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(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - Antique Statues - 1. The Aphrodite of Melos

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not even Athens, more ardently felt itself Hellenic, or
according to the measure of its power, did more for Hel-
las. Kinsmen of the Spartans, the Melians possessed
their virtues, but were free from their selfish conception
of the life-aims of state and race. One trait from the his-
tory of Melos tells all. When the other islands of the
archipelago submitted, trembling, to the great king of
the East, and preferred slavery to a resistance that seemed
hopeless, that Cycladean rock, alone among them all, re-
fused the threatening claim of Persia, and sent its ships
to Salamis. The Melians had then, according to tradi-
tion, tilled their island for seven hundred years, without
ever bending the neck under an enemy’s yoke. To them,
the battle before them seemed no more hopeful than to
the others ; but they were of one mind, to die as free
men, since their fathers had lived as such. When they
took that resolution, they listened to the voice of the
goddess they worshipped, and who was born of the
waves that surged around their shores—the heavenly
Aphrodite ; for she who is love for all that is grand and
beautiful, is love for freedom, honor and native land.
Far from admitting that this work of art must be a
stranger to the soil that has had it in keeping for our
time, it is therefore my belief that the statue is Melian
in a twofold sense : created for Melos and

Melos. This, in the same manner as Pallas may repre-
sent Athens, as Minerva sometimes may represent Rome.
It is a Melos-ApJirodite.
When. I saw her the first time, precisely that illus-
trious trait in the history of the island, stood forth in my
mind, and as instantly as if I had heard it in a whisper
from the goddess’s lips. She spoke to me of a little
people’s power to be great, when it lifts itself above

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