My Hadrian 1900 project

No other Roman emperor travelled as much as Hadrian. He was famed for his endless journeys around the empire and we can say that Hadrian, with the exception of the years during which he remained in Rome (119-120, 126-127 and the final years of his reign), devoted at least half of his reign to the inspection of the provinces. My fascination for Hadrian and my passion for travelling has motivated me to follow him in his footsteps.

2017 will mark the 1,900th anniversary of Hadrian’s accession as emperor. I want to take this opportunity to celebrate Hadrian’s legacy in a even more exciting way. The commemoration will last for 31 years, from 2017 to 2038. I usually try to use Hadrian’s journeys as a leading thread for my own adventures but with this project I want to go one step further. My aim is to try to follow Hadrian’s journeys according to the year they were undertaken. I have already planned the first two years of Hadrian’s reign.

117–118: Returning to Rome from Syria by way of the north-eastern frontier

Hadrian’s first imperial journey began soon after he had been proclaimed emperor by the army in Syria. On August 11 of 117, at the age of 41, Hadrian succeeded Trajan. At the time Hadrian was in Antioch as governor of Syria and he did not travel directly back to Rome. After receiving the news of Trajan’s death, he set out to Selinus to pay his last respect to Trajan. Trajan’s ashes were sent on to Rome by ship whilst Hadrian returned to Antioch, where he remained until October. He finally left Antioch in September 117 and journeyed north-westwards to sort out the Danube frontier. Hadrian’s path took him from Syria to Ancyra and Byzantium before heading to Dacia where he conducted negotiations with the king of the Roxolani. Then Hadrian’s remained in the Danube lands for a couple of months and finally left for Rome which he reached on the 9th of July AD 118.

The journey of Hadrian in Cilicia was recorded on an inscription in Rome (CIL VI 5076) which carries the names of stations on the highroad from Tarsus to Caesarea in Cappadocia, and is equipped with dates from October 13 to 19. However the end of his journey from Pannonia to Rome is uncertain. There I decided to use Antony R. Birley’s suggestion that Hadrian travelled from Pannonia to Rome overland crossing the Julian Alps into the plains around the Venetian lagoon, and headed south along the coast and down the Via Flaminia.

View this map on Google Map

This map has been produced with the help of two online maps; a Roman route planner with all the main roads and cities of the Roman Empire based on the Tabula Peutingeriana (a medieval copy of a Roman roadmap from about the year 300 AD) and an archaeological atlas of antiquity, both of which created by René Voorburg.

And finally, I was born exactly 1900 years after Hadrian… 76 – 1976 :)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 11 Comments

Photoset: The Punic-Roman Temple of Antas, Sardinia

Nestled in the middle of the Iglesiente mountains in the southwestern part of Sardinia, the ruins of the Punic-Roman Temple of Antas offer visitors a truly majestic sight. After lying abandoned for centuries, the temple was discovered in 1838 and extensively restored in 1967. Most impressively, the original Ionic columns were excavated and re-erected. The present visible structure dates to the 3rd century AD on a floor-plan from the Augustan age.

Temple of Antas, a Punic-Roman temple, first built around 500 BC, and restored around 300 BC, the Roman temple was built under Augustus and restored under Caracalla, Sardinia © Carole Raddato

Temple of Antas, Sardinia
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The area, rich in silver, lead and iron, was originally a Nuragic necropolis in use in the early Iron Age (9th-8th century BC) and identified probably as a sanctuary. The god worshipped here was Babai, the main male divinity of the Nuragic civilization. Attracted by its metal deposits, the Carthaginians colonised the area at the end of the 5th century BC and built a temple in honour of the Punic deity Sid Addir, god of warriors and hunters, who personified the indigenous god worshipped in the nearby Nuragic sanctuary. Its construction was divided into two phases: the more archaic dates back to 500 BC when the place of worship was made up of just a simple rectangular cella (sacred enclosure) where a rock served as a sacred altar. Later in approximately 300 BC occurred a series of transformations. The area has produced numerous fragments of Punic sculptures and a large number of dedicatory inscriptions. Some remains of the Punic temple can be seen in front of the temple, which were covered in roman times by a broad staircase.

Temple of Antas, Sardinia In front of the temple are the excavated structures belonging to the Punic phase of the temple © Carole Raddato

Temple of Antas, Sardinia
In front of the temple are the excavated structures belonging to the Punic phase of the temple
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Temple of Antas, Sardinia In front of the temple are the excavated structures belonging to the Punic phase of the temple © Carole Raddato

Temple of Antas, Sardinia
In front of the temple are the excavated structures belonging to the Punic phase of the temple
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Roman temple was built exactly on the site of its Punic predecessor and the Romans in their turn identified the Punic deity as Sardus Pater. Both Sallust and Pausanias record that Sardus was the son of Hercules who migrated out of the land of Libya to settle on the island of Sardinia which he called after himself. Under the Roman emperors the cult of Sardus was encouraged because in Rome there was a temple dedicated to Hercules on the Forum Boarium which made a strong connection between Sardus and Rome.

Temple of Antas, Sardinia © Carole Raddato

Temple of Antas, Sardinia
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The temple was built on a podium accessible by a wide flight of steps on the front side consisting of various levels. On the fourth stood the altar in which, according to Roman rituals, the sacrifices were made. The podium is 20 m long and is divided into three parts; the proanos, cella and adyton.

A drawing of of the temple of Antas like it might have looked

A drawing of the Temple of Antas showing how it might have looked

The proanos has four Ionic columns (tetrastyle) upholding the main beam that contains the famous Latin inscription: Imp(eratori) [Caes(ari) M.] Aurelio Antonino. Aug(usto) P(io) F(elici) temp[(lum) d]ei [Sa]rdi Patris Bab[i/vetustate c]on[lapsum] (?) [—] A[—] restitue[ndum] cur[avit] Q (?) Co[el]lius (or Co[cce]ius) Proculus.

