Ancient Greek statue found in the sea bottom near the island Losinj in the Adriatic sea
The story about Apoxyomenos , ancient bronze statues, found on the sea bottom seems almost unbelievable!
In 1996 while the Belgian tourists René Wouters was diving, he found by accident this statue of inestimable value.
Case “Apoxyomenos” shook the domestic and world public. reported to the competent ministry that has taken extensive measures to explore that area around the archeological place as well as just taking out from the depth of 45 meters.
A few years later, after its restoration and some conservation works, manual removal of the layer of algae, shells etc, the Apoxyomenos was officially presented to the public.
Otherwise, Apoxyomenos (Greek ἀποξυόμενος, apoxyómenos: the “Scraper”) is one of the conventional pose in which the ancient Greek represented an athlete. It is known that the Greek and Olympic athletes fought completely with naked bodies and a key ritual of preparation for training or competition was anointment with oil. After the competition or training, athletes have stripped the dust, sweat and body oil with a special small curved tool in a form of crescent, which the Greeks called ksistra (ξύστρα), and the Romans strigil (strigilis). The Apoxyomenos statue shows men in such moments.
The most famous the Apoxyomenos statue, shaped by Lysippos of Sikyon, the court sculptor of Alexander the Great, around 330 BC, whose original is not saved. It was saved a Pantelic marble copy, found 1849th in Trastevere, and it is represented now in the Museo Pio-Clementino in Rome.
Also, it was found similar Apoxyomenos statue in 1896. in Ephesus in Turkey and it is conserved today in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
The Apoxyomenos statue from Losinj holds its hands at waist height and in that part is a major difference between it and Lysippos’s statue which hands are at forearm height. It is believed that Losinj copy comes from the first or second century AD.
It remains a mystery how Apoxyomenos found on the bottom of the sea near the island Losinj. Mystery is bigger because of the fact that an area around the archeological place, except for a few amphorae, have found no evidence of an ancient shipwreck … It is assumed that the ship sailed from ancient Greece to a some major city at that time such as Pula, Aquileia and Ravenna, and that the ship because of the storm found shelter in calmer waters of island Losinj. In order to avoid sinking, the crew has decided to release the precious goods and threw the statue into the sea. In support of this claim is going the fact that pedestal of the Apoxyomenos statue was found separately, later, during the research the bottom of the sea.
The Apoxyomenos statue was returned to the Lošinj where It is exposed in the palace “Kvarner”. It has been exposed also in Zadar, Zagreb and Florence.
Text: Miroslav Bronzic
Published on: 01.12.2010