Milo of Croton: An unscholarly review

I am not much of a reviewer – I took this picture for my sister’s sheer amusement but then I looked at this sculpture again of some dude getting his butt bit off by a lion and thought to myself, ‘what a terrible way to die!” I mean, surely he dies. Who could live through a lion tearing you right up your behind?

Or could he survive and just go on living with only one butt-cheek?

I don’t know. But these are the problems that keep me awake most nights.

In any case, this sculpture evoked a myriad of silly and grave thoughts and emotions. First, I feel pity for the guy, but then I wonder why was he walking around naked anyway? Maybe he deserves to get his butt chomped into. Maybe he stepped into the pride lands and tagged a wild beast with his sling-shot when he shouldn’t have. Perhaps he was cruel to animals and Boom! What goes around, comes around or a case of: It really does come back to bite you on the bohoncus.

Then I dutifully put my thinking cap on. Aha! It has to be the symbolic conflict of Man vs. Nature. Man has forgotten his place in the circle of life; transcendental harmoniousness, good steward of the Earth, and must be reminded with — you guessed it — A very awkward and painful morsel!

Alas, these are merely the uneducated impressions of a bored writer who has come across a salient work of art.

Further investigation and research of the statue reveals that the man is none other than Milo of Croton, not to be confused with Myron of Crouton who invents the crouton for salads, or Midius of Creton which is self-explanatory.

Yes, with something so tragic and dynamic, you might guess, Milo is a Greek from the Age of Antiquity. He is not a Greek geek, but a Greek jock, who specialised in wrestling with boys and other super feats of strength and bravery, like not allowing others to grab a fresh fruit from his hand, challenging on comers to knock him off a greased disk, and occasionally carrying a cow to the stadium for an afternoon barbecue. Because why not!

History tells us that he was a victor at the Olympiad many times over and often led the Crotonan Army to victory wearing a lion’s skin like Hercules, bludgeoning enemies with a dull club. Ah, you might say to yourself, maybe that’s why the lion attacks him, because of his poor taste in fashion. The legend, however, tells us that in Milo’s old age he walked through the woods and tested his alpha male power by taking wedges from a tree trunk (Yea, that would be my first choice too!). At first he succeeds, then gets his hand stuck, then his last thought: “Oh no! A Lion! […and he looks hungry!]”.

Humour aside, I have to say this is one of my favourites, even though making art from Greek mythos has been done to death (literally).

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