51. A conveyance for gods and heroes




Fig. 387 – Triomphal arch in Leptis Magna (Libya) with Emperor Septimus Severus on a quadriga. Pl. 335B in: BOARDMAN (1993).

The quadriga could be of importance to the tetrapartite way of thinking because of its metaphorical connotations, which bring the material feature – of four horses drawing a carriage – in the realm division-thinking. The shift from a factual-material observation to a symbolic visibility is a distinct change in the cognitive position of the observer and adds some magical properties to it. A short exploratory analysis of the quadriga will investigate the shift along the boundaries between fact and fiction.

The inhabitants of the mountainous area north of the French Riviera, around Mount Bega, created some three thousand years ago a wealth of rock drawings. This ancient material was studied around 1900 by Clarence Bickwell. A number of two- and four spans are selected here (fig. 388).


Fig. 388 – Rock drawings of two- and four-spans in the area west of Tende (Southern France), near Mount Bega. These rock drawings date from the Bronze Era in Europe (2000 – 800 BC). In: LEGLER (1983).


Fig. 389 – Free camping near Tende (France) – In search of the rock paintings (Photo: Marten Kuilman, 1982).

The rock paintings near Tende give some insight in the way the ‘primitive’ agricultural labor was performed at the time. It is unlikely, that these pictures have any symbolic significance, but it can never be fully excluded. The same can be said for a future historian, who will be studying the transportation means of the twentieth century and came across the automobile. He or she (or maybe an ‘it’ by that time) would be wondering, why a car had four wheels and an engine four cylinders (fig. 390). These questions will lift, now and then, the empirical visibility (of wheels and engines) onto a higher plane of abstraction, where it does or does not belong.


Fig. 390 – A scheme of an internal combustion engine for an automobile. The fact that most cars have four wheels and four cylinders in a four-stroke engine are a tribute to the adagium of quadripartite thinking: not too many and not too few. Other options are open, but are still a minority in urban traffic. Apparently, the choice of four in the general application of moving parts in a mobile contraption is sufficient. AUTO – 9 januari 1988; 33e jaargang, nr. 1.


Basic engineering from 1963 – The engine compartment of a Peugeot 404 (Photo: Marten Kuilman, September 2008).

The observer makes the choice and has the ability and willingness to place certain facts in a wider context: not every car, which passes by, will induce the connection between the four cylinders and wheels as a reference to tetradic thinking. However, rational consideration of these features on an abstract level could lead to the conclusion that four is just the right number to do the job properly.

Stability and power-distribution are, apparently, best served with a four-division: primary in a practical sense, but in the end in a philosophical way as well. Our houses, of which the great majority has a square design, with four-walled rooms, reflect this same principle. Just like papers and books are generally square to facilitate their handling. These basic rules are applied worldwide.

The carriage with horses, the latter being leashed in various ways and number, was associated in the classical past with splendor-, outward show and game-activities (BENSON, 1970). Known as a common Parthian model, it became famous in the Egyptian cultural history during the invasion of the Hyksos (1675 BC), and occurred regularly from Thutmosis I (1525 – 1508) and the beginning of the Eighteenth Dynasty onwards. In particular, the hunting-scenes of the pharaoh were a favorable subject. The (war)chariot was often a biga in side view. The motif found its way from the Mediterranean into West European cultural expressions. This could be either in small-scale models or on medallions, coins, sarcophagus and implements like the hunting horn, or kitchen-utensils (fig. 391) or as large-scale features like paintings and monuments.


Fig. 391 – Agricultural and hunting scenes with a quadriga. 1. Copper fourspan from Ur. Bagdad, Photo: Oriental Institute, Chicago. SCHMÖKEL.(1957); 2. Terracotta model from Cyprus; Ayia Irini sanctuary; Nicosia, Cyprus Museum.  A.I. 2000, Cypro-Archaic I. c. 750 – 600 BC. (LUBSEN-ADMIRAAL & CROUWEL , 1989); 3. Medieval hunting horn from Germany  (RUSSELL, 1973); 4. Earthen cup with hunting scene. Fifth century, Romano-British, British Museum, London (WOLFENDEN (1971).

The quadriga was valued for its utility (in farming and in war), but also seen as a sign of power. The resemblance with the modern car with its dual interpretation as a means of transportation and as a status symbol is evident. The quadriga was a carrier of gods, like Nike, Athena, Heracles, Hera, Helios and Hades (CHAMAY, 1985). The Louvre Museum in Paris possesses a mosaic of a triumphant Neptune with his companion Amphitrites (fig. 392-3). The sea-god Neptune was also depicted as a quadriga-driver on a mosaic in Ostia, near Rome, dated from the first century AD.

The quadriga-theme was sometimes further elaborated into the bizarre and grotesque, as can be seen on a mosaic from Sousse (Algeria) with four tigers (fig. 392-1).


Fig. 392 – The quadriga as a conveyance for heroes and gods from different periods and places. 1. Triumphal procession of Bacchus. Mosaic from Soussa, Algeria, 2nd-3rd century AD; 2. Pluto disappeared with his quadriga in the underworld. Engraving by Cornelis Cort (1533/36 – 1578) after Frans Floris (detail); 3. Triumphant Neptune. Louvre, Paris; 4. Campana relief. Oinomaus and his driver Myrtilus chase Pelops. First cent. BC Metropolitan Museum, New York.

A study and inventarisation of the (classical) frontal quadriga was carried out by German HAFNER (1938). He differentiated between representations in a flat plane and as plastic art, but concluded that the differences in a simultaneous development were neglectible. The advance took place along parallel lines. If this is so – and one would expect little else within a cultural-historical context – then the question remained why such a division was made in the first place.

AMYX (1939), in a book review, was fairly critical on the division in the shape of the breast of the horses as a means of classification (‘partially effective’) and disapproved with the imprecise descriptions. Agreement with Hafner was reached in the observation of a time-gap between the number of archaic (155) and fourth-century Greek (13) specimen and the Hellenistic ones, some five centuries later. The absence of the motif (of a quadriga in frontal view) over such a long period, and its glorious return in the aftermath of the Roman Empire is a curious cultural phenomenon, which could have something to do with the consciousness of power in a tetradic environment.

The different periods of visibility of the quadriga are important in the present study, because they could indicate a preference for tetradic thinking. A quantitative scientific research would be necessary to establish the prominence of the quadriga in place and time, in particular within the Greek and Roman cultural period. This study has to go further than the – otherwise readable and interesting – discussion by PIGGOTT (1992) about the use of horse and carriage in classical times and the development of four-wheeled conveyances.

