Torso of under life-size statue of Emperor in cuirass. Constantinople. Late third century.

Under life-size body from statue group of two emperors. H: 66. W: 29, D: 14 cm. Marble.

This torso is preserved from the neck to the thighs. The right forearm and left upper arm as well as a second figure to the proper left are missing.

Yedikule, Istanbul.

The extant upper body shows an emperor who was once accompanied by an another figure to his proper left. With his right arm, he reaches across his body to embrace that other figure (see LSA-4, LSA-439, LSA-840, LSA-841). The left arm remains at his his side, and with his left hand he holds the hilt of a sword.

He wears a long-sleeved tunica, a cuirass and leather skirt below, a paludamentum which leaves the proper right side of the body uncovered, a jeweled belt at the waist, and a sword. The hilt of the sword takes the form of an eagle; the scabbard is decorated with a geometric motif. The lower edge of the cuirass is decorated with circular motifs.

The fragment in iconography, pose, and scale is extremely close to the porphyry groups of the Tetrarchs, now in Venice (LSA-4, LSA-439). It must also have once depicted two Tetrarchic emperors in a collegial embrace.

J. Lenaghan

Main Reference

Fıratlı, N., La sculpture byzantine figurée au Musée archéologique d'Istanbul, Paris 1990, 5, no. 2, pl. 1

Mendel, G., Musées Impériaux Ottomans. Catalogue des sculptures grecques, romaines, et byzantines I-III, Constantinople 1912-1914, no. 653

Smith, R. R. R., Sculptured for eternity : treasures of Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine art from Istanbul Archaeological Museum, Istanbul 2001, 304, pl. 147