
ian staters from a source other than that which
sup-
plied
the bulk of the metal this
year. Perhaps they
were the dedication of the
Kalla[ischros]
who is men-
tioned in the
summary
of
expenses.48
The accounts of the Commissioners of the Statue
are too broken and the estimates of the amounts of
chrusion which Athens received too uncertain to
prove
that all of the
gold
which went into the Parthenos
was taken from the tribute.
Perhaps
some of it was
received as
pious dedications. Nevertheless, I believe
we do have
enough
hard facts to show that a con-
siderable
part
of the
gold
was once
currency, perhaps
as much as half or more.
Armed, then,
with the
gold
of Asia which Athens
had received as tribute from her
subject-allies,
the
Parthenos was not
only
a monument to the technical
accomplishments
and artistic
conceptions
of the
sculp-
tor Pheidias, she was also a literal monument to Athe-
nian
imperialism.
That the
gold
came from
contemporary coinage may
provide
a clue to the ultimate fate of the statue. She
was
apparently
last seen
standing
in her house in the
middle of the fifth
century
of the Christian Era.49
Since the
mintage
of
gold
solidi of the
Emperor
Theo-
dosius
II
was somewhat
larger
than that of his
prede-
cessor
Arcadius,50
it
may
well be that his coins derived
in
part
from the
forty-four
talents of refined
gold
which
once covered the
robe, the warlike
arms, and sacred
snake of the
virgin goddess.
SAMUEL EDDY
SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY
45
Thuc. 2.13.5.
46
Plin. HN
33.60; 34.121; 35-183; Forbes, Technology
VIII, 177-81. Some
sort of
process
was known as
early
as the
reign
of Kroisos
(Hdt. I.50).
47 R.
Bogaert,
"Le cours de statire de
Cyzique
aux ve et
ive
si&cles
avant
J.-C.,"
AC
32 (1963) 92
and n.
37,
shows
that the
average gold
content of the
Kyzikene
was
46%.
48
IG
12, 354+=
G.
Donnay (supra
n.
2) 71-75; Meiggs-Lewis,
GHI, no. 54.
49 N.
Leipen,
Athena Parthenos. A Reconstruction
(Toronto
1971)
18.
50 J. Sabatier, Description
gendrale
des
monnaies byzantines
(Leipzig 1930) 1, I02-104, 114-16.
THE HANDMADE BURNISHED WARE OF
THE LATE HELLADIC IIIC PERIOD:
ITS MODERN HISTORICAL CONTEXT
An anomalous situation has arisen about "Hand-
made Burnished Ware" because
J.R.'s original
article
(AJA 79 [1975]
I7-32)-an
extract
from his Ph.D.
thesis-did not make clear the
history
of the identifica-
tion of the ware. Scholars
reading
the article
may,
as a
result,
not be aware of the
range
of information on
which it is based. Dr.
Walberg
in
particular (personal
communication to
E.F.)
was
quite
unaware of the
background
when she wrote her comment
(AJA 80
[1976] 186)
and the full
background
has not been
made clear
by J.R.'s reply.
In
1964 (a year
when E.F. did not take
part
in the
excavations)
the ware was found in considerable
quan-
tity
at
Mycenae
in the LH IIIC wash levels retained
by
the Citadel Wall. It was
not, however, specifically
noted at that
time,
since the material of the
year's
excavation was
bagged
after
only very
brief
study
pending
later detailed
analysis.
As soon as the detailed
work
began
in the summer of
1965,
the
presence
of
this unusual material alerted interest. At this
point
E.F.
happened
to
pay
a brief visit to Athens and met
Mervyn Popham, similarly
in town on a visit from
Lefkandi, bringing photographs
of the
group
of
pots
found on a floor in Trial
IV-V,
which included the
very
similar handmade and burnished
cup (Popham
and
Sackett, Excavations
at
Lefkandi [1968]
18 and
fig. 34).
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