ISSN: 1309-8780
e-ISSN: 2822-3985

Vedat Keleş1, Ersin Çelikbaş2

1Ondokuz Mayıs University, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Archaeology, Samsun/TÜRKİYE
2Karabük University, Faculty of Letter, Department of Archaeology, Karabük/TÜRKİYE

Keywords: Apollo, Figurine, Mould, Parion, Terracotta, Troad.


The ancient city of Parion is located on the coast of the Dardanelles, in the village of Kemer in the township of Biga in the Çanakkale province of western Anatolia[1] (Figure 1). Rescue excavations were undertaken at the site in 2004 by the Çanakkale Museum. Between 2005 and 2014 excavations at Parion were directed by Prof. Dr. Cevat Başaran; since 2015 they have been led by Prof. Dr. Vedat Keleş[2] .

The terracotta mould which is the focus of this article was found in 2006 on the surface in the vicinity of Taşkule where the northern rampart of Parion is located. The mould is 7.5 cm high, 0.5 cm deep and 3.2 cm wide (Figure 2-3). The mould has a small amount of added mica, is brownish brick-coloured and hard-baked. The height of the figure produced from the mould is 6.7 cm; the front of a figure in relief was produced from this mould. Below, the figure acquired from the mould is examined in terms of its iconographic, typological and stylistic features.


From an iconographic perspective, a crown imprint draws attention. Since there are no breasts visible, the figure is presumably male. He holds a kithara in his left hand and a plectrum[3] in his right whilst wearing a chiton and leaning to the left. Such figures from antiquity, depicted with similar feminine features and playing a kithara, are generally associated with Apollo[4] . Apart from Apollo, it could be suggested that the figure might be the Muse Calliope. However, the Archelaos Relief, dating to 125 BC, displays both a feminine Apollo and a seated Calliope playing the kithara, and the representations in this example support the conclusion that our figure is a feminine Apollo rather than Calliope[5] . Apollo with his kithara is often depicted in sculpture. The Apollo Patroos of the second half of the fourth century BC[6] (Figure 4) is similar to the figure obtained from the Parion mould in terms of the kithara in his left hand, his posture, his dress and his hair reaching past his shoulders in two ringlets. Other similar fourth-century examples are the Apollo Palatinus statue in the Catania Civico Museum[7] and the Apollo Kitharodos statue in the Antiken-Sammlung Museum[8] (Figure 5). Apollo with a kithara is also shown on ceramic vessels, such as the red-figure pelike signed by the artist Syleus[9] . Meanwhile, it is known Apollo with kithara is depicted in coroplastic art. Similar examples which Apollo holding kithara have been discovered in Claros[10].

The same figure is also depicted on coins. On the reverse of a denarius belonging to the period of Antonius Pius (138-161 AD), Apollo is shown holding a kithara in his left hand and a patera in his right; he wears a back-pinned mantle and a peplos[13] (Figure 6). The reverse of a coin dating to the period of Septimus Severus (193-211 AD) displays a similar Apollo type[14].

The figure reveals important data in terms of typology. Apollo wears an Attic peplos over a chiton[16], with apoptygma. [17] Richter interprets the dress worn by the Virgin Girl statue in the Metropolitan Museum in the same way[18]. The appearance of the left leg under the dress shows that she is wearing a thin dress. The dress is tightened with a belt above the waistline. Furthermore, the hang of the garments indicates that the figure wears a back-pinned mantle. This type of mantle is attached with a pin at the shoulders and reached to the knee. Although the ancient name of this type of garment is unknown, it is thought that this type of mantle was first depicted on fifth-century BC images of Athena and Artemis[19]. Since Artemis was the goddess of virgins in the later part of the Classical period, such mantles were worn by young women at festivals in order to display their virginity[20].

