Archaeological Museum of Chaironeia / The Lion of Chaironeia:

One of the most important battles of the greek antiquity was fought in the small plain of Chaironeia between Mount Thourion and river Kephesos. In 338 BC this was where Philip II established his supremacy in south Greece. After the battle two polyandria (common tombs) were erected on the positions occupied by the two rival forces. The site where the Macedonians were burried was discovered three kilometers to the east of Chaironeia and it was excavated during 1902-1903 by the Ephor of Antiquities Sotiriadis. It is a tumulus seven meters high.

At the point where the members of the Theban Sacred Band were burried, a colossal lion was erected facing the Macedonian tumulus. In ancient times the lion was assembled by five marble pieces. At some point the sculpture collapsed and shattered, probably as a result of a subsidence of the ground, an earhquake, or the poor quality of the stone the base was made of.

The poet Byron found it in pieces when he visited it from Ioannina in 1809. Crawford discovered the head and a few pieces during an improvised excavation in 1818, but covered them again. The Turkish Sultan wanted the lion for Constantinople and Ali Pasa for Ioannina, but they gave up their claims because of transportation difficulties. In 1834 a restoration effort was abandoned because of lack of funds. 

The site was finally properly excavated by the Archaeological Society of Greece in 1874 and the skeletons of 254 men were found burried in seven rows within the enclosure. The restoration of the lion began in 1902 by sculptors Phytalis and Sochos with funds provided by the Archaeological Society. A pedestal 3m. high was constructed and the pieces were reassembled- with missing pieces being restored with stone from Leivadia’s Xiria.

During the period 1998-2000 the monument was conserved- the surface was cleaned and the mortar was replaced- by the IX Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities in collaboration with the Centre of Stone of the Greek Ministry of Culture. 

A not so brief guide on how to help the antiquities in the Mediterranean

Why collecting money is the last thing you want to do:

First of all sites and museums that look abandoned are not so because of a shortage of public funds. They could have been purposefully left to deteriorate so that they may be looted. So money can’t help there. What can help is you raising awareness on the illegal antiquities market.

Very often the problem is not the money, but the system for hiring the personnel that will do the work and how through their involvement some wise guy- politician or other form of lowlife- will be able to drain public money. What you can do there is get in touch with the local organizations and individuals that are protesting the situation and help them gain visibility. They know very well what to do and how to do it, they only need moral backing. Visibility will make it harder for these people to be ignored or harassed in order to keep quiet.

Remember that fascist organizations are often involved in the vandalizing of such sites, so there is always the element of fear for locals.

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Archaeological Museum of Delphi:

White-ground kylix, found in a tomb at Delphi. Work of an anonymous athenian vase-painter. On white ground, Apollo is depicted crowned with a wreath of myrtle leaves sitting on a stool with legs in the form of  lion paws. He is dressed in a white peplos and he is draped within a red himation. With his left hand he is plucking the the chords of his lyre, while with his right hand he is offering a wine libation from a navel-phiale. The black bird accompanying him is probably a crow, a reference to his mythical love for Aigle-Koroni, the daughter of king Phlegyas. (480-470 B.C)

Archaeological Museum of Delphi:

White-ground kylix, found in a tomb at Delphi. Work of an anonymous athenian vase-painter. On white ground, Apollo is depicted crowned with a wreath of myrtle leaves sitting on a stool with legs in the form of  lion paws. He is dressed in a white peplos and he is draped within a red himation. With his left hand he is plucking the the chords of his lyre, while with his right hand he is offering a wine libation from a navel-phiale. The black bird accompanying him is probably a crow, a reference to his mythical love for Aigle-Koroni, the daughter of king Phlegyas. (480-470 B.C)

Archaeological Museum of Delphi:

Bronze incense burner. A young woman wearing a long peplos and reticulated head-dress holds up a hemispherical cauldron in which the incense was placed. A pierced lid covers the top of the vessel. A most exquisite creation, most probably the work of a Parian workshop. (460-450 B.C)

Archaeological Museum of Delphi:

The statue of Antinoos:

This well preserved sculpture (only the forearms are lacking) portrays Antinoos, the youth from Bithynia whom Emperor Hadrian loved passionately until his premature death. Antinoos’s long hair was crowned by a wreath, of which there are indications of a band with leaves of a different material. This work exemplifies the evolution of ancient portraiture. Its melancholy beauty, the graceful angle of the head and the high polish of the marble surface embody the spirit of the Roman Imperial age, when there was a tendency to revive ancient Greek ideals. This most moving portrait of Antinoos was placed in the Delphi sanctuary by decision of the Amphictyons (presidents of the Pythian games) and of Aristotimos the priest. Antinoos drowned in the Nile in 130 AD and was subsequently proclaimed a god by Hadrian, who had statues and busts of the beloved youth placed in various cities and sanctuaries of the Roman empire, and established his worship, which included rituals and games in his honour.