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  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: October 2010
  • First published in: 1907

CHAPTER VI - MONUMENTS OF THE CULT OF APOLLO

Summary

The group of monuments connected with this divinity is of transcendent importance for the history of Greek art and artmythology; they also provide us with interesting illustration, direct or indirect, of most of the cult-ideas that have been examined, although few monuments of the actual templeworship may have survived.

The inquiry into the cult-objects of the earliest period raises at once the archaeological question concerning Ἀγυιεύς. The emblem or ἄγαλμα of this worship was, as we have seen, almost invariably aniconic, the prevalent form being usually the conical pillar, but at Athens apparently a rounded stone of altar-shape. Is this a monumental tradition brought in from the north, or was Apollo on entering the regions of Mycenaean or ‘Minoan’ culture attracted into its circle of pillar-worship? Either view might harmonize with archaeological fact or probability. The very wide prevalence of pillar-cult in the Mediterranean and Anatolian regions in the Mycenaean period has been ably demonstrated by Dr. Arthur Evans; but it belongs also to the early religion of northern and central Europe. Concerning this, as concerning many other problems of prehistoric archaeology, it is difficult to judge with conviction. No doubt all the Hellenic divinities in the pre-Homeric age were likely to be worshipped with this aniconic emblem, whether by original right or by right of annexation; the immigrant Apollo, wherever he settled down, could easily take to himself a Mycenaean or ‘Minoan’ pillar.

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