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As to boldness of design, the examples are innumerable; for we see designed, statues of enormous bulk, known as colossal statues and equal to towers in size. Such, for instance, is the Apollo in the Capitol, which was brought by M. Lucullus from Apollonia, a city of Pontus,1 thirty cubits in height, and which cost five hundred talents: such, too, is the statue of Jupiter, in the Campus Martius, dedicated by the late Emperor Claudius, but which appears small in comparison from its vicinity to the Theatre of Pompeius: and such is that at Tarentum, forty cubits in height, and the work of Lysippus.2 It is a remarkable circumstance in this statue, that though, as it is stated, it is so nicely balanced as to be moveable by the hand, it has never been thrown down by a tempest. This indeed, the artist, it is said, has guarded against, by a column erected at a short distance from it, upon the side on which the violence of the wind required to be broken. On account, therefore, of its magnitude, and the great difficulty of moving it, Fabius Verrucosus3 did not touch it, when he transferred the Hercules from that place to the Capitol, where it now stands.

But that which is by far the most worthy of our admiration, is the colossal statue of the Sun, which stood formerly at Rhodes, and was the work of Chares the Lindian, a pupil of the above-named Lysippus;4 no less than seventy cubits in height. This statue fifty-six years after it was erected, was thrown down by an earthquake; but even as it lies, it excites our wonder and admiration.5 Few men can clasp the thumb in their arms, and its fingers are larger than most statues. Where the limbs are broken asunder, vast caverns are seen yawning in the interior. Within it, too, are to be seen large masses of rock, by the weight of which the artist steadied it while erecting it. It is said that it was twelve years before this statue was completed, and that three hundred talents were expended upon it; a sum raised from the engines of warfare which had been abandoned by King Demetrius,6 when tired of the long-protracted siege of Rhodes. In the same city there are other colossal statues, one hundred in number; but though smaller than the one already mentioned, wherever erected, they would, any one of them, have ennobled the place. In addition to these, there are five colossal statues of the gods, which were made by Bryaxis.7

Colossal statues used also to be made in Italy. At all events, we see the Tuscan Apollo, in the library of the Temple of Augustus,8 fifty feet in height from the toe; and it is a question whether it is more remarkable for the quality of the metal, or for the beauty of the workmanship. Spurius Carvilius also erected the statue of Jupiter which is seen in the Capitol, after he had conquered the Samnites,9 who fought in obedience to a most solemn oath; it being formed out of their breast-plates, greaves, and helmets, and of such large dimensions that it may be seen from the statue of Jupiter Latiaris.10 He made his own statue, which is at the feet of the other one, out of the filings of the metal. There are also, in the Capitol, two heads which are very much admired, and which were dedicated by the Consul P. Lentulus, one of them executed by the above-mentioned Chares,11 the other by Decius;12 but this last is so greatly excelled by the former, as to have all the appearance of being the work of one of the poorest of artists.

But all these gigantic statues of this kind have been surpassed in our own age by that of Mercury, made by Zenodotus13 for the city of the Arverni in Gaul,14 which was ten years in being completed, and the making of which cost four hundred thousand sesterces. Having given sufficient proof there of his artistic skill, he was sent for by Nero to Rome, where he made a colossal statue intended to represent that prince, one hundred and ten feet in height. In consequence, however, of the public detestation of Nero's crimes, this statue was consecrated to the Sun.15 We used to admire in his studio, not only the accurate likeness in the model of clay, but in the small sketches16 also, which served as the first foundation of the work. This statue proves that the art of fusing [precious] brass was then lost, for Nero was prepared to furnish the requisite gold and silver, and Zenodotus was inferior to none of the ancients, either as a designer or as an engraver.17 At the time that he was working at the statue for the Arverni, he copied for Dubius Avitus, the then governor of the province, two drinking-cups, chased by the hand of Calamis,18 which had been highly prized by Germanicus Cæsar, and had been given by him to his preceptor Cassius Silanus, the uncle of Avitus; and this with such exactness, that they could scarcely be distinguished from the originals. The greater, then, the superiority of Zenodotus, the more certainly it may be concluded that the secret of fusing [precious] brass is lost.