If we compare the Parion figure with reliefs first, the earliest examples of figures wearing a mantle and Attic peplos can be seen on the Eleusis Relief, dating to 422/1 BC[21]. Athena is shown on the right, wearing a back-pinned mantle which is pinned at the shoulder. The Boule Relief, which dates to 340 BC and is now in the Athens National Museum, also depicts this type of clothing[22]. The bouleutai on the left of the relief wears an Attic peplos and Athena, on the right, wears an Attic peplos and a back-pinned mantle.[23] On a votive relief dating to the mid-fourth century BC in the Athens National Museum a young woman (fourth from right) is depicted wearing the same style of dress[24]. A votive relief dating to 295-294 BC can be offered as a later example[25]. Here, Athena is seen depicted in the same way. On the Sorrento Relief, dating to 20 BC and held in the Correale Museum, Artemis, Apollo and Leto are depicted together[26]. The figure of Apollo stands in the middle and is depicted with a kithara in his hand; he wears a back-pinned mantle, a chiton tightened with a belt below the breast and a peplos.

Figures depicted wearing an Attic peplos, a chiton and a back-pinned mantle are also employed on various grave stelai of the fourth century BC. The best examples of this are the figure of Theophile on the Theophile Stele, which is now in the Athens National Museum[27] and the figure of the daughter of Myiskos on the Silenus Stele, held in the Staatliche Museum[28].

The Apollo Barberini, the original of which dates to the fourth century BC and which is now in the Munich Glyptothek Musuem[29] (Figure 7), the Apollo Patroos, dating to 340-320 BC and which is exhibited in the Athens Agora[30] (Figure 8) and the Virgin Girl, dating to 320 BC and held by the Metropolitan Museum in New York[31], are all examples of statues displaying the same style of dress.

It is important to examine the Apollo figure stylistically. We cannot expect all the details of the folds of the garments to be depicted, given their complexity and the extremely small size of the figure. However, it is possible to say that the folds of the garments reflect movement. While the face of the figure is turned to the right and depicted frontally, the torso is turned to the left by almost a third. The right leg is bent at the knee and pushed out to the right; as a consequence, the right shoulder is dropped and the bodyweight is supported on the left leg. The hair tumbles over the shoulders, on either side of the neck, in ringlets.

The movement of the figure is reflected in the folds in the garments. Although in reality there would be folds above and below the belt at the waist, only those below are depicted due to the small size of the figure. Nonetheless, these folds and those which reach to the feet reflect the style of the period quite well despite the tiny scale. The parallel folds of the apoptygma, which start below the belt, are separated from each other by deep channels. Similar folds are seen above the left foot, which carries the weight of the body. Because the fabric is loose, the folds are shown as draping, and, as a result, the left foot is hidden by the draped garment. Since the right arm is bent at the elbow and extended to the front, there are plastic folds on the arm, too. However, the right foot is bent lightly back and to the side, and, since the leg pushes against the fabric, no folds are depicted here. Nonetheless, the movement of the right leg dictates the positioning of the body and therefore leads to the generation of folds elsewhere. Thus, the folds covering the left leg are depicted vertically and parallel to each other, whilst, because the right foot is pushed out to the side, the garment on this side of the body lies in a bow-like line from the knee to the foot. The back-pinned mantle, seen on either side of the body, is depicted with wide folds which are separated from each other by deep channels, similar to the folds of the dress. However, the depiction of the folds of the mantle indicates that it is made of a relatively thicker fabric than the dress.

In order to examine the Parion figure stylistically, we need to compare it with reliefs. The dress folds of the figure of Timaris on the Timaris and Krito Stele dating to 410-390 BC and found in Kameiros reflect the style of the period[34]. The parallel folds on the peplos are separated from each other by deep channels. The folds draw a bow-like line to the foot from the knee because the left leg is flung to the side. Another example is the grave stele dating to 400-390 BC and exhibited in the Thessaloniki Museum[35]. The dress folds of the figure on the left are also depicted parallel to each other and separated by deep channels. The plasticity of the parallel folds is increased on the back-pinned mantle. A final example is the stele dating to the at the Thessaloniki Museum[36]. Of the three figures depicted, that on the right wears a peplos, and the folds of the dress run parallel to each other and are separated by deep channels, as in the other examples. The folds draw a bow-like line to the right foot, as the right foot is stepped forward. These three examples display similar features, in terms of the folds of their drapery, to those of the Parion mould figure. Thus, given these similarities, an appropriate date for the mould is the first half of the fourth century BC.

