Inventory Number: 2013/31 (A) (Resim 1-3)
Place it is found: Samsun/ Kurupelit
Museum it is found: Samsun Archaeology and Ethnography Museum
Measures: Height 150 cm, width 92 cm, depth 15 cm
Description: This is a grave stele which is made of grit as low- relief and which has triangle pediment. The left corner of the pediment is broken. The faces, hair and the surface of the figures are worn out. A heraldic composition of a sitting woman and a standing servant is placed in front of a temple or a house with two frontal Ionic columns.
Grave steles, which frequently appeared in the ancient world, are archeological finds that are made from materials such as stones or marbles. They are mostly carved in rectangular or a similar form of cubic, smooth and polished slabs. With inscribed descriptions they are meant to make the grave owner immortal. Grave steles, whose earliest examples can be traced back to the Mycenaean period, emerged as a branch of sculpture and frequently appeared in Greek art in 7 B.C.. Although grave steles that appeared in Greek art display different typological characteristics with unique shapes in distinct regions and periods, most of them are carved in accordance with the Attica tradition of grave steles. The production of grave steles came to a halt in Attica at the beginning of the 5th century B.C. The development of grave steles was interrupted until 430 B.C. when it was on track again. Considering the subjects and compositions, it can be observed that late Archaic age traditions continued to exist. In this period, a new tradition, apart from local properties, did not emerge . Particularly, the anatomical structure of the inscribed figures on grave steles went in parallel with the general development in sculpture, ceramic and architectural works and thanks to this, dating was facilitated based on clothing and hair engravings, postures, foot, hand and arm movements of described figures on grave steles, objects that these figures hold in their hands and their architectural forms. Despite these parallelisms, it is to be noted that grave steles have idiosyncratic artistic properties in different times and regions.
When we first examine the architectural form of the grave stele under study it is observed that it has a structural form which narrows towards the top and ends with a triangular pediment. This form of structure is a very commonly used architectural form and it first emerged in the Archaic period. Since upper section of the triangular pediment was mostly damaged, its acroterions could not be thoroughly detected (fig. 1). Besides, in the right corner is a side acroterion in the form of a sphinx in seated position, to the extent it could be preserved, a mixed creature in the form of Griffin or in the form of a lion to the extent that it could be preserved in the right corner. When we look at the tympanum section (pediment), it is not clear whether it was ornamented, with a rosette or a similar ornament, or left empty since the pediment lacks the other broken half. A dentil and two Ionic columns in both sides are placed beneath this triangular pediment. The grave stele, with its triangular pediment, which frequently appeared after the classical period, its acroterion and architrave and side columns, is in the form of a miniature temple model (Naiskos ) which exactly reminds us the front façade of a temple.
Looking at depictions on grave stele, we see two female figures, one sitting and the other standing, engraved on the stele (An increase can be observed in the number of people depicted on grave steles from earlier periods until late periods. Within this process, while depiction of one person was predominant in early ages, this tradition evolved into a form where two, three or more people were depicted together). The left depiction, which demonstrates the female grave owner , is a side view female figure sitting on a stool with two cushions and molded legs (fig. 2). The stool bears the qualities of a simple stool structure mostly encountered in the Hellenistic period, rather than flamboyant crowns of the Ancient era. The sitting female figure, wears a himation on khiton. Her feelings are reflected on posture, her head is leaning forward without any motion and the upper body is slightly turned to side. In this figure, whose head is covered in half with coat fabric, her himation falls over her right arm towards the stool with zigzags. The left arm of the figure bent from elbow is extended upwards, until beneath the chin. Her right arm is extended to her leg at the abdominal level. With this posture, she is almost a herald of the type of “Pudicitia”, which would emerge later on. This type is a general description assigned for the posture of female figures with one arm on their abdomen, elbow of other arm resting on it and hand placed next to chin, and who hold the edge of their himations that are covered up to head. The prototypes of this type are observed in the Sarcophagus of Mourning Women , which was dated to the middle of 4th century B.C. (Boardman 1995: 215, fig. 227; Pasinli 2003: 82-87). This posture arises as a result of sculptors’ objective of giving figures a sad appearance, and in later periods it turned into a frequently encountered type, particularly on grave steles.
