233 x 95 cm
early 20th century
The statue commemorates Demosthenes (383–322 BC), the Athenian orator, who fought for Athens’ independence against the Macedonians with hopeless determination. Forty-two years after his death, the Athenians erected a statue in his honour at the Agora. The piece is known from about fifty Roman adaptations that survived. The epitaph engraved on the base of the Athenian bronze statue helps one understand the figure of this fragile old man: if the strength of Demosthenes had been equal to his persistence, the Macedonians would never have conquered Athens, it says. The clasped hands of the cast are reconstructed based on ancient sources, they are missing from the statue in the Vatican.