classicalmonuments: Monument of the Incantadas Thessaloniki,…


Monument of the Incantadas

Thessaloniki, Greece

2rd-3rd century CE

~13 m. in height

The monument called the “Enchanted Ones” or the “Idols”, Las Incantadas in Judeo-Spanish (Ladino), probably belonged to an important public building in the center of Roman Thessaloniki. It dates to the late 2nd or early 3rd century CE, and was positioned somewhere between the church of Panagia Chalkeon, The Paradise Baths, and Agios Nikolaos, along modern-day Aristotelous Street. In the 17th and 18th century the monument, known from travelers and painters of the era, was an impressive sight for the city’s residents and visitors.

Its façade, which was about 13 meters in height, was a two-story colonnade with Corinthian columns on the lower level and pillars on the upper one. The four pillars were decorated on their two main faces by eight reliefs of mythological figures. A Maenad, Dionysus, Ariadne, and Leda and the Swan-Zeus were depicted on the inner sides, while Nike, Aura, one of the Dioskouri, and the abduction of Ganymede were depicted on the outer ones. Until the 19th century, the monument survived in the heart of the Jewish quarter of Rogos, incorporated into the courtyard of a merchant. 

As noted in travelers’ texts, this merchant broke off small pieces of the monument and sold them to tourists.  In 1864 the French paleographer Emmanuel Miller, with a permit from the Ottoman government and in spite of the general reaction by the city’s population, dismantled the monument, brutally cutting it into pieces and transporting the sculptures to France, where they are today on display at the Louvre.