• r2-278-10
    Base for fountain with gilded bronze serpents, in situ, front view. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)

Base for Fountain with Gilded Bronze Serpents

Date
4th-6th C. AD, Roman
Sardis or Museum Inv. No.
IN72.026
Material
Marble, Stone
Object Type
Sculpture, Statue Base, Inscription
Inscription Type
Inscription language
Sculpture Type
Inscription of lost statue
Inscription Text
oἱ κρήνης ποτ᾿ ὕπερθε μέσην κατ᾿ ἄγυιαν ὁδοῖο 
πᾶσι παρερχομένοισιν ὁρώμενοι εἰσὶ δράκοντες 
οὗτοι χαλκείησιν ἑλισσόμενοι φολίδεσσιν, 
οὓς Βασιλίσκος ἔθηκε δικασπόλος ἔνθα κομίσσας 
χρυσῷ ἐρευθομένους ὑπὸ δε‹ι›ράδα μέχρι καρήνων 
νέρθεν ἄνω πέμποντας ἐπὶ στόμα χεύματα πηγῆς.
Inscription Translation
These are the snakes which were once seen by everyone passing by, above the fountain in the middle of the public road. Basiliskos, who held the office of judge there, set them up, wound round with brazen scales, reddened with gold from their necks to their heads, sending up the streams of the fountain from below to their mouths.
Inscription Comment
Site
Sardis
Sector
B
Trench
MC 72
Locus
B BE-H
B-Grid Coordinates
E3 / N48 *96.5
Findspot
in situ
Description

The base has a molded profile at top and bottom. A vertical channel is cut in one side for a water pipe.

Letter forms suggest a late date, 4th-6th C. A.D.

Condition

Marble.

Upper I. and r. corners broken away, and chipping at other edges.

Dimensions
Max. P.H. 0.74-0.75; H. inscribed face 0.392; max. W. at bottom 0.91; D. at top ca. 0.84, at base ca. 0.94. H. letters 0.025-0.027, of spaces between lines 0.02-0.025.
Comments
See Also
M14, No. 428
Bibliography
Published: BASOR211, 22, fig. 4; Hanfmann, Sardis R1, 173 n. 75; Sardis M4, 21, 114-115, from which the above translation by Clive Foss is quoted. Forthcoming publication by L. Robert.
Author
NHR