Herm

Marble herm (height 66cm) from Siphnos, late 6th century BC. Athens, National Archaeological Museum 3728.A stone pillar marking crossroads and boundaries. It is topped with a head, usually of Hermes or Dionysos, with an upright phallus carved at the front, and squared shoulders over which wreathes or clothes could be draped. It was the commonest of wayside shrines for travellers. In later classical art the form is used for other figures, and eventually for portrait busts of mortals.

Above: Marble herm (height 66cm) from Siphnos, late 6th century BC. Athens, National Archaeological Museum 3728. © National Archaeological Museum, Athens Licence Plate 11 UK 1007 155