Togate statue of Pytheas, high ranking senator and local benefactor. Aphrodisias (Caria). Late fifth century.

Life-size statue. H: 118, W: 57, D: 29 cm. Fine-grained white marble.

The statue is preserved in 5 principal sections. The lower right edge of the plinth, the left arm, the right wrist and hand, and the drapery hanging on the outside of the right arm are missing. The right eye and central portion of the face, including the nose and the chin, are also missing. There is modern fill between the ankles and the hem of the tunic.

The statue was made in one piece from the plinth to the head. The front of the statue is highly polished. The back is flatly worked, and the surface has not been fully finished. The large rectangular strut at the left hip would have supported the drapery falling over the left arm.

The hair is deeply drilled around the face. The top of the head however has been worked to a dome-shape but given no representational detail. The hair at the back of the head has a projecting form that undulates in a vague representation of final curls, but the locks are not rendered. The iris and pupil are raised and separated by a depressed ring.

Excavated in over a dozen fragments in the orchestra of the Bouleuterion in two different seasons, 1962-63. The statue may once have decorated the scaenae frons.

The statue wears a late antique toga over two tunics: a long-sleeved under-tunic (the tunica manicata), and, over it a slightly shorter colobium. The toga's lower edge, the sinus, hangs along the right side of the body until the knee and is then draped over the left arm. The long-sleeved under-tunic is visible on the left arm and at the shins. The upper, short-sleeved tunic, the colobium, appears at the right chest and below the lower curve of the sinus. A fourth element of dress appears most obviously at the back, looping down from the left shoulder; this may be the lorum. The only extant details of the senatorial calcei are the crossed straps directly over the foot and their ends falling near the ankles.

The figure stands with weight over the right leg. A bundle of upright scrolls supports the statue at the right leg. The right arm, no longer preserved, was raised, and would certainly have held a mappa<i/> in the hand. The left arm is held down along the side of the body with the forearm projecting.

The hair, worked fully only around the face, was combed downwards from the crown, and creates a 'wreath' of curls around the face. The face itself is clean-shaven and preserves one large, wide-open eye (proper left) with an emphatically indicated iris and pupil.

A statue base (LSA-148) for Pytheas was excavated on the stage of the Bouleuterion. This was the only late antique base found in the Bouleuterion and should therefore be associated with the statue, the only late antique statue found inside the building.

The context in the council house, probably on the scaenae frons, continues a long-standing tradition for honorific statuary. The stage building was restored during late antiquity.

In dress, attributes (minus the sceptre), and personal style the statue recalls that of Flavius Palmatus (LSA-198) from the Tetrastoon at Aphrodisias. Both statues are dated to the late fifth or early sixth century on the basis of the titles cited in their accompanying inscriptions.

J. Lenaghan

Main Reference

Inan, J. and E. Rosenbaum, Roman and Early Byzantine Portrait Sculpture in Asia Minor, Oxford 1966, 181, no. 244, pls. 177.7-8 and 178.3

Discussion References

Smith, R.R.R., "Late antique portraits in a public context: Honorific statuary at Aphrodisias in Caria, AD 300-600" , JRS 89 (1999), 155-89, 167-68, figs. 7-8, pl. 4