Caryates

or Caryatids. Figures of women in Greek costume, used in architecture to support entablatures. Caryae, in Arcadia, sided with the Persians in the battle of Thermopylae; in consequence of which the victorious Greeks destroyed the city, slew the men, and made the women slaves. Praxiteles, to perpetuate the disgrace, employed figures of these women, instead of columns. (See page 72, col. 2, Atlantes, page 208, col. 2, Canephorae.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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