(8.) Persons who possess what are called Corinthian bronzes,19 are generally so much enamoured of them, as to carry them about with them from place to place; Hortensius, the orator, for instance, who possessed a Sphinx, which he had made Verres give him, when accused. It was to this figure that Cicero alluded, in an altercation which took place at the trial: when, upon Hortensius saying that he could not understand enigmas, Cicero made answer that he ought to understand them, as he had got a Sphinx20 at home. The Emperor Nero, also, used to carry about with him the figure of an Amazon, of which I shall speak further hereafter;21 and, shortly before this, C. Cestius, a person of consular22 rank, had possessed a figure, which he carried with him even in battle. The tent, too, of Alexander the Great was usually supported, it is said, by statues, two of which are consecrated before the Temple of Mars Ultor,23 and a similar number before the Palace.24

1 See B. iv. c. 27.

2 It was a statue of Jupiter.

3 Better known by the name of Q. Fabius Maximus; he acquired the soubriquet of Verrucosus from a large wart on the upper lip.—B.

4 The Colossus of Rhodes was begun by Chares, but he committed suicide, in consequence of having made some mistake in the estimate; the work was completed by Laches, also an inhabitant of Lindos.—B.

5 It remained on the spot where it was thrown down for nearly nine hundred years, until the year 653 A.D., when Moavia, khalif of the Saracens, after the capture of Rhodes, sold the materials; it is said that it required nine hundred camels to remove the remains.—B.

6 Demetrius Poliorcetes. See B. xxxv. c. 36.

7 He is mentioned by Columella, in his Introduction to his work De Re Rusticâ, in connexion with the most celebrated Grecian artists.—B.

8 Suetonius, in describing the temple which Augustus dedicated to Apollo, on the Palatine Hill, speaks of the Portico with the Latin and Greek library.—B.

9 This victory took place A.U.C. 461; we have an account of it in Livy, the concluding Chapter of the Tenth Book.—B.

10 This was a statue of Jupiter, placed on the Alban Mount, twelve miles from Rome. At this place the various states of Latium exercised their religious rites in conjunction with the Romans; it was sometimes called Latialis.—B. See B. iii. c. 9, and Notes; Vol. I. p. 205.

11 The designer of the Colossus at Rhodes.

12 Decius is said by Hardouin to have been a statuary, but nothing is known respecting him or his works.—B. He probably lived about the time of the Consul P. Cornelius Lentulus Spinther, A.U.C. 697.

13 His country is unknown.

14 See B. iv. c. 33.

15 St. Jerome informs us, that Vespasian removed the head of Nero, and substituted that of the Sun with seven rays. Martial refers to it in the Second Epigram De Spectaculis, and also B. i. Ep. 71.—B.

16 "Parvis admodum surculis." There is, it appears, some difficulty in determining the application of the word surculis to the subject in question, and we have no explanation of it by any of the commentators. Can it refer to the frame of wicker work which contained the model into which the melted metal was poured?—B.

17 This observation has been supposed to imply, that Zenodotus cast his statues in a number of separate pieces, which were afterwards connected together, and not, as was the case with the great Grecian artists, in one entire piece.—B.

18 See B. xxxiii. c. 55.

19 The term signum, which is applied to the Corinthian figures, may mean a medallion, or perhaps a seal-ring or brooch; we only know that it must have been something small, which might be carried about the person, or, at least, easily moved from place to place.—B. Statuette, probably.

20 Her riddle, and its solution by Œdipus, are too well known to need repetition here.

21 In the following Chapter.

22 Consul A.U.C. 787.

23 The "Avenger." In the Forum of Augustus, in the Eighth Region of the City.

24 "Regia." The palace of Minerva, also in the Forum of Augustus.—B.

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  • Cross-references to this page (3):
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), RHODUS
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), ROMA
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