Gravestone of Pollis
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Greek, Megara, about 480 B.C.
60 1/4 x 17 3/4 x 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.