Archaeologists unearthed seven Roman statues on Wednesday representing one of the myths narrated by the famous Latin poet Ovid, near the Italian capital. The sculptures could be the inspiration used by Ovid to carry out his masterpiece «The Metamorphoses, », Which were found in the Roman villa of his patron, Marco Valerio Messala, who was consul together with the Emperor Octavian Augustus.
“For a long time we believed that there were no footprints in the villa of Marco Valerio Messala”, Said Elena Calandra, specialist in Archaeological Assets of the Lazio region.
“We have carried out exploratory excavations before authorizing the large-scale excavation, and we found the statues at the bottom of the pool of the village of Messala”, He explained. One of the hypotheses that Calandra has raised is that perhaps it was Ovid himself who suggested to his patron that he place the statues in the pool of the villa, which is located in the city of Ciampino (Rome).
The statues, which are two meters high, are "in an excellent state of conservation”. It is thought that they may have fallen into the pool during an earthquake that occurred 2,000 years ago.
The sculptures illustrate the Greek myth of Níobe and the Niobidi, who had 14 children and mocked the fertility goddess Leto, who only had two children of her own. Enraged, her sons, Apollo and Artemis, murdered the children of Niobe, who was devastated by pain and asked Zeus to turn her to stone for all eternity.
The myth is related in the work of Ovid The Metamorphoses, which ended in the 8th century AD, and after the passage of time, has re-emerged thanks to this discovery. However, it is not known for sure whether the statues were really based on the poet's story or whether his story came from elsewhere.
“We know that there are numerous representations of the myth in the paintings and sculptures of ancient Greece, and before declining to one hypothesis or another, it is necessary to accurately date the heights, which will take a lot of work."Calandra said.
Alessandro betori, scientific director of the excavations, has highlighted the importance of this discovery, which took place between June and July of last year, since it is the first time that a representation of the Niobidi group appears in a homogeneous way.
Via: Art Daily
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