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Vaison Diadumenos

118/138

British Museum

British Museum

Known as the Daidoumenos (ribbon wearer) this statue shows a triumphant athlete tying a ribbon round his head immediately after a victory.

At ancient Greek sports festivals it was the custom to give ribbons to winning athletes. Later, at the awards’ ceremony, the athlete received a wreath of leaves such as olive, laurel or wild celery leaves, depending on the festival. The identity of the athlete and the event he won are not known. He may represent athletic victories in general.

What is a victor statue?

Victor statues were intended to immortalise successful athletes. Sculptors favoured bronze for athletic statues, perhaps because it better represented tanned, oiled skin, but many were carved from marble. They were set on bases inscribed with a dedication to a god, the athlete’s name, father’s name, home town and contest.

This Roman marble statue copied a bronze original by the Greek sculptor Polykleitos. It is recorded that the original fetched the price of a hundred talents, an enormous sum in the ancient world.

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Details

  • Title: Vaison Diadumenos
  • Date Created: 118/138
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 1.82m
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Subject: classical sport; prize-giving; athlete
  • Registration number: 1870,0712.1
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Vaison
  • Period/culture: Roman
  • Material: marble
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Eugene Raspail

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