The figure acquired from the mould can also be examined in terms of the features of the kithara held in the left hand. Lyres with flat bases and of various heights were first encountered in the Archaic period and are known as kitharas[37]. At this time, kollops[38] were used to secure the strings to the crossbar and the arms of the soundbox were cut sharply and bent outward[39]. In the Classical period, kitharas began to be depicted commonly on ceramics and statues, and this was most likely a consequence of the development of city states and a related increased interest in music and fine arts; thus kitharas gained importance via official religious festivals and competitions. The kitharas of this period display some differences in terms of their form compared to Archaic examples. The height of the Classical kitharas extends from the breast level of the player to their head. There are circular grooves on the resonator[40] and also ornaments which draw the bow inwards on the arms that are connected to the resonator[41]. Hellenistic kitharas display further differences. They are more narrow-bodied and the ornaments on the arms have a simplified form[42]. Depictions on a marble relief and a bronze artefact can be offered as examples of Hellenistic kitharas[43] (Figure 9). Considering this chronological development of the kithara, the Parion example best reflects those of the Classical period, since it is ornamented and its form is wide and not very long.

When all these evaluations are taken into consideration, the Parion mould figure reflects the Apollo Patroos type with fourth-century BC features. Apollon Patroos is wearing a peplos on a chiton and holding a kithara in his left hand. His dress is tightened with a belt on the waist. While the face of the statue is turned to the right and depicted frontally, the torso is turned to the left by almost a third. The right leg is bent at the knee and pushed out to the right; as a consequence, the right shoulder is dropped and the bodyweight is supported on the left leg. The hair tumbles over the shoulders, on either side of the neck, in ringlets. There are folds on his dress because of movement that the statue as. The dress that Apollon Patroos is wearing, holding a kithara in his left hand, the body movement, the folds happening due to the body movement show big similarities with the Apollon figure obtained from Parion figure mould.

Therefore, it is likely that the Parion mould was designed to duplicate a statue of the late Classical period. Thus the mould must belong to the late or post-Classical period. Since the mould is a surface find and thus has no stratigraphic context, it is difficult to date it more accurately.


Apollo is one of the most commonly worshipped gods of Anatolia. He is especially memorialized in epithets in the cities of the Troad (Aktaios in Parion)[45], Ilieus in Ilion[46], Smintheus in Smintheion[47] and the Mysia region (Bathylimenites in Cyzikus)[48], Daphnousios in Apollonia ad Rhyndacum[49]. This brings a question to mind: is the Parion Apollo figure associated with the Apollo cult seen widely across the Troad region, which encompasses Parion? Strabo mentions the existence of an Apollo Aktaios cult in Parion: ‘Adresteia is between Priapos and Parion and there is a plain on which there is a prophecy home of Apollo Aktaios and Artemis and which holds the name of the city. However, when the temple was destroyed, all the items and the stones were carried to Parion and an altar which takes attention with its size and which is a construction of Hermokreon was built there[50]. ‘Aktaios’ is generally linked with Artemis and stemmed from the mythology of Artemis and Aktaion[51]. As Strabo states, the temple was for both Apollo and Artemis, and thus it is possible that the Aktaios attribution often associated with Artemis was transferred to Apollo.