The representations of a quadriga on Corinthic, Chalkidic and Attic vases marked the beginning of a stock motif. A variety in style was clear from the early days of the evolution in the Corinthian vases (600 – 500 BC). Quadrigae without a guide, one guide or a guide in association with the rider can be noted. The portrayals on Chalkidic vases showed a typical curvature of the breast of the horses. Often there was only one driver, with his head in an oblique position. The vases were presumably made in a relative short period of time between 550 and 510 BC.

Representations of quadrigae were made on reliefs of bronze and clay and as on adornments and coins. The elaboration of forms was closely related to the painting on vases. Many coins minted in Chalkis – from the end of the six and the early fifth century BC – featured a quadriga. Chalkis and, a century later, Syracuse were colonial cities with a predilection for the quadriga.

The city of Syracuse, on the isle of Sicily, had a close alliance with the motif. The stamp cutters Euainetos, Eukleidas, Kimon and others shaped, around 400 BC, many medallions and coins with depictions of a quadriga. Around one and a half million dekadrachm were minted, of which some four hundred are still known to exist. LUNSINGH SCHEURLEER (1992) reported twenty-four varieties of the quadriga and at least forty-four stamps were used for the imprinting of ‘La Bella‘ (the nimph Arethusa) on the backside of the coin. The water nymph Arethusa, often associated with dolphins, was a symbol of the city of Syracuse. The city, which was founded by the seafarers and merchants from Corinthe in 733 BC, kept a strong Greek character over the years.

This exceptional issue of money was probably connected with the autocratic government of Dionysios (405 – 367 BC), who needed much money to pay his soldiers. The mercenaries were recruited from Celtic tribes. They were called ‘Gaesatae‘, a name derived from their spear (gaesa). It is obvious that the symbolism of the quadriga and the goddess Victory (fig. 393) appealed to these hired soldiers with their cultural background rooted in central Europe. These people were part of the large migration movement, which started in the fifth century in the northern part of Europe (NASH, 1987; CUNLIFFE (1997), p. 68). Rome was plundered in 390 BC by the Celts and the oracle of Delphi was desecrated some hundred years later (279 BC) by Celtic war parties headed by Brennus.


Fig. 393 – A silver coin (decadrachon) from Syracuse with a quadriga and a winged Victory. 425 – 406 BC The quadriga was a leading theme on the tetra- and decadrachmen minted in Syracuse from the beginning of the fifth century onwards, starting with the tyran Gelon around 485 BC. Photo  Hirmer (CLARK 1977).

HAFNER (1938), in his quest to find the roots of the motif, dated a cutted stone with a frontal quadriga from the ‘transitory period between the mycenian and archaic-greek style period’ (Furtwängler) and reckoned this specimen to be the oldest representation of the motif. He concluded that the scheme must have been known in the geometric art. The actual change from an agrarian/utility vehicle to a heroic/symbolic use of the quadriga was difficult to establish and both forms probably existed simultaneous in time.

Many Attic vases featured a quadriga in frontal view (fig. 394/395). A point of distinction was the person besides the quadriga, giving an explanation and commentary in captions. Furthermore, the breast of the horses was different from the Chalcidic and Corinthian representations. The oldest group was dated between 580 and 540 BC and had Corinthian influences. The younger group (of 540 – 130 BC) did not show a further development of the breast musculature of the horses.


Fig. 394 – Amphora in Boston with a quadriga from the younger group of Attic vases (540 – 500 BC). This is a black-colored amphora from the school of Antimenes (Groep E). In the development of the quadriga depiction in the Greek past fits this vase as exemplary as the zenith of ‘quite’ classical representation with the horses side by side. The inner horses look to each other, while the outer horses look away. The driver looking to the right is an exception (HAFNER, 1938).


Fig. 395 – Quadriga on black vases. 1. Hydra with Hector’s quadriga. From Carimus. Painter of London B 76. London, British Museum B 76. (BOARDMAN, 1974). 2. Column crater with quadriga. Around 550 BC From Gela. Painter of Louvre F 6. H. 41.8. Oxford, Ashmolean Museum 190. (BOARDMAN, (1974).  3. Neck-amphora with quadriga. Related to the painter Exekias, but earlier, after the middle of the sixth century.  Related to Group E. München, Antikensammlungen inv. 8763. (BOARDMAN,  1974). 4. Apollo and Admetos’ chariot. Between 500 and 450 BC. Edinburgh Painter. New Haven, Yale University Museum 111. (BOARDMAN, 1974).

The representations of the horses in high relief were more sculptured, like their position in so-called metopen (the space between the trioglyphes in a Dorian frieze) and gables. The quadriga of a metope from Selinunt (Sicily) was dated from around 520 BC. Maybe the Apollo-temple in Corinthe did have a quadriga-metope as well. The Acropolis in Athens yielded some sculptured horses (now in the Acropolis-museum), which were part of a quadriga (fig. 396). The horses are too big to be part of a metope. This group dated, according to DEGRASSI (1989; p. 22/23), from 570 BC. Decorations with horses from the fourth century BC are also known from the Alkmaoniden temple in Delphi.


Fig. 396 – Sculptured horses that might have been part of a quadriga found at the Acropolis, Athens. Sixth century BC Now in the Acropolis Museum, Athens. (DEGRASSI,  1989).

The four-span has been known from free sculptures as early as the second millennium BC (terracotta’s from Mycene) (fig. 397). The two-span (biga) was more popular (or in wider use) during the Geometric period as can be seen in the many small bronzes, which have been found in Olympia. Occasionally also four (or five) horses are found on geometric pottery. The so-called ‘pyxis‘ was a vessel, which was destined to be buried as grave offerings (fig. 397). Two of the earliest pyxides were found in graves in the Kerameikos cemetery, with single horses flanked by a pair of spotted frogs, dated from around 800 BC. It is difficult to say, if the number of horses on the lid of the pyxis had a symbolic significance.


Fig. 397 – Toilet-box of clay with lid (pyxis), with four horses. Attic Geometric, 760 – 740 BC; British Museum. Similar boxes, with a different number of horses, are known, but their symbolic importance is doubtful. In: WOLFENDEN (1971).

Susan LANGDON (1993; p. 108/109) paid attention to this subject but came to a negative conclusion: ‘ The specific number of horses included may not signify much, since on more than one occasion pyxides with different numbers of horses have been found in a single grave.’ She traced the connection of the horses with death and the underworld back to iconography and ritual practices of the Late Bronze Age.
A general discussion of geometric (horse)pyxides and their workshops was made by BOHEN (1988), but she does not enter upon the number of horses and their possible significance. The review of her book by BOUZEK (1992; p. 273-274) gives no clue either. Some of the decorations used in the painting of metopen are given in fig. 398 (BOHEN, 1988; Abb. 23). They have their quadripartite character in common.


