Showing posts with label bronze statue. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bronze statue. Show all posts

October 16, 2017

Monday, October 16, 2017 - ,,, No comments

UPDATE: The two Philaeni bronzes in Libya are reported as safe.

Earlier today, alerted by news reports from Libyan environmental activist Saleh Drayagh, ARCA posted a blog report that two reclining bronze statues of the Philaeni brothers had been stolen from an archaeological site in Sultan, Libya, 60 km east of Sirte by factions loyal to the Islamic State group.

Tourist illustration
of the Arch of the Philaeni
Image Credit: Khalifa Abo Khraisse
The bronzes were all that was left of the 100 foot tall,  Marble Arch, also known as the Arch of the Philaeni (Italian: Arco dei Fileni),  which was erected during the period of the Italian occupation and officially unveiled by Mussolini in 1937.  During that time, occupying forces built the Via Litoranea, the first tarmac road around the Gulf of Sidra, and constructed the rather out of place monumental arch at the point which marked the border between the two provinces of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica at Ras Lanuf and Al Uqaylah. 

While the arch survived the Second World War it was later blown up under the orders of  Muammar Gaddafi in 1970. Gaddafi, the deposed leader of Libya, was captured and himself killed on 20 October 2011 during the Battle of Sirte.

When first erected, the arch paid tribute to a story from long ago, when Libya was divided by still another war, the fight between the Carthaginian in the West and the Greek Cyrenaica in the East.  Legend had it that the two nations agreed to define their border with an unusual method. 

Each opposing force is said to have treated by selecting runners who were to start out running towards one another at the same time on the same day. When the runners converged, the spot would then mark the border between the two opposing nations.

Carthage chose the two Philaeni brothers, who it is said proved faster than the squad from Cyrene.  Arriving ahead of their adversaries, rumors began floating  about that the Carthaginians had cheated by allowing their runners to start earlier than the prescribed time.  As a result, the Cyrenaica refused to accept the results and honor the deal. 

Seizing the runners, the two Philaeni brothers were given a difficult choice, most likely to provoke a confession for duplicity.  The pair could either agree to be buried alive, right there on the spot and marking the new border with their tombs, or they could allow the Cyrenaica to continue to advance at their convenience to the west.

The brothers patriotically accepted the first option and the Carthaginians built two commemorative altars at their gravesite to honor their sacrifice.  On the ruins of the altars Mussolini's forces later erected the marble arch. 

But as more and more corpses pile up in Libya's modern war, specifically in the battle in Sirte against the Islamic State, the bronze bodies of corpses have luckily not become a casualty.  Instead, they have been dismounted and moved to a safe place.

February 1, 2014

Archaeologist and journalist Vernon Silver Reports on the Underwater Discovery of the Apollo of Gaza for Bloomberg Businessweek

From Bloomberg Businessweek
Vernon Silver, author of The Lost Chalice: The Real-Life Chase for One of the World's Best Masterpieces (Harper Collins) about recovering a cup designed by the Greek artist Eurphronios, writes in Bloomberg Businessweek about the underwater discovery of the bronze Apollo of Gaza ("The Apollo of Gaza: Hamas's Ancient Bronze Statue", January 30, 2014).

Last year in August, Silver retells, 26-year-old fisherman Jouda Ghurab dived into the Mediterranean off the Gaza Strip and discovered what would ultimately turn out to be a bronze statue:
The Apollo of Gaza is almost six feet tall and made of bronze. He has finely wrought curly hair, one intact inlaid eye, an outstretched right hand, and a green patina over most of his body, which weighs about 1,000 pounds. His slim limbs are those of a teenager, and he’s so unusually well preserved that his feet are still attached to the rectangular bronze base that kept him upright centuries ago. On the international market, bronzes have become the rarest and most disputed artifacts of antiquity. Few survive today; over the past 2,000 years most have fallen victim to recycling: melted in antiquity for weapons or coins and later for church bells and cannon. The survivors are mostly those saved by mishaps or disasters—sinking in shipwrecks or buried by volcanic ash.
Silver includes a quote from Giacomo Medici on the rarity of the bronze statue:
“A bronze of this size is one of a kind,” says Giacomo Medici, a dealer whose 2004 conviction in Rome for acting as a hub of the global antiquities trade led to the repatriation of works from the world’s biggest museums and richest collectors, including the Getty and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. If the Apollo could be sold, such a statue would bring “20, 30, 40 million euros, maybe more, 100 million for the highest quality,” Medici says, speaking by phone from house arrest at his villa north of the Italian capital. “You could make it a centerpiece of a museum or private collection.”
As for the estimated value, Silver reports:
By way of comparison, an ancient bronze a little more than half the Apollo’s size, depicting the goddess Artemis with a stag, sold for $28.6 million at Sotheby’s (BID) in New York in 2007. “That’s a good guide” for understanding the value of the Gaza bronze, says James Ede, chairman of London-based antiquities dealer Charles Ede. “Of course, it’s worth a lot of money if it can be sold, but it can’t be,” he says. A thicket of issues surrounding the Apollo’s provenance and ownership will make it hard to establish legal title, he says. It doesn’t help that Gaza is governed by Hamas, the Islamist movement considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. and the European Union. Says Ede, “It would be a hell of a furor if they tried to sell it.”
 You can read more of this article through this link to Bloomberg Business week. And you can read more about The Lost Chalice on the publisher's page here.

