nude enemy warrior mortally wounded and obviously losing strength, but maintaining his dignity to the end
of his life.
Nike of Samothrace, c. 220-185 BCE Laocoön and his Sons, by Hagesandros, Athenedoros, and
Polydoros. Original c. 200 BCE.
In their politics and religion, the Romans valued honesty and practicality. Portrait sculpture, especially
sculpture made during the time of the Republic, reflects these values by depicting people in extremely
realistic ways. Sometimes these portraits were carved using a death mask—that is, a cast that used a mold
made from the deceased person’s face. This type of unvarnished realism is sometimes called verism, a
word derived from the Latin word for “truth.” Although verism is found in all types of Roman portraits,
accurate portraits of deceased ancestors were especially important and honored in family rituals.