Fig. 398 – A selection of widely used symmetric patterns on metopen dated from the Geometric period in Greek cultural history (BOHEN, 1988).

Larger (sculptured) quadriga’s from the Greek archaic period are only known from written records: Pausanias (second century AD) mentioned a group by Euagoras in Olympia and described Kleosthenes of Efese, who made a sculpture of a quadriga with two drivers. The statue of a quadriga, erected at the Acropolis in 506 BC, was reported by several writers like Herodotus, Pausanias and Diodorus Siculus.

Monumental horses became real heroes in the period before 516 BC, and the symbolism of the quadriga as the expression of a world view related to a four-parted power was well understood. The horse sculpture found near the Mausoleum in Halicarnassos is from around the middle of the fourth century BC. and probably part of a quadriga (fig. 399).


Fig. 399 – A fragmentary sculpture of a horse found near the Mausoleum of Halicarnassos, probable part of a quadriga topping the podium of the Mausoleum. British Museum (Photo: Marten Kuilman, 2007).

Later the preoccupation (of power) shifted from the horses towards the rider and his companions. This deviation may explain the arrest in the development of the breast musculature in later years. The tendency to put the human being in the center of attention is related to identity thinking and an indication of lower division thinking.

The quadriga as a means of transportation of victors and warriors was long obsolete in the classical period. The quadriga had a mythological-symbolical function in the decoration of the conservative, black-colored vases (BOARDMAN, 1974; fig. 394/395). But in the red-colored, progressive style the prominence of symbolism was ignored and the reproduction focused on the day-to-day aspects of life, paying attention to the trivial and material in their own right.

The quadriga as a carrier of gods remained a constant theme through time. Bernard de MONTFAUCON’s ‘L’Antiquité expliquée’ (1719/1976) gave an illustration of four quadriga’s driven by Mars, Hercules, Minerva and Venus. The archaeological museum at Cimiez (Nice, France) holds a silver plate from Eze, with five quadriga’s ridden by five Nike’s, carrying the attributes of Athena, Heracles, Ares, Hermes and Dionysus.

The motif of the ‘sun-chariot’ was always present as an animistic reminder of the light (or fire) and a new beginning. The quadriga was a symbol of unity on one hand, but points, on the other hand, to a division into four powers. The (symbolic) unity refers, in a quadralectic interpretation, to the primordial situation of the First Quadrant (or the first quarter of the Second Quadrant). The Greek names of the four horses of the sun god’s chariot were (MATZ, 1995; TOYNBEE, 1948, p. 24):

————————–  1. Pyroeis         –         Fiery

————————–  2. Eoos              –         Dawn

————————–  3. Aithon           –         Flash

————————–  4. Phlegon         –         Blaze

The archaic tradition continued to be alive and the static scheme of horses did not alter in a quadriga-motif from the fifth century BC, which was found on two silver bowls from Bulgaria. However, soon thereafter a dynamic change in style was noticeable. A plate from Canosa, with Helios on a quadriga above the sea, accompanied by dolphins and fish (Bari, Provincial Museum) signaled a new approach inspired by dynamism. A marble throne in the tomb of Eurydice (325 – 300 BC) shows Hades and Persephone in glory. The horses of the quadriga are very much alive (fig. 400).


Fig. 400 – Throne in the tomb of Eurydice (325 – 300 BC). The quadriga figures Hades and Persephone in glory, a new theme in funeral art. p. 165 in: FORTE & SILIOTTI (1996).

HAFNER (1938) called this novel representation an ‘exploded scheme’ (‘gesprengte Schema’; p. 70), in which the horses jump sideways in pairs (fig. 401). The quadriga is, in this given example, positioned on a ship, which is exceptional. This type of representation does not have – as far as known – any counterparts. Hafner described the scene as follows (p. 79): ‘The strange thing of the picture is the combination of the quadriga and the boat, which provides us immediately with a meaning. Helios and his companion, positioned on a quadriga, have sailed through the night from the west to the east. Now they leaving the ship for the beginning of a new day’. The cyclic thought of the setting sun (in the west) and a return in the east is part and parcel of a symbolism, which was already known to the ancient Egyptians.


Fig. 401 – An example of Hafner’s ‘gesprengte Schema‘ on a volute krater in the Louvre Museum in Paris. The horses jump as pairs sideways to the left and to the right. Riding on the quadriga are Helios and Hemera. To the left Pan and a Corybant (a worshiper of the goddess Cybele). In: HAFNER (1938).

It seems as if the development into an ‘exploded scheme’ signaled an explosive end of the representations of frontal quadriga’s on flat surfaces, because no further traces of this particular imagery can be found in Hellenistic art. It was only in the third quarter of the third century (around 275 AD) that the first coins with a frontal view of the quadriga reached the western part of the Empire. No coins with a (frontal) quadriga were minted in the city of Rome before Probus (276 – 282 AD) according to CAMERON (1973). The motif, however, had already become popular in the early third century in the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire. One has to remember that other types of representation – either sculptural or in a sideways view – continued throughout the intervening period of the Roman Empire (fig. 402).


Fig. 402 – Roman mosaic with a quadriga, c. 225 AD. Musee du Vieil Orbe, Orbe, Switzerland. (KENTON, 1974).

The quadriga became very popular on cash money at the end of the third century AD. Coins often showed the quadriga together with the sun god Sol (Helios). The joint forces of four horses turned into a symbol of physical power to reign over a divided world. It was, in a sense, a reversion of the original idea of a (godly) unity, which divided itself in four parts. Now the parts had to be restrained and brought back under control of a new (worldly) leader.

This reverse trend had started some two centuries earlier in the ‘Greek revival’ under the Roman emperor Hadrian. This emperor (76 – 138 AD), and the associated ‘Hadrianic art’, tried to be a restorer and benefactor of the Roman world. Reconciliation with the idea of a brotherhood of fellow-citizens was the name of the game, all living together in prosperity and peace on a base of equality (with a full recognition of the different identities). In short: the ideal world of the modern Fourth Quadrant. Hadrian’s famous journeys, which were such a striking and significant feature of his reign, became the hallmark of a new order.

‘Under Hadrian there seems to have been at work a partly conscious, partly, perhaps, unconscious instinct that ‘naturalistic’ and ‘realistic’ tendencies in art had, for the time being, gone far enough. There was a reawakening of a sense of the value of the Greek tradition of ‘idealism’ as embodied in the ‘idealistic’ types and motives of the art of ‘classical’ Greece’ (TOYNBEE, 1934; p. XXI).

