r/history • u/Rob-Study-8562 • Jan 27 '23
Ancient statue of Hercules emerges from Rome sewerage repairs Articlehttps://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/jan/27/ancient-statue-of-hercules-emerges-from-rome-sewerage-repairs
u/NIDORAX Jan 28 '23
Now who would throw away a statue in the sewer? I mean even in ancient times, statues are quite expensive
u/spongish Jan 28 '23
If I'm a rich Roman citizen, maybe I'm putting a statue in my sewer just because I can.
u/WorldLieut8 Jan 28 '23
In honor of the literal shit he endured with the Augean Stables.
u/ieatcavemen Jan 28 '23
Hercules didn't have to deal with any shit first hand, although the point of the labour was to attack his dignity. Instead of mucking out the stable he rerouted a river through it to flush it out.
u/SobiTheRobot Jan 28 '23
To be fair, it was a nasty fucking stable. Heracles was just pioneering this revolutionary idea called "pressure washing".
u/this-aint-Lisp Jan 28 '23
When the Visigoths invade your city to plunder your gold and take your family into slavery, a 400 kilogram marble statue may not be on your list of priorities.
u/HeruAkhety Jan 28 '23
Christians. They were all viewed as Pagan artifacts. From another discovery at an ancient hot springs: "Tabolli told Ansa that the hot springs, rich in minerals including calcium and magnesium, remained active until the fifth century, before being closed down, but not destroyed, during Christian times. The pools were sealed with heavy stone pillars while the divine statues were left in the sacred water." source
u/HaywireMans Jan 28 '23
Ancient artifacts covered by dirt over thousands of years, then someone builds a sewer on top of it, which leads to its discovery during maintenance?
u/YZJay Jan 28 '23 edited Jan 29 '23
Before it’s revival as the capital of the Roman Catholic Church, Rome was at one point, no man’s land, where settlers lived on the crumbling structures around them and lived whatever life they could scrounge up, not unlike a sci-fi dystopia. Those people were multiple generations removed from the age of Tiberius and Augustus and have little context to what Rome meant historically. Literacy was a luxury only afforded by Roman nobles, who lived in secluded castles clinging to whatever wealth they could cling to. The common folk used the stone and marble around them to build new buildings and houses. To them these were just resources to use.
u/Swiss_cake_raul Jan 28 '23
This is such a fascinating period of history. I remember reading an article about the Roman colosseum during this period and it blew my mind.
u/themattboard Jan 28 '23
Everybody gets to the point where they have too much stuff eventually, I guess
u/fantomen777 Jan 28 '23
Now who would throw away a statue in the sewer?
Pagan (demi) gods are no longer fashionable, look a convenient sewer hole to dump the statue in....
u/Mechasteel Jan 28 '23
I mean a sewer would be the correct place to put Confederate statues, so they can receive the correct amount of honor. The Bible mentions using a statue as a latrine too. But this statue was found on an ancient road. Not in the sewer but while they were repairing the sewer.
u/J_Bard Jan 28 '23
Overthrow your rival? Deface his monuments and throw his statue in the sewer, make them forget his name. Only to end up preserving something of it.
u/Joy2b Jan 28 '23
Insecure politicians didn’t always love statues that looked too much like political enemies.
u/KristinnEs Jan 28 '23
Sure, but they seem to have had a crapton of them just everywhere if archaeology is an indication
u/Inside-Medicine8389 Jan 28 '23
He was left behind, like Kevin Sorbo
u/_qoop_ Jan 28 '23
Having run through most of the History of Rome podcast, after an emperor went king Joffrey, after his assassination it was common to destroy works associated with him. Crushing, burning etc but the sewer was a popular place as well, especially for the corpses.
If I remember correctly, Commodus was a particularily despicable emperor who was obsessed with the idea of him being a reincarnation of Hercules. He started wearing garb like in the statue depicted as well as walking around with Hercules’ club.
The reason why he thought he was Hercules was because his handlers gave him disabled people to fight to the death so he could pretend to be a great gladiator.
u/sub333x Jan 29 '23
During the Christian period, pagan statues intentionally had heads/arms/legs removed, and thrown in the sewers. Sometimes it was while statues.
u/Purpledoors3 Jan 27 '23
They should just dig up all of Rome, get the artifacts, then put it back again.
u/SoCalThrowAway7 Jan 28 '23
I’ve heard it was built in a day so how long could that take?
