Klassische Griechische Kunst

[On the Acropolis] there are also two other dedications, a statue of Pericles, son of Xanthippos, and the most worth seeing of the works of Phidias, the statue of Athena called the Lemnian after those who dedicated it. Pausanias

Pheidias did not always make images of Zeus, nor did he always cast Athena armed into bronze, but turned his art to the other gods and adorned the Maiden's cheeks with a rosy blush, so that in place of her helmet this should cover the goddess's beauty. Himerios, Oratio



Athena Lemnia, on the Acropolis, statue between the Erechtheion and the Propylaea, c. 450 BC, Pheidias. Head, Bologna, Museo Civico and Reconstruction of the bronze Athena Lemnia. She carries the snaky Aegis breastplate (a goat skin with snakes) with the head of Medusa. What is the Aegis? One explanation is that the Aegis is a skin of the she-goat Amalthea who suckled and raised the infant Zeus in a cave on Crete while he was in hiding from his father Cronos. So Amalthea protected Zeus and her skin was a protection for his daughter Athena also.

Herodotus provides another story about the Aegis: The dress wherewith Minerva's statues are adorned, and her Aegis, were derived by the Greeks from the women of Libya. For, except that the garments of the Libyan women are of leather, and their fringes made of leathern thongs instead of serpents, in all else the dress of both is exactly alike. The name too itself shows that the mode of dressing the Pallas-statues came from Libya. For the Libyan women wear over their dress stript of the hair, fringed at their edges, and coloured with vermilion; and from these goat-skins the Greeks get their word Aegis (goat-harness).


Athena Dresden



Bologna Head

We do not know exactly how the original Lemnia looked, the Bologna Head considered now not to fit , the initial reconstruction to be wrong.

See Athena Dresden (Lemnia)

The Colossal Athena Parthenos Statue of Pheidias

Athena Mourning: Why is the goddess so sad?

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