Apollo’s Pointed Column and the Dioskouroi’s Parallel Beams

Milette Gaifman

in Aniconism in Greek Antiquity

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199645787
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741623 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Ancient Culture & Representation

Apollo’s Pointed Column and the Dioskouroi’s Parallel Beams

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Two types of monument occupy a privileged place in the study of Greek aniconism: Apollo's column, known as the agyieus, and the Dioskouroi's parallel beams, commonly termed the dokana. In contrast to the plethora of rocks and stelai seen so far, in these two instances a non-figural form was already associated in ancient texts with a particular divinity. This chapter revisits a variety of objects and images that have been classified under the rubrics designated by the ancient words ‘agyieus’ and ‘dokana’. Rather than confirming or illustrating ancient testimonia, material finds reveal an additional aspect of the phenomenon of Greek aniconism. Nonfigural monuments associated with Apollo and the Dioskouroi, but not necessarily markers of divine presence, were adopted as emblems of localities and identities, principally in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Together with literary accounts, these objects and images reveal that the non-figural came to occupy a central place in asserting local identities in the later centuries of Greek antiquity.

Keywords: agyieus; dokana; Greek aniconism; nonfigural monuments; Apollo; Dioskouroi; local identities

Chapter.  15664 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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