Stele of Glaukotas



Stele of Glaukotas


Relief sculpture


ca. 470-460 BC




Marble, Paros 2
27 1/4 x 19 1/2 x 4 3/8 in. (69.2 x 49.5 x 11.1 cm)

Object Number



The ribbon tied around the temples of the athlete on this gravestone indicates his victory in the games. He cleans himself after exercise with a strigil. Only his upper part is preserved: originally he would have been carved in full profile. A verse inscription on the right side of the stone, carved later (perhaps in the fourth or third centuries BC), explains touchingly that it was his mother who set this up for her son Glaukotas, whom she addresses, in memory of his youth. The name means literally "he with blue-gray ears." This carved inscription may have replaced a painted original or represent a secondary use for the stone.

Athleticism carried associations of arete (excellence), in physical prowess, character, and social standing. The idealized youth, represented in his prime, is not a realistic portrait: the features are general, the hair schematic, and we have no way to know whether he was, in fact, good looking or young when he died.
Grave-markers such as this one and the fragment of a seated man at right would have been set up prominently along public thoroughfares. They proclaimed the prestige of the family of the deceased. Economic stringencies in the years following the decisive defeats of the two Persian expeditions to Greece in 490 and 480-479 BC meant that few marble funerary monuments were erected at this time.

Credit Line

Carlos Collection of Ancient Art


MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, September 2004 - Present
MCCM Newsletter, March - May 2003.|
MCCM Newsletter, September - October 2004.|
Louise Pratt, Eros at the Banquet: Reviewing Greek with Plato's Symposium (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2011), 131.


© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White, 2004.
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On View



“Stele of Glaukotas,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed September 18, 2020,

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