Stolen relief sculpture returns after 13 years

A piece of marble relief sculpture stolen 13 years ago from an ancient healing sanctuary in northeastern Attica will be returned to Culture Ministry officials tomorrow after its discovery in Germany, the ministry said yesterday. The 40-cm high fragment, which was part of the cuirass on a colossal statue of a Roman general or emperor, was taken from the Amphiaraeion in September 1991 and smuggled out to Germany. The piece, which dates to the reign of the Emperor Augustus (27 BC to AD 14) and is decorated with figures of Nereus, Aphrodite, Herakles and the Lion of Nemea, was recovered from Munich with the aid of Interpol. It will be handed over to the ministry’s secretary-general, Christos Zachopoulos, by the Greek consul in Munich. The work was excavated in the early 20th century at the Amphiaraeion, a sanctuary of the mythical warrior-prophet Amphiaraos where pilgrims flocked to be cured of disease.

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