The Latin inscription in honor of Caracalla, Temple of Antas, Sardinia © Carole Raddato

The Latin inscription in honor of Caracalla, Temple of Antas, Sardinia
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The inscription reveals that the temple was restored under the emperor Caracalla and dedicated to the god Sardus Pater Babi, the forefather of the Sards, by a man called Proculus. This dates the restoration phase to around 215 AD, but the Roman version of the temple could have been built as early as 27 BC under Augustus.

The columns of the proanos had a height of approximately 8 meters and were built of local limestone with attic bases. They were surmounted by Ionic capitals.

Temple of Antas, Sardinia © Carole Raddato

The proanos of the Temple of Antas, Sardinia
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The proanos of the Temple of Antas, Sardinia © Carole Raddato

The proanos of the Temple of Antas, Sardinia
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The cella, the central hall of the temple, had large pillars leaning against the perimeter walls supported by roof beams. Its floor was covered with a black and white mosaic of which only part has survived. Only the priests could access the cella. At the back of the temple was the adyton. It was divided into two rooms, each with their own entrance and in front of their doorway two square water basins on the floor which contained holy water for purification ceremonies (ablution). This feature was uncommon for Roman temples and is further evidence of Romans borrowing Punic religious beliefs. One of the rooms housed the bronze statue of the Punic god Sardus Pater of which only a finger of one hand was found.

Temple of Antas, Sardinia © Carole Raddato

The east side of the Temple of Antas, Sardinia
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

At approximately 1 km from the temple are located the Roman quarries from which limestone boulders were extracted and used for the construction of the sanctuary. The work was carried out with hammer and chisel, while the transport was probably made by carts pulled by oxen. The line cuts which were followed to extract the limestone blocks are still visible.

Roman quarry near the Temple of Antas, Sardinia © Carole Raddato

Roman quarry near the Temple of Antas, Sardinia
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Roman quarry near the Temple of Antas, Sardinia © Carole Raddato

Roman quarry near the Temple of Antas, Sardinia
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The temple’s isolated position in a fertile valley makes it an enchanted place to visit and offers visitors a great natural scenery. It is one of the most impressive and interesting archaeological remains on the island.

For further info visit the official website & Tharros.info.

—-

Opening times:
– ​​from July to September every day from 9.30 to 19.30 
– from April to May and October from 9.30 to 17.30 
– June from 9.30 to 18.30 
– from November to March from 9.30 to 16.30 except Monday 

A view of the temple of Antas and the surrounding valley © Carole Raddato

The temple of Antas and the surrounding valley
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Posted in Archaeology Travel, Photography, Roman Temples, Sardinia | 5 Comments

Exquisite marble bust of Hadrian found in Spain

Today I was thrilled to discover that a beautiful bust of Hadrian had been excavated at the archaeological site of Los Torrejones in the Region of Murcia in Spain. The bust, characterized by its excellent condition, was discovered during archaeological digs at the site which ran from October to December 2014. It was only unveiled to the public today.

The counselor Sanchez presents the bust found in Yecla © Vicente Vicéns

The counselor Sanchez presents the bust found in Yecla
© Vicente Vicéns

The 52 cm high sculpture, carved out of white marble, is believed to date to 135 AD. It appears to belong to the “Rollockenfrisur” type, one of the six sculptural types attributed to the extant corpus of Hadrian portraits by M. Wegner, a German specialist on Roman portraiture (a seventh type was added later on). Approximately 160 portraits of Hadrian have survived, and the “Rollockenfrisur” type was a type popular in the provinces. This type is characterized by nine curls which are framing evenly the face and are rolled onto themselves in a movement to the left. The best known examples of the “Rollockenfrisur” type include the bronze statue in Israel Museum (left), the marble busts in Seville (middle) and in the British Museum (right).

The new bust was found alongside another smaller figure depicting a woman dating to the same period. Both were laying at the entrance of a large building whose exact purpose has not yet been established, but is known to have had something to do with water (a nymphaeum?). It is possible that the structure was linked to the worship of the Emperor. The Los Torrejones site consists of a rural Roman villa complex which included a monumental residential area in which the owner lived (Pars Dominica) as well an area reserved for servants and workers of the farm (Pars Rustica). It is one of five such sites discovered in the municipality of Yecla which are known to have been occupied between the 1st and 4th centuries AD.

Excavation work at the site of Los Torrejones is an ongoing project and further digs will probably be scheduled for 2015.

The bust will be on display at the Archaeological Museum of Yecla from this coming weekend.

Needless to say that I am already planning a trip to Spain to see and photograph this wonderful find!

Video of the press conference (in Spanish) http://www.laverdad.es/videos/yecla/201502/05/encuentran-yecla-busto-emperador-4034485543001-mm.html

Source: http://bit.ly/1D2Epe9

Posted in Archaeology News, Hadrian, Hadrian portrait, Roman Portraiture, Spain | 6 Comments

Exploring Verulamium, the Roman city of St Albans (UK)

Anyone with an interest in Roman Britain should have St Albans on top of their list of places to visit. I myself visited St Albans twice and enjoyed it on both occasions. A short train ride north of London, St Albans is a must-see site. There are a few remains of the Roman town still visible (Verulamium), such as parts of the city walls, a hypocaust in situ under a mosaic floor, but the most spectacular are the remains of the Roman theatre.

In its heyday Verulamium was the third largest city in Roman Britain. The city was founded on the ancient Celtic site of Verlamion (meaning ‘settlement above the marsh’), a late Iron Age settlement and major center of the Catuvellauni tribe. After the Roman invasion of 43 AD, the city was renamed Verulamium and became one of the largest and most prosperous towns in the province of Britannia. In around AD 50, Verulamium was granted the rank of municipium, meaning its citizens had “Latin Rights”. It grew to a significant town, and as such was a prime target during the revolt of Boudicca in 61 AD. Verulamium was sacked and burnt to the ground on her orders but the Romans crushed the revolt and Verulamium recovered quickly.

