Head of Athena
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Greek, Asia Minor, 160 - 150 B.C.
12 13/16 in.

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A helmet often identifies Athena, the Greek warrior goddess, and this helmeted head is all that remains of an over life-size statue of the goddess. Here, she wears a type of Athenian helmet with a low crest and a decorative frontlet that ends in volutes above the ears. As for the original appearance of the statue, the remains of the neck indicate that Athena's body twisted to her left, in relation to the body.

Both stylistic and technical details of the carving suggest that the statue was sculpted at Pergamon, now in modern Turkey, in the mid 100s B.C. It may have been modeled on a statue of Athena carved in Athens in the early 300s B.C. Pergamene artists saw themselves as the heirs of Classical Athens and often turned to Classical models in their work.

Today, much of the helmet's crest is broken off and Athena's nose is missing, but the head had already been damaged and repaired in antiquity. The front edge of the helmet was re-cut and a series of small holes drilled into the hairline, in order to add now-missing newly carved marble to replace the damaged areas. Iron dowels left in some holes suggest that this repair was made in late Hellenistic or Roman times.