A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology

Smith, William

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. William Smith, LLD, ed. 1890

(Ἀριστοκλῆς), sculptors. From different passages in Pausanias we learn the following particulars :--

(1.) Aristocles of Cydonia was one of the most ancient sculptors; and though his age could not be clearly fixed, it was certain that he flourished before Zancle was called Messene (Paus. 5.25.6), that is, before 494 B. C.

(2.) The starting-pillar of the Hippodrome at Olympia was made by Cleoetas, the same sculptor by whom there was a statue at Athens bearing this inscription :

(Ὃς τὴν ἱππάφεσιν Ὀλυμπίᾳ εὕρατο πρῶτος Τεῦξέ με Κλεοίτας υἱός Ἀριστοκλέους.


(3.) There was an Aristocles, the pupil and son of Cleoetas. (5.24.1.)

(4.) Aristocles of Sicyon was the brother of Canachus, and not much inferior to him in reputation. This Aristocles had a pupil, Synnoön, who was the father and teacher of Ptolichus of Aegina. (6.9.1.) We are also told, in an epigram by Antipater Sidonius (Greek Anthol. ii. p. 15, no. 35, Jacobs), that Aristocles made one of three statues of the Muses, the other two of which were made by Ageladas and Canachus. [AGELADAS.]

(5.) Pantias of Chios, the disciple and son of Sostratus, was the seventh disciple reckoned in order from Aristocles of Sicyon (Paus. 6.3.4), that is, according to a mode of reckoning which was common with the Greeks, counting both the first and the last of the series.

From these passages we infer, that there were two sculptors of this name: Aristocles the elder, who is called both a Cydonian and a Sicyonian,

probably because he was born at Cydonia and practised and taught his art in Sicyon; and Aristocles the younger, of Sicyon, who was the grandson of the former, son of Cleoetas, and brother of Canachus : and that these artists founded a school of sculpture at Sicyon, which secured an hereditary reputation, and of which we have the heads for seven generations, namely, Aristocles, Cleoetas, Aristocles and Canachus, Synnoön, Ptolichus, Sostratus, and Pantias.

There is some difficulty in determining the age of these artists; but, supposing the date of Canachus to be fixed at about 540-508 B. C. [CANACHUS], we have the date of his brother, the younger Aristocles, and allowing 30 years to a generation, the elder Aristocles must have lived about 600-568 B. C. Böckh (Corp. Inscrip. i. p. 39) places him immediately before the period when Zancle was first called Messene, but there is nothing in the words of Pausanias to require such a restriction. By extending the calculation to the other artists mentioned above, we get the following table of dates: 1. Aristocles flourished600 to 568B. C.2. Cleoetas "570-538"3.{Aristocles}"540-508"Canachus"540-508"4. Synnön "510-478"5. Ptolichus "480-448"6. Sostratus "450-418"7. Pantias "420-388"

These dates are found to agree very well with all that we know of the artists. (See the respective articles.) Sillig (Catal. Art. s. v.) gives a table which does not materially differ from the above. He calculates the dates at 564, 536, 508, 480, 452, 424, and 396 B. C. respectively. In this computation it has been assumed that the elder Canachus was the brother of the younger Aristocles, and that Pantias was the seventh in order from the elder Aristocles. Any other supposition would throw the whole matter into confusion.

Pausanias mentions, as a work of the elder Aristocles, a group in bronze representing Hercules struggling for a girdle with an Amazon on horseback, which was dedicated at Olympia by Evagoras of Zancle (5.25.6); and, as a work of the younger, a group in bronze of Zeus and Ganymede, dedicated at Olympia by Gnothis, a Thessalian. (5.24.1.) The Muse by the latter, mentioned above (4), was in bronze, held a lyre (χέλυς), and was intended to represent the Muse of the diatonic genus of music.