Verulamium about 300 AD showing large town houses surrounded by gardens (Artist impression of Verulamium by John Pearson)

Verulamium about 300 AD showing large town houses surrounded by gardens
(Artist impression of Verulamium by John Pearson)

By 140 AD the town had doubled in size, covering 100 acres, and featured a Forum with a basilica, public baths, temples, many prosperous private townhouses  and a theatre. Despite two fires, one in 155 AD and the other around 250 AD, Verulamium continued to grow and remained a central Roman town for the next four hundred years until the end of the Roman occupation.

Today the site of Verulamium sits in a beautiful public park. Archaeological excavations were undertaken in the park during the 1930s during which the 1800-year-old hypocaust and its covering mosaic floor were discovered. Further large-scale excavations uncovered the theatre, a corner of the basilica nearby and some of the best preserved wall paintings from Roman Britain. On the outskirts of the park is the Verulamium Museum which contains hundreds of archaeological objects relating to everyday Roman life. Today these artefacts from Verulamium form one of the finest collections from Roman Britain.

The Roman Theatre

The Roman Theatre of Verulamium, built in about 140 AD, is unique. Although several towns in Britain are known to have had theatres, this is the only one visible today. It was discovered in 1869 on the site of the original Watling Street that run from Londinium (London) to Deva Victrix (Chester) and was fully excavated in the 1930s.

The Roman Theatre at Verulamium, St Albans © Carole Raddato

The Roman Theatre of Verulamium, St Albans
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Roman Theatre of Verulamium, St Albans © Carole Raddato

The Roman Theatre of Verulamium, St Albans
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The theatre was built close to the site of an earlier water shrine and was linked to two temples dedicated to Romano-British gods: one stood immediately behind the theatre and the other on the opposite side of the river a short distance outside the town. Today the remains of these temples lie buried.

The theatre could accommodate several thousands spectators on simple wooden benches and had an almost circular orchestra in front of the stage where town magistrates and local dignitaries were seated (see illustration) . By 160 AD-180, the theatre was radically altered with the stage enlarged.

Reconstruction drawing of the Roman Theatre at Verulamium, St Albans © Carole Raddato

Reconstruction drawing of the Roman Theatre at Verulamium in about 180 AD, St Albans (Alan Sorrell)

Religious processions and entertainments like wrestling, bullfights, sword fights and gladiatorial contests occasionally took place in the theatre. Plays by Latin and Greek authors were also performed at religious festivals as well as pantomīmae (pantomime shows). Its fine acoustics were perfectly suited to musical and dramatic performances.

The Roman Theatre of Verulamium, St Albans © Carole Raddato

The Roman Theatre of Verulamium, St Albans
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Roman Theatre of Verulamium, St Albans © Carole Raddato

The Roman Theatre of Verulamium, St Albans
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The theatre was lined with shops with storage spaces behind the main shop area and even sleeping quarters. A covered walkway  along the street provided shelter for customers and goods for sales. When the shops were excavated in the 1950’s, broken crucibles and waste metal showed that most of the shops had been occupied by blacksmiths and bronze workers.

Shops near the theatre, a carpenter shop, bronze workers shop and wine shop, Verulamium, St Albans © Carole Raddato

Shops near the theatre, a carpenter shop, bronze workers shop and wine shop, Verulamium, St Albans
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Around 170 AD a large townhouse was built behind the shops part of which can still be seen. The house had a hypocaust and an underground shrine.

2nd century AD Roman house (Domus) with hypocaust and underground shrine, Verulamium, St Albans © Carole Raddato

2nd century AD Roman house (Domus) with hypocaust and underground shrine, Verulamium, St Albans
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Hypocaust and Mosaic

During the 1930s excavations, archaeologists uncovered a 1800 year old underfloor heating system, or hypocaust, which ran under an intricate mosaic floor. By 150 AD it was the custom for aristocrat’s houses to have at least one or two rooms heated by hypocausts and  fine mosaic floors. This floor is thought to have been part of the reception rooms of a large town house built around 180 AD. Part of the west wing of the house is preserved in situ and is on public view in the Verulamium Park.

Mosaic with floral panels, around 180 AD, Verulamium, St Albans © Carole Raddato

Mosaic with floral panels, around 180 AD, Verulamium, St Albans
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The mosaic is of great size and contains around 200,000 tesserae. The floor is composed of a central section with 16 square panels, each containing a circular roundel with a geometric design. The borders are bands of single and double interlaces and strips of wide and thin dark and light material.

Mosaic with floral panels, around 180 AD, Verulamium, St Albans © Carole Raddato

Mosaic with floral panels, around 180 AD, Verulamium, St Albans
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Mosaic with floral panels, around 180 AD, Verulamium, St Albans © Carole Raddato

Mosaic with floral panels, around 180 AD, Verulamium, St Albans
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The hypocaust was stocked from a small room outside the main house, and the stockehole of its furnace is visible below a glass floor panel. Heat passed through flues beneath the mosaic, one has collapse and can be seen.

The exposed hypocaust under the mosaic, Verulamium, St Albans © Carole Raddato

The exposed hypocaust under the mosaic, Verulamium, St Albans
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The city walls and gateway

A rather long section of the city walls of Verulamium can still be seen today. The walls were constructed around 270 AD and were over 3m thick at foundation level and over 2m high. They were built as a complete circuit round Verulamium with a total length of 3.4 km (2.25 miles) and enclosing an area of 82 ha (203 acres). This made Verulamium the third largest walled city in Roman Britain behind Corinium (Cirencester) and Londinium (London).

The city walls of Verulamium, St Albans © Carole Raddato

The city walls of Verulamium, St Albans
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The city walls of Verulamium, St Albans Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The city walls of Verulamium, St Albans © Carole Raddato

The city walls of Verulamium, St Albans Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Large gateways controlled the four main entrances to the town of Verulamium. The best preserved is the London Gate on the south side of the town. All four main gates were massive structures with double carriageways and narrow passageways for pedestrians.

