A Brave Warrior of Capestrano

Not far away from Capestrano a farmer Michele Castagna had found in his vineyard fragments of an ancient warrior’s statue. Hereyou can watch a documentary about the statue’s discovery on Youtube. This discovery was made in 1934 and hitherto this magnificent sculpture made from a whole block of lime stone has been exciting imagination of scientists and amateurs. Later on archaeologists had excavated at the site an ancient necropolis containing tombs and ritual objects. It is supposed that this necropolis dates to VII-IV B.C. and belongs to one of Italic tribes who inhabited the area in Pre-roman times.

The Capestrano warrior’s imposing figure, which is 2.09 cm high, has a rather extraordinary look. First of all you will be certainly stricken by his wide-brimmed head-dress which most of all resembles of sombrero. That is a ceremonial military helmet with plume. His face has a little bit stylized features because it is hidden under the protective mask.

All his dressing points to his high military and social status. His full dress consists of sleeveless jacket made of leather or thin metal plates, short leathern skirt and leggings. Literally speaking he is armed to the teeth. He clasps to his bosom a long spade in a sheath with a dagger attached. In his right hand he holds a small battle-ax. All his arms are covered by elaborate carving depicting people or ritual animals. I’ve found in the Internetinteresting siteswhich describe at great length every detail of his sophisticated combat gear starting from his helmet until his boots.

The figure is situated at a low pedestal between two small balusters. On the right one there has been engraved a mysterious inscription «MA KUPRI KORAM OPSUT ANANIS RAKI NEVII». After years of deciphering attempts scientists have found out that the inscription states: “Me, beautiful image, made [sculptor] Aninis for king Nevio Pompuledio”. So the warrior’s incognito has been revealed. He really has a regal appearance and bearing! But one more mystery is not still unraveled since there were also  discovered fragments of a beautiful lady’s statue just on the site where the warrior has been found. Who was she? His wife, daughter or maybe beloved one?! Why was she buried near him?

The genuine statue of the Capestrano warrior is exposed in the National Archeological Museum (Chieti, Abruzzo). When I visited the Piccolomini Castle I’ve seen there its full-size copy. The warrior is still traveling about Abruzzo. Eleonora Ferrari in her beautiful blog Enchanting Italytells about his recent travel to G8 summit in L’Aquila last summer.

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11 Responses to “A Brave Warrior of Capestrano”

  1. We too have been impressed by this remarkable sculpture, it truly expresses some of the unique qualities of the people of this region – especially their pride in being independant and self supporting.

    Cheiti and neighbouring Pescara have much to offer in their cultural heritage and fascinating natural beauties within easy reach by car and by bus.

  2. Hi, David! Thank you for dropping in. I am fond of Abruzzian history and especially of the mysterious Italics, too. I believe, they didn’t disappear but still live among local folks in ancient boroughs in the inland.

  3. I have been trying to locate a picture of Michele Castagna, the farmer who found the statue of the emperor in his field. Is there a way I can get this. My parents came from Capestrano. the farmer who found the emperor was my father’s brother. Would appeciate any help in locating this. Graci, Luisa Grogan

  4. Thank you. Any suggestion you can provide to help me locate a picture of the farmer? Is there another internet site that might provide more detail information on the farmer who found the statue?

  5. Tatiana, I received your message and sent you an e-mail. I hope you were able to receive it…….Luisa

  6. I, too, am related to a farmer from Capestrano – my grandfather Felice Castagna. I am excited to learn more about my probable relations! Does his name connect with others?

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