I was just wondering if someone did this as a slight to Sulla in the same manner that crosses were carved into the foreheads of Roman busts.!

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  • Its called "defacement". Often non-Europeans, such as Arabs (during times of the Islamic expansion) or others would maliciously deface classical and Egyptian statues to destroy their beauty either out of malice towards the civilization those statues represents or just out of pure spite and envy of the person's beauty or their own inferiority. People vandalize statues in Boston and New York for the same reasons. There is a statue of a beautiful European woman mourning outside of a gravestone seller near where I work and some broke its nose off. – Tyler Durden Mar 22 '15 at 18:09
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    @TylerDurden. I think that European Christians have defaced and destroyed many more works of ancient "pagan" art than Muslims. In Protestant countries like England they even destroyed huge amounts of Christian art during the Reformation. – fdb Mar 22 '15 at 18:32
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    @Alex I think that would make a perfectly fine answer. – Semaphore Mar 24 '15 at 1:42
  • Iconoclasm is currently practiced by Islamic extremists. – Cees Timmerman Jul 20 '16 at 12:29

On very many statues from antiquity exserted parts are broken, in most cases hands, but noses are also very often. The purely mechanical reasons are evident. There are no reasons to conclude that this statue was defaced.

Here is one example of the many:

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They say this is Cleopatra VII. I do not think anyone hated her so much as to break the nose on her statue. Here are other examples

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Of course I cannot prove that in each case the statue was not intentionally defaced, but broken noses, hands, legs are very common.


My favorite ex-seminarian says that he was taught that early Christians were supposed to destroy the power of idols (note the assumption that they had power) by breaking off the nose, genitals, or hands, or any larger destruction. At a certain stage, any statue might be an idol to them.

It may be lack of good excavation that many statues were dug up without a good search for the small bits. His nose might have broken off from the weight of earth on it, and been lying right there, but no one looked for it.

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