The statue portrays a man in triumphant attire, wearing a short tunic, a fitted armour decorated with marine creatures and the Gorgon’s head and an ample cloak on the left shoulder. This monument was erected in honour of Nero by the citizens of Bologna as a sign of gratitude, as the emperor had financed the rebuilding of Bologna after a fire in 53 A.D. The head was deliberately removed in ancient times, consistently with a practice called damnatio memoriae, whereby the images of famous people were destroyed when posthumously declared enemies of the State. In spite of his missing limbs, it is possible to retrace the position of the whole figure, portrayed on its feet with the left arm raised to clench a spear.
The sculpture was discovered in 1513 in e same area where in 1982 the city’s Roman theatre bas brought back to light; it was an ornament of the building, possibly at the top of the cavea.
Marble, probably Greek Pentelic marble mid 1st century A.D. Atrium/plaque from Bologna, Piazza Celestini
Fun fuct Did you know that... A musical was dedicated to Nero’s statue? It is called "Alla ricerca della testa perduta” and you may see the booklet in this Museum!