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In 1960 a collection of fragments of a very large sculptural group were found at the resort of Sperlonga on the west coast of Italy. The group depicted a story from the Odyssey. Polyphemus the one-eyed giant is sleeping, and Odysseus and three of his men, whom the giant has imprisoned in his cave, are taking the opportunity to escape by blinding Polyphemus with a sharpened pole.

The Roman emperor Tiberius (14-37 CE) had a villa at Sperlonga, a resort then as now, and installed this large sculpture in the spectacular and appropriate setting of a cave there. The whole marble sculpture, of which this head is a small part, is thought to be a Roman copy of a bronze original

Location of Original: 

Sperlonga, Museo Nazionale 43


Robert Cook bequest. Purchased from Bertolin of Munich, 20 May 2005

Early C1 CE. Original: 170 BCE

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