Joselyn Toynbee considered the episode of Hadrian’s imperial reign as an extension of ancient Greek history, which she divided into four periods:

————————-   1. the Archaic                   (c. 1100 – 480 BC),

————————-   2. the ‘Classical’               (480- 336 BC),

————————-   3. the Hellenistic,            (336 –  31 BC),

.                                        including the history of the Roman Republics

————————-   4. the Imperial                (31 BC – seventh century).

The sun-god Sol (Helios) was replaced by the emperor during the reign of Emperor Caracalla (211 – 217 AD), son of Septimius Severus. He presented himself as a godhead. The representation of the emperor-god (in a quadriga) was universally used during the dynasty of Constantius II (337 – 361) (fig. 403).


Fig. 403 – Late-Roman coins with images of a quadriga. The horses follow the ‘exploded scheme’ (of Hafner), but in a static version: 1. Emperor Constantius II on a gold medallion; 2. ‘Porfyr’ on a niello-medallion from Trier; 3. Charioteer (‘Eutymius’) with crown and whip; 4. Medallion of a six-span of Maurice, Dumbarton Oaks. Pictures of six-spans are rare. CAMERON (1973).

The use of the quadriga-motif on a sarcophagus was well known. Lise VOGEL (1969) wrote an exploratory article on the ‘Circus Race Scenes in the Early Roman Empire’, with special reference to the history of circus sarcophagi (fig. 404). She followed RODENWALDT (1940) in his statement that the typology of the sarcophagi – four bigae are raced from left to right on the front of the spina; one biga often overturns, all figures are Erotes – was, in essence, a Greek theme, which became fixed around the middle of the second century. It regained interest in the times of Charlemagne. A Proserpina-sarcophagus from the second-third century was reused for his tomb after his death in 814 and can now be seen in the St. Michael’s chapel of the Aachen Minster (MYERS & COPPLESTONE, 1985; p. 282).


Fig. 404 – Quadriga on sarcophagi. 1. A race between Pelops and Oenomaus. Vatican Museum, Rome (GUIRAND, 1959/1975); 2. The rape of Proserpina. Hades (Pluto) and Persephone (Proserpina) in a quadriga, pursued by Minerva and Hecate (GUIRAND & PIERRE, 1959/1975).

Another occurrence of sculptured quadriga’s is seen on the monumental triumph-arches, which were erected by various emperors after their successes in battle. Examples of emperors on quadriga’s are Titus and Marcus Aurelius (fig. 405) in Rome and the triumph arch at Lepcis Magna (erected around 203 AD), with emperor Septimus Severus in a quadriga (now in the Archeological Museum at Tripoli, Libya).


Fig. 405 – Triumph tour of Marcus Aurelius (121 – 180 AD) in his quadriga. The emperor-cum-philosopher reigned from 161 till his death in 180 AD. He adhered to Stoicism, which was primary concerned with virtue as the sole good, but also believed in a cyclic-cosmic determinism and human freedom. (KENNEDY,  1966/1978).

The triumph-arch of Constantine in Rome (312 AD) depicted the victories of Trajan, showing the parts of the world as war-chariots: the East is figured as a biga, in a downward movement. Diana/Luna drives the chariot and the Danube River is personified as a lady with a jar. The West has four horses jumping up, with Aurora/Lucifer in the chariot and Euphrates (or Tigris) down below (fig. 406).


Fig. 406 – Representation of the parts of the world: the west. Aurora/Lucifer on a quadriga. On the triumph arch of Constantine in Rome (312 AD). The reliefs are partly taken from older monuments dating from the time of Hadrian. (MONTFAUCON, 1719/1976).

Horse races were, in the Greek cultural period, popular amusement and part of games between cities. These races featured the two- (biga), three- (triga) or four-span (quadriga). This latter form of putting horses to a carriage required the ultimate technical skill to drive and can be seen as the ‘Formule-1’ of racing at that time. The classical tradition was established in the four crown-games at Olympia, Delphi, Istmia and Nemea. The quadriga was already mentioned in 680 BC as being used in games (HUMPHREY, 1986).

The Roman continued this tradition and erected special racecourses for horses (fig. 407 – 409). These constructions had their heydays between the second and fourth century AD and were called a ‘circus‘. Their function was multipurpose and featured, outside the horse races, all kinds of activities. The circus was a later architectonic development than the theater and amphitheater. A complete example remained in the Circus of Maxentius – situated at the Via Appia in Rome – and constructed during his reign from 306 – 312 AD. Other good specimens are at Tyre (southern Lebanon), Merida (Spain) and Lepcis Magna (Libya).


Fig. 407 – Chariot races with quadrigae in classical Rome. Mosaics of this popular sport were particular in demand: 1. The Circus Maximus on a mosaic in the villa of Maxentius on the Piazza Armeria in Sicily, 310/320 BC (BROWNING, 1971); 2. Gafsa, Tunisia, sixth century (BROWNING, 1971). ; 3. Carthago, Tunisia, fourth century (WEITZMANN, 1979); 4. Via Imperiale, Rome, fourth/fifth century (BROWNING, 1971).


Fig. 408 – Quadriga racing in the palaestra (No. 15) of the Villa Romana del Casale/ Piazza Armerina, Sicily (Photo: Marten Kuilman, 2011).

The supporters of the horse races during the Roman and Byzantine times were divided in four factions – ‘factiones circi‘ or ‘factiones quadrigariorum‘ – indicated by colours (MARICQ, 1950; CAMERON, 1973; 1976). The Red (russata) and the White (albata) were of primary importance, while the Blue (venata) was mentioned from the time of Augustus onwards. The Green (prasina) were not recorded before Emperor Caligula (37 – 41 AD) (VIGNERON, 1968, p. 199).

MARICQ (1950) marked a ‘certain pre-eminence’ for the colors blue and green and referred to a ‘faction doree‘ and ‘pourpre‘ during the reign of Dominian. He cited Dion Cassius as the main source of the information related to the circus factions. His article is mainly concerned with philological aspects of the factions. WEITZMANN (1979) pointed to the relation of power and the ‘imagery of the four circus factions, conventionally understood as a reference to the four seasons and the perpetual renewal of nature’s bounty.’

CAMERON (1973) reckoned, in his study of the once-famous Byzantine quadriga-champion Porphyrius, that the Blue and Green factions were of prime importance (in Byzantium), with the Red and White as minority groups. The factions had, as in Rome, the status of political parties.


Fig. 409 – Circus racing in the Roman Empire. A fanciful, but fairly accurate illustration in the unique book of Bernard de Montfaucon titled ‘L’Antiquite expliquee‘ (1719). (MONTFAUCON, 1719/1976).

The ‘comitia‘ (the mob) could, by betting and gambling on the various quadriga’s, make a choice for or against the emperor, because the latter was always associated with a particular colour. And no nasty trick was left untried to reach victory: Emperor Caligula, who headed the Greens, had the horses and charioteers of the (Blue) opposition poisoned and Emperor Caracalla executed some of the charioteers of the opposition in an effort to get the overhand.

