Chariot races were the most popular and most expensive sport in the Graeco-Roman world, and charioteers were among the most celebrated stars in imperial Rome. The clothes of the charioteer represented by this bust are pulled tight by the straps of the reins. The reins, thrust over the neck, encircle the chest three times; the competitor could thus use his entire body to steer the chariot – but if it crashed, he could not get out. The head was separately fitted to the bust, so it could be easily replaced with that of an even more popular competitor.
Marble analyses conducted by Danielle Decrouez (Geneva, Museum of Natural History) and Karl Ramseyer (University of Bern, Institute of Geological Sciences) have shown that the bust was made of Afyon marble. Click here for the detailed results.