That Apollo was worshipped in Parion with an Aktaios attribution is verified by his depiction and the Aktaios attribution on coins dating to 165-160 BC[52] (Figure 10). Since the coins feature official motifs of the city state, the image of Apollo and the Aktaios attribution on the coins are clearly official indicators of the existence of the cult of Apollo in Parion. However, the mould figure and the Apollo figure seen on the reverse of the coin are neither typologically nor stylistically similar to each other. The coins depict a figure holding a bow, which touches the floor, in his left hand and a daphnia branch in his right hand. Nonetheless, both figures clearly represent Apollo, and their typological and stylistic differences can be explained if we accept that, despite the existence of a cult of Apollo at Parion, the Apollo mould figure does not reflect the particular Apollo Aktaios cult. If this is indeed the case, it may be that the mould was imported to Parion.

As noted above, we see Apollo figures with a kithara depicted on Roman coins of various emperors. On the reverse of denarii of Antonius Pius[54] (AD 238-161) and Septimus Severus[55] (AD 193-211), Apollo is seen holding a kithara in his left hand and a patera in his right, while wearing a back-pinned mantle and a peplos. That the figure acquired from the mould is substantially similar to those on these coins indicates that this Apollo type was employed across a wide geography. In conclusion, it can be said that the use of this mould, producing a common Apollo type, was likely influenced by the existence of an Apollo cult in Parion, although the resulting figure does not specifically reflect the Aktaios cult in Parion.

The mould was created by hand by pressing a model into terracotta clay; it was then fired and dried. Once the clay figure had been removed from the mould, it was touched up and fired. The closest parallels to the Parion mould include a 6.5cm-long, fourth-century BC front-face mould[56], a front-face mould of a Maenad dating to the second to first century BC from the Athens Agora[57] and a female figure dating to 100 BC that was unearthed in Tarentine[58].

Another important question is how the figure acquired from the mold was used. It may have been kept at home or carried by the owner to the cult site of Apollo. It is difficult to say anything further on this matter due to the limited data available. However, it seems certain that the Parion mould would have been used to add ornamentation to ceramics. In the Hellenistic period, figures acquired from moulds were appliquéd to ceramics as reliefs. A krater which was unearthed in the Athens Agora and has been dated to 150-110 BC supports this conclusion[59] (Figure 11). There are nine appliquéd relief figures on the body of the krater. Rotroff states that it reflects a scene related to a festival of Dionysos[60]. The krater is 21cm high and the figures measure 6.5cm in height (Figure 12). The figures acquired from the Parion mould would be a similar height (6.7 cm), thus confirming that they too would have been appliquéd to ceramics. A skyphos dating back to the second half of the second century BC was unearthed in 2006 excavation in Parion necropolis (Figure 13). Five figures whose heights are changing between 5,7 cm and 6 cm were appliquéd onto the skyphos. Although these figures are not Apollon figures, it is great importance to unearth this type of ceramic cups in Parion. Thus, it is remarkable that a metal like ceramic cups with dark brown firnis unearthed in Parion indicates that terracotta figures have been appliquéd to ceramic cups. A further example, demonstrating that these types of figures were appliquéd to ceramic cups, is held in the Staalische Museen in Berlin[61]. One of the five original figures on the cup has not survived, but the trace it has left indicates that these figures were appliquéd to the cup. Schafer concludes that cups with reliefs were produced in an effort to duplicate the metal cups of, especially, the Hellenistic period, although they are not exact copies[62]. Hübner, too claims that these types of figures were appliquéd in imitation of metal cups[63]. In particular, he states that the appliquéd ornaments and figures on an amphora unearthed in Pergamon were made in the style of the Derveni Krater[64]. During excavations in the Parion South Necropolis in 2005, a bronze amphora-situla was unearthed which is also related to the Derveni Krater in terms of its production method and style. Since Hübner concludes that ceramics with appliquéd figures were made in the style of the Derveni Krater, it is interesting to speculate whether the Parion amphora-situla could indicate that ceramic production in the same style was undertaken in Parion. Hellenistic potteries given as examples in this article does not mean molds were used throughout Hellenistic Period. In other words, it is not clear that when molds were used exactly. Potteries given as examples are just understanding how the clay mold was used.