Reconstruction of the London Gate, Verulamium, St Albans (P.M. Andrews)

Reconstruction drawing of the London Gate, Verulamium, St Albans
(P.M. Andrews)

Surviving foundations of the London Gate, Verulamium, St Albans © Carole Raddato

Surviving foundations of the London Gate, Verulamium, St Albans
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Verulamium Museum

Located in Verulamium park, the Verulamium Museum was established following the 1930s excavations carried out by Mortimer Wheeler and his wife Tessa Wheeler.

The Verulamium Museum, St Albans © Carole Raddato

The Verulamium Museum, St Albans
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Wandering around the rooms, one can learn how the ancient town was built, how the inhabitants of the city made a living and also how their dead were buried.

The Verulamium Museum, St Albans © Carole Raddato

The Verulamium Museum, St Albans
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

This award-winning museum houses an outstanding collection of Roman mosaic floors, some of the best Roman wall paintings to have survived in Britain and a vast collection of small finds, from the most humble to the magnificent. A range of rooms from various houses have also been recreated giving the visitor an opportunity to discover the life and times of a major Roman city.

The mosaics

The remains of more the forty mosaics have been found at Verulamium, some of them being the finest ever found in Britain.

Oceanus Mosaic, 160-190 AD, Verulamium Museum, St Albans © Carole Raddato

The Oceanus Mosaic, 160-190 AD, Verulamium Museum, St Albans
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Shell Mosaic, dated to c. AD 150, Verulamium Museum, St Albans © Carole Raddato

The Shell Mosaic, dated to c. AD 150, Verulamium Museum, St Albans
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Dahlia Mosaic with flower motif, 175-200 AD, Verulamium Museum, St Albans © Carole Raddato

The Dahlia Mosaic with flower motif, 175-200 AD, Verulamium Museum, St Albans
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Lion and Stag Mosaic, Verulamium Museum, St Albans © Carole Raddato

The Lion and Stag Mosaic, Verulamium Museum, St Albans
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The wall paintings

Surviving painting frescoes are rare in Britain and the Verulamium Museum is exceptional in having several well-preserved wall paintings. Most designs imitate marble veneers, columns and cornices, giving an impression of wealth and luxury.

Wall painting with imitation columns and panelling, ca. 150 AD, Verulamium Museum, St Albans © Carole Raddato

Wall painting with imitation columns and panelling, ca. 150 AD, Verulamium Museum, St Albans
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Reconstructed painted plaster wall dating to about 180 AD, Verulamium Museum, St Albans © Carole Raddato

Reconstructed painted plaster wall dating to about 180 AD, Verulamium Museum, St Albans
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Reconstructed painted plaster walls dating to about 180 AD, Verulamium Museum, St Albans © Carole Raddato

Reconstructed painted plaster walls dating to about 180 AD, Verulamium Museum, St Albans
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Wall painting with a candelabrum, Verulamium Museum, St Albans © Carole Raddato

Wall painting with a candelabrum, Verulamium Museum, St Albans
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Basilica inscription

Despite the long settlement history of Verulamium, there remains little evidence of the Roman occupancy period in the form of stone inscriptions. However eight small fragments (RIB222 to RIB229) of a dedicatory inscription from the Basilica were found under a school playground in the 1950’s. The inscription has been reconstructed as a large dedication slab (approx. 4.3m x 1.0m).

The reconstructed Basilica inscription, dated to 79 or 81 AD, Verulamium Museum, St Albans © Carole Raddato

The reconstructed Basilica inscription, dated to 79 or 81 AD, Verulamium Museum, St Albans
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The inscription written in a shortened form of Latin is likely to have read:

For the Emperor Titus Caesar Vespasianus Augustus, son of the Divine Vespasian, ‘High Priest’, granted the tribunician powers nine times, hailed Imperator in the field fifteen times, consul seven times, designated consul for an eighth term, censor, ‘Father of the Fatherland’, and to Caesar Domitianus, son of the Divine Vespasian, consul six times, designated consul for a seventh term, ‘Prince of Youth’, and to all the priestly brotherhoods, Gnaeus Julius Agricola, legate of the emperor with pro-praetorian power, adorned the Verulamium basilica.”

The inscription is notable because it mentions Gnaeus Julius Agricola, the Roman governor of Britain from AD 77-84, who is otherwise known from a biography written by his son-in-law Tacitus.

Other museum’s highlights

An outstanding statuette, the so-called ‘Verulamium Venus’, is among one of the most famous finds at Verulamium. The bronze figurine probably once held central place in a household shrine. Venus stands holding a golden apple said to have been won in a beauty contest with the goddesses Juno and Minerva (though it may possibly represent the goddess of the Underworld Persephone holding a pomegranate). The statuette is one of the finest to have survived from Roman Britain.

The so-called "Verulamium Venus", a bronze statuette of Venus holding an apple in her left hand or Persephone holding a pomegranate, 2nd century AD, Verulamium Museum, St Albans © Carole Raddato

The so-called “Verulamium Venus”, a bronze statuette of Venus holding an apple in her left hand or Persephone holding a pomegranate, 2nd century AD, Verulamium Museum, St Albans
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Many beautiful pieces of Roman glass have survived intact at Verulamium because they were included in burials and thus protected from the shifts in earth movement which usually breaks fragile things like glass. In 1813 a fine glass jug was found inside a stone coffin at Kingsbury just outside the Roman walls.

The Kingsbury Jug, Verulamium Museum, St Albans © Carole Raddato

The Kingsbury Jug, Verulamium Museum, St Albans
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

A visit to St Albans will give you a good chance to see some of the most impressive Roman remains and artefacts from Britain.

