One of the standard types of sculpture adopted from the Greeks was the depiction of a victorious general or emperor as a warrior wearing the cuirass, or body armor. In the center of the breastplate is a head of the Gorgon, Medusa, presumably to instill fear in an opponent. On the shoulder straps are lightning bolts associated with the hero Hercules, and the belt at the waist is tied in a square knot called a “Hercules Knot.” The two eagle-headed griffins also suggest strength or valor. The lappets, or hanging tabs below the edge of the breastplate, are also decorated with Medusa hands.
Artist Roman
  • Statue of a Man in Armor
Date late 2nd century CE
Medium marble
Dimensions Overall: 44 1/4 × 22 1/4 × 14 1/2 inches (112.4 × 56.5 × 36.8 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase, Matilda R. Wilson Fund
Accession Number 72.273
Department Greco-Roman and Ancient European
On View Ancient Greek and Roman S202, Level 2 (see map)
Monsignor Lestocquoy (St. Omer, France).
(Michel Dumez-Onof, London, England);
1972-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Bulletin of the DIA 52, no. 1 (1973): p. 48 (ill.).

"Family Art Game," The Detroit Free Press (April 26, 1981): p. 24 (ill.) [DIA Advertising Supplement].

Henshaw, Julia, ed. A Visitors Guide: The Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1995, p. 117 (ill.).

"Family Art Game: Dress for the Occasion," The Detroit Free Press (April 28, 1996): p. 6 (ill.) [DIA Advertising Supplement].