Mr. Silver presented at the ARCA Conference in Amelia on "Crime Scenes as Archaeological Sites" in 2011.

February 12, 2011

Amelia, Umbria: Bronze Germanicus Home in Museo Archeologico di Amelia

By Catherine Schofield Sezgin

Of the most important and complete bronze statues of the first century A.D. ever found in Italy resides in Amelia.

In 1963, outside the walls of Amelia’s historic center, a group of workers digging a mill found the broken remains of a first century bronze statue. Over the town’s objections, the fragments were transferred to Perugia, restored, and then decades later returned to Amelia to an archaeological museum built to display the bronze of Germanicus Julius Caesar.

Francesca Rossi, an Amelian and daughter of Luciano Rossi of Punto Di Vino, a local wine bistro, recalled seeing the restored head of Germanicus on display in the old town hall when she was a little girl. “I fell in love with him,” she said. “I told my mother I wanted to marry him.”

The charisma of the bronze head likely belonged to a statue created to commemorate the early death of one of the Roman Empire’s most beloved commanders. Germanicus, adopted younger son of Julius Augustus, would have followed his brother Tiberius as Roman emperor if he had not been poisoned in Antioch.

Austrialian-born writer Stephen Dando-Collins claims in his book “Blood of the Caesars: How the Murder of Germanicus Led to the Fall of Rome” (John Wiley and Sons, 2008), that the death of Germanicus in A. D. 19 predated the fall of the Roman Empire. But Germanicus’ fame catapulted his son Caligula and his grandson Nero to the throne. It was his wife Agrippina the Elder, the granddaughter of Augustus, who used her husband’s good name and affection of the people of the Roman Empire to further her family’s political ambitions. Yet, it was Germanicus’ lack of political ambition, his unwillingness to use his popularity to unseat Tiberius, that may have motivated his wife and her reputed lover and one of Rome’s greatest philosophers, Seneca, to poison her husband, according to Dando-Collins’ book.

Ruthless women characterized Germanicus’ family. His paternal grandmother had been six months pregnant when she divorced her husband and married his political rival, the future Roman Emperor, bestowing upon her great wealth and ultimately the title of Roman deity. Women used marriage and motherhood as the only available political tools. Although his grandmother’s mother had been the daughter of a magistrate, her father was from two patrician families, Gens Julia and Gens Claudia, of Ancient Rome.

At the age of 14, Livia Drusilla married her cousin Tiberius Claudius Nero, an ally of Mark Antony and Julius Caesar. For years she lived in exile before a peace agreement between Antony and Octavian in 40 BC allowed her family to return to Rome. Apparently, Octavian, her husband’s rival, fell in love with the pregnant 20-year-old Livia, divorced his wife Scribonia the day after she gave birth to her daughter Julia, and then married Germanicus’ paternal grandmother. Three months later, Livia gave birth to Germanicus’ father, Drusus. She allowed her first husband to raise her sons until his death and then they went to live with their mother and her husband who was elevated to Augustus, first Roman Emperor.

Germanicus’ maternal grandmother was Augustus’ sister, Octavia, and his maternal grandfather was Augustus' rival Mark Antony. When Antony took up with Cleopatra, then committed suicide, one of the nine children he left behind was Germanicus’ mother, Antonia the Younger. Thus, Germanicus’ grandparents were the second wife of the first Roman Emperor, the sister of the first Roman Emperor, and two political rivals of the first Roman Emperor.

Germanicus’ wife, Agrippina the Elder, was the granddaughter of the First Roman Emperor through his daughter Julia who had been abandoned by her father Octavian when he married Germanicus’ maternal grandmother Livia. Agrippina’s father, of course, was Agrippa, a political ally of Julia’s father. After her father died, her mother married Tiberius Caesar, Germanicus’ uncle and the ruler to succeed Augustus.

Germanicus, adopted by Tiberius at the will of Augustus, was patiently waiting his turn when his wife, the direct descendant of Augustus, grew impatient and plotted to poison her husband at the age of 34 so as to undermine Tiberius and raise her son to the imperial throne.

When the pieces of a bronze statue were dug up outside the city walls along the “Via Ortana”, probably the ancient road that follows the route of the Via Amerina, likely on the grounds for the old campus for ancient games and gymnastic competitions. (Archaeological Museum of Amelia, website). The statue was erected in honor of Amelia and in memory of Germanicus, also known as Nero Claudius Drusus, born in 15 BC. Germanicus, the son of a famed and beloved commander who succeeded in the Germany territories and also died young, on his horse, also earned adulation of the Roman people.

The bronze fragments were reconstructed with the use of steel frame that was anchored to a wooden structure to support the basis for the bronze fragments.

The statue, more than two meters tall, is of a “Young Germanicus” triumphant as a victorious general, with armor and the arm resting on a spear, the head turned to the right, in the direction of the raised arm.

The artistic decoration of his armor shows the scene of the attack of Achilles in Troy, perhaps linking this memory with Germanicus’ military operations in the East.

The archaeological museum is located in the Boccarini Palazzo built between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries. In 1410, it was the seat of the papal government whose jurisdiction included Amelia, Orvieto, and Terni.
Museo Archeologico di Amelia
Piazza Augusto Vera, 10 - Amelia (Tr)