Map of St Albans:

Map of St Albans

Map of St Albans

St Albans tourist information: http://www.enjoystalbans.com/

Posted in Archaeology Travel, Britannia, Museum, Photography | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Art and sculptures from Hadrian’s Villa: Statue of the young god Hermes, known as ‘Capitoline Antinous’

This week’s sculpture from Hadrian’s Villa is a marble statue of a young nude, the so-called ‘Capitoline Antinous‘. It was found in 1723/24 during the time when Giuseppe Fede was undertaking the earliest concerted excavations at the Villa Adriana. However its exact provenance within the Villa is unknown.

The so-called Capitoline Antinous, now considered to be a late Hadrianic / early Antonine copy of an early 4th century BC Greek statue of Hermes, found at Hadrian's Villa, Palazzo Nuovo, Capitoline Museums © Carole Raddato

The so-called Capitoline Antinous, now considered to be a late Hadrianic / early Antonine copy of an early 4th century BC Greek statue of Hermes, found at Hadrian’s Villa
Palazzo Nuovo, Capitoline Museums
© Carole Raddato

Considering that this work was found at Villa Adriana and owing to its melancholy gaze, the statue was thought to represent Hadrian’s lover Antinous. Until the end of the 19th century it was even regarded as the most famous statue of Antinous. After a long debate among scholars, the statue was finally identified as Hermes, the messenger god, because the head differed so radically from the recognized Antinous types.

The Capitoline Antinous, now considered to be a late Hadrianic / early Antonine copy of an early 4th century BC Greek statue of Hermes, found at Hadrian's Villa, Palazzo Nuovo, Capitoline Museums © Carole Raddato

The Capitoline Antinous, now considered to be a late Hadrianic / early Antonine copy of an early 4th century BC Greek statue of Hermes, found at Hadrian’s Villa, Palazzo Nuovo, Capitoline Museums
© Carole Raddato

The god Hermes is depicted at a young age and is entirely naked. He is shown in a quiet moment and is delicately posed; his pelvis is turned slightly to the right with a corresponding torsion of the head and shoulders. His hair is a work of carefully sculpted curls and are reminiscent of the style of Praxiteles, the famous 4th century BC Greek sculptor (see the Praxiteles’ Hermes).

Originally part of the Albani collection, the statue was acquired by Pope Clement XII in 1733 and subsequently moved to the Capitoline Museums where it remains today. The work dates to the late Hadrianic / early Antonine period (c. 130-150 AD) and is a copy of an earlier 4th century BC Greek statue.

The so-called Capitoline Antinous, now considered to be a late Hadrianic / early Antonine copy of an early 4th century BC Greek statue of Hermes, found at Hadrian's Villa, Palazzo Nuovo, Capitoline Museums © Carole Raddato

The so-called Capitoline Antinous, now considered to be a late Hadrianic / early Antonine copy of an early 4th century BC Greek statue of Hermes, found at Hadrian’s Villa
Palazzo Nuovo, Capitoline Museums
© Carole Raddato

Source

Posted in Hadrian's Villa, Italy, Museum, Roman Mythology | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Felix dies natalis, Hadriane!

Secondae Mensae: Laterculi (Poppy-seed Cakes) Happy 1939th birthday Hadrian! © Carole Raddato

Secondae Mensae: Laterculi (Poppy-seed Cakes)
Happy 1939th birthday Hadrian!
© Carole Raddato

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 2 Comments

The Hadrianeum and the personifications of provinces

Just a short walk from the Pantheon, in Piazza di Pietra, are the majestic remains of the Temple of the deified Hadrian (Hadrianeum) built by Antoninus Pius, Hadrian’s adopted son and successor. Of the original temple, only eleven columns with capitals and the cella wall are still visible today.

Temple of Deified Hadrian (Hadrianeum), Campus Martius, Rome © Carole Raddato

In 1696, during the pontificate of Pope Innocent XII, the surviving part of the temple was incorporated into a large building designed by Carlo Fontana to house the central Customs Office. In 1879-82 the building was modified and its baroque decoration was replaced by a simpler one; in 1928 the wall of the cella was freed from later additions. Today the building houses the Borsa Valori di Roma, Rome’s stock exchange.

The north side colonnade and the cella wall of the Temple of Deified Hadrian (Hadrianeum), Campus Martius, Rome © Carole Raddato

The north side colonnade and the cella wall of the Temple of Deified Hadrian (Hadrianeum), Campus Martius, Rome
© Carole Raddato

The temple to the divine Hadrian was erected in the Campus Martius (Field of Mars) and was dedicated in AD 145. The order is Corinthian and the columns are 15-metre-high and made of Proconnesian marble with its characteristic greyish colour. Only the lower part of the entablature is left from the original (the highest section being a reconstruction). 16th and 17th century drawings show how the edifice looked like when the original entablature was still in place.

Drawing of the Temple by Giuseppe Vasi, c. 1750

Drawing of the Temple by Giuseppe Vasi, c. 1750

The entablature resting on Corinthian capitals, Temple of Deified Hadrian (Hadrianeum), Campus Martius, Rome © Carole Raddato

The entablature resting on Corinthian capitals, Temple of Deified Hadrian (Hadrianeum), Campus Martius, Rome
© Carole Raddato

Model of the Hadrianeum

Model of the Hadrianeum

The cella and columns (part of the north side of the temple) stand upon a stylobate and large podium. A deep excavation in front of the colonnade has exposed the original ground level of the temple precinct, 5 meter below the present floor level.

The stylobate of the Hadrianeum, the stepped platform on which colonnades of temple columns were placed, the temple precinct was 5 meter below the present floor level, Temple of Deified Hadrian (Hadrianeum), Campus Martius, Rome © Carole Raddato

The stylobate and podium of the Hadrianeum, Campus Martius, Rome
© Carole Raddato

Several excavations between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries in the vicinity of the temple have identified the line of a monumental wall in peperino tufa running parallel with the northern flank of the temple. This wall was part of a large enclosure wall that formed the temple’s porticus. During these excavations a series of marble reliefs were also discovered. A recent theory suggesting that they adorned the attic of the portico has been favored by scholars. However various other theories have been offered; the atttic of the temple, the temple podium or the outer temple portico.

