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Metaphors for Marathon in the Sculptural Program of the Athenian Treasury at Delphi

Maryl B. Gensheimer
Hesperia: The Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens
Vol. 86, No. 1 (January-March 2017), pp. 1-42
DOI: 10.2972/hesperia.86.1.0001
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2972/hesperia.86.1.0001
Page Count: 42
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Metaphors for Marathon in the Sculptural Program of the Athenian Treasury at Delphi
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Abstract

The significance of the sculptural decoration of the Athenian Treasury at Delphi has long been debated. This article demonstrates that the sculptural program is not only an early example of a newfound emphasis on Theseus as the particular hero of Athens, but that it is indicative of an effort to create visual parity between the deeds of Theseus and those of Herakles. The Athenian Treasury is, therefore, the first building to use mythic imagery involving Theseus, Herakles, and their battles against the Amazons as a sophisticated allusion to conflict with Persia and to the decisive role of Athens at the Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C. The mythological themes elaborated in the treasury's decoration ingeniously predicate ancient parallels for contemporary events.

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