The four-spans, usually two and exceptionally four per race, departed from the ‘carceres‘ (‘dungeons’ or start blocks) and had to encircle the course seven times. At the end of the course was an arch with seven eggs and seven dolphins, which had to be taken off after every round. In the middle of the course, on the so-called ‘spina‘, were a number of standard items on display, like a ‘tropaeum‘ (victory-sign, trophy), a bull, an Egyptian obelisk, a statue of Cybele with lions (for a study on this latter symbolism, with various illustrations of race courses, see: VERMASEREN, 1977), a statue of Athena Promachos and three cone-shaped poles, the ‘metae‘ (fig. 410).


Fig. 410 – The hippodrome in Constantinople on an illustration by Onufrio Panvinio (and used by Bernard de Montfaucon). The ‘carceres‘ (start blocks) are to the right and in the middle (spina or spine) the fixed sequence of obelisks and sockels. The attributes are on this picture are in a bad shape, but they had a distinct symbolism in their days of glory. The sequence from left to right was: a tropaeum (trophy), bull, obelisk, statues of Cybele and Athena Promachos and three cone shaped poles at the end, the so-called ‘metae‘. MONTFAUCON (1719/1976). The same picture but smaller and lighter with inscriptions in the corners, in: CAMERON  (1973).

A late revival of quadriga racing took place in Constantinople (Byzantium/Istanbul)(fig. 410). BAYNES (1925; p. 33) noticed that: ‘The Byzantines had two heroes: the winner in the chariot-race and the ascetic saint’, revealing a predilection for the extreme. The hippodrome of Constantinople became a center of social unrest during the hey-days of quadriga racing around 500 AD. Troubles occurred, for instance, in the years 496, 508, 510 and 512 AD. The first quarrels (in Constantinople) were recorded in 445 and the faction upheaval of the year 532 AD resulted in thirty-thousands casualties and signaled the end of the life and reign of Emperor Justinian.

CAMERON (1973) pointed to the time-bound occurrence of the frontal quadriga as a emblematic feature. It was abundant in the Archaic times of the Greek cultural period (HAFNER, 1938), but it died out after the fourth century BC. The topic was virtually absent from the Hellenistic and early imperial period, only to return in the ‘Greek revival’ of Emperor Hadrian and his successors in the first quarter of the second century AD. The symbolic quadriga (in side view), on the other hand, continued during the whole period of Roman Empire, as can be seen on coins (fig. 411).



Fig. 411 – The quadriga in side view is seen here on a denarius, issued during the Roman Republic by M. Porcius Laeca in 125 BC.

The use of the quadriga as a carriage of the gods drew its inspiration in Europe from four different sources. Firstly, and the most obvious one, was the continuation of the Greek-Roman-Byzantine tradition. In the case of the horses of the San Marco in Venice, which are on display in the central arch of the western facade, the sculptures were simply stolen (from Byzantium, after the Venetian crusaders conquered the city in 1204). The horses (without a quadriga) started a new life in the spirit of the Renaissance (JACOFF, 1993). On other occasions, it was a matter of just continuing the examples set in the Roman Empire, like the mosaics in the Via Imperiale in Rome (fig. 406-4; TOYNBEE (1934).

Secondly, the influence of the ‘eastern’ (pagan) sun-symbolism became a major element in the Roman Empire – and subsequently in the European cultural history – when the Mithra-cult was introduced. The sun god Helios was, from Marcus Aurelius (emperor from 161 – 180 AD) onwards, the most important godhead in the Roman Empire (WALSH, 1986). The cult of Mithraism reached a peak around 300 AD, only to be ousted by Christianity.

Christian writers like Origen and Gregory, took over the pagan symbolism and explained the signs in a Christian way. They were the third source of European quadriga symbolism, as provided by the prophetic messages of Ezekiel and the Revelations of St. John. The early Christian writers guided the believers to uncover the doctrine ‘beneath coverings of allegory, veils of myth, mathematical images, and obscure signs of fugitive meaning’ (this is the way Pico put it in his ‘Heptaplus‘; FOWLER, 1970).

And finally, there was the history of Europe itself. It could dig in its own, Celtic heritage, which had a soft spot for horses in general. Many graves of horses are known throughout Europe, which was an indication of the importance of these animals in the early days of civilization (CUNLIFFE, 1997). A large bowl found in Vix (Burgundy, France) was illustrated with a procession of warriors, including a quadriga ready for the battle. The bowl dated from the fifth century BC and had its origin most likely in Sicily or Apulia (JANKOVICH, 1971)(fig. 412).


Fig. 412 – A quadriga on a bronze crater, c. 525 BC This mixing-bowl was found at Vix near Chatillon-sur-Seine in a chariot burial of the late Hallstatt period.
This period in the Celtic culture was characterized as a ‘prestige good economy, in which elite status was maintained by the manipulation of rare and valuable commodities available only to the paramount chieftains’ (CUNLIFFE, 1997; p. 61). Horse graves, like the one in Vix (Cote d’Or, France) and Hochdorf, Stuttgart (Germany) – the latter with a bronze couche with decorations of four-wheeled vehicles and a simpler Greek bronze cauldron – emphasized the importance of horse and chariot as power-symbol. In: MYERS  & COPPLESTONE (1985).  ; Also p. 123 in: WRIGHT (1985).

The tradition of the four horses and the quadriga never faded away, although  the horse races lost their prominence at the end of the sixth century in Byzantium. Manuscripts, medallions and mosaics (fig. 413) carried the symbolic torch into the Central- and Western European realm, where the theme was greeted with a sense of historical recognition. The races themselves never returned, but the symbolism remained strong.


Fig. 413 – The sun god Sol (Helios) on a quadriga. An old motif, which was revived in the European culture to express a universal power over the four directions of the winds.
1. Personification of the sun in Hrabanus Maurus’ ‘De rerum naturis‘. Dresden, Cod. D.C. 183, fol 31v. (Le BERRURIER, 1978)  ; 2. Idem. Paris, Bibl. Nat. MS lat. 12957, fol. 74r. (Le BERRURIER, 1978). Two examples of HAFNER’s (1938) ‘gesprengte Schema’; 3.Dies Solis‘ on the ‘Tapiceria de la Creacion‘, eleventh-twelfth century. Museu Capitular de Girona, Spain (CIRICI, 1982). 4. Sol is driving a quadriga. From Johannes Angelus’ ‘Astrolabium‘ (Erhard Ratdolt, Augsburg (1488), Quarto, 176 ff. . This book gave illustrations of the planets on various types of chariots, which their signs in the wheel-axles (Sol with a lion).  In: STRAUSS & SCHULER (1984). Attributed to Campanella in: GETTINGS (1980).  And as woodcut from Albumasar’s ‘Flores astrologiae‘ (1488). p. 238 in: CALDER (1970).