u/drowned_beliefs Jan 28 '23 edited Jan 28 '23
I know this was a joke but it reminded me of something the Director of the site of Knossos on Crete (the location of the legendary labyrinth and Minotaur) told my class about 35 years ago. He said that it took Arthur Evans a decade to excavate Knossos (ca.1900), but if they were starting today it would take over a hundred years. That’s how much stuff there was and how quickly they plowed through it.
u/ThaiJohnnyDepp Jan 28 '23 edited Jan 28 '23
That's sad to think how much they must have destroyed :(
u/ShakaUVM Jan 28 '23
Or Alcubierre in Pompeii just smashing stuff he didn't think would sell
u/Kevvvgom Jan 31 '23
How do you know he smashed stuff?
u/ShakaUVM Feb 01 '23
I used to play a D&D character based on him so I researched him
u/Gunnvor91 Jan 28 '23
I was disappointed when I visited Knossos because it turns out, all of that art (wall murals, bright red pillars) are artistic creations by Arthur Evans. That dude destroyed so much by covering it in cement.
u/Lander-V Jan 28 '23
Same, at first I thought it was all the original painting before I realized that the only thing that was original was the throne itself.
Jan 28 '23
u/Nonskew2 Jan 28 '23
Who knew he was dwelling in the sewer these days
u/King_Zapp Jan 28 '23
Any chance it's Commodus? Because he also had his image made in that way. Just trying to understand how it ended up in the sewer. I can certainly imagine Commodus' statue being "disposed of".
u/Separate-Can-913 Jan 28 '23
It didn't end up in the sewer. Not in an ancient sewer anyway. It just got discovered when a modern day sewer needed repairs. No mention of ancient sewers in the article. Wouldn't make sense either, since where it was found would have been outside of the ancient city of Rome. No sewers there.
u/OJimmy Jan 28 '23
The 13th labor of Heracles: "Heracles who crawled through a river of skata and came out clean on the other side." Tiresias
u/Phazon2000 Jan 28 '23
Hermes managed to overcome the walls of Shawshank in a single leap. I mean seriously - how often do you look at a man’s shoes?
u/kajtek8 Jan 28 '23
It's actually Herculad, a clone of Hercules.
u/nsodudhweewwwww Jan 31 '23
You are close, but this is actually a statue of Gumbercules - a much more flexible version of the original.
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u/RevolutionaryAd3660 Jan 28 '23
So that’s where Kratos put his brother’s statue
u/Egmilano Jan 28 '23
They say Hercules was off cycle during the making of that statue....
u/KryptonianJesus Jan 28 '23
Honestly this is the most realistic, though. The son of Zeus wouldn't need to look roided out to be strong (and most artists at the time probably had no idea what muscles so large would actually look like, since it's very difficult to get size like that naturally). It's always just been modern artistic license that depicts him that way.
It's like Superman having giant muscles, it creates this larger than life appearance but really there's no good reason for it.
Jan 28 '23 edited 17d ago
u/Separate-Can-913 Jan 28 '23
The iconography of Heracles in ancient times was as famous then as let's say a person holding/being affixed to a cross would be now. Not to be a smart ass, just to provide some sort of modern day simile
u/non_linear_time Jan 28 '23
Orion was rarely, if ever, made a statue because he offended Artemis.
u/Rob-Study-8562 Jan 28 '23
Here are more detailed photos from the Facebook page of the archeological site https://www.facebook.com/100080444869192/posts/pfbid07fUcA5siZsxreas6E51yeZYYx1i8SoFVijz3Sf6V9WQ8HspUfciavbfKCmkGMFbbl/
Jan 28 '23
u/Baba_O_Rly Jan 28 '23 edited Jan 28 '23
Isn't Hercules the Roman name and Heracles the Greek name?
Edit: Hercules is Roman - https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hercules
u/PoeReader Jan 28 '23
I'm betting that it is the real Hercules and he saw Medusa down there....
u/thatirishguy0 Jan 28 '23
The fact that this stuff happens is mind boggling.
u/caracallie Jan 28 '23
I'm more inclined to believe it's a Funerary statue of the deceased in Hercules cosplay, than it is actually Hercules haha. Roman art does go through periods of naturalism ofc, but don't statues of deities/mythological figures usually stick to their Greek-idealist origins?
u/TheRichTurner Jan 28 '23
He must have fallen down there while sluicing out the Stygian Stables.
u/changrbanger Jan 28 '23
Anyone else listen to the art forgery segment on science Friday on NPR? Estimated 40% of art in museums are forgeries. The easiest to fake? Stone sculptures. Not saying this is fake but it could be..
u/Rob-Study-8562 Jan 27 '23
A new discovery of a statue of Hercules near the Appian Way, apparently dates back to the Roman Imperial period. It’s a significant find.