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INTRODUCTION

INTRODUCTION

Book 2 contains only one poem, in hexameters, composed by Christodorus of Coptus1 during the reign of Anastasius I (491–518). It gives brief descriptions of the statues in the gymnasium of Zeuxippus, which was a courtyard attached to the famous baths of Zeuxippus, in the heart of Constantinople. Christodorus favors a limited number of themes; he usually includes some straightforward information about the statue’s appearance and its glittering patina, and he very often contrasts the motion that a statue appears to make (or wishes to make) with the stillness that is the only state possible for bronze. (Statues of philosophers, whose habitual work is done in stillness, provide a subtle counterpoint.) Mythical figures are mixed with poets and philosophers, along with an occasional historian or figure from Roman history.

Most of the statues seem to be individual rather than members of groups; though Christodorus sometimes imagines them interacting, this is no guarantee that they were posed that way (e.g., it is more likely that Poseidon, in line 67, is holding a dolphin simply as part of his iconography

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INTRODUCTION

than that he is offering it to Amymone). Even when the statues are part of a group, however (e.g., Dares and Entellus, lines 222–27, or Panthous, Thymoetes, Lampon, and Clytius, lines 246–55), he describes each one of them individually.

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.greek_anthology_2.2014