Rome, Italy - Corte di Cassazione Winged Victory; Lexington, MA - Minuteman Statue
This statue is placed on top of the Supreme Court building, the Italian Palace of Justice, or Palazzo di Giustizia, right beside the Tiber River in Rome, Italy. The woman portrayed on top of the building is Victoria, the Roman goddess of victory. Victoria is seen riding in a quadriga, which is a chariot drawn by four horses. It is representative of a Roman chariot racing which was an extremely common practice in ancient Roman culture. The term quadriga refers to the chariot with the four horses, the chariot alone, or merely the four horses themselves; it is a versatile word. She is holding a signum manipuli, which is a Roman standard staff with an eagle (the Aquila) and a wreath. The eagle standard represented a Roman legion in battle; the eagle was the standard that lasted in the Roman empire, as there were others such as the wolf, minotaur, horse, and boar which were removed from use. The Aquilifer was in charge of carrying the Aquila in battle, a high position of honor and prestige. Losing the signum manipuli in battle was seen as a horrendous disgrace, as it was the most important possession of the legion. The statue was created by sculptor Ettore Ximenes in 1926. “Winged Victory” statues are very prominent and important in cultures for centuries.
Like the Winged Victory, the Lexington Minuteman statue is representative of the victory and honor of the beginning battles of the American Revolution: “The Lexington Minuteman is a life-size bronze figure of a colonial farmer with musket by Boston sculptor Henry H. Kitson. It stands at the southeast corner of the Lexington Battle Green, facing the route of the British advance...Although called the ‘Minuteman,’ it is meant to represent a member of the Lexington militia, local colonists who had volunteered to be first responders to military and other threats. The actual Minutemen were an elite subset of this group, young and fit and able to respond quickly” (“Minuteman Statue”). With the outfit of the normal Revolutionary soldier, strong facial features and bodily features, as well as the rifle ready to be fired, it sends a message of strength, honor, and victory, like the Winged Victory.
While the Romans had their gods and goddesses, they were not the only ones. Victoria was a Roman goddess of victory. In another culture, the Norse, Freyja was a goddess of love, sex, beauty, fertility, gold, war, and death. Like Victoria, she is one of the strongest and most valiant of the gods. She was also said to have knowledge and power that is without equal among humans and gods alike. The mythical stories involving gods and goddesses still have their place in today’s society and their depictions have had a lasting effect.
These depictions of honor and glory of Victory are important to cultures and life all around us, from the Roman times to modern times. Traditions are important to acknowledge and uphold. This connection between Rome and Massachusetts shows the classcal impact on the world and the significance of its culture.
“Palace of Justice, Rome.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 14 Apr. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palace_of_Justice,_Rome.
“Minuteman Statue.” Visit Lexington MA, www.tourlexington.us/attractions/pages/minuteman-statue. Accessed 5 May 2018.
McCoy, Daniel. “Freya.” Norse Mythology for Smart People, norse-mythology.org/gods-and-creatures/the-vanir-gods-and-goddesses/freya/. Accessed 5 May 2018.
Samantha Flament (editor), Student, Fitchburg State University