Salvatore La Rosa


This famous marble sculpture, made between the 480 b.C. and the 450 b.C., has been theorized by the scholars as coming from the handicraft workshops of the polis of Locri Epizephyrii. This theory is, especially, based upon the stylistic accounts made about the surprising similarities between the throne and the renowned Locrian pinakes.

Following that theory, during the 1980's, a study made by Prof. Margherita Guarducci confirmed the Locrian origin of the sculpture and also indicated the original site where it was originally placed inside the ancient polis.

According to Prof. Guarducci it comes from the temple of Aphrodite (Temple of contrada MarasÓ) of the ancient Locri Epizephyrii, where it was used as the parapet of the bothros. This theory is strengthened by the measures of the sculpture which fit perfectly together with the three great stones of the covering of the bothros; stones still existing and open to visits inside the archaeological area of the Temple of contrada MarasÓ.

Another theory, this time made by Prof. Giorgio Gullini, proposes as the original site of the throne one of the short sides of the altar dating back to the V century b.C. of the same Sanctuary of contrada MarasÓ. Even in this case, as for Prof. Guarducci's one, the measures of the throne fit together with the ones of the altar placed inside the archaeological area.

Front Side

The sculpture, in its bas-relief decoration, represents on the front side Aphrodite born from the sea foam (but some scholars sees in it the representation of Persephon coming back from the Hades) and helped by two maidservants to raise from the water, while on the left side is represented a naked flute-girl seated on a cushion and playing the double-flute, and on the right side a veiled woman using an incense-burner.

Left Side
Right Side

The Ludovisi Throne was almost certainly stolen during the Roman age as a war booty, thus vanishing for many centuries. It was discovered only in 1887 during some urban works at the Villa Ludovisi in Rome and became part of the private collection started by Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi in the XVII century a.D. and, during that age, still property of his heirs. Some years later Ludovisi's heirs were forced to sell the entire collection and, in 1901, the Throne and many other sculptures were bought by the Italian State.

The Bothros of the Temple of Contrada MarasÓ

Nowadays the sculpture is under the tutelage of the Roman National Museum and can be visited in Rome at Palazzo Altemps, the place where the entire Ludovisi collection is exposed.



According to the Homeric tradition Aphrodite is the daughter of Zeus and Dione (a still unidentified character which was probably one of the daughters of Uranos and Gaia or one of the Oceanids Nymphs, daughters of Oceanus and Tethys).

Afterwards, however, the literary (and artistic-religious) tradition of the ancient Greece has ousted the Homeric legend with a new myth which is, still today, the most famous one.

In this myth Aphrodite was born from the foam of the sea (afros is the Greek for foam) produced around the genitals of Uranos, threw into the sea by Kronos, the youngest of the sons of the sky god, after having mutilated him during the revolt of the titans.

The first land which the goddess reached was Cyprus and that's why one of her most known epithets is "Cyprogenia" (born in Cyprus); epithet which often is accompanied by "Anadyomene" (risen from the sea).

The most ancient meaning of the myth of Aphrodite was the chance that was granted to everyone of admiring the marvel of the nature thanks to the light and to the beauty which was cast everywhere by the face of the goddess. Really soon the Greek culture added another meaning to this one, this time taken from the goddess Astarte, worshipped in Phoenicia, which showed the ideal of strength of passionate love.

Consequently, from then on, Aphrodite became the goddess of beauty and love and her rule was over the whole nature (sky, earth and sea) and thus her names of Aphrodite Urania (goddess of celestial love), Aphrodite Pandemos (protector of the earthen loves) and Aphrodite Pontia (protector of sailors).

The Romans carried on the myth merging her peculiarities with the ones of the Italic Venus.




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