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Why Did States Build Magnificent Statues in Antiquity?

When you take a look at the history, you will see that there are many statues made by the state and religious institutions. Here is a short and concise explanation of why.

Sculptures produce a perception of power and are a perception management tool. Throughout history, every regime has erected statues in cities to remind people who hold power in that country. Because most people cannot think abstractly. they are affected only by tangible and material symbols. Neither posters nor marches can give the psychological effect of a giant statue.

Statue of "Christ the Redeemer" in Rio De Janeiro.
Statue of “Christ the Redeemer” in Rio De Janeiro.

A Great Statue Impresses Everyone

For this reason, each government demolishes the statues of the previous one and puts its own in its place. If he can’t sculpt, he tries to fill this void with huge religious temples and monumental palaces. So power is a war of symbols.

Cologne Cathedral, which took 632 years to build and is 157 meters long.
Cologne Cathedral, which took 632 years to build and is 157 meters long.

Statues Are Powerful Symbol

If a country has symbols that contain two opposing worldviews side by side, there are two possibilities.

  • a) A clear transition from one regime to another has not been achieved in the country. The state and the people are confused.
  • b) Since the old regime is no longer a threat, its symbols are only preserved as historical artifacts.

Even if you go to a country that you do not know, you can understand the management thought of that country and the perception of people from the statues and landmarks in its cities.

Mount Rushmore Monument in the USA.
Mount Rushmore Monument in the USA.


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Gül Demirci

Hello, I am Gul, I write content for Expat Guide Turkey every day. Don't forget to check it out!

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