“Cleobis and Biton,” according to Herodotus “were of Argive stock, had enough to live on, and on top of this had great bodily strength. Both had won prizes in the athletic contests, and this story is told about them: there was a festival of Hera in Argos, and their mother absolutely had to be conveyed to the temple by a team of oxen. But their oxen had not come back from the fields in time, so the youths took the yoke upon their own shoulders under constraint of time. They drew the wagon, with their mother riding atop it, traveling five miles until they arrived at the temple. When they had done this and had been seen by the entire gathering, their lives came to an excellent end, and in their case the god made clear that for human beings it is a better thing to die than to live. The Argive men stood around the youths and congratulated them on their strength; the Argive women congratulated their mother for having borne such children. She was overjoyed at the feat and at the praise, so she stood before the image and prayed that the goddess might grant the best thing for man to her children Cleobis and Biton, who had given great honor to the goddess. After this prayer they sacrificed and feasted. The youths then lay down in the temple and went to sleep and never rose again; death held them there. The Argives made and dedicated at Delphi statues of them as being the best of men.” What a story… http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0126%3Abook%3D1%3Achapter%3D31 and https://www.jstor.org/stable/4476541?read-now=1&refreqid=excelsior%3A696d910b4f58214d895c34828b1f43ce&seq=3#page_scan_tab_contents
The two statues affectionately called The Twins of Argos hold me in fascination! They were sent to Delphi by the Argives back in the early 6th century BC… the first monumental commemorative monument to grace Apollo’s sanctuary. Many, resplended monuments followed… but the Kouroi of Cleobis and Biton forever bedazzle us with their monumentality and grace.
The Twins of Argos were excavated in Delphi by French archaeologists in 1893 and 1894. The discovery of two extremely similar statues of idealized nude male youths is a rare find of the kouros type. Like other kouroi, they are “naked except for boots, which distinguish them from images of Apollo and may mark them as travellers. They are stockily built, short though over-life-size, with broad shoulders and broad faces… The round eyes are set within curving upper and lower lids, the entire eye unit cut deeply into the head beneath heavy brows. The mouth is full. The large ears are set far back at the side of the head; the lobe is a flat disk. The transition between the front and sides of the head is very abrupt. A single row of large disk-like curls line the forehead. The rest of the hair, emphasizing the flat top of the head, is combed and then subdivided into large bead-like elements. In back the hair springs out from beneath the double cord which holds it in place, at the top of the ears and, again, at the base of the neck. Each of the tendrils, front and back, is neatly finished with a tie… The abdomen is defined linearly… The round knees are set off by incision as well as by modeling. The arms are held close to the body, the clenched hands securely attached to the thighs, the thumbs facing outward…” http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/artifact?name=Delphi%2C+Kleobis+and+Biton&object=Sculpture
To introduce my students to ancient Greek Archaic Art and the Kouros Brothers from Argos, Cleobis and Biton, I use the Inquiry-based teaching method known as Visual Thinking Strategy introduced by Abigail Housen and Philip Yenawine which “uses art to teach visual literacy, thinking, and communication skills—listening and expressing oneself. Growth is stimulated by looking at artworks of increasing complexity, answering developmentally based questions, and participating in peer-group discussions carefully facilitated by teachers.” Philip Yenawine, Visual Thinking Strategies: Using Art to Deepen Learning Across School Disciplines, 2013 https://www.amazon.com/Visual-Thinking-Strategies-Learning-Disciplines-ebook/dp/B00XO20380
For a student “RWAP”, (RWAP stands for Research – Writing – Art – Project), please… Check HERE!