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figure

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1847,1101.1

  • Description

    Bronze figure of Herakles (Hercle); corroded with separate fragments.

  • Culture/period

  • Production place

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 18 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    The bronzes from Falterona (from J.Swaddling in Bruschetti et al, 2014, pp.417-418):
    In 1836, after a chance find, many votive bronzes were brought to light in or near a small lake high on Mount Falterona, a peak of the Apennines about 40km east of Florence. It has become known as the ‘Lago degli Idoli’. Over 600 bronze statuettes were found together with more than 2000 other offerings. These included models of animals, tools and weapons, coins and representations of various parts of the body. Many of these objects have since been lost, and others have been dispersed to various collections. The offerings date mainly between 600 and 200 BC. Like other votives they were dedicated to the gods in thanksgiving or in the hope of favours. No remains of buildings have been found near this remote lakeside sanctuary, which may well have been connected with a cult of healing. The discovery of the deposit is recorded by George Dennis (Dennis, G, Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria, John Murray 1848, pp.108-112), who relates how a shepherdess by chance noticed a bronze figure in the soil.
    Word of the discovery of the statuette, representing Herakles, soon got out and local villagers were quick to search for more objects, draining the lake to aid their recovery. Other Herakles figures and those of warriors, in addition to weapons, suggest a lakeside sanctuary which may have been a stopping point for soldiers and merchants crossing the Apennines. The cult of Herakles in Etruria from the 5th-4th centuries BC was associated with springs.
    The site was first systematically explored between 1836 and 1838 and as the Grand Duke of Tuscany decided not to exercise his right to purchase the material it was subsequently acquired by an anonymous buyer and gradually dispersed by dealers and sales to museums and collections across Europe, with it now being impossible to locate many of the objects. Emil Braun, secretary of the Istituto di Corrispondenza Archeologica, and presenter of the finds at a meeting of the Istituto in 1842, may have been responsible for the initial transaction. A number of the objects were published by Micali (Micali, G,Monumenti inediti a illustrazione della storia degli antichi popoli italiani, Florence 1844,pp.85-102, tav.XI-XVI) by which time many were in the hands of the dealer Francesco Capranesi. Five found their way to the Louvre, while the British Museum purchased seven from the dealer Domenico Campanari in London in 1847, perhaps being allowed the choice of the objects by special arrangement prior to the sale of about 100 pieces from Falterona scheduled for 24 February 1848 in Paris, but only to be delayed by two years as this became the day of the French Revolution and saw the end of the monarchy. The Louvre and British Museum pieces are identified by 19th century illustrations.
    The British Museum objects from Falterona comprise this Herakles and a striding woman , 1847,1101.2; a votive bronze male head, 1847,1101.3; a warrior, 1847,1101.5; a youth making an offering, 1847,1101.6 and two fragments from larger figures, a hollow-cast bronze leg, 1847,1101.8 and a hand clasping a rod, 1847,1101.9.

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  • Bibliography

    • Bronze 463 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1847

  • Department

    Greek & Roman Antiquities

  • Registration number

    1847,1101.1

Bronze figure of Herakles; corroded with separate fragments.

Bronze figure of Herakles; corroded with separate fragments.

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