Reconstruction drawing by Amanda Claridge (1999) of the  portico surrounding the Temple of the Deified Hadrian (Hadrianeum) which was decorated with the 'Provinces' reliefs

Reconstruction drawing by Amanda Claridge (1999) of the portico surrounding the Temple of the Deified Hadrian (Hadrianeum) which was decorated with the ‘Provinces’ reliefs

Nineteen panels survive from what was potentially a much larger series. They were carved in relief with personifications of provinces altered with depictions of captured arms and armour. The reliefs were found without any inscriptions but each figure was wearing and carrying distinctive costumes and attributes. Scholars have attempted to name the provinces they were meant to represent, but unfortunately they have not all been successfully identified.

The panels are on display in five different collections in Rome and Naples. Seven provinces and three reliefs with trophies are prominently displayed in the courtyard of the Palazzo dei Conservatori in Rome (Capitoline Museums).

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Scythia or Noricum, relief from the Hadrianeum, Naples National Archaeological Museum © Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Moesia or Thrace, relief from the Hadrianeum, Capitoline Museums
© Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Cyrenaica, relief from the Hadrianeum, Naples National Archaeological Museum © Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Achaia, relief from the Hadrianeum, Capitoline Museums
© Carole Raddato

Trophy of arms (armor, lance and flag) relief from the Hadrianeum, a temple of the deified Hadrian in the Campus Martius erected by Antoninus Pius in 145 AD, Capitoline Museum © Carole Raddato

Trophy of arms (armor, lance and flag) relief from the Hadrianeum, Capitoline Museums
© Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Dacia, relief from the Hadrianeum, Capitoline Museum © Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Mauretania, relief from the Hadrianeum, Capitoline Museums
© Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Moesia, relief from the Hadrianeum, Capitoline Museum © Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Gallia or Germania, relief from the Hadrianeum, Capitoline Museums
© Carole Raddato

Trophy of arms (shields, axes and spears) relief from the Hadrianeum, a temple of the deified Hadrian in the Campus Martius erected by Antoninus Pius in 145 AD, Capitoline Museum © Carole Raddato

Trophy of arms (shields, ax and spears) relief from the Hadrianeum, Capitoline Museums
© Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Hispania, relief from the Hadrianeum, Capitoline Museum © Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Hispania, relief from the Hadrianeum, Capitoline Museums
© Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Mauretania, relief from the Hadrianeum, Capitoline Museum © Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Bithynia or Dacia, relief from the Hadrianeum, Capitoline Museums
© Carole Raddato

Trophies of war (captured Dacian Draco) relief from the Hadrianeum, a temple of the deified Hadrian in the Campus Martius erected by Antoninus Pius in 145 AD, Capitoline Museum © Carole Raddato

Trophies of arms (tunic, short spear, captured Dacian Draco) relief from the Hadrianeum, Capitoline Museums
© Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Dacia, relief from the Hadrianeum, Capitoline Museum © Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Dacia, Libya or Numidia, relief from the Hadrianeum, Capitoline Museums
© Carole Raddato

Two restored panels with personification of provinces are housed in the Palazzo Massimo alle Terme.

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Egypt, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome © Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Egypt, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome
© Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Thrace, relief from the Hadrianeum, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome © Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Thrace, relief from the Hadrianeum, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome
© Carole Raddato

Another tree reliefs with personification of provinces and two with trophies are housed in the Naples Archaeological Museum.

Representation of the Roman provinces and Trophies of war, reliefs from the Hadrianeum, a temple of the deified Hadrian in the Campus Martius, dedicated by Antoninus Pius in 145 AD, Naples National Archaeological Museum © Carole Raddato

Representation of the Roman provinces and trophies of arms, reliefs from the Hadrianeum, Naples National Archaeological Museum
© Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, Parthia or Armenia, relief from the Hadrianeum, Naples National Archaeological Museum © Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, Parthia or Armenia, relief from the Hadrianeum, Naples National Archaeological Museum
© Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Scythia or Noricum, relief from the Hadria, Naples National Archaeological Museum © Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, perhaps Scythia or Noricum, relief from the Hadrianeum, Naples National Archaeological Museum
© Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, Phrygia or Bithinia, Naples National Archaeological Museum © Carole Raddato

Representation of one of the Roman provinces, Phrygia or Bithinia, Naples National Archaeological Museum
© Carole Raddato

The other known elements are scattered in several Roman collections or lost, but are known from drawings from the Renaissance and later periods.

The choice to represent the personifications of Provinces within a temple dedicated to the divine Hadrian had a very specific propaganda meaning; these “Provinciae Fideles” were the symbol of political order and of a pacified empire, the clearest beneficiaries of Hadrian’s foreign policy of pacification and unification.

Temple of Deified Hadrian (Hadrianeum), Campus Martius, Rome © Carole Raddato

Temple of Deified Hadrian (Hadrianeum), Campus Martius, Rome
© Carole Raddato

Posted in Antoninus Pius, Hadrian, Italy, Museum, Roman art, Roman Temples, Rome | Tagged | 5 Comments

Roman frescoes on show in Toulouse (France)

Last weekend I travelled to Toulouse to visit the fabulous exhibition on Roman frescoes being held at the Musée Saint-Raymond. The exhibition entitled ‘L’Empire de la couleur – De Pompéi au sud des Gaules’ (which translates as ‘Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul’) opened last November and runs through March 2015.

Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, exhibition poster

‘Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul’ exhibition poster

The majority of Roman frescoes were found in Campania, in the region around the Bay of Naples. It is there that Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, burying much of the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, and nearby villas. The ash, lapilli, and mud that seeped into the houses acted as a preservative for wall paintings, but also for many households and decorative objects, as well as organic materials. Most of the paintings were detached from the houses of Pompeii and the surrounding area between the mid-eighteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth. They represent an exceptional insight into the development of Roman painting from the Late Republic to the Empire.

