Grave Stele of Pollis

Object Details


Grave Stele of Pollis




Greek (Megarian)


Megara, Greece (Place created)


about 480 B.C.


Parian marble


153 × 45.1 × 15.9 cm (60 1/4 × 17 3/4 × 6 1/4 in.)

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Proclaiming the bravery of the warrior whose grave it marked, this tall funerary stele shows a hoplite or heavily armed foot soldier, advancing into battle with his shield raised and his spear ready. A sword hangs at his side, suspended from a strap that was originally added in paint, as were other details of the decoration. The inscription carved across the top identifies the warrior and how he died: "I speak, I, Pollis dear son of Asopichos, not having died a coward, with the wounds of the tattooers, yes myself." The tattooers, the enemy named in the inscription, were probably the Thracians, a fierce people who occupied the area to the north of Greece.

The stele's inscription combines the alphabets of both Athens and Corinth. This kind of writing was typical of Megara, the city-state located between the two, and indicates that this stele was a Megarian monument.

- 1990

Atlantis Antiquities, Ltd. (New York, New York), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1990.

Ancient Art from the Permanent Collection (March 16, 1999 to May 23, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 16, 1999 to May 23, 2004

John Onians. European Art: A Neuroarthistory (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016), pp. 81, fig. 50, ill.

Atlantis Antiquities, New York. Greek and Roman Art. 1990, no. 13.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1991), p. 20.

"Acquisitions/1990." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 19 (1991), p. 136, no. 6.

"Getty Museum Acquires Rare Stele," Minerva 2, 4 (1991), p. 34, ill. p. 34.

Supplementum Epigrahicum Graecum 41. Leiden: 1991, pp. 41, 404.

Birge, D. "Field Notes." Archeological News 17, nos. 1-4 (1992), p. 41.

Follet, S. "Bulletin epigraphique," Revue des Etudes grecques 105 (1992), p. 441, no. 21.

Podany, Jerry. "Faked, flayed or fractured? Development of loss compensation approaches for antiquities." In Loss compensation : technical and philosophical issues : proceedings of the Objects Specialty Group Session, June 10, 1994, 22nd annual meeting, Nashville, TN. Objects Specialty Group Postprints, vol. 2. Ellen Pearlstein and Michele Marincola, compilers. (Washington, D.C. : American Institute for Conservation and Artistic Works, 1994), pp. 45-46, 54, figs. 12-13.

Corcella, Aldo. 1995. "Pollis and the Tattooers." Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 109: 47-8.

Schaefer, Thomas. "Gepickt und Versteckt. Zur Bedeutung und Funktion aufgerauhter Oberflaechen in der spaetarchaischen und fruehklassischen Plastik," Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archaeologischen Instituts 111 (1996), pp. 25-74, p. 51, fig. 14.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 4th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 19.

Towne Markus, Elana. Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Antiquities. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 44.

Bodel, John, and Stephen Tracy. Greek and Latin Inscriptions in the USA: A Checklist (New York: American Academy in Rome, 1997), p. 9.

Onians, John. Classical Art and the Cultures of Greece and Rome (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999), p. 38, fig. 29.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 6th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), p. 19.

Grossman, Janet Burnett. Greek Funerary Sculpture: Catalogue of the Collections at the Getty Villa (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), pp. 98-100, cat. no. 36.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection (Los Angeles: 2002), p. 18.

Recke, Matthias. Gewalt und Leid: Das Bild des Krieges bei den Athenern im 6. und 5. Jh.v.Chr. (Istanbul: Ege Yayinlari, 2002), Taf. 76b (incorrectly cited as 90.AA.120).

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010), p. 18.

Spivey, Nigel. Greek Sculpture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), pp. 122-23, 126, fig. 5.1.