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Statue of Zeus Keraunios (Thunderer)

March 30, 2014

This is the statue of Zeus Keraunios (Thunderer) dating to approximately 500 BC, excavated at Kition. The statue can be identified as Zeus due to three key attributes; the beard, the arm positioned in a throwing motion and the eagle that used to be in the left hand. Unfortunately only the talons of the eagle are preserved and very little of the thunderbolt. In addition to these attributes inscriptions indicate that a Temple of Zeus Keraunios existed at Kition.


The statue can be compared to the early Greek kouroi that were likely influenced by Egyptian sculpture. The Egyptians represented the figure striding forward, with flat feet and fists by their side. The kouroi have a similar stance but the Greeks developed this style further to create a more natural free standing figure. The Zeus has a similar stance and stylised hair but it differs as kouroi were nude. The Zeus is depicted wearing a chiton and aegis with an archaic smile. Early kouroi had expressionless faces and the archaic smile developed later. The archaic smile is intended to present a naturalistic face and create a more realistic representation of the human form. It can be compared to similar mainland Greek sculpture of the time indicating the influence of Greece during the Ionian revolt. I would suggest that there is a strong local influence on the sculptural representation of Zeus is he represented clothed.

The Zeus can be compared to statues such as the New York Kouros in form and design but also the Moscophoros of the Acropolis Museum which has a similar archaic smile.

From → Artefacts

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