The Colossus of Barletta, Italy

2007

The Colossus of Barletta is a large bronze statue of an Eastern Roman Emperor, nearly three times life size (5.11 meters, or about 16 feet 7 inches) and currently located in Barletta, Italy.

The statue reportedly washed up on a shore, after a Venetian ship sank returning from the sack of Constantinople in the Fourth Crusade in 1204, but it is not impossible that the statue was sent to the West much earlier. The identity of the Emperor is uncertain. According to tradition, it depicts Heraclius (reign 610-641 AD); though this is most unlikely on historical and art-historical grounds. More likely subjects are Theodosius II (reign 408-450 AD), who may have had it erected in Ravenna in 439, Honorius (reign 393-423 AD), Valentinian I (r. 364-375), Marcian (r. 450-457), Justinian I (r. 527-565) and especially Leo I the Thracian (r. 457-474).

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