This major exhibition, for the first time in France, is showcasing 79 works of art including fragments of painted walls from Italy and Southern Gaul, some of which were exceptionally lifted or restored for the occasion. Thanks to exceptional loans from the National Archaeological Museum of Naples, the Musée du Louvre and the museum of Saint-Romain-en-Gal (Rhône) among others, the exhibition aims to show the evolution of Roman painting in Southern Gaul by bringing them face to face with Italians “models”, particularly from the perspective of assimilation and interpretation of the four Pompeian styles.

L’Empire de la couleur. De Pompéi au sud des Gaules (Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul)

Overview of the exhibition ‘Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul’, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
© Carole Raddato

Elaborate wall frescoes provided elite Roman citizens with an opportunity for conspicuous displays of affluence and social status. Roman paintings were often done in the fresco technique as was described by Vitruvius (De Architectura) and Pliny The Elder (Naturalis Historia). First, a layer of rough coating was applied on the support, a mortar composed of hydrated lime and coarse sand. A second layer consisting of hydrated lime and well-filtered fine sand was added and finally a third layer made of pigments and pure water was applied in several coatings with a brush to give a smoother finish. Colours were added when the surface was still wet.

The exhibition opens with the work of two restorers, Aude Aussilloux and Maud Mulliez, who worked for seven months to recreate a mural fresco decoration using the same techniques that would have been used in ancient times. They made ​​their own brushes and tools and used non-synthetic pigments. 

Replica of wall fresco from Vienna, recreated by two restorers using the same techniques that would have been used in ancient times, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Replica of wall fresco from Vienna, recreated by two restorers using the same techniques used in ancient times
‘Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul’, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
© Carole Raddato

You can watch a video of the restorers at work here. It’s really impressive!

The two panels are two sections of a wall that decorated the peristylum (peristyle, inner courtyard surrounded by columns) of a Roman domus in Vienna. The images below show the original fresco fragments, on display at the Musée gallo-romain de Saint-Romain-en-Gal (Rhône, France).

The four “Pompeian” styles of painted wall decoration which appear throughout Italy and the Roman world were identified by August Mau, a prominent German art historian and archaeologist, in the late nineteenth century. This division was based on fundamental differences in the way the artist treated the wall and painted space. The first two styles began in the Republican period, and were outgrowths of Greek wall paintings, while the Third and Fourth styles are found in imperial times. This piece features a selection of several paintings from the exhibition for each of the Pompeian styles.

The First Pompeian Style

The first Pompeian style, or “Incrustation Style” (ca. 200–60 BC), consisted mainly of imitations of colored marble. Plaster was molded and painted to look like blocks or panels of colored stones. The First Style originated in the Hellenistic world in the late fourth century BC and was used in Roman homes in the last two centuries of the Republic. There is almost nothing left of the masterpieces of Greek painting but one painted wall panel dating to the 2nd century BC was found in the so-called House of the Plaster, in the Macedonian’s capital of Pella. In Pompeii, significant examples of this fist Pompeian style are found in the House of Sallust and in the House of the Faun.

The first style is hardly present in Gaul. This is not surprising since this old style gave way to a more fashionable and stylish type of frescoes. Only a few stucco fragments have been found at Île Sainte-Marguerite near Cannes which can be seen at the exhibition.

Fresco fragment from Sainte-Marguerite of the first Pompeian Style

Fresco fragment from Sainte-Marguerite of the first Pompeian Style
‘Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul’, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Musée de la Castre, Cannes

The Second Pompeian Style

The Second Pompeian style, or “Architectural Style”, began in Rome in the early years of the first century and was first seen in Pompeii shortly after 80 BC. This period saw a focus on architectural features and trompe-l’oeil compositions. The Second Pompeian style developed out of the First Style but the whole scheme changed in that three-dimensional objects, principally architectural features, were painted realistically rather than modeled in plaster. Some of the most famous examples of frescoes in the Second Style come from the villas at Boscoreale near Pompeii and particularly from the Villa of Publius Fannius Synistor. Four panels from this lavish villa are exceptionally reunited in this exhibition, together with a model of the villa and computer reconstructions. They provide a great setting for these various frescoes which are now sitting in eight different museums throughout Europe and the US.

Wall panels from the Villa of Publius Fannius Synistor at Boscoreale, 40–30 BC, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Wall panels from the Villa of P. Fannius Synistor at Boscoreale, 40–30 BC
Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
© Carole Raddato

Detail of fresco wall painting with garland of fruits and leaves from the exedra of the Villa of Publius Fannius Synistor at Boscoreale, 40–30 BC Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse On loan from the Musée de Picardie, Amiens, France © Carole Raddato

Detail of fresco wall painting with garland of fruits and leaves, from the exedra of the Villa of P. Fannius Synistor at Boscoreale, 40–30 BC
Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Musée de Picardie, Amiens, France
© Carole Raddato

Detail of fresco wall painting with garland of fruits, leaves and sacrificial bull's head (bucrania), from the exedra of the Villa of Publius Fannius Synistor at Boscoreale, 40–30 BC, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Detail of fresco wall painting with garland of fruits, leaves and sacrificial bull’s head (bucrania), from the exedra of the Villa of P. Fannius Synistor at Boscoreale, 40–30 BC
Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Musée de Picardie, Amiens, France
© Carole Raddato

Computer reconstruction of the Villa at Boscoreale undertaken for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. View of room C, the entry to the villa, facing south into the entry courtyard.  Infographic James Stanton-Abbott

Computer reconstruction of the Villa at Boscoreale undertaken for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. View of room C, the entry to the villa, facing south into the entry courtyard.
© James Stanton-Abbott

Fresco depicting a winged genius holding a patera (sacrificial dish), from the north wall of the peristyle of Villa of P. Fannius Synistor at Boscoreale, 40–30 BC, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco depicting a winged genius holding a patera (sacrificial dish), from the north wall of the peristyle of Villa of P. Fannius Synistor at Boscoreale, 40–30 BC
Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Louvre, Paris
© Carole Raddato

Alongside the frescoes from Boscoreale, the exhibition brings a number of fresco panels from a sumptuous Gallo-Roman domus which has been excavated on the plateau of La Sioutat, near the village of Roquelaure (Gers). The domus goes back at least to the time of Augustus and has produced polychrome frescoes in a the Second Pompeian Style. These have been restored and are on loan from the Musée des Jacobins of Auch.