The second figure on the stele depicts a servant (fig. 3). The servant figure whose prototypes were observed in the Attica grave reliefs here distinguishes itself from the main figure with her unique posture, clothing and smaller frame. Servant figures in Attica grave steles stand in a composition featuring loyalty to their masters, the main figures. The most frequently encountered scene for servant figures is that they carry belongings of female grave owners as is the case in our stele. Here, while the maid is holding a mirror in her lifted right hand, she is also carrying a jewelry box in the other hand. The servant figure is depicted as standing and leaning to left. The head and body of the figure are inscribed in a 3:4 ratio. Hairs in both figures are placed on head as a cap which is characteristic of this era. On both faces, forehead-nose line is depicted in a linear way. As in the sitting figure, the servant figure has also a filled chin and a full facial structure. While the figure wearing a short-sleeve khiton is putting her right foot forward, and puts her body weight on her left foot.
In order to date stele, we had to find similar samples from Samsun and surrounding districts. Because, in determining periodical characteristics of steles it is very important that they are the artifacts of the same region besides their overall style resemblances. However, a comparable stele sample that was dated to the Classical era could not be obtained in Samsun . However these steles were dated to 2nd-1st centuries B.C. and were not used as comparable samples since they did not have any stylistic and typological similarity to stele we have studied on. Therefore, in order to date artifacts samples of close proximity to the region or from the same era were chosen.
Our first sample is a limestone grave stele in the Museum of Sinop (fig. 4). A sitting woman and two other women standing opposite her are seen on this grave stele dated to 460-450 B.C. Figures on this stele, sculpted in bas-relief, are depicted in a temple (Naiskos) with Ionic columns and dentil on its upper side. The left side of the stele is broken starting from the middle of the sitting woman figure. Comparing this stele to our sample, many similarities are seen. First of all, in terms of form, both examples are included in the group of Naiskos style grave steles with their dentils and Ionic columns. In terms of composition, a female grave owner sitting on a stool on the left and a servant figure across her is presented similarly. Differently, however, two servant figures appear in the sample from Sinop. Considering the stool of the figure sitting on the left, it exactly matches our stele with its cushions and molded legs, even though its backside could not be preserved. Additionally, a rooster figure is present beneath the stool.
Looking at standing figures on both steles, a servant figure carrying a jewelry box in her left hand while holding a mirror with her lifted right hand is seen in profile in the Samsun stele. In the sample from Sinop, while the frontal figure is holding a jewelry box in her left hand, she is holding a distaff and a spinner in her lifted right hand. While the figure in the back seems to hold an alabastron with her lifted left hand, she pulls her right hand to her cheek.
Having examined engraving of the figures, sitting woman is quite similar to our stele with her leaning head and slightly turned immobile body. Here, as in the sample from Samsun, the sitting figure’s bent left arm is extended towards beneath her lower jaw, her right arm looks extended on her leg in abdomen level.
Sitting figures in both steles wear a himation and a part of it falls with zigzags towards the stool over right arm. These zigzagging curls on the clothing of figures are an indication that masters worked with older methods . As characteristics of the period, these curls can be observed in many relief artifacts, such as sitting goddess sculpture from Tarent dated to 480-460 B.C. and the Delphi bronze statue, as well as independent sculpture artifacts and stelles of Paros, Akropolis, Giustiniani and Ikaria steles dated to the middle of 5th century B.C.
Again, another stele found in Sinop, dated to 450 B.C. bears great similarities to the sample from Samsun in terms of typology, except having a triangular pediment with acroterium (fig. 5). A woman sitting on a stool and a maid figure standing across her is seen in this stele as well. As in the first Sinop sample, again a rooster figure is placed beneath the stool. When compared in terms of movements, the sitting figure in the second Sinop sample slightly leans her head forward, her left hand is placed underneath the jaw and her bent right arm extends forward, all of which are the same in the stele from Samsun. They are also considerably similar in terms of clothing. In both depictions, a himation from a thick fabric, pulled up to half of her head, is worn and a part of her clothing is falling towards the stool over right hand. While standing servant figure is extending her left hand forward, as if she was carrying something, she pulls her right hand towards her cheek.