In any case, there is no doubt that the Parion figure mould is an appliqué relief mould. However, no examples of ceramics bearing the figure of Apollo acquired from the mould have yet been unearthed at Parion. Nonetheless, the presence of the mould corroborates the likelihood of the production quasi-metal cups in Parion.


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  1. Keleş 2015, 20.
  2. Ergürer 2017, 279.
  3. Kennedy-Bourne 2004, 569.
  4. Gardner 1903, 124; Scott 1922, 463; Krappe 1947, 226; Weitzmann 1951, 8; Pfeiffer 1952, 21.
  5. Pinkwart 1965, 34.
  6. Roccos 1989, 581, fig. 13.
  7. Roccos 1989, 581, figs 12-14.
  8. Heres-Heres 1980, 126, abb. 25; Roccos 2002, 288, fig. 12.11.
  9. Boardman 2002, 128, res. 197.
  10. Gürbüzer 2016, 73-84, fig.4-5; Şahin 2016, fig. 17.
  11. Roccos 1989, 581, fig. 13; Stewart 2017, fig. 7.
  12. Heres - Heres 1980, 126, Abb. 25.
  13. Cohen 1955, 7, no. 42.
  14. Cohen 1955, 276, no. 62.
  15. Cohen 1955, 7, no. 42.
  16. Roccos 2000, 245.
  17. Apoptygma: a second layer of the peplos on the upper part of the body: see, Condra 2008, 85.
  18. Richter 1944, 234, fig. 1.
  19. Roccos 2000, 237.
  20. Roccos 2000, 237.
  21. Roccos 2000, 238.
  22. Palagia 1982, 109, pl. 36.d.
  23. Boule: a council of citizens (bouleutai): see, Smith-Anthon 1862, 168.
  24. Roccos 1991, 409, pl .109, fig.4; Roccos 1995, 665, fig. 25.
  25. Richter 1944, 237, fig. 16.
  26. Kleiner 1992, 88, fig. 68.
  27. Robinson 1896, 193, fig. 473.
  28. Richter 1944, 237, fig. 13.
  29. Roccos 1989, 581, fig. 10.
  30. Stewart 1990, fig. 512.
  31. Richter 1944, 230, fig. 1.
  32. Roccos 1989, 581, fig.10.
  33. Stewart 1990, fig. 512.
  34. Pfuhl-Möbius 1977, taf. 12, no. 46.
  35. Pfuhl-Möbius 1977, taf. 13, no. 51.
  36. Pfuhl-Möbius 1977, taf. 14, no. 52.
  37. Helvacı 2007, 142.
  38. Kollops are screws which are mounted onto the crossbar and used to tighten the strings in order to tune a kithara: see, Browning et al. 2005, 756.
  39. Helvacı 2007, 142.
  40. Resonator: the wooden soundbox of a kithara: see, Paine 1907, 16.
  41. Helvacı 2007, 155.
  42. Helvacı 2007, 189.
  43. Helvacı 2007, 190, şek. 84.
  44. Helvacı 2007, 190, şek. 84.
  45. Frisch 1983, 89.
  46. Hansen-Nielsen 2004, 1009.
  47. Grace 1932, 228.
  48. Ful 2013, 2.
  49. Ful 2013, 4.
  50. Strabon 13.1.13.
  51. Carpenter 2002, 81.
  52. Ashton et al.1998, pl. 15.10-11.
  53. Ashton et al. 1998, pl. 15.
  54. Cohen 1955, 7, no. 42.
  55. Cohen 1955, 276, no. 62.
  56. Chesterman 1975, 17, fig. 2.
  57. Grandjouan et al. 1989: 46, cat. no. 6.
  58. Chesterman 1975. 16, fig.1.
  59. Rotroff 1997, cat. no. 1631.
  60. Rotroff 1997, 405.
  61. Hübner 1993, taf. 47.
  62. Schafer 1968, 94-95.
  63. Hübner 1993, 46.
  64. Hübner 1993, 10.
  65. Rotroff 1997, cat. no. 1631.
  66. Rotroff 1997, cat. no. 1631.

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