FUNERARY STELE WITH YOUTH OF NISYROS

Funerary Stele with Youth of Nisyros in the Κonstantinoupolis Archaeological Museum. (see photo).

The stele is dated in 480-450 B.C. and is made of marble. Height: 1,83 m. Width: 54-62cm. Its artistic style was mainly used in eastern Greece. Most probably it was place on an athlete’s tomb.

Historical background of the Stele:

The stele was found in 1897 during digging works in the estate of Papatsos in Mandraki, Nisyros. In order to avoid looting by the Turkish occupation troops, the people of Nisyros was hiding the stele in the courtyard of the Church of Vargin Mary Potamitissa.

However, in 1900 the Turks found out about the stele, they seizured it, and sent it to Konstantinoupolis by a ship of the Turkish Customs which sent to Nisyros especially for this cause. The scene of the transportation of the stele to the port of Nisyros and its loading into the Turskish ship witnessed the – young then – compatriot late Lazaros Kontoveros. Kontoveros was a known antiquarian and researcher of every monument and ancient site of Nisyros; he expressed his sad feelings in verse watching the scene of the transport of a splendid example of his country’s culture. Later on in 1958 Kontoveros, a resident of U.S. by then published an article in the newspaper of the Greek diaspora called “Atlantis” describing the above scene.

This article was also published in the 19th Volume of “Nisyriaka Chronika” in December 1957, which is also included in this website under the tab ‘Publications’. Also, this article and a relevant poem are included in Lazaros Kontoveros’ book “Nisyrou Historika” which was published in 1934.

The origin of the stele of the Youth of Nisyros is confirmed and accepted by the international archaeological society without any objection. Extensive descriptions, analysis, comments, and assessments on the origin of the stele can be found in various studies dated in the same period with the stele’s discovery by intentionally renowned archaeologists:
Α. Funerary Stele discovered in Nisyros. By SALOMON REINACH: Revue Archeologique, 1901, page 158.
B. Stele of NisyroS. By ΗENRI LECHAT: Revue des Etudes Grecque XVI (1901), P. 420.
C. Funerary Stele of a Discobolus. By GUSTAVE MENDEL: Catalogue des Sculptures Grecques.Vol.1 No 11 p. 73.
Note: Gustave Mendel was the curator of antiquities in the archaeological museum of Konstantinoupolis during the transfer of the stele from Nisyros. He drafted a three-volume catalogue of Greek, Roman, and Byzantine sculpture in French, which was published in 1912.
D. Notes on the Greek Sculpture. By CHARLES WALSTON, Cambridge 1927.

2. During his visit in the Acropolis Museum in Athens in May 2010, the Turk Minister of Culture noted that all archaeological treasures that are located in foreign museums should be returned to the countries of their origin.

Following this statement, the President of our Society sent an official letter to the KB Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities in the region of Dodecanese, where after referring to the origin of the column, he specifically requests that the issue of the return of the column to its place of origin at the newly established Archaeological Museum of Nisyros should be raised officially. This act is imposed by ethical reasons and the political consistency of the Turk Minister, who would thus prove that his word is in line with his actions.δείξει ότι οι λόγοι του συμβαδίζουν με τις πράξεις του.

In December 2014, Turk Prime Minister, during his visit at the museum, repeated the same declaration. After a few days, our society’s president, sent a letter to the turk Ambassador in Athens asking to inform the P.M. about the stele and our demand to return it to its origin.