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Double Herm of Thucydides and Herodotus

A herm is a stone rectangular-sectioned pillar topped with a head, usually marking crossroads and boundaries, and functioning as a wayside shrine for travellers. Herms were originally reserved for gods but were used for portrait busts in later times, as in this janiform (looking both ways) example.

Thucydides was a historian of the wars between Athens and Sparta, in which he championed the Athenian general Perikles. Herodotus travelled and wrote widely and tried to be more impartial. He was sceptical of implausible events and is sometimes called ‘the Father of History’.

Both were writing in the fifth century BCE; this herm is a Roman version of a Greek original

Location of Original: 

Naples, National Museum 1129


Purchased in 1884 from Naples


Lippold: Griechische Plastik, 226 (n.16)
Bernoulli: Griechische Ikonographie (1901), I, 180, pls. XVIII & XX
Walston: Catalogue of Casts in the Museum of Classical Archaeology (1889), 114, no.595
Reporter: 19 June 1885, 895, no.537
Richter: The Portraits of the Greeks, 132, & pl.94
Richter: The Portraits of the Greeks, 214, & pl.176


Found in Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli around 1547-1555. Later in the Farnese collection

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Museum of Classical Archaeology, Cambridge

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