In addition, another grave stele (fig. 6) in pyramidal form, which was discovered in Sinop and has been preserved in the Istanbul Archeology Museum, is symmetrical to the description of stele covered in our article. Also, it bears a strong resemblance to the stele in Samsun in certain respects: First, there is a servant figure standing opposite the sitting figure. Second, there is a mirror in the servant’s hand. Third, the sitting figure sits on a cushion. And lastly, there is no rooster under the stool. Even though the fact that the female figure in this stele does not put one of her hands on her jaw is a significant difference, it is also important in that such variations might be present on grave steles found in this region.
Also, absence of any inscription on the examined stele creates a question mark in terms of identity of the grave owner. It is highly likely that this grave stele, which emphasizes a woman, belongs to a woman. However, it have been proved that gender of portrayed figures on some grave steles of the Classical era is incompatible with names that are stated on inscriptions of the same steles. In this regard, inscriptions on steles in Sinop are quite explanatory. These steles have inscriptions stating that they belong to a woman. Based on these inscriptions, it can also be claimed that the examined stele belongs to a woman as well.
Since servant figures are standing behind the sitting person in both steles found in Sinop, we do not have any opportunity to compare these with skirt curls of the standing maid figure on the Samsun stele. For such a comparison, the most suitable samples are the Mourning Athena stele, dated to 470-60 B.C., and Sterope and Hippodameia reliefs, dated to 460 B.C., on the eastern pediment of the Temple of Zeus in Olympia. Smooth curves on skirts of the mentioned clothing in all three artifacts show great similarities with the sample from Samsun. However, while a motion in the curls, albeit slightly, is represented by pulling of one leg in the samples of Samsun, Sterope and Hippodameia, the movement represented in Athena by pulling left leg backwards is not reflected on the skirt curls. It can be gleaned from this comparison that the sample from Samsun can be dated later than the Mourning Athena stele and closer to pediment reliefs of the Temple of Zeus in Olympia.
Studies on the Late Archaic period artifacts of the Eastern-Ion Art show that even though there is a valid periodical style in the all Eastern Greece regions in the Archaic period, regional characteristics are clearly seen in different centers of art. Nevertheless, the impact of Ion sculpture schools from the Late Archaic period in Anatolia is clearly observed. Front view of eyes and side view of head, almond-eyes, narrow and thick lips and slight smile on these lips are the most evident reflections of these impacts in both Samsun and Sinop steles. In addition, a low stool without back support, slowly falling down of thick fabric on clothes, sorrowful, plain and a reserved atmosphere, leaning head and pulling left hand beneath jaw appear as the Classical era characteristics. Destruction of the city of Milet, which took a central position in the Eastern-Greek Anatolian cultural circle, by Persians in 549 B.C. also ended Ion art. Nonetheless, Milet-based sculpture schools survived in such northern regions of the Eastern-Greek world as Propontis, Thasos, Thrace, Macedonia and Pontus. Both Sinop steles and the grave stele from Samsun, which was examined in this study, are examples on which the influence of Ion sculpture schools is clearly seen, and they are also the most significant evidences that grave stele tradition in Attica also survived in the Greek regions of Anatolia, particularly in Sinop and Amisos, which were colonies of Milet. Consequently, the stele under study can be dated to 460-450 B.C. as a result of the comparison of typological and stylistic characteristics.
Akurgal, Ekrem, “Zwei Grabstelen Vorklassischer Zeit Aus Sinope” Winckelmannsprogramm der Archäologischen Gesellschaft zu Berlin, 111, (1955), ss. 5-38.
-----, Die Kunst Anatoliens, von Homer bis Alexander, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 1961.
Ashmole, Bernard, Architect and Sculptor in Classical Greece, In Great Britain By Phaidon Press, London 1972
Berger, Ernst, Das Basler Arztrelief. Studien zum griechischen Grab und Votivrelief um 500 v. Chr und zur vorhippokratischen Medizin, Bant 1, Basel 1970.
