Funerary Archaic lion

In the mid-19th century squads of the British army carried out demolition works at the Venetian fortress of Soter, on the homonymous hill, in the region of Garitsa. During these works, in 1843, part of the ancient city's necropolis was discovered. A very brief archaeological excavation carried out by the British revealed many graves of the Archaic period, among which the Menecrates monument, as well as various funerary monuments dated mainly in Archaic years (end of the 7th-mid 6th century BC). 


The most important and renowned of these monuments is an Assyrian type lion made of local limestone. It constitutes an excellent example of Archaic sculpture and one of the earliest funerary lions, as it is dated to the end of the 7th c. BC. 

Τhe sculpture is known as the 'Lion of Menecrates', as it was initially thought to have been placed at the top of the Menecrates’ funerary monument. This monument, probably a cenotaph, dates to ca 600 BC. It is a round building of local limestone with a conical covering. The top row of stones bears an epigram in dactylic hexameter, which mentions that the monument is dedicated to Menecrates, son of Tlasias, from Oiantheia (modern Galaxidi), where he served as proxenos (consul) of Corcyra and who lost his life during a voyage. The inscription, in Corinthian alphabet, is read from right to left. Its beginning is marked by a rhomboid and it bears punctuation marks all along.

         
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