11 September 2012

Mozia Charioteer

The statue at the British Museum
Last week I popped into the British Museum to see an old acquaintance visiting from Sicily: the Mozia Charioteer. Normally this statue resides in a small and quaint museum on a marshy island along the western coast of Sicily. The Youth, or Charioteer as he has been labelled, has been honoured this summer with a placing in the Parthenon gallery of the British Museum. Although he usually lives in obscurity, the Charioteer is an important survival from the ancient world. Previous theories suggested this was the work of a leading Greek sculptor commissioned by the Phoenicians who lived in the island city of Mozia/Motya. Now it is thought the statue could be a thoroughly Greek work looted by the Phoenicians. Their downfall left the statue on the abandoned island site. Later the island was bought by a British exporter of Marsala wine, Joseph Whitaker, who began archaeological excavations.  The little museum is named after him.

The statue will leave the British Museum later this week. If you want to visit the Charioteer in his ancient home, the island makes an atmospheric day trip from nearby Marsala or Trapani (the nearest airports are Trapani and Palermo).

> More about Mozia
> The Charioteer at the British Museum
> British Museum blog 


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