A tripod ‘worth seeing’ in the Olympieion at Athens (Paus. 1.18.8)

Brian Martens*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study proposes a new reconstruction of the tripod that Pausanias (1.18.8) recorded in the Olympieion at Athens. According to his brief description, the bronze tripod was supported by Persians made from Phrygian marble. A sculptor's sketch found during the excavations of the Athenian Agora is identified as a representation of that monument. The sketch, carved from poros limestone, depicts a standing male figure dressed in eastern attire supporting the foot of a tripod. The figural type finds its closest parallels among the colossal statues from the Forum of Trajan in Rome, suggesting a new date and context for the monument in the Olympieion. The scenario favoured here is that the tripod was dedicated following Trajan's victories in Parthia, perhaps completed or commissioned by Hadrian. Cassius Dio (68.17.2) records that Trajan departed for his Parthian campaigns from Athens, where memories of Persian defeat were actively curated.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Roman Studies
Early online date7 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2023


  • Trajan
  • Hadrian
  • Olympieion
  • Athens
  • Persia and Parthia
  • Tripod
  • Sculptors' sketches and models
  • Pavonazzetto


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