Cariatides

1200px-Athènes_Acropole_Caryatides

Historias autem plures novisse oportet, quod multa ornamenta saepe in operibus architecti designant, de quibus argumentis rationem, cur fecerint, quaerentibus reddere debent. quemadmodum si quis statuas marmoreas muliebres stolatas, quae cariatides dicuntur, pro columnis in opere statuerit et insuper mutulos et coronas collocaverit, percontantibus ita reddet rationem Caria, civitas Peloponnensis, cum Persis hostibus contra Graeciam consensit. postea Graeci per victoriam gloriose bello liberati communi consilio Cariatibus bellum indixerunt. itaque oppido capto, viris interfectis, civitate declarata matronas eorum in servitutem abduxerunt, nec sunt passi stolas neque ornatus matronales deponere, uti non una triumpho ducerentur, sed aeterno, servitutis exemplo gravi contumelia pressae poenas pendere viderentur pro civitate. ideo qui tunc architecti fuerunt aedificiis publicis designaverunt earum imagines oneri ferundo collocatas, ut etiam posteris nota poena peccati Cariatium memoriae traderetur.
(Vitruvius, Arch. 1.1.5)

Architects ought to be familiar with history because in their works often they design many ornaments about which they ought to render an account to inquirers. For example, if anyone in his work sets up, instead of colums, marble statues of long-robed women which are called caryatids, and places mutules and cornices above them, he will thus render an account to inquirers. Caria, a Peloponnesian state, conspired with the Persian enemy against Greece. Afterwards the Greeks, gloriously freed from war by their victory, with common purpose went on to declare war on the inhabitants of Caria. The town was captured; the men were killed; the state was humiliated. Their matrons were led away into slavery and were not allowed to lay aside their draperies and ornaments. In this way, and not at one time alone, were they led in triumph. Their slavery was an eternal warning. Insult crushed them. They seemed to pay a penalty for their fellow-citizens. And so the architects of that time designed for public buildings figures of matrons placed to carry burdens; in order that the punishment of the sin of the Cariatid women might be known to posterity and historically recorded. (tr. Frank Granger)

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