A statue of Hercules that has remained neglected in a niche of the Vatican Museums’ Round Hall since 1864 is currently being restored.
The four-metre-tall gilded bronze statue is the largest known surviving bronze statue of the ancient world.
It was discovered after removing a layer of wax and other materials that covered the statue for years.
“The original gilding is exceptionally well-preserved, especially for the consistency and homogeneity,” Vatican Museum restorer, Alice Baltera, told AP News.
It is also believed the statue was struck by lightning thousands of years ago. This is due to the inscription “FCS,” which stands for “fulgar conditum summanium.” a Latin phrase meaning “here is buried Summanian thunderbolt.” Summanus was the ancient Roman god of nocturnal thunder.
“It is said that sometimes being struck by lightning generates love but also eternity,” Vatican Museums archaeologist, Giandomenico Spinola, told AP News.
The Hercules Mastai Righetti “got his eternity… because having been struck by lightning, it was considered a sacred object, which preserved it until about 150 years ago.”
Source: AP News.