Sculptures show sponsorship existed in ancient times

Sculptures show sponsorship existed in ancient times

MANİSA – Anadolu Agency
Sculptures show sponsorship existed in ancient times

AA photo

Artifacts unearthed during archaeological excavations in the ancient city of Aigai in the western province of Manisa have revealed that the history of sponsorship goes back at least some 2,200 years. 

Excavations head Yusuf Sezgin from the Manisa Celal Bayar University’s Archaeology Department said the ancient Ionian city of Aigai was established by the Aiols, who migrated from Greece to the northwestern Anatolian coasts in 1,200 B.C. 

He said that excavations since 2004 had unearthed tens of thousands of artifacts and ceramic pieces which were delivered to the Manisa Museum after their restoration in the excavation house. 

Sezgin said that tools used by people in daily life 2,200 years ago were removed from underground, and they had collected very important data during excavations and surface surveys at the city’s graveyard. 

Within the scope of the “NekroPergEol” project, Sezgin said they had collaborated with academics from universities in France, Italy and Germany, and found important tombs and other findings at the site.

“Therefore, we determined that the history [of the findings] dated back to the 8th century B.C.”

Findings shed light on sponsorship history 

Sezgin said they had found a sculpture in Aiga that they believed belonged to a wealthy family of the era. 

“The sculpture had a six-meter base. As the excavation team, we examined this artifact in detail and made some discoveries. The base had the names of six people from a rich family from this period. There was also a phrase, saying ‘Benefactor [euregetes] Antiphanes and Diaphenes are honored by the public.’ It was not easy for people to have their sculpture done in that era. We understand from this phrase that the family contributed to the construction of an assembly building in the city and the family solved a financial problem. Such [financial] support was definitely honored in the ancient ages. We know that this family had six members; we know the names of each one. The city honored this family and the sculpture of each of the family members was erected in the assembly building. These sculptures, which we unearthed during excavations, revealed that the history of sponsorship dates back to 2,200 years ago,” Sezgin said, adding that the sculptor was from Pergamum.  

He also said they had found the signature “Menestratus Hippiyu Pergammenos Epeue” on the sculpture, adding, “We saw this signature on two sculptures. This shows us that an artist from Pergamum, where the best sculptors of that era lived, made the sculptures of this family’s members.”