South Italian relief with battle scene

47 x 67 cm
the middle of the 2nd century B.C.
Production place
Szilágyi, J. Gy., Antik Gyűjtemény, 91, fig. 65; Szilágyi, J. Gy., Ancient Art, 102, fig. 66; Kähler 1965, 19, pl. 23

This limestone relief, part of a longer frieze, displays two duels. Greek horsemen fight soldiers with different weaponry, perhaps Celtic warriors on horseback and on foot. The violence of the fight is attested by the characteristics of both the representation and the modelling. The soldier on foot, protected by his shield, thrusts his sword into the horse of the approaching enemy. Behind him, two horsemen smite each other while racing past one another. The horse in the centre is represented in a novel way, turning inside. These traits make the piece a typical example of Hellenistic Greek art. The style connects the relief to Taras, the principal Greek centre of the region, but it was found in the Messapian Lecce, where it probably adorned a mausoleum.

Material analyses conducted by Danielle Decrouez (Geneva, Museum of Natural History) and Karl Ramseyer (University of Bern, Institute of Geological Sciences) have shown that the relief was made of limestone of Lecce. Click here for the detailed results.