Antikythera Ephebe


The Antikythera Ephebe, registered as: Bronze statue of a youth in the museum collections,[1] is a bronze statue of a young man of languorous grace that was found in 1900 by sponge-divers in the area of the ancient Antikythera shipwreck off the island of Antikythera, Greece. It was the first of the series of Greek bronze sculptures that the Aegean and Mediterranean yielded up in the twentieth century which have fundamentally altered the modern view of ancient Greek sculpture.[2] The wreck site, which is dated about 70–60 BC, also yielded the Antikythera mechanism (an astronomical calculating device), a characterful head of a Stoic philosopher, and a hoard of coins. The coins included a disproportionate quantity of Pergamene cistophoric tetradrachms and Ephesian coins, leading scholars to surmise that it had begun its journey on the Ionian coast, perhaps at Ephesus; none of its recovered cargo has been identified as from mainland Greece.[3]

Antikythera Ephebe
Height1.96 meters
Createdc. 340–330 BC
Aegean Sea, Mediterranean Sea
Present locationAthens, Attica, Greece

Description of the statue


The Ephebe, which measures 1.96 meters,[4] slightly over lifesize, was retrieved in numerous fragments. Its first restoration was revised in the 1950s, under the direction of Christos Karouzos, changing the focus of the eyes, the configuration of the abdomen, the connection between the torso and the right upper thigh and the position of the right arm; the re-restoration is universally considered a success.[3]

Possible origin

The Antikythera Ephebe or Youth

The Ephebe does not correspond to any familiar iconographic model, and there are no known copies of the type. He held a spherical object in his right hand,[5] and possibly may have represented Paris presenting the Apple of Discord to Aphrodite; however, since Paris is consistently depicted cloaked and with the distinctive Phrygian cap, other scholars have suggested a beardless, youthful Heracles with the Apple of the Hesperides.[3] It has also been suggested that the youth is a depiction of Perseus holding the head of the slain Gorgon.[3] It could also be the God Apollo, a "Learned" Hermes holding a caduceus and declaiming, an athlete holding some sort of prize (a spherical lekythion), or a sphere, a wreathe, a phiale, or an apple. The statue could even be the funerary statue of a young man. [6]

The statue, dated to around 340–330 BC,[7] is one of the most brilliant products of Peloponnesian bronze sculpture; the individuality and character it displays have encouraged speculation on its possible sculptor. It is, perhaps, the work of the famous sculptor Euphranor, trained in the Polyclitan tradition, who did make a sculpture of Paris, according to Pliny:

By Euphranor is an Alexander [Paris]. This work is specially admired, because the eye can detect in it at once the judge of the goddesses, the lover of Helen, and yet the slayer of Achilles.[8]

The Antikythera Youth is conserved in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.[9]


  1. ^ NAMA
  2. ^ Other well-known underwater bronze finds have been retrieved, generally from shipwreck sites: the Mahdia shipwreck off the coast of Tunisia, 1907; the Marathon Boy off the coast of Marathon, 1925; the standing Poseidon of Cape Artemision found off Cape Artemision in northern Euboea, 1926; the horse and Rider found off Cape Artemision, 1928 and 1937; the Getty Victorious Youth found off Fano, Italy, in 1964; the Riace bronzes, found in 1972; the Dancing Satyr of Mazara del Vallo, near Brindisi, 1992; and the Apoxyomenos' recovered from the sea off the Croatian island of Lošinj in 1999.
  3. ^ a b c d Svoronos 1911, Myers 1999, Dafas 2019 and 2015.
  4. ^ "Classical Period – Bronze Statue of a Youth". National Archaeological Museum of Athens. Retrieved 2019-07-26.
  5. ^ Minute fragments of bronze adhere to the fingers (Svoronos 1911, Myers 1999, Dafas 2019 and 2015).
  6. ^ NAMA
  7. ^ NAMA
  8. ^ Natural History, 34.77: Euphranoris Alexander Paris est in quo laudatur quod omnia simul intelliguntur, iudex dearum, amator Helenae et tamen Achillis interfector.
  9. ^ Inv. no. 13396.

Further reading

  • Bol, P. C. 1972. Die Skulpturen des Schiffsfundes von Antikythera. (Berlin: Mann).
  • Fraser, A. D. 1928."The Antikythera Bronze Youth and a Herm-Replica", American Journal of Archaeology 32.3 (July–September 1928), pp. 298–308. A Roman therm head of similar type; bibliography of early publications.
  • Karouzou, S. 1968. National Archaeological Museum Collection of Sculpture: A Catalogue (Athens).
  • Myers, Elisabeth Susan, 1999. "The Antikythera Youth in its context" Masters thesis, Louisiana State University (On-line text; pdf format).
  • "NAMA" "Classical Period – Bronze Statue of a Youth". National Archaeological Museum of Athens. Retrieved 2019-07-26.
  • Stais, V., Tsountas, C., and Kourouniotis, K., 1902. "Τὰ εὑρήματα τοῦ ναυαγίου τῶν Ἀντικυθήρων," Archaiologike Ephemeris, 145–148.
  • Svoronos, I. N., 1911. Τὸ ἐν Ἀθήναις Ἐθνικὸν Μουσεῖον (Athens), vol. 1.
  • Dafas, K. A., 2019. Greek Large-Scale Bronze Statuary: The Late Archaic and Classical Periods, Institute of Classical Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies, Monograph, BICS Supplement 138 (London), 68–83, pls 58–71.
  • Dafas, K. A., 2015. "The Casting Technique of the Bronze Antikythera Ephebe," in Z. Theodoropoulou-Polychroniadis and D. Evely (eds), Aegis: Essays in Mediterranean Archaeology presented to Matti Egon by the scholars of the Greek Archaeological Committee (Oxford), 137–146, figs 1–6.
  • Illustration of the Ephebe
  • (Hellenic Ministry of Culture) Bronzes at the National Archaeological Museum, Athens