Audio File length: 2.26
Author: STEFANO ZUFFI E DAVIDE TORTORELLA
English / USA Language: English / USA

The statue you saw a copy of in the square: it is of Marcus Aurelius, the great emperor-philosopher. This is the only bronze monument of a man on horseback that has come from ancient times, and it probably dates back to 161 BC, the year of Marcus Aurelius's ascent to the imperial throne. The statuary group is about 4.2 meters tall, and was originally completely golden. In order to achieve this, a technique called "lost-wax casting" was used, which called for the various pieces to be made separately, then welded together using molten metal.

Look at the statue carefully and walk around it: the emperor perfectly expresses the serenity and stability that characterized his 19 years of dominion, thanks also to his love for philosophy and hatred for war. His expression is intense and thoughtful, his hair and beard are well-groomed and detailed, and the fact that he's wearing a tunic instead of armor makes you think of a balanced monarch instead of a warrior, carrying out his daily tasks governing the empire. His gestures lack rhetoric and are authoritative, the pose is typical of speeches called adlocutio, which emperors and generals gave when addressing the army before a battle. Also note the accurate proportions and anatomical correctness of the horse.

FUN FACT: legend has it that at the end of time the statue of Marcus Aurelius will be covered in gold as it originally was, and the clump on the horse's head will turn into an owl; this is when the Last Judgment will begin.

Download MyWoWo! The travel app that tells you about the Wonders of the World!

Share on