Marble Statue: Laocoön and His Sons
source: Wikimedia Commons
author: Marie-Lan Nguyen
A marble statue depicts three nude men, the middle one large and muscular and the other two smaller in stature. They are all struggling against a snake, which has entangled them with its long body.
Artifact: 3rd century BC–1st century AD (debated, see below)
This marble statue, titled Laocoön and His Sons or Laocoön Group, was excavated from the Baths of Trajan site in Rome in 1506. It is likely a copy of an earlier Greek work, though the date for both the original and this recreation are unknown. Suggested dates for this statue have ranged from the 3rd century BC to the 1st century AD, though the later period is more commonly accepted.
While this piece does not deal directly with athletics, Laocoön’s carefully carved musculature exemplifies an ideal physique within Greco-Roman culture.
Papafava, F., & Farinella, V. (1985). Vatican Museums classical art. Vaticano: Monumenti, Museie Gallerie Pontificie.
Smith, R. R. (1995). Hellenistic sculpture: A handbook. New York, NY: Thames and Hudson.