Copy of the only extant bronze dedicatory object from 5th century to be set up at Delphi

A copy of a bronze column dedicated in 477 B.C. by 31 city-states that had fought in the Battle of Plataeans against the Persians that ended up in present-day Istanbul in the 4th century A.D., will be replicated and put up at Delphi, the Central Archaeological Council announced on Monday.

The column, six-metres tall, originally depicted three serpents tightly coiled running the whole length, with the heads supporting a gold leves, or deep bowl, later melted down by the Phocaeans to cover their war costs. Carved along the coils were the names of the cities that participated in the battle against the Persians, in 479 B.C.; they are no longer visible after being exposed to the elements. According to Herodotus, it was made of Persian loot.

The column was broken off and transferred to the new Rome, or Constantinople, in the 4th century A.D. by Emperor Constantine the Great. It was placed in the middle of the Hippodrome, where it still stands. It is the only extant bronze dedicatory object of Greek antiquity, and has been viewed by travellers to the city for eons, until the 16th century, when two of the three heads were broken off and lost. The third is in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum.

A copy will be made on the basis of a plaster cast kept at the Delphi Museum since 1980; the cast preserves the names of the cities that are no longer visible on the original.

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