Dēmos · Classical Athenian Democracy · a Stoa Publication

[ link colors: Demos | External Source | Citation to Evidence| Word Tools ]

Demos Home


Adikia and Dike (Injustice and Justice).

Anangke (Necessity).

→ Arete (Excellence, Valor).

Basileia (Kingdom, Sovereignty, or Monarchy).

Boule (Council).

Demokratia (Democracy).

Demos (Populace) of Athens.

Demoi of demes.

Demoi of foreign cities.

Eirene (Peace).

Eukleia (Good Repute).

Eunomia (Good Order).

Eutaxia (Good Order).

Hellas (Greece).

Harmonia (Harmony).

Nemesis (Retribution).

Homonoia (Concord).

Oligarchia (Oligarchy).

Peitho (Persuasion).

Philia (Friendship).

Phyle/Phylai (Tribe/s).

Soteria (Salvation).


(Agathe) Tyche (Good Fortune).

Further Reading.

Index of Citations

General Index

Demos Home

Athenian Political Art from the Fifth and Fourth Centuries BCE: Images of Political Personifications 

Amy C. Smith, edition of January 18 2003

page 4 of 26

· Arete (Excellence, Valor) ·


Read about the evidence
Bacchylides (Bacchyl. Ep.).
Plot on a Map
New York.

Discussion: In his 13th Epinician Ode (ca. 481) Bacchylides cites Arete, Eukleia, and Eunomia as the guardians of Aigina (Bacchyl. Ep. 13.183). Arete does not appear with this pair in extant Attic arts, although Arete (as an Amazon) and Eunomia (as a Nereid) appear in different scenes on the bilingual squat lekythos in New York [1]. It is likely that the painter of this vase meant for these to be evocative names, but not labels of meaningful personifications, as neither bears any resemblance to known personifications of these figures in extant visual and literary arts of Athens.

Plot on a Map

Pliny reports that the personification of Arete was represented on a wall painting dating by Parrhasios (perhaps originally in Athens [2]), and in a (bronze) colossal statue by Euphranor, which may have been perhaps paired with a similarly colossal statue of Hellas [3]. If the coincidental pairing (by Pliny) of Arete with Hellas, actually corresponds to the original group of which this statue was a part, it might have been created in response to the incursion of Macedonia in the 330s, and particularly the events leading up to the Battle of Chaironeia (338).


Read about the evidence
Pliny (Plin. HN).
Pliny (Plin. HN).
Plot on a Map

  1. New York 31.11.13: an Amazon, labelled ΑΡΗΤΗ, on a bilingual lekythos, ca. 430-420, attributed to the Eretria Painter (detail shown above).
  2. A wall painting (now lost), dating to the last quarter of the fifth century, by Parrhasios of Ephesos, and later Athens (Plin. HN 35.70).
  3. A colossal (bronze) statue (now lost), dating to the 330s, by Euphranor, perhaps one of a pair, with Hellas (Plin. HN 34.19.78).

[ back to top ]

page 4 of 26