Bronze cast portrait

Hellenistic. Cast of the original in the National Museum, Athens. Possibly by Silenon, bronze, ca. 335-330 BCE.


Found at Olympia in 1880, the head of this sculpture was once attached to a now lost figure. It is reputed to be a portrait of a victorious boxer named Satyrus, probably sculpted by Silanion. The eyes of the sculpture were, at one time, inserted with semi-precious materials, and the lips inlaid with bronze.

Historical Context:

Homer’s Iliad, written around 675 BCE, contains the first detailed account of a boxing fight. According to the Iliad, Mycenaean warriors included boxing among their competitions during the great ceremonies to honoring the fallen, though it is possible that the Homeric epics reflect later culture. Another legend holds that the heroic ruler Theseus, said to have lived around the 9th century BCE, invented a form of boxing in which two men sat face to face and beat each other with their fists until one of them was killed. In time, the boxers began to fight while standing and wearing gloves, sometimes studded with spikes, and wrappings on their arms below the elbows. Otherwise, boxers faced their opponents completely naked.

Boxing was first accepted as an Olympic sport in 688 BCE, being called Pygmachia. Participants trained on punching bags or korykos. Fighters wore himantes, or leather straps, over their hands, wrists and sometimes breast to protect them from injury. The straps left their fingers free. Legend had it that the Spartans were the first to box as a way to prepare for sword and shield fighting

Original Statue

Artist: Silanion
Material: Bronze
Culture: GreekHellenistic
Century: 4th century BCE
Current Location: AthensGreece
Museum: National Archaeological Museum

  • ancient greece
  • boxer
  • bronze
  • greek
  • hellenistic
  • satyrus