Xenophon’s Portrait

Xenophon (Museum of Aphrodisias)

In 1988 or 1989 – I do not remember exactly – I spent a holiday in Andalusia. On my way back, I visited Madrid, where I wanted to see the Lex Irnitana. It’s now in Seville, of course, but back then it was a very recent discovery that would be shown to the world on a worthy location in the Spanish capital. However, I was too early, and ended up in the Prado Museum, where I saw a bust of the Greek author Xenophon.

It has always been some kind of frustration to me that I forgot to take a photo, because I like to add pictures to my articles. I had to use a black-and-white photo, found on the internet, which was at least something, but because someone else had taken that photo, I felt a bit uneasy about copyright. More frustration was to come, because on two occasions, friends visited the Prado, tried to make the photo I needed – and were kindly told that photography was not permitted. I will leave it to others to explain what on earth makes a museum forbid visitors to study, back home, again the objects (mens sana qui mal y pense).

But now, in Aphrodisias, I suddenly saw a herm with, on the one side, Socrates, and on the other side the son of Gryllus. Of course that bust was placed in front of the window, which made photography difficult, but here he is: the one and only Xenophon.

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