• Irena Buzi


The object (no. inv. 1227), the so-called head of “Goddess of Butrint" and the head of "Apollo, the Anzio’s type", was discovered in the area of the theatre of Butrint during the excavation campaign (1928) by Luigi Maria Ugolini. In addition to the head, a large set of sculptures were discovered. After a detailed examination of them, Ugolini combined the head with one of the found statues, that of the "Nemesis of Rhamnous" type, and called the whole statue “Goddess of Butrint". It is being said that in 1930 the head was presented to Mussolini by King Zog, but the whole statue, head-and-body, has been displayed to the Albanian pavilion of the 'Mostra d'Oltremare' in Naples in 1940. The body don’t seem to have been returned to Albania, because it was destroyed by allied bombardment in 1943, whereas the head of "Goddess of Butrint" has been returned in 1982. The lost body and the stylistic and material differences between the body and the head of the statue have influenced how the object no. 1227 is treated. Due to these factors, in most of the scientific debate by foreign and Albanian scholars, the object is considered as a fragmentary and at the same time unique sculpture. Consequently, it had widely been interpreted and known as the head of Apollo of the Anzio’s type, from a prototype of Praxiteles school, whose dating was determined to belong to either the fourth century BC or the Julio-Claudian’s dynasty. This paper, based on the historical grounds, on the analysis of stone carving technique and on the analysis of stylistic sculptural elements, turns the focus on the so-called "Goddess of Butrint" statue as a whole one. Consequently, it is concluded that the object no. 1227, together with the statue of "Nemesis of Rhamnous" type, is a representation of a mythological paradigm where the goddess Themis merges with the god Apollo as symbols of the victory of Augustus in Actium and of the inauguration of a new cult - of the (pre) deification of Livia. It is also concluded that, from the perspective of the work of the sculptor, it has been taken into account a model of Apollo Anzio’s type and interpreted with feminine characteristics. Technically, the head has been worked on the front part and from the back it has only been sketched, presenting a variety of stone carving stages. Also the head is asymmetrical and the signs of polychrome residues appear on it.

Keywords:  sculpture, Goddess of Butrint, head of Anzio Apollo, goddess Themis, Nemesis of Rhamnous, Actium, Augustus, Livia, Buthrotum.


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How to Cite

Buzi, I. (2018). THE GODDESS OF BUTRINT: A MYTHOLOGICAL PARADIGM. ANGLISTICUM. Journal of the Association-Institute for English Language and American Studies, 7(10), 65–81. Retrieved from



Volume 7, No.10, October, 2018