This statue has been improperly denominated the "Gladiator of the Borghese Palace." From the characters of its inscription it appears to be of greater antiquity than any other characterized by the name of the artist. History gives us no particulars relative to Agasius of Ephesus, author of this chef d'oeuvre; but the work which he has left bears the strongest testimony of his merit. . . . The head of this figure shews nothing but the truth of nature has been consulted in its formation; . . . And his whole air is that of a man in the full vigour of mature age, . . . Some have supposed it a discobolus, or thrower of the disk; but others . . . have pronounced it, a statue erected to the honour of some Grecian warrior, who had signalized himself in a dangerous position: . . . On the left arm the strap of the buckler which he is supposed to carry is seen: the right arm is supposed to hold a javelin: his looks are directed upwards, as if defending himself from a danger threatening from above: this position militates against the idea of its being the statue of a fighting gladiator, as his opponent may be supposed on horseback: besides, it is believed that the honour of a statue was never granted to a gladiator of the public arena; and this production is supposed anterior to the institution of the gladiators in Greece. . . . [Pp. 8-9.]
Account of Statues, Busts, &c. in the Collection of the Academy of Arts. New-York: Printed at the Office of the Morning Chronicle. 1803.