Lysicrates Monument

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Lysicrates Monument

The Lysikratesmonument (also Lysikratesdenkmal , lantern des Diogenes ) in Athens , not far from the eastern slope of the Acropolis in the Plaka district , was built in the 2nd half of the 4th century. v. Built on behalf of the Choregen Lysikrates and commemorates his victory with a boys' choir during the festival in honor of Dionysus in 335/334 BC. It originally carried the Lysikrat's prize, a bronze tripod .

Just like the Tower of the Winds , it became a model for classicist pavilion buildings.


The monument around 1900

In ancient Athens, musical competitions were held every year during the celebrations in honor of the god Dionysus. In one of these competitions, the dithyrambos , members of the individual Attic phyls competed against each other. The Choregen the winning choir donated the Attic State a golden tripod, with the requirement to establish this in a public place within the city. Lysicrates, who in 335/334 BC BC under which Archon Euainetus was victorious, had a monument erected on Tripodenstrasse for this purpose, which in ancient times was lined with numerous such tripod monuments.

In post-ancient times the monument was first known as the "Lantern of Demosthenes ". In 1669 it was incorporated into a Capuchin monastery that was newly built at that time , where it was apparently used as a reading room and library. Hence the anecdote that Demosthenes used it for such a purpose in ancient times. At the beginning of the 17th century it was apparently used as a chicken coop.

The monument first came into the public eye after its architectural peculiarities were documented in 1762 by James Stuart and Nicholas Revett . Stuart's description in The Antiquities of Athens also coined the name commonly used today as "Monument of the Lysicrates" or "Lysicrates Monument".

Around 1800 Lord Elgin had drawings made of the memorial and the frieze cast in plaster. Allegedly there were even considerations to buy the monument from the Greeks, remove it stone by stone and have it brought to London. However, this project was never put into practice.

During the Greek War of Independence , the monastery, with which the monument was still structurally connected at that time, apparently came under fire several times and finally fell victim to a fire. The Lysikratesmonument itself was poorly cleaned and cleared of rubble in 1831. Theophil Hansen made drawings of the monument around 1840 and later used details of the monument in his buildings.

In 1845, under the supervision of French archaeologists, the monument was again carefully cleaned and makeshiftly secured against collapse. A professional restoration followed between 1876 and 1877. The monument had sunk significantly on the north side, so that many of the blocks had to be removed from the base and reinserted or replaced. Many of the vaulted marble slabs in the intercolumns were damaged and replaced with wall patches. At the same time the rotunda was secured with iron brackets. After the work was completed, the previously completely detached monument was protected by a surrounding wall.

The current appearance of the monument is heavily influenced by a second, much more complex restoration that took place in 1892. In the process, all older patches were removed and missing components were added as true to the original as possible. In the course of this repair measure, the structural environment of the Lysikratesmonument was redesigned like a square.

In 1921, the German Archaeological Institute under the direction of Franz Studniczka again carried out excavations on the base of the monument in order to document the foundation and substructure of the monument. The investigations were initially limited to a narrow section, but were later extended to the surrounding area. The remains of the two today exposed plinth foundations of neighboring buildings as well as the foundations of the destroyed monastery came to light.

Building design

The Lysikratesmonument stands on a 2.93 m wide and 3.50 m high square base made of Poros blocks that enclose a core made of Breccia . The base is rounded off by a surrounding cornice made of bluish-gray marble from the Hymettos . Above it rises a six-column Corinthian Pseudomonopteros made of Pentelic marble on a three-tiered substructure .

The construction seems to have originally been planned with free intercolumns . For static reasons, however, marble slabs were fitted between the columns during the construction. Only the eastern intercolumnium facing the street remained open and allowed a free view into the interior of the monument, where a statue may have been erected. Today the interior is no longer accessible, as the east intercolumnium was also wrongly closed with a marble slab during the restoration.

The closure plates consist of two parts: the lower section is a curved plate made of hymetic marble, which extends approximately to the level of the capitals. In each case, two much thinner slabs of pentelic marble, which are decorated with tripods, are inserted. The thin tripod plates in particular seem to have been very susceptible to damage. Of the twelve panels attached to the building, only the two pieces used in the north-west intercolumnium are antique - all the others are post-antique replacement pieces that can be assigned to the various restoration phases due to stylistic differences.

The columns used in the construction are monolithic, stand on Attic bases and are crowned by Corinthian capitals. They are each 3.54 m high and only 33 cm in diameter. This makes them relatively slim, even for Corinthian columns.

