Apoxyomenos – Bronze Effigy of Ancient Lošinj

In the cold depths of the Adriatic Sea it laid for over two thousand years. Accidental discovery by a Belgian tourist gave a totally new story to the island of Lošinj. It is the Apoxyomenos, the antique bronze statue of an athlete, 192 cm tall, taken from the sea bed between the islet of Vele Orjule and the island of Lošinj on 27 April 1999, is the only large bronze found to date on the eastern coast of the Adriatic. It is assumed that it was deposited in the sea at the beginning of the 1st century when it was thrown overboard during bad weather because of the danger of the ship overturning or as a sacrifice to the gods for safe passage through the Osor channel to a prosperous destination/port of call on the north Adriatic.

Two thousand years of darkness, under the sea, can be felt in the Apoxyomenos museum in Mali Lošinj, a prime example of interactive introduction to the antiquity of the island. The place where you find out more about this statue is deliberatly dimmed and cold, to present you with the surroundings of young athlete’s statue for hunderds of years. Casted in bronze, and nursed by seeweed and sand, it still contained seeds of time, with pieces of wood, twigs, leaves, remains of diverse seeds and fruits, and remains of insects, found in the body of the statue. It is assumed that even a small mouse lived inside it!

The statue represents an athlete, a young sportsman, at the moment of cleaning oil, dust and sweat from his body with a scraping tool after a competition. During the restoration, which lasted 7 years, analysing the material and style of workmanship, the statue was dated from the 2nd – 1st century B.C. while the prototype on which it was made is considerably older, from the middle of the 4th century B.C.

During the visit, guests can learn more about its discovery and restoration to the present state while watching and interesting movie and reading press clips from round the world. Croatian Apoxyomenos is very interesting as it is the most perfect and most preserved from eight well-known variations of the Apoxyomenos prototype (the most famous being the bronze statue from Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, discovered in 1896 in Ephesus).

Grand finale of every visit to the museum is a carefully constructed room where Apoxyomenos stands. The statue cannot be touched nor photographed, but the experience is marvellous. Such delicate details in bronze of every part of the young man’s body is breath-taking, especially when we consider it is more than two thousand years old! Indeed, an inspiration for a beautiful story, which Lošinj already has.

Following the ancient maritime routes in the Adriatic and following Apoxyomenos’ own journey, Lošinj created a massage, delicacies, natural cosmetics, ancient cuisine, souvenirs, and all other interesting inspirations. The ancient cuisine follows the traits of Greek trade and food researches, and today we know that everyday food of most Greek people was simple and basic. Cereals, olives, and wine were consumed most often, and along with fish and other seafood, they were the core of the Greek diet.

Breakfast comprised of barley cake, dates, figs, and wine, or they simply ate bread soaked in diluted wine. For lunch, they had barley soup or barley bread and cooked vegetables, however, dinner was abundant and included fish, sausages, cheese, bread, nuts, and honey. For special banquets for weddings, the birth of a child or winning a competition, they prepared oxen meat, sheep, goats, poultry, thrushes, quails, rabbits, and other game. As far as legumes were concerned, they prepared chickpeas, lentils, peas, and beans. Their favourite fruits were figs, grapes, apples, pears, dates, and blackberries. Honey was used as a sweetener.

The Greeks also knew lemon, cedar, parsley, basil, and pepper but they weren’t used as spices. They were added in medicinal preparations, and some of them were used for insect control.

Muzej Apoksiomena,
Riva lošinjskih kapetana 13, HR-51550 Mali Lošinj
+385 51 734 260

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