Originally published 04/09/2013
A perfectly matched intimacy of scale and subject resides in this remarkable image from the ancient past. A young black man sits on a low mound, looking down with puffed cheeks as he extracts a thorn from his foot. He is dressed simply in a cap and a short cloak pinned at the shoulder with a gem. Some of the original skin color remains on the youth's face, and the cloak crossing his chest bears slight traces of yellow stripes. Less than 7 inches high, the figurine preserves the subtlety of a larger, lost original of the third century B.C. The type is known as the Spinario, or "thorn puller." The terra-cotta version shown here dates from circa 135 B.C., a good deal later than the original but still much earlier than other surviving copies. The engaging candor of self-absorbed, fleeting everyday activity typifies the Hellenistic culture of the last few centuries before the common era....
- Will President Obama Award Suffragist Inez Milholland a Presidential Citizens Medal?
- US returning land to Japan on Okinawa it's controlled since World War II
- NJ college students discover their building is named after a racist and want it changed
- Sinclair Lewis Predicted Trump—And Us
- Harvesting Government History, One Web Page at a Time
- Bristol Brexit-backer Arron Banks ridiculed for arguing Roman history with Professor Mary Beard
- Niall Ferguson changes his mind about Brexit (he’s now for it)
- Princeton’s Julian Zelizer worried about the rise of anti-Semitism
- New Ken Burns' 'Vietnam War' documentary tackles divisive era
- Rightwing website is putting historians on its “Watchlist” for signs of apostasy