The Primordial Statue of Hera at Samos

Fr. 100

    οὔπω Σκέλμιον ἔργον ἐύξοον, ἀλλ' ἐπὶ τεθμόν

           δηναιὸν γλυφάνων ἄξοος ἦσθα σανίς·

      ὧδε γὰρ ἱδρύοντο θεοὺς τότε· καὶ γὰρ Ἀθήνης

           ἐν Λίνδῳ Δαναὸς λιτὸν ἔθηκεν ἕδος

Fr. 100 Harder (= 100 Pf., = 203 Mass.) Eus. P.E. 3, 7, 5-8, 1,
   p. 99ab

The reader is returned to Samos from Argos by an aition concerning an an aniconic statue of Hera. The statue was carved from wood brought to Samos from Argos, before the art of sculpture was known (a circumstance that connects thematically with the Telchines of the opening, who were primitive metalworkers). The fragment contains an address to the statue, thought to have been the work of Skelmis of Aegina. Skelmis’ effort was evidently compared to the statue of Athena at Lindos, dedicated by Danaus and his daughters.

Fr. 100

ἐυξοος -ον: well-polished

τεθμός -οῦ, ὁ: that which is laid down, law, custom (Dor. of θεσμός,  ὁ)

δηναιός -ή -όν: long-lived, old, ancient

γλύφανος -ου, ὁ: a tool for carving, knife, chisel

ἄξοος -ον: unwrought, not carved

σανίς -ίδος, ἡ: a board, plank, timber, lumber

ἱδρύω: set up, found; (middle) dedicate (temples, statues, etc.)

Ἀθήνη -ης, ἡ: Athena, goddess of wisdom, warlike prowess, and skill in the arts

Λίνδος, -ου, ἡ: Lindos, an ancient city on the island of Rhodes

λιτός -ή -όν: simple, inexpensive, frugal

ἕδος -εος, τό: stool, sitting place; seated statue of a god

Fr. 100a Harder (= Diegesis IV 22-9; 1.105 Pf.) P.Mil.Vogl. I 18 col. IV 22-9 [image], Trismegistos 59371


       . . . . . . τὸ ξόα]νον τῆς Ἥρας [ἀνδρι-

       αντοειδὲ]ς ἐ[γέ]νετο ἐπὶ βασιλέως

       Προκ[λέους• τὸ] δὲ ξύ[λο]ν, ἐξ οὗ εἰργάσθη

5     ε. .η[. . . .].αμ̣[.]ς. .ν, ἐξ Ἄργους δέ φα-

       σι[. . . . . . .]οτας ἔτι πάλαι σανιδῶ-

       δες [κομι]σθῆναι κάταργον ἅτε μηδέ-

       πω π[ροκ]εκοφυίας τῆς ἀγαλματομικῆς.


       .       .       .       .        .

the wooden image of Hera, shaped2

like a statue when Procles was

king; the wood from which it was made

. . . was brought from Argos they say5

. . . long ago shaped like lumber,

unworked, seeing that

the art of sculpting was not yet advanced.

Fr. 100

not yet Scelmis' well-polished work, but in accordance with 

ancient custom you were lumber, uncarved by chisels;

for thus they set up (statues) of the gods then; for even Danaos

set up a simple statue of Athena in Lindos

Article Nav

Suggested Citation

Susan Stephens, Callimachus: Aetia. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2015. ISBN: 978-1-947822-07-8.