The sun god Helios riding a quadriga was found in manuscripts (fig. 414 + 415/3) and  Carolinian tapestry (from a Byzantine source)  (fig. 415 -1/2). These types of tapestries were carried from the east along trades-routes to Central and Western Europe. One of them was offered to Charlemagne as an expensive gift. No doubt he appreciated the symbolic significance of the quadriga.


Fig. 414 – In Ptolemaeaus’ ‘Tetrabiblos; Byzantine manuscript, 820 AD, Biblioteca Apostilica Vaticana. In: KENTON (1974).


Fig. 415 – The quadriga between east and west. 1. Silk brocade. Eighth century. Museum de Cluny, Paris (ARIES & DUBY, 1987).; 2. Textile with quadriga. Byzantine origin. From the Carolinian legacy of Charlemagne (HEER, 1975) and: Alexandrine. Musees de Cinquantenaire/Kunstweef Museum, Brussel (HAUTTMANN, 1929); 3. Helios on a quadriga. In a manuscript of Ptolemaeus’ ‘Astronomy‘, Byzantine, 820 AD (Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana) (KENTON, 1974) And as: Vatican, gr. 1292, 9r; 828 – 835 A.D. Manual Tables of Ptolemy, in: SPATHARAKIS (1981); 4. Part of a mosaic at Beth Alpha (Galilea), Israel. Sixth century AD. (SHANKS, 1979).

An illustrated copy from the eleventh century of Hrabanus Maurus ‘De Rerum Naturus’, originally written between 842 and 847, exhibited the sun god (Sol Invictus) on a quadriga (Chapter IX, ‘De Sole’; Cas. fol. 120r; Pal. fol. 111r). This ‘ancient pictorial tradition showing Helios or Sol riding a frontal quadriga’ (Le BERRURIER, 1978) was incorporated in the biblical exegesis to support the ‘interpretatio christiana‘ (fig. 416).


Fig. 416 – Sol on a quadriga, the Moon on a biga. A comparison of two types of division-thinking: a glorious Sun as a representative of the day (light) in a tetradic setting and a downwards going Moon, characteristic for the night (darkness), in duality. This type of representation is inspired by oppositional thinking. Around 1000. Bibliotheque Municipale, Boulogne-sur-Mere. Manuscript 188, fol. 32v. (CHATZIDAKIS & GRABAR, 1965).

The Christian variant of the ascension of Eliah on a quadriga was – compared to the traditional symbolism of the quadriga as the vehicle carrying the god – less famous. The Bible book II Kings 2 : 1 – 18 described a peculiar story of Eliah, who took his mantle and divided the waters of the river Jordan and created a passageway. Then Elisah, who was with him, could do a wish and Elisah said: ‘I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.’ After a while there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them. Eliah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. The quadriga and the mantle can be seen as symbols of four- and two-division (fig. 417).


Fig. 417 – The prophet Eliah was carried to heaven in a quadriga. The Christian alternative of the sun god symbolism can be found in the biblical story of the prophet Eliah. His companion, the prophet Elisah, still has Eliah’s mantle in his hand. Left: in the ‘Sacra Parallela’ (Parisinus Graecus) (WEITZMANN, 1979). Right: from the Vaticanus Graecus.   (LASSUS 1973).

WEITZMANN (1979) gave some examples of this event: 1. In the ‘Sacra Parallela’ (Parisinus Graecus 923, fol. 268v, fig. 414-left). 2. In a manuscript of Gregory (Paris, Cod. gr. 510) and 3. In a ninth century copy of the ‘Christian Topography’ of Cosmas Indicopleustes (WOLSKA, 1962; Vat. cod. gr. 699), displaying a two span and Vat. cod. gr. 333. Fig. 414-right is from the Vaticanus Graecus.

The second occurrence of a quadriga in the Bible is the quadriga of Aminadab (Canticles VI, 12).

‘I went down into the garden of nuts to see the fruits of the valley, and to see whether the vine flourished, and the pomegranates budded. Or ever I was aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Amminadib.’

Suger gave in his ‘De Rebus in administratione sua gestis’ a description of a window of the St. Denis-church in Paris depicting a medallion with the Ark of the Covenant, placed in a chariot with four wheels (MALE, 1910/1961; fig. 418). Aaron’s staff and the Law of Moses are placed in the ark. More important is the cross, standing upright in the wagon and held by God. On the sides of the wheels are the symbols of the four evangelists. The text (‘Foederis ex arca Christi cruce sistitur ara. Foedere majori vult ibi vita mori‘) was derived from the Song of Solomon.


Fig. 418 – The symbolic quadriga of Aminadab from a window of the St. Denis-church in Paris. Suger guided the renovation, design and ornamentation of the church. An awareness of the division as a means to reach the theological truth played an important part; the numbers seven, four, three and two are used as a guideline and framework in the worship of God. In: MALE  (1913/1961).

The quadriga Aminadab was regarded as a symbol of Christ and his bride the Church, riding through the world and bringing its dynamic message by  the four Evangelists, symbolized as the wheels (SAUER, 1924). As such it was mentioned by Innocent III (Sermo in Comm. Evang.; PL. CCXVII, 605), Honorius Augustodunensis (Exposition of the Song of Solomon/In Cant. Cant. 6, 11; PL. CLXXII, 453c/454d and the Spec. Eccl. De Nativ. Domini; PL. CLXXII, 834) and by Durandus (Rationale divinorum officiorum 7, 44, n.2.3).


Fig. 419 – Initial at the beginning of the Bible book of Ezekiel. A page from the Winchester Bible, around 1160 – 1179 (CAMPBELL & MOYERS, 1990). The four wheels refer to the quadriga of Aminadab and symbolize the triumph wagon of Christ, accompanied by the Evangelists. De symbols of the evangelists (the tetramorph) are depicted as one figure to the right of the wheels. The symbol of the sun on the axles of the wheels indicates a close pagan connection.

Dante Alighieri – in Cantica II of the ‘Divine Comedy’, the Purgatory (XXIX, 106), translated by Dorothy SAYERS (1955) – depicted the Church as a triumph car:

—————————-  And in the space betwixt the four came on

—————————-  A triumph-car, on two wheels travelling,

—————————-  And at the shoulders of a Gryphon drawn;

The vehicle of Aminadab (fig. 419) does not, in a strict sense, qualify as a quadriga, because it is a ‘currus‘ with four wheels and is not drawn by four horses. Such details became of lesser importance in an atmosphere of lower division-thinking, which was more interested in the power-aspect of the horse-drawn carriage than in the original meaning of a primary division, a width of thinking, symbolized in four horses. This shift in emphasis was well expressed in the classic theme of ‘In temerarios‘ (impetuosity; against the reckless) in the ‘Emblemata’ of Andreas Alciatus.

