Kouros of Reggio

Apollo Reggino

The Apollo Reggino is a Greek original made of Paros marble, created at the beginning of the fifth century B.C., preserved at the Archaeological Museum of Reggio Calabria, and known as Kouros of Reggio


By applying the typical techniques of the iconographic analysis, it is possible to decode the message of the language of images given by the ancient artist and his clients: the subject of the statue is a young guy with elegant traits, he just reached the verge of adulthood, but he is still without a hint of beard, he has long blond hair (made in an ancient method through the usage of gold leaves applied on a base in red minium), styled in an elaborate way. 

As regards the posture, even though the statue lost the entire left arm, the right forearm and both legs under the knees, the position of the right elbow suggests that the upper limb was bent at right angles; therefore, it can be perceived that the “refined blond guy” kept an object in his right hand, which could provide ichnographically the identification of the represented subject. 


The left arm is completely missing, however, watching the position of the corresponding shoulder, it seems that the arm fell along the hip, remaining slightly detached from the body and bent at the elbow, symmetrically to the right one. The left leg was slightly moved forward, as if the statue proceeded towards the person looking at it. Observing the groove inside the tainia, it is possible to understand that it needed to attach the laurel branch, while every hole at the sides of it was necessary to pin the leaves.  


The identification of the statue as Apollo can also be confirmed by the position of the arms, which suggests the past presence of a phiale in the right arm, and a bow in the left arm. The reduced dimensions and the archaeological comparisons lead us to think that the statue was placed above a Doric column.


The place of discovery of this sculpture, found in one of the construction sites of an old station called “Lido”, in Reggio Calabria, which is very close to the basement of a temple of Greek era, discovered in the same area and identified by many as the temple of Apollo Maggiore


The entombment of the statue in a sacred pit leads us to assume that the Apollo Reggino, come la divinità viene sempre chiamata nelle emissioni monetali di Rhegion, could have been a gift consecrated by the tyrant Anassila, around the 494 BC, when he conquered the power; but then, when the tyranny ended in 461 BC, the statue could have became unpopular and hidden away from public. 

Bronzi di Riace

English translation by Corinna Castrizio.