I find that figure about 4-foot Romans hard to believe. We have lots of
life-size Roman statues remaining, has anyone measured them?
I remember found it hard to believe it too when I saw those petrified
bodies... which is why I suggested the possibility of some "shrivelling" -
but of course, I can't imagine that making more than a couple of inches
difference. It's many years since I visited Pompeii, so my estimate may be a
little wide of the mark, but I think not much.
As to Roman statuary - It would depend on what it was made for in the first
I visited the collection in the Vatican museums last November. There were
too many different sizes to be really sure of which were life-size. Most of
them, as I remember, were funerary statues. They did seem curiously
proportioned in that they were just under what I would define as life-size,
sort of the shape of adults but the height of children.
I think the function of the statues would also influence their size: the
statue of a famous consul or of some divinity, meant to be set up as a
public monument, would be more likely to be carved somewhat oversize to look
more impressive. And family Lares (statues of ancestors) might also depen on
the price the sculptor asked for it or what the family could have afforded.
So I'm not sure statues are a good reference to judge the size of actual
Again, when I think of the Etruscan war-chariot I saw in the same museum, I
think a five-foot man would almost have been too tall for it. I'm not sure
whether it was meant for a single passenger or a charioteer and a passenger
(in the latter case, only hobbits could actually have fitted into it without
falling out at the first jerk!)And yet it certainly wasn't a toy!
Thinking about it, a lot of historical artefacts I've seen in museums are
unnervingly barely just too small to seem realistic - I've often wondered
whether I could really believe what was written on the display label, or
been tempted to think it must have been some kind of ritual object, not
meant for actual wear, or been meant for a child, though it isn't anything