Charioteer of Delphi
The Charioteer of Delphi is a rare surviving 2,500-year-old bronze sculpture from Ancient Greek culture. It is a life-size statue of a chariot driver found in 1896 at the Sanctuary of Apollo in Delphi. The statue was commissioned to commemorate the victory of the tyrant Polyzalusa of Gela, a Greek colony in Sicily, and his chariot in the Pythian Games of 470 BC.
The Pythian Games (also known as the Delphic Games) were one of the four Panhellenic Games of Ancient Greece. They were held in honor of Apollo every four years at his sanctuary at Delphi. They were held two years after each Olympic Games. An inscription on the limestone base of the statue shows that Polyzalus dedicated it as a tribute to Apollo for helping him win the chariot race.
The Charioteer of Delphi was initially part of a larger group of sculptures, that included the chariot, at least four horses and possibly two grooms. Some smaller fragments of the horses, grooms, and chariot were found with the statue. The Sicilian Greek colonies were very wealthy compared with most of the cities of mainland Greece. Their rulers could afford magnificent offerings to the gods and the best horses and drivers for the games.
The name of the sculptor is unknown, but it is believed that the statue was cast in Athens, based on similarities with other Athenian masterpieces. The face and the body do not display arrogance, but the features of calm self-confidence.
It is a life-size statue of a chariot driver who was found in 1896 at the Sanctuary of Apollo in Delphi. The Charioteer of Delphi was initially part of a larger group sculpture, including the chariot, at least four horses and possibly two grooms. Some fragments of the horses were found with the statue. This statue is one of the few Greek bronzes to have the original inlaid glass eyes. The face and the body do not display arrogance, but the features of calm self-confidence.
Charioteer of Delphi
- Title: Charioteer of Delphi
- Date: 470 BC
- Find site: Sanctuary of Apollo in Delphi – 1896
- Material: Bronze
- Dimensions: H:1.8m
- Museums: Delphi Archaeological Museum
Explore the Delphi Archaeological Museum
- Charioteer of Delphi
- Charioteer of Delphi – Photo Gallery
- Kleobis and Biton or The ‘Twins’ of Argos
- The ‘Twins’ of Argos – Photo Gallery
- Statue of Aghias of Pharsala
Advice from the Oracle of Apollo
Pythia was the priestess presiding over the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi. There are hundreds of statements from the Oracle at Delphi which have survived. Many are anecdotal and have survived as proverbs. Several are ambiguously phrased, apparently to show the oracle in a good light regardless of the outcome. Such prophecies were admired for their phrasing. The following are some of the prophecies of Delphi.
“Nothing in excess.”
“Love of money and nothing else will ruin you.”
“Pray to the Winds. They will prove to be mighty allies of Greece.”
“Sophocles is wise, Euripides is wiser, but of all men, Socrates is wisest.”
“Make your own nature, not the advice of others, your guide in life.”
The Delphic maxims are a set of 147 aphorisms inscribed at Delphi. Initially, they were said to have been given by the Greek god Apollo’s Oracle at Delphi and were therefore attributed to Apollo himself. The specific order and wording of each maxim vary between different versions and translations of the text.
- Base your knowledge on learning.
- Understand after you have heard what has occurred.
- Know yourself.
- Take care to know the right opportunity.
- Control yourself.
- Control your anger.
- Love friendship.
- Concentrate on education.
- Pursue honor.
- Seek wisdom.
- Praise the good.
- Shun evil.
- Be interested in public affairs.
- Nothing in excess.
- On reaching the end, be without sorrow.
- Do not be discontented by life.
- Believe in good luck.
- Do not sign a guarantee when obtaining a loan.
- Do not reveal entrusted secrets.
- Fear deceit.
- Praise everyone.
- Be a seeker of wisdom.
- Think first, act later.
- Associate with the wise.
- Accept old age.
Explore Greek Museums and Historic Sites
- Athens Museums
- Ancient Corinth Museums
- Delos Museums
- Delphi Museums
- Ancient Mycenae Museums
- Epidaurus Museums
- Heraklion, Crete Museums
- Meteora Museums
- Milos Museums
- Mystras Museums
- Olympia Museums
- Pella Museums
- Santorini Museums
- Thessaloniki Museums
“Love of money and nothing else will ruin Sparta.”
– Oracle of Delphi
Photo Credit: JOM