Reggio di Calabria

Warrior AWhile in eastern Sicily, it's an easy ferry trip to Reggio di Calabria, where the Riace bronzes are housed in the Museo Nazionale. Otherwise Reggio has little to tempt one. The airport is a possible entry point if flights to Catania are not available - though it's tiny, and taxis are hard to find. But a short sea-crossing by aliscafo will take you to Messina, or on to Lipari.

The two bronze warriors, subtly named Warrior A and Warrior B are almost certainly Greek masterpieces from the 5th century BC , although they are not contemporary. There have been many attempts to connect them with known lost works of sculpture (such as the Seven Against Thebes from Delphi, or two of the Eponymous Heroes from the Agora in Athens), all highly speculative. They were discovered in 1972 in the sea off the toe of Italy - presumably looted by the Romans from a site in Greece (several such cargoes are known).

Andrew Stewart (Art, Desire and the Body in Ancient Greece) describes Warrior A:

"His assertive posture with left foot advanced, body braced, spear and shield (now lost) at the ready, and his head turning to speak - surely in anger - proclaim him a lion among men: Agamemnon, Achilles, or a founding Hero of one of the Sicilian colonies? A rugged killer, he epitomises the public eye's image of the hero: fearless, unyielding, jealous of his honour, quick to take offence, and implacable in requiting it.

Yet in order to mold himself to the stern dictates of the honour code and the public eye, he affects to ignore us completely even while presenting his magnificent body full frontal to us. "



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