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The Herakleia head, probable depiction of an Achaemenid Empire satrap in the late 6th century BCE.

The Herakleia head is the portrait of a probable Achaemenid Satrap of Asia Minor of the late 6th century, found in Heraclea, in Bithynia, modern Turkey.[1] The head is now located in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara.

The man depicted in the sculpture was probably a Satrap under Darius I.[1] The man is the service of the Achaemenid Empire is bearded and mustachioed, but probably a Greek from Asia Minor rather than a Persian.[2] The statue is made of marble, and was probably made by a Greek sculptor.[2] The sculpture has been dated to circa 530 BCE, or at leat Late Archaic.[2]

The Herakliea head is considered as an early attempt towards portraiture with a realistic likeliness.[2] This Eastern portrait in purely East Greek Archaic style, is one of the two known forerunners of extant Greek portraits, together with the Sabouroff head.[1] It is comparable with the Sabouroff head, from about the same period.[2] These nearly life-like portraits allow to define a date for early portraiture which is much earlier than had been previously thought.[3] The first truly individualistic portrait is often considered to be the 470 BCE portrait of Themistocles.[1] In numismatics also, the first portraits of rulers appear with the coins of Themistocles as ruler of Magnesia, and continue with the nearby rulers of Lycia towards the end of the 5th century BCE.[3][4]

The Herakleia head is also an important marker for the depiction of Satraps in the period. In particular, the banned Athenian general Themistocles, who became Achaemenid Satrap in Magnesia, is seen wearing a tight bonnet with Olive wreath on some of his coins (circa 465-459 BCE).[5] This possibly reflects the headwear of Achaemenid Satraps, such as seen in the Herakleia head.[6][3]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d CAHN, HERBERT A.; GERIN, DOMINIQUE (1988). "Themistocles at Magnesia". The Numismatic Chronicle (1966-). 148: 20 & Plate 3. JSTOR 42668124.
  2. ^ a b c d e Stieber, Mary (2010). The Poetics of Appearance in the Attic Korai. University of Texas Press. p. 97. ISBN 9780292773493.
  3. ^ a b c Stieber, Mary (2010). The Poetics of Appearance in the Attic Korai. University of Texas Press. p. 98. ISBN 9780292773493.
  4. ^ "A rare silver fraction recently identified as a coin of Themistocles from Magnesia even has a bearded portrait of the great man, making it by far the earliest datable portrait coin. Other early portraits can be seen on the coins of Lycian dynasts." Carradice, Ian; Price, Martin (1988). Coinage in the Greek World. Seaby. p. 84. ISBN 9780900652820.
  5. ^ CAHN, HERBERT A.; GERIN, DOMINIQUE (1988). "Themistocles at Magnesia". The Numismatic Chronicle (1966-). 148: 19. JSTOR 42668124.
  6. ^ CAHN, HERBERT A.; GERIN, DOMINIQUE (1988). "Themistocles at Magnesia". The Numismatic Chronicle (1966-). 148: 20. JSTOR 42668124.
  7. ^ CAHN, HERBERT A.; GERIN, DOMINIQUE (1988). "Themistocles at Magnesia". The Numismatic Chronicle (1966-). 148: 19. JSTOR 42668124.
  8. ^ Tanner, Jeremy (2006). The Invention of Art History in Ancient Greece: Religion, Society and Artistic Rationalisation. Cambridge University Press. p. 97. ISBN 9780521846141.
  9. ^ Stieber, Mary (2010). The Poetics of Appearance in the Attic Korai. University of Texas Press. p. 98. ISBN 9780292773493.