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The Serpent Column – A Cultural Biography - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Serpent Column: A Cultural Biography

Paul Stephenson


The Serpent Column, a bronze sculpture that has stood in Delphi and Constantinople, today Istanbul, is a Greek representation of the Near Eastern primordial combat myth: it is Typhon, a dragon defeated by Zeus, and also Python slain by Apollo. The column was created after the Battle of Plataia (479 B.C.), where the sky was dominated by serpentine constellations and by the spiraling tails of the Milky Way. It was erected as a votive for Apollo and as a monument to the victory of the united Greek poleis over the Persians. It is as a victory monument that the column was transplanted to Constantin ... More

Keywords: serpent, column, bronze, combat myth, Hellenic, Byzantine, Ottoman, sculpture, talisman

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2016 Print ISBN-13: 9780190209063
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190209063.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Paul Stephenson, author
Professor of History and Head, School of History and Heritage, University of Lincoln.