Later Archaic Greek gems: named artists

Few archaic scarabs carry their maker's name. An exception is Epimenes, whose style is distinctive enough for other pieces to be attributed to him. He has an ambitious sculptural style, indulging even in twisting three-quarter figures seen from behind, otherwise familiar only on relief sculpture of the day.

Gem image

Chalcedony scaraboid from the Nile Delta (Naucratis?) A youth restrains a horse, Inscribed 'Epimenes made [me]'.

Boston 27.677; LHG no. 28. 17mm. AGGems no. 246.

Gem image

Chalcedony scaraboid from Naucratis. A youth tests the strightness of his arrow, his bow over his arm. Attributed to Epimenes.

New York, Richter no. 42. 17mm. AGGems no. 248.


Another artist can be identified from several gems carved in very similar style, will full faces and detailed treatment of anatomy and wings, and with a fondness for two-figure fighting or flying groups. He is named the Semon Master, from the owner (?) of one gem.

Gem image

Agate scarab from the Troy area. A girl, we aring only headband and earrngs, fills her water jar at a lion-head spout. Inscribed 'of Semon'.

Berlin F 159; AGDS II, no. *. 14mm. AGGems no. 249.

Gem image

Chalcedony. A sphinx seizes a warrior youth who fights back; a variant on the common theme of the Theban sphinx carryng off a dead youth. By the Semon Master.

London 1933.10-15.1. 18mm. AGGems no. 251.

Gem image

Chalcedony scaraboid. A griffin seizes a naked youth. By the Semon Master.

Boston 23, 578, LHG no. 29. 18mm. AGGems no. 252.

Gem image

Cornelian. A winged bull with human face. The monster in this form is oriental, rather than a Greek Acheloos (who is wingless). By the Semon Master.

London, Walters no. 498. 18mm. AGGems no. 253.