Youth with horse (Castor?)
117—118 CE.
76 × 101 cm.
Inv. No. 1805,0703.121.London, British MuseumPhoto by Egisto Sani

Youth with horse (Castor?).

117—118 CE.
76 × 101 cm.
Inv. No. 1805,0703.121.

London, British Museum.

Tivoli, Villa of Hadrian.
From Hadrian’s villa, Tivoli, Rome. Acquired in 1768.
In the manner of Greek work of the 5th century BC.

Cook 2011 (Catalogue of Charles Townley’s sculpture in the British Museum), nr. 8:

“A bas relief representing Castor taming his horse, accompanied by a dog — it is of the flat ancient style of Greek work — about three feet square — found by Mr Gavin Hamilton in the part of Hadrian’s villa, now called the Pantanella” (GR 1, reliefs 11).

According to the documents relating to the purchase, this relief was sold to Townley as representing “Alexander and Bucephalus”, but Townley himself later consistently identified the youth as Castor, “an attribution unsupported by any evidence” [Smith]. For a fragmentary relief identified as a forerunner, see A. B. Cook, “A Pre-Persic Relief from Cottenham”, JHS 37 (1917) 124. Now Malibu, The J. Paul Getty Museum, 78.AA.59.

Reputed to have been found in Hadrian’s Villa by Gavin Hamilton about 1769 (GR 2) or in 1770 (TY 10/3, fo. 5) but evidently purchased in 1768, when Hamilton had not yet begun to excavate there.


Errors in drapery show this cannot be exact copy of Parthenon period original, so “Classicizing Hadrianic” (Bieber). Cottenham relief ca. 500 (Lippold, 84 note 15). Hadrianic, Early Classical style (Golda). Early II (Walker).

— Synopsis of the Contents of the British Museum (1808) III. 6.
— Ancient Marbles of the British Museum, II, pl. 6.
— A Guide to the Graeco-Roman Sculptures in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities (Synopsis of the Contents of the British Museum) (2 vols., London 1874 [2nd ed. 1879] and 1876), I, no. 147.
— Hermann Winnefeld, Die Villa des Hadrien bei Tivoli (JdI Ergänzungsheft III, Berlin 1895), 160.
— A. H. Smith, A Catalogue of Sculpture in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, British Museum, Vol. III (London 1904), 266-7 no. 2206.
— W. Fuchs, Die Vorbilder der neuattischen Reliefs (JdI. Ergänzungsheft 20, 1959), 182, note 56.
— Moore, 41, 43, fig. 16, 44-5.
— M. Bieber, Ancient Copies (New York 1977), 212, pl. 145, fig. 848.
— B. F. Cook, Greek and Roman Art in the British Museum (London 1976), 184-5, fig. 147.
— B. F. Cook, The Townley Marbles (London 1985), Title page and 14, fig. 8.
— Klaus Fittschen, et al., Verzeichnis der Gipsabgüsse des Archäologischen Instituts der Georg-August-Universität Göttingen (Göttingen 1990), 69 A222 (bibl.).
— Timothy Potts, Civilization: Ancient Treasures from the British Museum (Exhibition Catalogue, Canberra/Melbourne 1990), 140-1, no. 68.
— G. Lippold, Die griechische Plastik (Handbuch der Archäologie III.1, Munich 1950), 84, note 15
— T. M. Golda, Puteale und verwandte Monumente (Beiträge zur Erschlieβung hellenistischer und kaiserzeitlicher Skulptur und Architectur 16, Mainz 1990),19, note 118.
— Susan Walker, Roman Art (London 1991), 21, fig. 16.
(cc) 2012. Photo: Egisto Sani (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).
© 2012. Text: The British Museum
Keywords: γλυπτική sculptura sculpture sculptural scultura skulptur ρωμαϊκό roman romana romano romani römisch römische römisches römischen römischer romain romaine romains romaines ανακούφιση relief rilievo ελληνική μυθολογία mythologia graeca greek mythology mitologia greca griechische mythologie grecque διόσκοροι διόσκουροι κάστωρ kastor πολυδεύκης polydeukes gemini dioscuri castor et pollux castores tyndaridae tyndarids polydeuces castore polideuce polluce dioskuren und tyndariden dioscures marble marmo marmor marbre μάρμαρο tivoli the hadrians villa adriana hadriansvilla hadriana έπαυλη του αδριανού gavin hamilton boy youth equestrian horseman rider ephebe taming his horse dog bandage fillet band inv no 1805,0703.121