Recent Statue of Roman Emperor Decius shows him as Hercules

Archaeologists from the Parco Archeologico dell’ Appia Antica have made a remarkable discovery in Rome near the Via Appia. They have found a statue that appears to depict a slain Roman emperor Decius dressed as Hercules. This statue offers a fascinating insight into the viewpoint of a Roman emperor who embraced traditional Greco-Roman gods at a time when Christianity was spreading throughout the empire. The Fall of Roman Empire is Still Disputed.

The statue shows a figure wearing the skin of the Nemean lion, a beast killed by Hercules as part of the twelve labors he had to carry out. However, the face of the statue is not that of Hercules, but rather resembles the emperor Decius. Archaeologists compared the statue to surviving images of Decius, such as those shown on coins, and found several similarities including wrinkles on the face, eyes, nose, lips, and beard.

Several scholars agree that the statue depicts Decius. Sam Heijnen, a researcher at Vrije University Amsterdam, who wrote his doctoral thesis on Roman imperial portraits, confirms that the short cropped hair and beard are similar to known representations of Decius. He also notes that there are not a lot of statues of the so-called ‘soldier emperors’ who ruled the Roman Empire between 235 and 284 AD, during a time period that witnessed the rapid succession of more than twenty emperors in less than half a century.

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James Rives, the Kenan eminent professor of classics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, also agrees that the statue likely depicts Decius, pointing out that the iconography is normal for Hercules and the face resembles other portraits of Decius.

Given Decius’ emphasis on Rome’s traditional religious beliefs, it makes sense that he would want to be shown dressed as Hercules. Historical records indicate that Decius wanted to emphasize the worship of traditional Greco-Roman gods at a time when Christianity was becoming increasingly popular in the Roman Empire. David Potter, the Francis W. Kelsey collegiate professor of Greek and Roman history at the University of Michigan, confirms that the face of the statue does not look like standard depictions of Hercules, and it would make some sense for Decius to be interested in this sort of representation because of his religious policy. Glittering Gemstones Discovered in Drain of Roman Bathhouse in England.

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Although it is probably impossible to determine whether the emperor himself was behind the statue or whether someone else commissioned it, the discovery of the statue shows that despite all the archaeological discoveries made in Rome, there is much more that remains to be found. Sam Heijnen notes that finding such a well-preserved ancient statue really shows that so much is still hidden underneath the surface.

Meta Title: Roman Emperor Decius Depicted as Hercules in New Statue Discovery in Rome Meta Description: Archaeologists in Rome have made a fascinating discovery of a statue depicting Roman Emperor Decius dressed as Hercules, offering insight into the emperor’s embrace of traditional Greco-Roman gods at a time when Christianity was spreading.

The discovery of the statue of Emperor Decius dressed as Hercules offers a glimpse into the beliefs and values of the Roman Empire at a time of religious transition. The well-preserved nature of the statue also highlights the fact that much more still remains to be discovered in Rome.

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