PALEOLITHIC ART MAGAZINE

EUROPA



THE IDOLATRY IN THE ANTHROPOMORPHIC PALEOLITHIC AND POST-PALEOLITHIC COLOSSUS

Pietro Gaietto


For anthropomorphic colossus we mean the sculptures representing human subjects greater of the reality ( See photos at the bottom).

The photographies that I introduce are related to the colossus, for a short talk on the idolatry that concerns the Paleolithic and the post-Paleolithic in Europe, Africa, Asia and America.

The talk on the idolatry is always stranger to the art books, but is important to hold it in consideration, in how much it justifies the building of great works of art, that have cost hard work, and that were destined to a great number of persons.

About the idolatry in the colossus of the Paleolithic we cannot know nothing, but we know from Plinius the Old and from the other authors, than colossus near the Greeks and the Roman was most numerous, and that the idolatry was the reason of their building. We can presune, therefore, than also in the Paleolithic the idolatry existed.

These are some of quotations of Plinius the Old ( Naturalis Historia):

39. (18) - About the audacity then infinites are the examples. We see in fact conceived great statues similar to towers: the so-called colossus. Such is the Apollo in Capitolium carried from M. Lucullus from Apollonia town of Pontus (681/73), high thirty cubits and cost 500 talents.

40. - Such in Campo Martio the Juppiter dedicated from Claudius emperor, colossus, which like eaten from the near size of the Theatre of Pompeius; such is that built at Taranto from Lysippos high 40 cubits. It is strange in this last fact that, while it can be moved with the hand, - so perfect is the equilibrium system - besides it resists very well to the storms. People say that the artist has supplied for this purpose with a column placed to little distance and from that part in which it was more necessary to break off the sudden start of the winds. Therefore, for the largeness and the difficulties to remove it Fabius Verrucosus did not touch it here, while carryed from there the Hercules that now is in Capitolio (545/209).

41. - But over all the Colossus of Rhodes was admired, made by Chares Lindio (227 B.C. ) disciple of Lysippos. This simulacer was of the height of 70 cubits , which then he fell to the ground after 66 years for an earthquake; but also on the ground it is a wonderful show. Few arrive to embracing the inch; his fingers are more large than many statues. Immense caverns are opened in the fractures of the limbs; and within they are looked at some of great size stones, with the weight of which the artist had consolidated the mass during the building. They say that it was made in 12 years and with 300 talents that were gained from the sale of the war machinery in front of Rhodes abandoned by the king Demetrius tired with prolongedding of the siege.

42. - Again at Rhodes there are other hundred colossus smaller of this, but that would made the place famous everywhere an only of them was found; and moreover five colossal statues of of Gods, work of Bryaxis.

43. - Also Italy has created its colossus. We see at least the Apollus Tuscanicus in the Library of temple of August, high 50 feet from the large finger of the foot (to the head), I would not know if more mirable for the color of the bronze or the beauty of the statue. Moreover Spurius Carvilius made the Juppiter that is in Capitolio, after the Victory on the Samnytes that fought with sacred law (461/293), using theirs armours, their leggings and the helmets; it is therefore so high that is looked at from the Juppiter Latiario on the Albanus Mount. With the residuals of the file dust Carvilius made his statue that it is in front of the feet of the statue.

44. - Always in Capitolio there are very admired two colossal heads that consul Publius Lentulus dedicated (697/75); one made by Chares over remembered (34, 41), the other made (...)dikos, much inferior confronted with the first one, to seem an artist of little importance.

45. - But every largeness, in fact of statues of this kind, has exceeded in our days Zenodoros with Mercury made for the Arverns in Gallia during 10 years of work, and for a cost of 40 million sestertia. This, after that had given so beautiful test of his art, was called from Nero at Rome, where he made the colossus destined as simulacer of that emperor, high 119,5 feets; this colossus after was dedicated to the Sun and therefore becames object of cult when the memory of the vickednesses of the prince was damned.

Colossus and idolatry are the union of a type of religion with a tradition of lithic sculpture near organized and rich people, independently from the fact than they were before hunters, and then agriculturists.

The people who have founded the first towns (in the territories of the actual Egypt and Middle East) had become rich with agriculture, but their religion was connected to the idolatry, and their art to the sculpture. The painting, near these people, probably has been introduced from artists of the artistic-religious magdalenian post-paleolithic Civilization of the Sahara, but it has had, nearly exclusively, application in the decoration, and not in the representation of the divinity, that is remained task of the sculpture.

The religious artistic Civilizations with lithic sculpture of the Paleolithic cross the several material cultures of the Mesolithic and the Neolithic, and reach the dawn of the history a little everywhere. This passage, at least for the colossus could be studied on the menhir of Carnac, that is the only locality in the world, that has 2,730 grouped in a short space.

At Carnac the more ancient menhirs are anthropomorphic, and they probably do not have less than 50.000 years, while the most recent are monoliths simply sketched out, and also of small dimensions, sure made in this manner as a result of a new religion; but the more ancient and most recent menhirs have in common the same place of cult, the same use of working of the stone, and the same way to align them. It is possible, at least here, to find a thread direct from the Paleolithic to the dawn of the history, that comprises the colossus of the Mesolithic and the Neolithic.







FIG. 1 Rock sculptures. They represent two large human heads. The head on the right has look in ahead, the head on the left has look towards the sky. This group is said " the great couple of Tiglieto ".
Size: height beyond mt. 5.
Placing: Tiglieto, Genoa, Italy (under the road to the border with the Province of Savona). This photography goes back to 1969; currently the sculptures are covered from a forest of pines.
Perthesian artistic-religious Civilization.
Material Civilization: Mousterian or upper Paleolithc.
The man on the right seems followed by the other man. Perhaps they are a male and one female; in such case, it could be the first Paleolithic representation of the couple male and female, that it has plain verifications in the post-paleolitic religions. The shoulders are pointed out, like are looked at in the drawing. The represented human types have characters near Homo sapiens neanderthalensis.






