Category Archives: Statues

A New Discovery at Perga — Turkey

Perga is mentioned twice in the New Testament in connection with Paul’s First Missionary Journey.  I like to visit the site for many additional reasons for it is a place where one can get a real feel for what a large Greco-Roman city was like—without all of the crowds, think of the crowds typically visiting Ephesus.

One of the famous people of Perga was Plancia Magna, who lived after the days of Paul and who was a great benefactress of the city.  The guide books said that her tomb was located just south of the south city wall.  During my visits to the city, I had never really spotted anything that looked like her tomb.

When we visited the site in May of 2019, new excavations were underway in that area and the foundation of the Tomb of Plancia Magna was on full display!

View looking northeast at the front of the Tomb of Plancia Magna.

Note the finely chiseled four-tiered base (crepidoma) that the “tomb” stands on.   On top of this, between the two projecting walls (antae) are three additional stairs that lead up to where the tomb itself stood.  The “tomb” almost looks like a small temple.  It stands to the south of the southern gate complex of Perga.

Plancia Magna was the daughter of the proconsul of Bithynia. She dedicated her life and her wealth to the beautification of the city [of Perge], undertaking large remodeling projects during Hadrian’s reign [A.D. 117-138]. She was “elevated to the rank of tutelary divinity of the city.”

View looking southwest at the front of the Tomb of Plancia Magna.

Note the four-tiered base (crepidoma) that the “tomb” stands on.   On top of this, the well-chiseled base of the tomb stands upon.  The “tomb” almost looks like a small temple.  It stands to the south of the southern gate complex of Perga.

I am not certain why there is still “dirt” on one of the crepidoma.  The rough stones on the top of the platform were probably covered with marble—that has been since stripped off.

View of a statue of Plancia Magna in marble that was found at Perge. It is 6.6 ft. tall.

`Plancia Magna was the daughter of the proconsul of Bithynia. She dedicated her life and her wealth to the beautification of the city [of Perge], undertaking large remodeling projects during Hadrian’s reign [A.D. 117-138]. She was “elevated to the rank of tutelary divinity of the city.”

Note that she is wearing TWO garments.  Below her knees and partially covering her feet, the vertical folds of her inner chiton are visible.  The chiton was the most common Greek/Roman garments.  The outer garment, that is wrapped around her head, shoulders, and arms, and that hangs down to her knees, is a himation. On the top of her head are the remains of a priestly diadem – indicating that she functioned as a priestess of the imperial cult!


Perga is located 8 mi. [13 km.] north of the Mediterranean coast of Turkey — about 10.6 mi. [17 km.] northeast of Antalya. It is situated on the large fertile plain of Pamphylia just west of the Cestrus river (modern Aksu river). In New Testament times ships were able to sail up the Cestrus to a point near Perge.

On Paul’s first missionary journey, Paul, Barnabas, and John Mark sailed 175 mi. [280 km.] from Paphos on Cyprus to Perge. Here John Mark left the “team” while Paul and Barnabas walked 155 miles [246 km.] inland through the Taurus mountains to Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13:13–14). After having completed their work in Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe, Paul and Barnabas returned to Perge, where they preached (14:25), before departing from nearby Attalia (Antalya) for Antioch on the Orontes.

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Rare Ancient Bronze Statues — Part 2 of 2 — Athena

I previously posted images and commentary on two of the very well–preserved bronze statues of Artemis that are in the Piraeus Museum (port of Athens).    People often wonder “what did the statue of Athena in the Parthenon look like?”  Well, one of the bronzes from Piraeus is a larger than life-size statue of Athena that was made when the one in the Parthenon was less that 100 years old!

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Piraeus Athena in Bronze — This statue was crafted while the original statue of Athena in the Parthenon still stood! — Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download

This bronze(!) statue of Athena is larger than life size—almost 8 ft. [2.35 m.] tall.  It may have originally been from Delos.  Two owls and two griffins adorn her Corinthian helmet.  The statue dates to ca. 360 B.C. — at that time the Athena statue in the Parthenon was less that 100 years old!   She held a spear in her left hand and a libation bowl—or an owl or a Nike—in her right.  Note the diagonal belt bordered by snakes that contains a Gorgon’s head.

Her weight is resting on her right foot and her left leg is slightly flexed.  This statue, along with three others, was found in 1959 during building excavations in Piraeus.  They were found as a group and although deposited at the same time, they were crafted at different periods.  They were probably deposited in the first century B.C.

Compare the “Varvakeion Athena” (below) that is in the National Museum in Athens.  This statuette is 1/12 the size of the Athena in the Parthenon.  It dates to the third century A.D.!

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The “Varvakeion Athena” from Athens — Third century A.D. — one twelfth the size of the Athena in the Parthenon — Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download

Very Rare Ancient Bronze Statues — 2 Bronze Statues of Artemis — Part 1 of 2 Parts

Most of the statuary from the classical times that grace the museums of the western world are Roman marble copies of bronze statues from earlier periods.  Bronze statues are relatively rare because most of them were melted down (recycled) and the bronze was reused for industrial, agricultural, and/or military purposes!  On a recent trip to Athens we (Mary and I) visited the Piraeus Archaeological Museum—one that I had never visited before (it is a bit difficult to get to, and the National Archaeological Museum of Athens and the newly opened Acropolis Museum, with their “world-class holdings” rightfully get top billing!).

However, upon entering the Piraeus Archaeological Museum I was very excited to see the four large bronze statues that were on display there.

Artemis "B" — Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download

Artemis “B” — Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download

This bronze(!) statue of Artemis is smaller than life-size— 5 ft. 1 in. [1.55 m.] tall. In her right hand she held an offering bowl and in her left a bow (missing). It dates to about 200 B.C. The garment that she is wearing is called a peplos—the folds of which area clearly visible. Note the quiver on her back and her hairstyle  (to view a detail of her quiver and her back Click Here).

Her weight is resting on her left foot and her right leg is slightly flexed. This statue, along with three others, was found in 1959 during building excavations in Piraeus. They were found as a group and although deposited at the same time, they were crafted at different periods. They were probably deposited in the first century B.C.

Artemis "A" — Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download

Artemis “A” — Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download

This bronze(!) statue of Artemis dates to the fourth century B.C.!  It is larger than life size— 6.4 ft. [1.94 m.] tall.  In her right hand she held an offering bowl and in her left a bow (missing).  It dates to the fourth century B.C.  The garment that she is wearing is called a peplos—the folds of which area clearly visible.   Even the marble and chestnut irises of her eyes are preserved!

Her weight is resting on her right foot and the left leg is flexed—in a contrapposto stance.  The statue is attributed to the sculptor Euphranor.

To view (and/or download) additional images of these two statues Click Here.