The ionic entablature above consists of a single, monolithic block with a diameter of around 2.50 m. It is made up of an undecorated three-fascia arch and a figuratively decorated frieze . It follows the design specifications of the Attic-Ionic order, while in Asia Minor the geison lay directly on the architrave .

On the east side of the architrave there was a three-line dedicatory inscription, which today is hardly legible due to the progressive weathering. It read: “Lysicrates from Kikynna, son of Lysitheides, was Chorege, the Phyle Akamantis won with a boys' choir, Theon was an aulos player , the Athenian Lysiades practiced the piece, Euainetus was Archon ” (IG II² 3042). The Lysiades mentioned in the inscription already instructed the boys' choir of the Phyle Oineis, which was founded under the archonate of Aristodemos in 352/351 BC. Was victorious.

The frieze, which was also badly damaged by the weather, traffic and vandalism, may have come from a workshop that was influenced by Leochares . It shows a scene from Homer's 7th Hymn : the god Dionysus is captured by pirates and punishes them for their iniquity by turning them into dolphins. Due to slight variations in the mythical material, it has often been assumed that the frieze may represent the content of the song with which Lysicrates took part in the dithyramus competition.

The transition between the entablature and the roof edge is marked by an ionic geison with a tooth cut . The roof edge consists unusually of a double sima , the outer of which was probably originally decorated with palmettes, while the inner was in the shape of a running dog . But today there is hardly any evidence of that. The monolithic roof itself was designed as a flat dome covered with eight rows of pointed oval scales. An acroter in the form of a Corinthian capital rises from the top . Whether the tripod obtained by Lysicrates sat on this "roof capital" or possibly stood directly on the roof and the ornament should only fill the free space between his legs, is disputed in research.

The monument is today, without the tripod, about ten meters high.

Overall, the Lysikratesmonument has several architectural peculiarities. Although the form of the capital does not yet correspond to the later Corinthian capitals, the Lysikratesmonument is one of the first structures in which Corinthian columns were demonstrably used for the exterior design. The construction is also unusual, because the secured dating makes the monument the oldest known monopteros in architectural history.


To this day, replicas of the Lysikrates monument of various sizes are set up around the world, often in parks. The trophy for the Driehaus Architecture Prize for contemporary contemporary architecture consists of a bronze Lysikrates monument.

Web links

Commons : Lysikratesmonument  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files


  • Josef Dell : The Lysikratesdenkmal in Athens. A problem of architectural history. In: Allgemeine Bauzeitung. Volume 6, 1902, pp. 31-38.
  • Hans Riemann : Lysikratesmonument. In: Paulys Realencyclopadie der classischen Antiquity Science (RE). Supplementary Volume VIII, Stuttgart 1956, Col. 266-347.
  • John Travlos : Pictorial dictionary on the topography of ancient Athens , Tübingen 1971, p. 348.
  • Heinrich Bauer : Lysikratesdenkmal. Building stock and reconstruction. In: Communications from the German Archaeological Institute. Athenian Department. Volume 92, 1977, pp. 197-227.
  • James R. McCredie: The "Lantern of Demosthenes" and Lysicrates, Son of Lysitheides, of Kikynna. In: Studies Presented to Sterling Dow on His Eightieth Birthday. Duke University Press, Durham 1984, pp. 181-183.
  • Wolfgang Erhard: The frieze of the Lysikratesmonument. In: Ancient plastic. Volume 22, 1993, pp. 7-67 (with further literature).
  • Heiner Knell Athens in the 4th century BC A city changes its face. Archaeological and cultural-historical considerations. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 2000, pp. 148–166.
  • Soi Agelidis: Choregic consecration gifts in Greece (= Contributiones Bonnenses. Series 3, Volume 1). Bernstein, Bonn 2009, p. 165 No. 22.

Individual evidence

  1. Inscriptiones Graecae II² 3042 for dating.
  2. ^ Pausanias 1, 20, 1 on the situation.
  3. Nikolaos tribe. Aspiotes: Prosopographia musica Graeca. Frank & Timme, Berlin 2006, p. 221 No. 1222; see. IG II² 3039 .
  4. Driehaus-Architektur-Preis, Lysikratesmonument-Trophäe ( Memento of the original from March 29, 2014 in the web archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /

Coordinates: 37 ° 58 ′ 15 ″  N , 23 ° 43 ′ 48 ″  E