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Four Horses of St. Mark’s
Jpg: Philip Greenspun

The Four Horses of St. Mark’s, stand over the main entrance of the church (above the Gothic addition). Basilica San MarcoThe only existing specimen of an ancient Roman quadriga, or monumental four-horse chariot. It is said that they may have origanlly adorned a Roman triumphal arch. Found in Constantinople in 1204, they were brought back to Venice. But in order to transport them aboard ship, they cut the heads off  then cast collars to hide the cuts back in Venice. 

In 1797, The republic of Venice found itself caught between the powers of the French and the Austrians. Bonaparte defeated the Austrians and then went after the Republic of Venice which fell quickly. Napoleon carried the Four Horses off to Paris but in 1815 the horses were returned to Venice. 
Among the Four HorsesToday, because of damage from air pollution, they have been brought down from the Basilica and placed inside. Replicas have been put in their place which look out over the Piazza San Marco.


  • Notes: 

    Copyright 1998-2003
    Natasha Wallace all rights reserved
    Created 10/4/16/2000
    Updated 2/21/2003