 The emblem (LEEMAN, 1984; fig. 25) showed Phaeton falling in the scattered debris of his father’s ‘biga‘. The action and center of attention is caused by the power of the horses pulling the sunwagon.

From around the year 1500 onwards the quadriga’s and four-wheels carriages were graphically used in a different type of symbolism, which was a far cry from the tetramorphic expressions of the Winchester Bible from around 1160 – 1170 (fig. 419) or similar visual display as described in a richly illustrated report on the Book Ezekiel by Wilhelm NEUSS (1912). The dynamic symbolism of the wheels (and the ‘Byzantine’ angels) shifted to a static representation of horses (and other animals) as moral powers.

This process had started, however, as early as the twelfth century, when the first illustrations of two-by-two horses for a wagon, bearing an allegorical meaning (CHEW, 1961; LANGDON, 1986; PIGGOTT, 1992) appeared. A well-known example of such a vehicle was provided by the early-nineteenth century copy-drawing (by A. de Bastard d’Estaing) of Herrad of Landberg’s ‘Hortus deliciarum’, originally written around 1170 (CAMES, 1971). ‘Pharao’ with ‘Auriga’ and ‘Sol’ with ‘Equi solis‘ join their forces in the pulling of a long open wagon, the ‘Gemmatus currus luxurie’. ‘Luxuria’, accompanies the horses with the seven deadly sins and the seven minor sins, guided by ‘Amor‘.

Quadrigae were mentioned as agricultural machinery in England in the early thirteenth century. Figures derived from a study covering the period from 1201 – 1250 in fifteen English provinces learned some interesting fact. Only six manors owned a quadriga, on a total of forty-one manors with a ‘carecta‘ (a two-wheeled carriage), twenty-two farms with a ‘carrus‘ (also: carra or currus; a four-wheeled car, usually drawn by oxen), and sixteen farms with a ‘plaustrum‘ (similar to a ‘carrus‘). Half a century later, in the period from 1251 – 1300, these figures were respectively seventy-five (with a carecta), twelve (with a carrus), six (with a plaustrum) and none with a quadriga (LANGDON, 1986).

In later times the higher clergy or noble women often used the (closed) wagon. The bishop of London, for instance, had in 1303 the disposal of ‘uno carro cum apparatu pro quinque equis‘. The column of virtue- and other qualities-vehicles grew in number during the (Italian) Renaissance. The Florentine and Venetian printers issued richly adorned illustrations of mythical or real persons, being carried in a symbolic wagon (fig. 420).


Fig. 420 – The triumph of theology. Woodcut from 1506. The horse-drawn vehicle became a favourite means to express power- and mobility-aspects of life in an allegorical way during the rapid expansion of visibility (by means of the printing press) in the early sixteenth century (van MARLE,  1932).

The Christian tradition joined the display of might in the sixteenth and seventeenth century by a revival of Ezekiel’s vision and the theme of a quadriga as a symbol of power. The neutral cyclic-aspect (of the wheel) and movement-in-general were pushed to the background and the dedicated ‘Formule One‘-character of ‘horse-power’ was highlighted. Motion lost its innocence and became a determination to reach a goal. This drift into extremity – so typical for oppositional thinking – included the way in which the belief in God was expressed. Christ took on the appearances of a pop-star, as described by Maren-Sofie ROSTVIG (1970) in her article about ‘Structure as Prophecy’:

‘A splendid drawing of Ezekiel’s vision adorns the frontispiece of Antonius Fernandus’ ‘Commentarii in visiones Veteris Testamenti’ (Loudun, 1617), and the text itself shows that Fernandius considered this vision as one of the most important of all Old Testament prophecies about Christ. The drawing shows the main body of the chariot as a globe studded with stars, and on top of this sphere of the universe Christ is shown seated at rest on a throne placed in the middle. The various interpretations summarized by the author collaborate to create a strong impression that the vision shows Christ triumphant over evil and Christ as ruler of heaven and earth’.

‘The many occurrences of the number 4 (the 4 wheels within wheels, the 4 winged creatures and the faces possessed by each) explain why the vision is taken as a symbol both of the created universe and of the scheme of redemption. As Ferdinandius explains, they represent all the 4s of the created universe – the 4 winds, the 4 elements, and the circle of the 4 seasons of the year (quatuor anni temporum circulum). Since 4 also relates to the 4 corners of the world, this shows that the 4 gospels will be taken to these 4 corners’,

And she continued:

‘But the number shows, above all, that it is Christ the Creator and Redeemer who creates ‘concentus‘ and ‘concordia‘ in the world through the imposition of this number at all levels of existence, spiritual as well as physical (This is, of course, a clear reference to the Pythagorean ‘tetraktus‘ formula for harmony).’

Røstvig pointed to the structural (symmetrical) peculiarities in Milton’s ‘The Shepheardes Calender’ and ‘Paradise Lost’ and the position of Christ in his chariot in the middle of the latter poem:

‘To the Renaissance mind, however, the fourfold nature of the world and of the divine scheme of redemption was a ‘datum’, an absolute truth contained in the Bible as interpreted by all the great authorities. For this reason the fourfold structure of Lamentations was a prophecy of the 4 gospels to come. That Milton should have used this number for structural purposes, therefore, would have lifted no critical eyebrows in 1667. Indeed, on coming across a centrally placed episode of the ascent of the chariot, readers would have been reminded of Christ’s position in the middle and of the way in which he imposes harmony through the number 4.’

Milton’s poem ‘Paradise Lost’ was written in the hey-days of oppositional thinking in Europe, around the ‘Leviathan Year‘, 1650. The intellectual, artistic and political powers of Western Europe displayed a (renewed) interest in the Pythagorean’ ‘tetraktys‘, but for the wrong reasons: the tetradic grew into a power-objective.

This phenomenon, which can be observed in all historical regeneration of Pythagorism is a most interesting feature from the quadralectic point of view. Because it is, expressed in its own philosophy, a (temporary) prominence of the Third Quadrant: the emphasis is shifted to the visible visibility-phase of a cyclic consciousness, which is put together from four different types of visibility. It is possible, at this (third) stage, to ‘forget’ the context (of division-thinking) and concentrate on the dual aspects of visibility – because it offers (material) results, provides an identity and has, in the end, power in store.

