Height: 2.290 m
Excavated by Lt. R.M. Smith
GR 1861.7-25.1 (Sculpture 1380)
Room 22: Alexander the Great
Colossal marble statue of Apollo
Roman, 2nd century AD
From Cyrene, Libya
This colossal marble statue came from the Temple of Apollo at Cyrene in modern Libya. The statue of Apollo was found broken into 121 pieces, laying near the large pedestal on which it had originally stood. The fragments were painstakingly removed from the site and reassembled in the British Museum. The statue now stands 2.29 metres high but the right arm, which was originally raised, and the left wrist and hand are missing.
Cult statues were representations of a deity and acted as the focus for ritual activity within ancient temples. This image of Apollo shows him holding a lyre, and so emphasizes his role as god of music. He is naked apart from the precariously draped himation or cloak around his hips, and has an almost feminine quality that reflects the influence of Hellenistic statuary of the second century BC. Cyrene had been founded by settlers from the Greek island of Thera in the seventh century BC; the Roman patrons who commissioned the statue were encouraged by the emperor Hadrian to celebrate their civic identity by evoking the city's Greek past.
P. Higgs, 'The Cyrene Apollo', History Today, 44 (11) (), pp. 50-54