Statue of a Philosopher

Inv. Scu 737

The statue depicts a bearded philosopher of mature age.

The figure is leaning on his left leg, while stepping forward with his right leg. The head is lightly inclined and is covered by short, wavy locks of hair.
In his right hand, which is held out from his body, the man holds an object that  in the modern restoration was interpreted as a rotulus . Near his left foot is a scrinium, a container for papers.
He wears only a large himation (type of Greek clothing) that covers the lower part of his body and is held up by his left hand and arm.
The heavy mantle has been identified as a tribon by some scholar , a kind of garment usually worn by philosophers of the Cynic school and the man’s unkempt state (lack of footwear, little clothing, and messy hair) seem to confirm that he belonged to that philosophical school.
The statue has been thus identified with several cynic philosophers such as Diogenes of Sinope, Menippus of Gadara, Bion of Borysthenes or, alternatively , with the Stoic philosopher Zeno of Citium. A definitive identification of the figure is not possible: while the scrinium at the figure’s feet is a common symbol used to indicate intellectuals, a cynic philosopher would probably hold other attributes (i.e. a bag or a cane).

The work dates to the beginning of the Antonine period (c. 140-160 A.D.). It is a Roman copy of a Greek bronze original, belonging to the late III or the beginning of the II Century BC. It was found in 1701 in an imperial villa on the via Appia, between Genzano and Lanuvium.