The Sleeping Giant of Naxos island, Greece

The ‘Sleeping Giant’ of Naxos island, Greece 💤

A giant ancient statue is lying on its back for centuries on a hill at the Greek island of Naxos. The ‘Kouros of Apollo’, also called the ‘Colossus of Dionysus’, is a 10.7 meter tall (35 feet) unfinished statue of light grey Naxian marble with a weight of around 80 tonnes.

It has never been stood erect as it were. It was left unfinished where it lies.

Dating between the 5th and 4th centuries B.C. it is situated in the northern part of Naxos, in the picturesque fishing village of Apollo. It has a frontal construction with the hands stuck on the ribs and the elbows bent. Moreover, the left leg is longer than the other. In most cases, kouros statues depicted naked young men with their arms at their sides. It is clear however that the Kouros of Apollo was to be a depiction of an older man with a beard and that its right arm would have been stretched out in front of it. The archaic ‘kouroi’ have usually been interpreted as depictions of Apollo. On account of its beard, the Kouros of Apollo has instead been interpreted as the Greek god Dionysus.

Scientists say that the ancient sculptors got no further in their plans to transport this kouros, since a route for the further transport of the statue was never carved into the stone. Most assume that it was too heavy to transport. Other reasons for the statue remaining unfinished are mentioned in tourist guidebooks and websites. There is a claim that it was realized late in the production process that the statue had several cracks, or it is assumed that the ancient sculptors thought it might break during the process of cutting it out of the ground, or that the sculpture was not paid for.

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