The bronzes were intact and in good condition, but almost ten years of study and restoration were necessary before they could be brought back to their former glory. In the summer of 1981, the interest for the two statues was still very high: first in Florence, then in Rome, impressive crowds queued from the early hours of dawn to be able to see from close up the warriors that had come from the sea, just as if they were movie or rock stars. The crowds were not disappointed: majestic, imposing, the Bronzes embodied the ideal of beauty and strength. Dated to the fifth century BC, the statues showed the mastery in bronze work achieved by the sculptors of classical Greece.
But, a little as is the case for Leonardo's Mona Lisa, the curiosity was also linked to the halo of mystery around them. The position of the arms and hands shows that in the beginning were holding spear and shield, and the shape of the head suggests that they wore a helmet. They were certainly warriors, gods, heroes or great leaders. Still today they are simply identified by the letters A and B.
Statue A is 198 cm (6ft 6in) high and is darker, Statue B is 205 (6ft 9in) and of a brighter green color, which points to a different bronze alloy. Someone suggested that they were part of a larger group of statues, transported by a Roman ship that sank during a trip from Greece to Italy. But in that case, where are the other statues, and the wreck of the ship? Another theory is that they were thrown into the sea during a storm to unburden the load: what is sure is that we'll never know why they were in the shallow waters near the coast of Riace.