The Iniokhos (Rein-holder) or Charioteer with a whole room to itself, is one of the main highlights of the superb museum at the archaeological site in Delphoi. The statue was buried in an earthquake in 330 BC and was only discovered in 1896. It is estimated that this statue was made during the 470s BC, possibly by Pythagoras of Samos (yes, that one) and is one of the few bronzes to survive from Ancient Greece.
The statue as it stands now looks too tall, but originally it was on a chariot (now lost) and probably in that context the perspective would then have corrected this impression. Several things struck me as I walked round it. The most immediate is the hypnotic, onyx eyes that draw your attention to the face.
Then there are the delicate folds on the upper arms of his tunic, followed by the delicate rendering of the right hand holding the reins.Finally, almost in contrast to the idealisation of the rest of the figure, there are those feet, veined, a bit gnarled, bigger than expected. Sometimes statues were made to be seen only from the front and the back of them can be rough and unfinished. But this is not the case here: the sculptor has taken as much care with the detail of the Charioteer’s back and tunic as with the front.
This statue features in a poem by Nikiforos Vrettakos that I read before visiting Greece last summer. I have just been trying to translate it, but it is rather flowery and a bit too difficult to get into reasonable English, so I’ll have to work on it a bit more before I can post it.
I’m conscious that this year I have been posting a lot of translations of poems and songs which I really enjoy. I hope that in 2018 I will get back to posting on some more of my travels in Greece, France and Sicily.
Happy New Year and enjoy your own journeys in 2018!