Huge statue of Roman emperor found in Turkey

August 26th, 2008 - 4:37 pm ICT by ANI  

London, August 26 (ANI): Parts of a giant, exquisitely carved marble sculpture, depicting the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, have been found at an archaeological site in Turkey.

Marcus Aurelius reigned Rome from 161 AD until his death in 180 AD.

In addition to his deeds as emperor, he is remembered for his writings, and is considered one of the foremost Stoic philosophers.

According to a report by BBC News, fragments of his statue were unearthed at the ancient city of Sagalassos in Turkey.

So far, the statues head, right arm and lower legs have been discovered, high in the mountains of southern Turkey.

The partial statue was unearthed in the largest room at Sagalassos Roman baths.

The cross-shaped room measures 1,250 sq m (13,500 sq ft), is covered in mosaics and was probably used as a frigidarium - a room with a cold pool, which Romans could sink into after a hot bath.

It was partially destroyed in an earthquake between 540 AD and 620 AD, filling the room with rubble. Archaeologists have been excavating the frigidarium for the past 12 years.

The colossal head, which is just under 1m (3ft) in height, is said to bear the emperors characteristic bulging eyes and beard.

According to Professor Marc Waelkens, from the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, the pupils were gazing upwards as if in deep contemplation, perfectly fitting of an emperor who was more of a philosopher than a soldier.

He added that this was one of the finest depictions of the Roman ruler.

The emperor wore exquisitely carved army boots decorated with a lion skin, tendrils and Amazon shields.

The torso was probably covered in bronze armour filled inside with terracotta or wood. When the niches vault collapsed in the earthquake, the torso would have exploded.

The dig is part of wider excavations at the ruined city, which was once an important regional centre. (ANI)

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