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A Brawl over Venus de Milos - How she lost her arms

Updated on May 10, 2007

A Brawl over Venus de Milos - How she lost her arms

The discovery of the remains of La Pérouse's two ships was far from the most important find of the Dumont d'Urville's career as a naval explorer.

In 1819-20, nearly a decade before his stop at Vanikoro Island, the young officer was serving in a French expedition to the Greek archipelago. Stopping at the island of Melos (or Milo), he chanced upon a statue recently unearthed by a peasant and stored in a great goat pen. The well-educated Dumont d'Urville recognized the female figure as Venus, or Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love; in her hand was the apple given by Paris in judging her the most beautiful among three rival goddesses. Although the price asked by the peasant was too high for him to pay on the spot, Dumont d'Urville recognized the statue's worth. An unknown sculptor of the second century B.C. had created a masterpiece in which the softness of the goddess's exposed torso contrasted with the rich folds of the drapery covering her lower body. The statue had to be acquired for France.

He convinced the French ambassador in Constantinople to send with him on his return to Melos a diplomat with a commission to buy the statue. Unfortunately, the peasant had sold it in the meantime to a Turkish official, and the treasure was already packed. After a generous bribe from Dumont d'Urville, the peasant managed to remember that the statue had been presold to the French and could not be delivered to the Turks. The crated Venus was placed on a stretcher and rushed to the beach for loading on Dumont d'Urville ship. Pursuing Turks attacked; and in the ensuing brawl, the statue lost both arms - never to be recovered.

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    Yorgos 7 years ago

    Hey! Nothing like Total Bullshit to get the party started!

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    Mary 9 years ago

    Great article.

  • Annalene profile image
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    Annalene 9 years ago from Richards bay South-Africa

    Hi there guys sorry for the late reply. I'm so glad you all enjoyed it as much as I did doing the article. Yes Aphroditei I thought you would like it.

    Thanks for all your support it is inspiring!

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    Theresa 9 years ago

    Go For it

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    justjanice 9 years ago

    Hi Annie, Great article. Look forward to more. Take Care!

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    cgull8m 9 years ago from North Carolina

    Thanks for the article, I haven't read this before, good reference.

  • Aphroditei profile image

    Aphroditei 9 years ago

    Wow! What a great article! And hmmm, she looks familiar ha..~~lol Thank you Annie, I love history, the arts.. and this is a great historical information. I felt like I was there contemplating the Venus de Milos. (^^,)

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    tshirtscene 9 years ago

    very good read annie, thank you.

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    suscan 9 years ago

    Very Interesting. I love historical information.

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    joep 9 years ago

    Very interesting read

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