No. 56
Date Range: 2nd century AD (?)
H. 0,31 cm
Material: Marble, roman copy of a late-Hellenistic marble portrait
Collection: Villa Albani, Rome

  • Herm of Socrates
  • Head of Socrates

The herm was found 1735 in Tusculum in the ruins of a villa, which was probably owned by Cicero. Socrates, who looks like a Silenus, has a voluptuous full beard that is carved circular and falls down in separated curls. The form of the head is created plastically and has certain pathos. This portrait was identified with the help of a fresco from Ephesus, which shows a statue of Socrates with his name written by. About Socrates life we have just few information that came down to us: He was born 469 BC as son of a stonemason and had to serve in the Peloponnesian war. It is unclear how Socrates earned a living. Ancient texts seem to indicate that he did not work, but lived on donations from his followers. In 399 BC he was accused of godlessness (Asebeia) and sentenced to death for corrupting the minds of the youth. He turned down the pleas to attempt an escape from prison and voluntarily drank the cup of poison.

(H.M.)

Bibliography

W. Helbig, Führer durch die öffentlichen Sammlungen klassischer Altertümer in Rom IV (Tübingen 1972) 229 Nr. 3252

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