The bronze statuette of Artemis and the marble one of Apollo.

Spectacular Statuettes of Apollo and Artemis Discovered in Rare State of Preservation in Crete

(Read the article on one page)

While the size of the find may be small, the quality is great. Archaeologists working in Aptera in Iraklio, Crete, have recently unearthed well-preserved statuettes of the mythical Greek goddess Artemis and her twin brother Apollo.

The Artemis sculpture is cast in bronze and depicts the goddess in the process of firing an arrow. The head of the excavation at the site in Aptera, Vanna Niniou-Kindeli, said that the goddess statuette was found in an excellent state or preservation, with all of her limbs intact.

Detail of the front of the Artemis bronze sculpture.

Detail of the front of the Artemis bronze sculpture. ( Greek Ministry of Culture )

The Artemis statuette is wearing a short chiton (tunic) and even the white material used for her eyes has been preserved. She was found with the bronze base that the sculpture would have stood upon. The Greek News Agent Ethnos reports that the statuette would have measured 54cm (21.3 inches) tall with the base and is 35cm (13.8 inches) tall without it.

Back view of the Artemis sculpture from Aptera, Crete.

Back view of the Artemis sculpture from Aptera, Crete. ( Greek Ministry of Culture )

In Greek mythology, Artemis was the goddess of nature, chastity, virginity, the hunt, and the moon. According to legends, Artemis and Apollo were the children of Zeus and Leto, and soon after her birth, Artemis helped her mother to give birth to her twin brother. Afterwards, she asked her father to allow her to remain chaste for her life – which she chose to devote to hunting and protecting the natural environment.

The statuette of the Greek god Apollo is arguably less-impressive than that of his sister, but still shows artistic talent. The Apollo sculpture is carved out of marble and measures approximately 54cm (21.3 inches) with the base as well. The International Business Times reports that the Apollo statue has a “rare preservation” of red coloring in some of the creases of the base, suggesting it was painted.

The marble statue of Apollo.

The marble statue of Apollo. ( Greek Ministry of Culture )

In contrast to his twin sister, Apollo was the Greek god of music, healing, light, and truth. Like his sister he was also an archer. Two important tasks given to Apollo were giving the science of medicine to man and moving the sun across the sky each day.

First estimates suggest that the sculptures are from the late 1st – early 2nd century AD. The archaeologists believe that the two figures were probably imported to Crete and originally used to decorate the altar of a Roman luxury residence or were used for decorative purposes at the Roman-era Villa in which they were found.

The base the statues of Artemis and Apollo once stood upon.

The base the statues of Artemis and Apollo once stood upon. ( Greek Ministry of Culture )

Vanna Niniou-Kindeli told Ethnos that the statues will be added to the collection of the Archaeological Museum of Chania on Crete. She also emphasized the support of the Region of Crete and the district commissioner Stavros Arnaoutakis in the excavations to the same source.

Artemis was perhaps the more popular twin for devotion, however temples and sites that worshipped both she and her brother Apollo have been found. Last year, Ancient Origins reported that the twins were also discovered to have been worshipped together at a site for divination via hydromancy in Athens, Greece. The combined honoring of the siblings was described as:

“[…] a yin and yang type of dichotomy: Apollo, famous for his pursuit of nymphs, was worshiped as the protector of domestic flocks and herds and the patron of the founding of colonies and cities. While Artemis, who protected girls, seems to recall an earlier time as the goddess of hunting and nature.“

Featured Image: The bronze statuette of Artemis and the marble one of Apollo. Source: Greek Ministry of Culture

By Alicia McDermott

Comments

Its really amazing to think how as much as things have changed in the centuries since we are still in many ways honoring our heroes, idols, and cultural icons through bronze just like that Artemis statuette. Some of the steps in the process may have been refined and streamlined but ultimately it is much the same as it was. Hopefully we'll see our bronze statues and memorials stand the test of time like work of the ancient Greeks.

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Top New Stories

The Maiden Tower is the most recognized structure in the Old City of Baku, Azerbaijan.
“At the beginning of the 1st millennium BC, there was raised an 8-storied towered temple (Maiden’s Tower) devoted to seven gods, grandiose for those day… [possessing] seven sacred levels, [and] wall-recessed altars with seven-colored fires burning in honor of the pantheon of gods of Ahura Mazda or Mithra”. - Professor Davud Akhundov.

Human Origins

Detail of ‘God creating the Sun, the Moon and the Stars’ by Jan Brueghel the Younger.
Although most mainstream scientists and most of the developed world now accept the theory of evolution and the scientifically established age of Earth and the universe, there is still a group of people that resist the status quo and insist, based on a particular literal interpretation of Genesis 1-11 in the Hebrew Bible

Ancient Technology

Representation of an ancient Egyptian chariot.
The wheel can be considered mankind’s most important invention, the utility of which is still applied in multiple spheres of our daily life. While most other inventions have been derived from nature itself, the wheel is 100% a product of human imagination. Even today, it would be difficult to imagine what it would be like without wheels, since movement as we know it would be undeniably impossible.

Ancient Places

The Maiden Tower is the most recognized structure in the Old City of Baku, Azerbaijan.
“At the beginning of the 1st millennium BC, there was raised an 8-storied towered temple (Maiden’s Tower) devoted to seven gods, grandiose for those day… [possessing] seven sacred levels, [and] wall-recessed altars with seven-colored fires burning in honor of the pantheon of gods of Ahura Mazda or Mithra”. - Professor Davud Akhundov.

Opinion

El Caracol Observatory at Chichen Itza (Wright Reading/CC BY-NC 2.0) and Composite 3D laser scan image of El Caracol from above
In 1526, the Spanish conquistador Francisco de Montejo arrived on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico and found most of the great Maya cities deeply eroded and unoccupied. Many generations removed from the master builders, engineers, and scientists who conceived and built the cities, the remaining Maya they encountered had degenerated into waring groups who practiced blood rituals and human sacrifice.

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article