Statue of 'Gladiator emperor' found

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A large statue of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius has been unearthed in Turkey. The marble sculpture, which includes a 1metre-tall head, was found at Sagalassos, a city in the south of the country. The emperor, who ruled from AD 161-80 and was depicted by Richard Harris in the film Gladiator, was an advocate of Stoicism and was famous for his philosophical work Meditations. The right arm and legs were also discovered on August 20th in a 13,500 sq ft room at Sagalassos' Roman baths, which was destroyed by an earthquake between 540AD and 620AD. Archaeological work has been going on for 12 years at the site, alongside other excavations in the ancient city. In 2007 archaeologists headed by Prof Marc Waelkens, from the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, found a statue of the emperor Hadrian. They think the room, or frigidarium, contained a gallery of Antonine emperors and their spouses; earlier this month a statue of the empress Faustina was uncovered, wife of Antoninus Pius. The team will continue excavations in the room in 2009, believing a depiction of Marcus Aurelius’s wife is also buried there.

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