The Mystery of the Broken Noses

Investigating Why Noses were Broken in Ancient Statues

Jules

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Source: Dreams Time

The ancient world is filled with countless mysteries, from the enigmatic constructions of ancient civilizations to the beliefs and rituals of past cultures. One such mystery that has puzzled historians and archaeologists for centuries is the prevalence of broken noses on ancient statues.

Now the question arises, why were noses intentionally broken on ancient statues? Was it an act of vandalism, a religious or cultural practice, or simply an unfortunate accident?

We can probably rule out the theory that these were mere coincidences as this occurrence was far too common. In this article, we will explore some of the theories behind the mystery of the broken noses.

Act of Iconoclasm: Destroying the Power and Influence of Statues

The act of Iconoclasm refers to the destruction of religious and political symbols and icons to show discontent. It has been a recurring theme throughout history, and the breaking of noses on ancient statues is no exception.

Many conquerors have used iconoclasm to demonstrate their dominance and power over defeated cultures whereas vandals have used it to express their displeasure with their monarchs. The intentional breaking of the noses on statues was a particularly effective way to accomplish this.

The nose was often seen as the most prominent and recognizable feature of a statue, and by destroying it, the conqueror was able to significantly alter the appearance of the statue. This was seen as a way to insult and degrade the defeated civilization, as well as to strip them of their cultural identity.

Statue of Julius Cesar | Photo Credits: Dreamstime.com

Religious Practices: Releasing the Spirit or Essence of Deities

This theory suggests that the breaking of noses on ancient statues was not an act of vandalism but rather a deliberate ritualistic practice. Some ancient civilizations believed that the statues they created were not just a representation of their…

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Jules

Psychology Expert | MSc Social and Cultural Psychology