FIG. 2 Rock sculpture. It represents a gigantic human head in frontal view .
Size only of the face, and not of the cliff: Height mt. 7 approximately and widht mt.. 4. The cliff on the head could be a hat.
Placing: Rocche di Borzone, Borzonasca, Genoa, Italy. (Altitude mt. 500 approximately).
Perthesian artistic-religious Civilization.
Material culture: Mousterian or upper Paleolithc
The sculpture, from the valley dwellers, is called the " megalithic Face of Borzone ". It must be visited in winter, when the plants do not have the leaves. A study on this sculpture is published on Paleolithic Art Magazine: " The megalithic face of Borzone " , P.Gaietto, 2000.
(Photo Pietro Gaietto)






FIG. 3 Lithic Sculpture. (Menhir). It represents a human head with neck, hat or hairdo . The human type seems Homo sapiens neanderthalensis.
Size: beyond mt.5.
Placing: Carnac, Britain, France.
Perthesian artistic-religious Civilization.
Material Civilization: Mousterian or upper Paleolithc.
It is one of the sculptures larger of Carnac.
(Photo Licia Filingeri)






FIG. 4 Two-faced anthropomorphic lithic sculpture (Menhir). It represents two human heads joined for the nape. In this sculpture of great dimensions, clearly is looked at that the stylistic deformation (extremely elegant), intentionally excludes the particular of the face, that is eyes, nose, mouth, that, if the man would intentionally make it, he was able to make, as he was able to process a harmonious shape.
The head (on the left) represents a Sapiens sapiens, and the head (on the right) a Sapiens neanderthalensis; however, this Neanderthalian with " fat " face, remains one of the many unsolved problems.
Size: height mt. 3.5 approximately.
Collocation: Carnac, Britain, France.
Artistic-religious harroyan Civilization.
Material culture: Mousterian or upper Paleolithic.
(Photo Licia Filingeri)







FIG. 5 Lithic Sculpture. (Menhir).It represents a human head with pointed hood.
Size: evident.
Placing: Carnac, Britain, France.
Perthesian artistic-religious Civilization.
Material culture: Mousterian, perhaps upper Paleolithc.
In Britain the menhir are 4,750. This zone has been place of cult from the Mousterian until the II millenium B.C. At Carnac the menhirs are 2.730 and are aligned. The most ancient represent heads of Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, and for this we attribute them to the Mousterian, but also those like this, that represent Homo sapiens sapiens, can be mousterian, inasmuch as the paleoanthropologists have established that Homo sapiens sapiens has appeared before 80,000 years ago.
Currently, the only system of cultural attribution is the inquiry through the represented human type, in how much does not exist datings, because not there are " academics scolars" who take care of the problem of the anthropomorphic menhirs. In order to make so searches, it needs the subside of the State, that only the academic researchers can have . A menhir like this, if raised, discovers an intact site, that at least through the pollens, considering the progresses made from science and technology, would have to supply enough precise datings.
(Photo Licia Filingeri)






FIG. 6 EUROPE
Marble sculpture. Colossus.
It represents the head of Costantinus emperor.
Size: evident (from doors and window).
Localization: Rome, Italy.
Artistic-religious perthesian post-paleolithic Civilization in association with other divinities.
Photography year 1934.






FIG. 7 AFRICA
Rock sculpture in the temple-cave. (Particular). Colossus.
It represents a Divinity with hat.
Size: height mt. 10.
Localization: Abu Simbel, Low-Nubia, Egypt.
Dynasty XIX.
Post-paleolithic artistic-religious Civilization in association with other divinities.
The king Ramesses II at Abu Simbel has erected an other temple-cave with four high anthropomorhic colossal statues of divinities sitting 20 meters height.











FIG. 8 ASIA
Anthropomorhic sculpture (gravure).
Colossus.
It represents the God Canone son of Amida.
Size: evident.
Localization: Japan.
Artistic-religious perthesian post-paleolithic Civilization in association with other divinities.
The gravure is drawn from the book: "Round-the-world trip", Venice, 1841, and represents also five persons, demonstrating, how much the idolatry was practiced.





FIG. 9 AUSTRALIA
They are no noticed colossus in lithic sculpture, but no more lithic sculptures of small dimensions.
In Australia dominates the artistic-religious magdalenian paleolithic and post-paleolithic Civilization, that, as knewn, does not have lithic sculpture.
Only shape of sculpture (in my acquaintance) is found in northern Australia. They are anthropomorhic and zoomorphic sculptures in wood, of modest size, made under the influence of the pearl fishermen of Makasan, than during last three centuries disembarked on the Australian northern coast.






FIG. 10 AMERICA
Anthropomorhic lithic Sculpture. Colossus.
It represents a head with hat and without the neck, carved in volcanic stone . It represents a God or, according to some reasearchers, warrior kings, defending the coasts..
Size: evident.
Origin: Tuxtla (Mexico).
Foto E. Seler, before 1959.
Artistic-religious perthesian post-paleolithic Civilization in association with other divinities.
Olmeca Culture.
Dating: approximately 500 B.C. - 200 a.D.
I know other similar monolithic colossus, found at S. Lorenzo Tenochtitlàn, Vera Cruz (Mexico): 7 are holded at the Anthropologic Museum in Xalapa (Mexico). It is a head cm. 275 high, and without neck.



Index

HOME PAGE

Copyrightę2000-2002 by Paleolithic Art Magazine, all rights reserved.