The Berkeley Plato

The Berkeley Plato: From Neglected Relic to Ancient Treasure, An Archaeological Detective Story

Stephen G. Miller
With an appendix by John Twilley
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: 1
Pages: 176
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1pnf9w
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  • Book Info
    The Berkeley Plato
    Book Description:

    This book explores the provenance of the so-called Berkeley Herm of Plato, a sculptural portrait that Stephen G. Miller first encountered over thirty years ago in a university storage basement. The head, languishing since its arrival in 1902, had become detached from the body, or herm, and had been labeled a fake. In 2002, while preparing another book, Miller-now an experienced archaeologist-needed an illustration of Plato, remembered this piece, and took another look. The marble, he recognized immediately, was from the Greek islands, the inscription appeared ancient, and the ribbons visible on the head were typical of those in Greek athletic scenes.The Berkeley Plato,rich in scientific, archaeological, and historical detail, tells the fascinating story of how Miller was able to authenticate this long-dismissed treasure. His conclusion, that it is an ancient Roman copy possibly dating from the time of Hadrian, is further supported by art conservation scientist John Twilley, whose essay appears as an appendix. Miller's discovery makes a significant contribution to the worlds of art history, philosophy, archaeology, and sports history and will serve as a starting point for new research in the back rooms of museums.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-94359-9
    Subjects: Archaeology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
    (pp. vii-xii)
  4. PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
    Stephen G. Miller
  5. The Berkeley Plato
    (pp. 1-56)

    On November 12, 1902, eighty-eight cases of antiquities and plaster casts of ancient sculpture arrived in San Francisco. These had been shipped from Rome on August 27 via New York, whence they went overland to theMuseum of Anthropology of the University of California. Case 186, which was nearly the last in the group to be prepared for shipping, contained an inscribed portrait herm of Plato (fig. 1), which is now in the Phoebe Apperson Hearst Museum of Anthropology (PAHMA) on the Berkeley campus.¹ Mrs. Hearst had employed Alfred Emerson, a classical scholar and friend of Benjamin Ide Wheeler (then president...

  6. APPENDIX A THE SQUARE-OMICRON AND SQUARE-THETA PORTRAIT HERMS FROM TIVOLI
    (pp. 57-68)
  7. APPENDIX B TECHNICAL AND SCIENTIFIC ANALYSIS OF THE BERKELEY PLATO
    (pp. 69-76)
    John Twilley
  8. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 77-82)
  9. GENERAL INDEX
    (pp. 83-86)
  10. INDEX OF ANCIENT SOURCES
    (pp. 87-90)
  11. INDEX OF COLLECTIONS CITED
    (pp. 91-92)
  12. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)