Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Marble statue of a fighting Gaul

Late Hellenistic
2nd or 1st century B.C.
Marble, Island
Height (Overall): 40 in. (101.6 cm)
Height (pelvis and 2 legs): 21 in. (53.3 cm)
Height (right foot and base): 15 1/8 in. (38.4 cm)
Stone Sculpture
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1908
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 162
Said to be from Cerveteri, Italy.

This figure can be identified by its trousers as one of the barbarian enemies that the Romans faced on their northern borders. The Celts or Gauls, a diverse array of tribes with a common culture, were settled in much of Europe and Germanic tribes inhabited the area beyond the Danube and the Rhine. Although all these peoples wore tight fitting trousers, this figure probably represented a Celt because of the
carefully detailed sword belt suspended from his waist, with holes for a metal scabbard at the right side. We know from ancient literary descriptions and the archaeological evidence from tombs that the Celts were especially noted for their use of long cutting swords that hung at their right side from chain belts.
The Celts harried the Mediterranean world intermittently from the late fourth century until they were subdued in Gaul by Julius Caesar in the midfirst century B.C. Famous statues of the barbarian warriors had been erected by the rulers of the Hellenistic city of Pergamon in western Asia Minor after their victories over invading Gallic tribes in the third century B.C. Those statues, preserved in Roman copies, represented the Gauls in the nude in various defensive or defeated poses. This work, which shows a fully dressed fighter in an attacking stance, was perhaps part of a monument commissioned from Greek sculptors by a Roman general who had been victorious in a campaign on the northern frontier.
Said to be from Cerveteri, Italy

Marshall, John. 1909. "A Pergamene Fragment." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 4(3): pp. 46–47.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1917. Handbook of the Classical Collection. p. 234, fig. 143, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1927. Handbook of the Classical Collection. pp. 275-76, fig. 194, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Bienkowski, Piotr. 1928. "Les Celtes dans les art mineurs gréco-romaines, avec des recherchesiconographiques sur quelques autres peuples barbares." Ph.D. Diss. pp. 68-71, figs. 119a-c. Imprimerie de l'Université des Jagellons à Cracovie.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1930. Handbook of the Classical Collection. pp. 275-76, fig. 194, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1953. Handbook of the Greek Collection. pp. 142, 282, pl. 122d, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1954. Catalogue of Greek Sculptures. no. 205, pp. 105-6, pl. 145, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Ridgway, Brunilde Sismondo. 2000. Hellenistic Sculpture II. The styles of ca. 200-100 B.C. pp. 318-9, 334 n. 53-4, Bristol: Bristol Classical Press.

Marcadé, Jean and Prof. Francois Queyrel. 2003. "Le Gaulois Blesse de Delos Reconsidere." Monuments et Mémoires de la Fondation Eugène Piot, 82: p. 57.

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