Snake Column

Filed under: My Art — doktorjohn August 14, 2010 @ 7:18 pm

The Bronze Serpent Column of Istanbul

A 25-foot high, 2500 year-old bronze column sits in the middle of Istanbul (formerly Constantinople) representing the oldest surviving Greco-Roman artifact in the world. It originally had a trio of snake heads at the top, serving as a tripod for a golden sacrificial platter, and was created for ceremonies celebrating the turning away of the Persian invasions under Xerxes by the Greek alliance of city-states in 478 BC.

The Emperor Constantine had it moved from the famous temple to Apollo at Delphi (remember the famous “Oracle at Delphi?”) to his capital city, Constantinople where it now stands. Constantinople, of course, became Istanbul under the Ottoman Turkish Empire.

At the end of the 17th Century, it was vandalized by Christian invaders from the West, leaving the column, but without the snake heads.

After viewing the stunning column, Marzena and I hunted down the one remaining snake head kept at the Archeological Museum in Istanbul and took these pictures during our vacation in Turkey last year.

In honor of this magnificent monument, I sculpted the 12″ model replica shown below on the weekend of August 13 and 14, 2010.

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