• r2-274-10
    Bilingual dedication of Nannas Bakivalis to Artemis. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)
  • r2-274-20
    Bilingual dedication of Nannas Bakivalis to Artemis, top. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)

Bilingual dedication of Nannas Bakivalis to Artemis

Late Lydian (Persian)
Sardis or Museum Inv. No.
Sardis 7.1 No. 085
Marble, Stone
Object Type
Sculpture, Statue Base, Inscription
Inscription Type
Inscription language
Lydian, Greek, Bilingual Lydian and Greek
Sculpture Type
Inscription of lost statue
Inscription Text
Nannas Bakivalis Artimul
Ναννας Διονυσικλέος Ἀρτέμιδι
Inscription Translation
Nannas son of Bakivas / Dionysikles (dedicated this statue) to Artemis
Inscription Comment
AT Nannas Monument
In May 1913, H.C. Butler found a peculiar "monument" consisting of three bases, two fallen lions, and a toppled bird (Cat. 235, Cat. 236, Cat. 238 Figs. 405-409, 413-415) "about 50 m. north of the center of the temple and about 3 m. above the level of its platform, the inscribed front [of the central base] facing the north side of the temple" (Sardis VII, 91). As reset by Butler the monument faced E and W and was at W153/S1180. The Nannas base was found upside down and moved to the Sardis camp in 1968. As the statue base has profiles on all sides, the original dedication was free standing.

The top is very roughly trimmed with large point and is clearly not the original surface which probably was smooth. The rather deeply cut holes for two feet seem to be for a human statue (left cutting: L. 0.155; D. 0.045; right cutting: L. 0.14; D. up to 0.055). However, the feet seem to be facing away from the inscription side, being wider at the opposite end (W. at inscription end: left cutting 0.035, right cutting 0.03; W. opposite: left 0.04, right 0.04). This would produce a very pigeon-toed stance. The l. cutting is rough picked at the bottom, the end smoothed on the sides for insertion of the stone; the r. is rectangular on the inscription end.

The inscription belongs to the original stage of the base. Because of recutting we do not know what was on the base at the time, but it was possibly a human figure. In the second stage, the base definitely supported a human statue, probably with the original inscription at the back. In the third, Roman, stage when the monument was "recomposed," or perhaps composed anew on a 2nd or 3rd C. level, it probably carried the seated lion (Cat. 235) as in Shear's reconstruction (Lion, fig. 4).

This matter is of some importance: lions and eagle would normally be sacred to Cybele, not Artemis, at Sardis. Hanfmann and Waldbaum (Kybele, 268f.) wrongly accepted the Nannas monument as an apparent exception. It was not Nannas but the Romans who, trying to reconstitute the sanctuary after the great floods, set up the Nannas monument just as they reset the Lydian stelai, with extraneous parts. Among the stelai, too, we have clear examples of non-fitting shafts. We do not know what Nannas dedicated to Artemis.

Buckler and Robinson date the inscription ca. 350 B.C., noting that the “lion associated by T. L. Shear is much more ancient than our text.”


Very coarse-grained, local, gray-white marble; gray "temple" weathering. Whitmore: compares with Sardis MD quarry group A.

Front has cracked. Frontal and side top profile damaged; r. back corner surface gone (old break). Weathered gray-black.

H. 0.44; W. 0.79; Th. 0.68; H. of plinth 0.44.
See Also
Published: Sardis VII, no. 85, fig. 72, inscription only; Sardis VI, 1, 38f.; Sardis VI, 2, 38. Shear, Lion, 129, fig. 8; Gusmani, Lydisches Worterbuch, 259, no. 29; von Gall, Felsgraber Perserzeit, 588; Hanfmann, Sardis R1, 62, 64, 68; Gusmani, Lydiaka, 268.