Blümel, Carl, Die Archaisch Griechischen Skulpturen der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin, Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 1964.
Boardman, John, Dörig Jose, Fuchs Werner, Hirmer Max, Die Griechische Kunst, Hirmer Vertlag, München 1976.
Boardman, John, Yunan Heykeli, Klasik Dönem, çev. Gürkan Ergin, Homer Kitabevi, İstanbul 2005.
-----, Yunan Sanatı, çev. Yasemin İlseven, Homer Kitabevi, İstanbul 2005.
-----, Greek Sculpture, The Late Classical Preiod, Thames and Huston, London 1995.
Bol, Peter C. - Kreikenbom Marienne, Klassische Plastik, Philipp von Zabern, Mainz 2004.
Borbein, Adolf H., Das Alte Griechenland. Geschichte und Kultur der Hellenen, Bertelsmann Verlag, München 1995.
Boysal, Yusuf, Grek Klasik Devir Heykeltraşlığı - İ.Ö. 5. ve 4. Yüzyıllar, Güzel İstanbul Matbaası, Ankara 1967.
Charbonneaux, Jean - Martin Roland and - Villard Francois, Das Klassische Griechenland: 480-330 v. Chr, C.H. Beck, München 1971.
Durugönül, Serra, “Zwei Grabstelen einer Familie aus Amisos (Samsun)”, Epigraphica Anatoloica 19, (1992), ss. 61-70.
-----, “Grabstele der Nana aus Sinope”, AMS 8, Studien zum antiken Kleinasien II, (1992), ss. 97-107.
Fuchs, Werner, Die Skulptur Der Griechen, Hirmer Verlag, München 1979.
Hiller, Hilde, Ionische Grabreliefs der Ersten hälfte des 5. Jahrhunderts v.Chr., Verlag Ernst Wasmuth, Tübingen 1975
Karagöz, Şehrazat, Anadolu’dan Mezar Stelleri Arkaik-Greko Pers-Hellenistik-Roma Bizans Çağlar-Anatolian Steles Archaic-Greek/Persian-Hellenistic-Roman Byzantium Periods, Arkeoloji ve Sanat Yayınları, İstanbul 1984.
Langlotz, Ernst, Studien zur Nordostgriechischen Kunst, Published by Philip von Zabern, Mainz 1975.
Lullies, Reinhard, Griechische Plastik von den Anfangen bis zum Ausgang des Hellenismus, Hirmer Verlag, München 1956.
Özgan, Ramazan, “Adana Arkeoloji Müzesi’nde Bulunan Klasik Çağ Sonlarına Ait Bir Mezar Taşı” Prof. Dr. Haluk Abbasoğlu’na 65. Yaş Armağanı, 891-898, Antalya 2008.
Pasinli, Alpay, İstanbul Arkeoloji Müzesi, Akbank Yayınları, İstanbul 2003.
Pedley, John Griffiths, Greek Art and Archaeology, Pearson/Prentice Hall, London 2002.
Pfuhl, Ernst ve Möbius Hans, Die Ostgriechischen Grabrelief, Published by Philip von Zabern, Maiz 1977.
Richter, Gisela, Yunan Sanatı, çev. Beral Madra, Cem Yayınevi, İstanbul 1979.
Ridgway, Brunilde Sismondo, Fourth-Century Styles in Greek Sculpture, The University of Wisconsin Press, 1997
Schefold, Karl, Die Bedeutung der Griechischen Kunst für das Verständnis des Evangeliums, Verlag Phillip von Zabern, Mainz 1983.
Scholl, Andreas - Horster Platz, Die Antikensammlung: Altes Museum, Pergamonmuseum, Published By Philip von Zabern, Mainz 2007.
Spivey, Nigel, Understanding Greek Sculpture: Ancient Meanings, Thames and Hudson, London 1997.
Stewart, Andrew, Greek Sculpture, An Exploration, Yale University Press, London 1990.
Şahin, Mustafa, Miletopolis Kökenli Figürlü Mezar Stelleri ve Adak Levhaları, Türk Tarih Kurumu Yayınları, Ankara 2000.