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Commodus as the infant Hercules killing the snakes

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This fragmentary marble statue depicts a popular legend in which the youthful Hercules strangles a pair of snakes. The pose is related to the sculpture of Laocoön now in the Vatican Museum. The boy's hairstyle matches that worn by the Commodus (reigned A.D. 180-192) on coins minted in his...

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By date unknown: said to have been found in the region of Tivoli and then in private collections in Germany (according to Heinz Herzer); by 1971: with Heinz Herzer, Munich, Germany; purchased by MFA from Antiken, Heinz Herzer & Co., St.-Anna-Str. 12, Munich, Germany, November 10, 1971

Credit Line

John H. and Ernestine A. Payne Fund

Roman, Imperial Period, A.D. 165–192

Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 366; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 115 (additional published references); Highlights: Classical Art (MFA), p. 176-177.


Height: 78 cm (30 11/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Marble, from Carrara in northwest Italy


The Ancient World