Relief of a Falling Warrior

A work made of marble.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

Image actions

  • A work made of marble.

Date:

2nd century AD

Artist:

Roman

About this artwork

Around 435 BC, the Greek sculptor Phidias adorned the front of the shield at the side of his gold-and-ivory statue of Athena in the Parthenon with scenes of Greeks battling Amazons in the Trojan War. In Roman times, certain figures from this complex struggle were lifted out of their original context and enlarged to become decorative reliefs for the walls of a colonnade or courtyard.

Here a wounded Greek warrior collapses to the ground after being struck a mortal blow from behind. The dying warrior’s noble countenance, the fillet or ribbon tied around his forehead, and his powerful, athletic body epitomize what Phidias and his pupils sought to project as the ideal of mature male dignity in the decade when Athens was at the height of its power in the eastern Mediterranean world. Some five centuries later, collectors such as the Roman emperor Hadrian sought this Phidian style, translated from a circular golden shield to a rectangular marble relief, to decorate their palaces and villas. Athenian sculptors of the Roman era made a good living creating and exporting such memories of past glories. This relief and a number of others were found near Athens in the harbor of Piraeus, where they had been lost in a disaster, likely while awaiting shipment.

On View

Ancient and Byzantine Art, Gallery 154

Culture

Ancient Roman

Title

Relief of a Falling Warrior

Origin

Piraeus

Date

101 AD–200 AD

Medium

Marble

Dimensions

53.3 × 81 × 17.5 cm (21 × 31 15/16 × 6 7/8 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Alfred E. Hamill

Reference Number

1928.257

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

Share

Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions

Share