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Bronze figurine of a hoplite (citizen-soldier) from the Athenaion on the Timpone della Motta. Height 12.5cm, ca. 530BC. From the Excavations Stoop, found in Temple I. National Archaeological Museum of the Sibaritide, Sibari, inv. no. 65148.
Bronze figurine of a hoplite (citizen-soldier) from the Athenaion on the Timpone della Motta. Height 12.5cm, ca. 530BC. From the Excavations Stoop, found in Temple I. National Archaeological Museum of the Sibaritide, Sibari, inv. no. 65148.

I.A.A.2. Bronze figurine of a hoplite

The warrior’s right hand originally held a spear and the left a shield. The soldier wears a breastplate decorated with spirals and a helmet with a high crest (lophos).

The slight twist of the torso of this bronze hoplite cleverly suggests movement.

Hoplites were spear fighters, operating in a tight linear formation (phalanx), and we hardly need our imagination to see a row of them advancing towards the enemy (while also being reminded of modern tin soldiers).

Phalanx formations of heavy infantry were a common element in Greek warfare from the 7th century BC onwards, long before this particular bronze warrior was made. His presence as a dedication to the goddess Athena at Francavilla Marittima shows that the phalanx was being used in Magna Graecia as well.

The warrior from the Timpone may have a link to historical fact, because the dedication date of the statuette falls within 25 years of the battle between Sybarites and Krotoniates (in 510BC), which Sybaris lost.

We can imagine a hypothetical phalanx of Sybarite spearmen, all looking like this statuette, advancing towards the Krotoniates before being killed by them. 

The object is associated with Temple I on the top of the Timpone della Motta, from the Scavi Stoop 1963-69. It is now in the National Archaeological Museum of the Sibaritide, Sibari.