The above photo caught my eye the instant I first saw it on Robert Horvat’s article about the Tetrarchs, because the picture, quite unwittingly, unites two major features of this website: Byzantine history and heavy metal!
The photo was taken in the plaza of St. Mark’s in Venice, Italy, and depicts the famous statute called the Tetrarchs. In the early 4th century CE, the Roman Empire was divided into four sections, each with its own emperor, and this porphyry statue is supposed to depict the unity among the emperors–which of course didn’t last long. One of the Tetrarchs, Constantine, ultimately knocked off the other three and founded what has come to be known as the Byzantine Empire. This statue was plundered by Venetian knights during the Fourth Crusade in 1204 and brought back to Venice as loot–although the torn-off foot of one of the Tetrarchs was discovered in Constantinople in the 1960s.
Notice the two kids sitting beneath the statue. The one on the left is wearing an Edguy T-shirt, specifically the “Ice Dragon” design. Edguy, a power metal band from Germany, happens to be one of my all-time favorite bands. I’ve seen them at Wacken several times. I have no idea whether these kids know anything about the history of the statue they’re sitting next to, but at least they know something about heavy metal!