The Venus de Milo is one of the most famous pieces of Greek sculpture. It is often stated ( for instance in Wikipedia ) that the statue was probably made by Alexandros of Antioch, the son of Menides, an otherwise unknown sculptor. The epigraphic evidence for this assumption is shown here.
The statue base containing inscription A is generally thought to belong to the Venus de Milo. Unfortunately the stone has now been lost, but sketches of it were made at the time it was discovered, and according to the informative article by B. van Oppen and C. Meijer in the Ancient History Encyclopedia, it fitted with the statue perfectly.
As with many Greek inscriptions, some letters in this inscription are illegible. Two things should be said about the possible restorations:
- The sketch suggests that the letter before -andros is likely to have been Σ rather than Ξ, suggesting a name such as Hagesandros rather than Alexandros.
- The name suggested for the father, Mēnides, is very unusual. According to the Lexicon of Greek Personal Names, this is the sole occurrence of the name.
Inscription B was discovered later, at Thespiai in Boeotia; it is a fragment of a list of victors in the Mouseia games ( see Syll_457 ). The translation here follows the text in Les Inscriptions de Thespies, but even if the text is restored differently to make Alexandros a citizen of Antiochia on the Maiandros, it seems unlikely that, as some have suggested, a poet in a competition on the Greek mainland was the same man as the sculptor on the island of Melos.
Sketch copied from Wilcox Collection of Classical Antiquities,
Study Pamphlet #2 ( © Paul Rehak )
[A] ....andros of Antiochia on the Maiandros, the son of [M]enides, made the statue.
→ inscription 201
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