This 2-meter-long marble relief from the 6th Century BC is an important example of Archaic Greek sculpture. It originated from the island of Siphnos and was donated by the Siphnians to the sanctuary at Delphi following the discovery of prosperous silver and gold mines.

This relief contains a sequence of meticulously engraved scenes that serve as a window into the religious and cultural ideologies of the time. The frieze is populated by twenty-seven examinations of the human form, each showcasing detailed craftsmanship.

On the left-hand side of the piece, a depiction of the Trojan War is accompanied by figures from Greek mythology, potentially including the god Apollo situated upon the omphalos, with other deities involved in the conflict represented in the series.

The right side of the frieze illustrates a symposium, with the god Dionysus - associated with wine and merrymaking - presiding, surrounded by his retinue including satyrs and maenads. Characters from Theban mythology, such as Heracles and Oedipus, suggest a deeper significance tied to religious and mythological narratives.

Images of the monsters Typhon and Echidna also feature in the carving, providing an insight into the belief systems prevalent during the period. The narrative connection of these mythological scenes might be largely decorative and indicative of the grandiosity of ancient mythology.

Noteworthy technical precision can be observed, encapsulated by realistic representation of clothing and anatomically congruent human figures, conveying a growing understanding of form and perspective during the Archaic period. A prominent feature is a metope depicting a gorgon, depicted in motion, successfully evoking fear and anxiety in the viewer.

This finely executed frieze, with its complex composition and rich iconographic detail, serves as a primary historical resource for understanding Archaic Greek society.

Archaeological Museum of Delphi
Delphi, Sacred Way