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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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the city, the Athenians forgot that they had raised altars
to the divine powers of pity and compassion : they slew
all who bore arms, dragged women and children into
slavery, and brought Athenian colonists to the ruined
Doric state. But after the victory of the Spartans at
Egospotamos, the Melians who survived were again mas-
ters of their land. From that time, the inhabitants of
Melos formed a mixture of Dorians, of descendants from
the old Melians, and of lonians, posterity of the Athenian
colonists. Bloody memories must long have kept them
apart. But when time, and work for the same fatherland,
had at last begun to unite them, there was one memory
around which all could meet with the same joy : the
memory of the fight of Melos against Persia, the memory
of Salamis, where the forefathers of them all, of Dorians
as well as lonians, had fought like brothers by each
other’s side, and won.
What, then, was more natural, than that art should
erect a monument sacred to this uniting memory, the
brightest and proudest of Melos ? And what worthier,
more pleasing and suitable monument could be imagined,
than the island’s own guardian goddess, Melos-Aphrodite,
symbol of the fatherland and love for the fatherland, who
with outstretched shield into which she has cut the le-
gend, reminds the people of its ancestors’ greatest deed
the refusal of the Persian claim to sovereignty ? Long
before Mme. de Stael wrote the words, the Hellenes had
thought the thought : nations must never submit to fate,
or to that which comes forward as resistless ; for it is
they themselves who form their fate ; one will more, in
the balance, and rescue is won. A thought of this kind,
I read on Melos-Aphrodite’s shield as in her whole

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