The interpretation and importance of the quadriga steered through these cultural periods and was a reflection of the various types of visibility. The power- or ‘Leviathan’-period found its glorious end in the Rationalism of the eighteenth century. The French Encylopaedists, like Diderot and  Condillac, squared the accounts and were closing the books. The ‘Geometrical Spirit’ (KNIGHT, 1968) caught the feelings of dissatisfaction, but could not supply the necessary expanded outlook, despite its search in quantity. That fresh approach could only happen when a wider frame of mind was introduced towards the year 1800.

When the quadriga made its glorious return in the Neo-Classicistic upsurge at the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century, it was more than copying the old Greek and Roman sculptures. It was also a manifestation of a recently discovered width of thinking. The same spirit was elementary in the Greek way of thinking (Pythagoras, Empedocles, and Aristotle) and caught the Romans when they had reached their power-goal during the reign of Emperor Hadrian. This type of insight, which comes with age and experience, involves the recognition of patterns by  feelings and intuition, using the invisible areas of the human mind to the full.

The European culture developed, after 1800, a wider outlook after it had freed itself from the straight-jacket of Rationalism. The French Revolution (1789) and the English Industrial Revolution were both expressions of the same search for freedom (of the individual). That freedom was a necessary condition to discover the novel emerged world of the known nothingness, which was (re)introduced with tetradic thinking. The search for the ‘Geist‘ or soul of Nature was on, including the position of mankind itself. Science could make its giant leap forwards in that creative spirit of discovery.

Fisher von Erlach had placed (in 1690) a quadriga on the triumph-arch of Joseph I in Vienna. This example was broadly followed when the tetradic way of thinking looked for new ways of expression.

The Brandenburger Gate in Berlin was built between 1778 and 1791 (ANDERSON, 1961; HAFNER (1938) mentioned 1789 – 1794 as the time of building) and expressed the neo-classicist heaviness of the time. The quadriga, after a model of Von Schadow, was cast in bronze by E. Jury and placed on the arch in 1795 by C.G. Langhans (fig. 421). This monument – which had been so symbolic in the twentieth century as the hallmark of two-division – had the intention to be bring the four corners of the world together. This aim got a new chance towards the end of the second millennium.


Fig. 421 – Quadriga on the Brandenburger Tor at Berlin. Build towards the end of the eighteenth century, and devoted to (neo) Classicism, after a design by Carl Gotthard Langhans. This lithography dated around 1840. In: WATKIN  & MELLINGHOFF (1987).

The quadriga on the Brandenburger Gate was used in a cabaretesk way in the so-called ‘Ausstattungsrevue‘ of James Klein in the Apollo Theatre in Berlin, shortly after the First World War (ROCHARD, 1989). The titles of the productions left little doubt of their intentions: ‘Die Welt geht unter‘ (1918), ‘Drunter und Drüber’(1923) en ‘Donnerwetter – tausend nackte Frauen’ (1928). ROCHARD (1989) noted that the groups of girls were hugely popular in the years after the war. The uniformity of the dancers and the synchronicity of the movements and machine-like accuracy were a reminder of the modern life in the factory.

The quadriga was heavily damaged at the end of Second World War (1945), but restored during the Sovjet dominated period of East Germany (with the help of West Germany!). The monument had a hard time during the Wende (Fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989, damaged on New Year Eve 1989/1990), but is now back in full glory (fig. 422/423).


Fig. 422 – The damaged quadriga on the Brandenburger Tor in Berlin as inspected in March 1950. The picture showed that a complete remelting was probably not necessary and that part of the monument could have been saved. Germany became divided after the war and the Brandenburger Gate became part of the East German territory. The damaged quadriga was taken down in 1950 and – with the exception of a head of one of the horses – ended up in the scrap-yard for recycling.
The Branderburg Gate – now in Eastern Berlin – was restored in July 1958 and a new quadriga, which was recasted from its original gypsum templates in Western Berlin, was ready at the same time, despite great political and technical difficulties. Still it lasted two more months and caused some scandal before the last horse found its place on the roof. The Iron Cross and the Prussian eagle never made it to their original places in the hands of Victoria, due to objections of the DDR gouvernment. In stead a large flag of the East German Republic was now held in Victoria’s hands (up to the 20th March 1990).
The Berlin Wall (dating from 1961) and the Brandenburg Gate played, again, a role in the ‘soft revolution’ of 1989/1990, which brought the two territories of Germany together again. The Brandenburg Gate was opened for traffic on the 22nd of December 1989. However, the New Years celebrations of 1989/1990 brought many excited people on to the roof of the building and caused damage to the quadriga. So the quadriga was taken of the roof on the 31st of March 1990 for, once again, a restoration. The final result was replaced in 1991 and has since then truly lived up to its original intentions as a messenger of peace.  AZD ZBL. Fig. 28 in: KRENZLIN (1991).


Fig. 423 – Quadriga Brandenburger Tor, Berlin (Photo: Marten Kuilman,  2010).

The architect-duo Pierre Francois Fontaine (1762 – 1853) and Charles Percier (1764 – 1838) built the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel in Paris, following the example of the triumph-arch of Constantine. Up until 1815 there was a plan to place the four bronze horses of the San Marco, which were in Paris at the time, on the arch. However, in the end it was otherwise decided and a quadriga-group made by Bosio was manufactured in 1828. The motif of the two flanking persons of Victoria and Pax, were taken, according to HAFNER (1938), from a plate from Campana, which was in the Louvre.

The sculptor Friedrick William MacMonnies (1863 – 1937) created a ‘quadriga’ on Grand Army Plaza in New York (Brooklyn), known as the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Arch. The memorial consists of Columbia in a biga, flanked by two heralding Victories, each with a horse. The first parts of the bronzes were cast in 1898, and it took seven years to complete (fig. 424).


Fig. 424 – Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, New York at the main entrance to Prospect Park. The park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in 1867. The quadriga dated from 1898 – 1905 (Photo: Marten Kuilman, May 2011).

The Cinquantenaire Arch in Brussel (Belgium) was planned for 1880 World Exhibition to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Belgium’s independence, but was only finished in 1905 (fig. 425).


Fig. 425 – Quadriga in the Jubelpark, Bruxelles, finished in 1905 (Photo: Marten Kuilman, March 2001).

The quadriga in London – on Wellington Place – was designed by Adrian Jones in the first decennium of the twentieth century. This artist, who held an eccentric dinner party for eight people in the open carcass of one of the bronze horses shortly before the work was completed in 1912, is now nearly forgotten. The quadriga was a replacement for a huge statue of the Duke of Wellington on his horse Copenhagen, which he rode at Waterloo. This bronze was built by Matthew Cotes Wyatt, but regarded so ugly that it was taken down in 1882.

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