DescriptionOne of the most significative finds from the sanctuary of Hercules Curinus at Sulmona is a bronze statuette representing a resting Hercules, found together with the small marble statue of Hercules Cubans (Laing Hercules) during the excavation of the shrine located on the upper terrace.
The bronze statue depicts the half-god hero standing, having a muscular body like a young athlete but with the face of a mature man with a thick and prickly beard. He is abutting the club on which there is the Nemean lion skin. His left arm is dangling and the right one bent behind the back, holding the, not preserved, but probably made of gold. The head might have had a crown made of silver leaves, not preserved. Colour effects are offered by the eyes, made of glass paste, and by the lips and the nipples in which there is the use of a higher percentage of copper.
The statuette was made using the lost wax casting technique and, even if only 39 cm high, it finely reproduces in every detail a masterpiece of the Greek sculptor from the 4th century, none of which now survive but which is well known through a number of replicas. The one from Sulmona can be considered one of the best replicas, made by a talented but unknown artist probably in the 3rd century BC.
The circular base, made of a different bronze alloy, has a silver inscription : M(arcus) Attius Peticius Marsus v(otum) s(olvit) l(ibens) m(erito). It is a dedication dated to the first years of the 1st century AD and documents the offer to Heracles by a man –Marcus Attius Peticius Marsus – belonging to the Peticia, a family known from the time of emperor Augustus for having commercial activities in the Mediterranean sea and attested in other inscriptions coming from the area of the dated from the 1st century BC to the 4th century AD.
The statuette offered to Heracles can definitely be considered a very precious and significant gift, already a marvelous “antique” object at the time of Peticius Marsus.