Fresco depicting Bacchus, discovered at the Villa de Roquelaure, dating to around 20 BC, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco depicting Bacchus, discovered at the Villa de Roquelaure, dating to around 20 BC
Empire of colour- From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Musée des Jacobins d’Auch
© Carole Raddato

Fresco in Second Pompeian style with decoration of architectural type on a red background, discovered at the Villa de Roquelaure, dating to around 20 BC Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco in Second Pompeian style with decoration of architectural type on a red background, discovered at the Villa de Roquelaure, dating to around 20 BC
Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Musée des Jacobins d’Auch
© Carole Raddato

The Third Pompeian Style

The Third Style, or “Ornate Style,”, which coincided with Augustus’ reign, came about in the early 1st century AD and was popular until about 50 AD. Instead of trying to create the illusion of the wall as a window that opened onto a landscape, the Third Style favored ornate and colorful decoration painted on monochrome backgrounds. It often presented great finesse in execution and was typically noted as simplistically elegant. The wall was frequently divided into three to five vertical zones by narrow, spindly columns and decorated with painted foliage, candelabra, birds, animals, and figurines. The Third Style also saw the introduction of Egyptian themes and imagery, including scenes  of the Nile as well as Egyptian deities and motifs.

Well-known examples from this era include a series of beautifully intricate paintings from the Boscotrecase villa built by Agrippa, friend of Emperor Augustus and husband of his daughter Julia. The exhibition brings one panel from the so-called Black Room at Boscotrecase.

Fragment of fresco in the Third Pompeian Style, from the "Black Room" of the Imperial Villa at Boscotrecase, last decade of 1st century BC Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fragment of fresco in the Third Pompeian Style, from the “Black Room” of the Imperial Villa at Boscotrecase, last decade of 1st century BC
Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from National Archaeological Museum of Naples
© Carole Raddato

The Third style was introduced early in Southern Gaul, probably on the occasion of Augustus’ visit to Lugdunum (Lyon) between 16 and 13 BC. Wall panels from this style have been discovered in Perigueux, Aix-en-Provence and Perpignan. The decors became more sober and tended to produce decoration without depth set in monochrome backgrounds.

Reproduction of a wall from a domus in Aquae Sextiae (Aix-en-Provence) © R. Nunes Pedroso et A.-S. Leclerc

Reproduction of a wall from a domus in Aquae Sextiae (Aix-en-Provence)
© R. Nunes Pedroso et A.-S. Leclerc

Fresco fragment in the Third Pompeian Style with trompe-l'oeil architetural composition, from the Oppidum of Ruscino in Perpignan, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco fragment in the Third Pompeian Style with trompe-l’oeil architetural composition, from the Oppidum of Ruscino in Perpignan
Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Ruscino (Château-Roussillon, Pyrénées-Orientales)
© Carole Raddato

Fresco fragment in the Third Pompeian Style with omphalos, from the Oppidum of Ruscino in Perpignan, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco fragment in the Third Pompeian Style with omphalos, from the Oppidum of Ruscino in Perpignan, Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Ruscino (Château-Roussillon, Pyrénées-Orientales)
© Carole Raddato

The Fourth Pompeian Style

The Fourth Pompeian Style, or “Intricate Style”, saw a resurgence in architectural scenes, although without the illusionary depth that characterized the second style. It became popular in the mid-first century AD and was seen in Pompeii until the city’s destruction in 79 AD. It also incorporated central panel pictures with mythological episodes, landscapes, scenes of daily life and still life images which appear in numerous paintings in the exhibition. Some of the best examples of Fourth Style painting come from the House of the Vettii which can also be visited in Pompeii and Herculaneum today.

Fresco in the Fourth Pompeian Style with portraits set in medallions with blue background, from the exedra of the House of the Mosaic Atrium, 50-79 AD Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco in the Fourth Pompeian Style with portraits set in medallions with blue background, from the exedra of the House of the Mosaic Atrium, 50-79 AD
Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from National Archaeological Museum of Naples
© Carole Raddato

Fresco in the Fourth Pompeian Style depicting Mars and Venus with on a blue background, from Herculaneum, 50-79 AD, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco in the Fourth Pompeian Style depicting Mars and Venus with on a blue background, from Herculaneum, 50-79 AD
Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from National Archaeological Museum of Naples
© Carole Raddato

Fresco fragment depicting Urania, Muse of astronomy, from the House of Julia Felix in Pompeii, 62-79 AD, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco fragment depicting Urania, from the House of Julia Felix in Pompeii, 62-79 AD
Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Louvre, Paris
© Carole Raddato

Fresco in the Fourth Pompeian Style depicting the personification of the Sarnus river with two Nymphs, from a wall in the House of the Vestals at Pompeii, 50-79 AD, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco in the Fourth Pompeian Style depicting the personification of the Sarnus river with two Nymphs, from a wall in the House of the Vestals at Pompeii, 50-79 AD
Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Louvre, Paris
© Carole Raddato

Still life fresco in the Fourth Pompeian Style depicting three dead birds, from Pompeii, 50-79 AD, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Still life fresco in the Fourth Pompeian Style depicting three hanging birds, from Pompeii, 50-79 AD
Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from National Archaeological Museum of Naples
© Carole Raddato

Fresco in the Fourth Pompeian Syle from Pompeii or Herculaneum, 62-79 AD, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco in the Fourth Pompeian Syle from Pompeii or Herculaneum, 62-79 AD
Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Louvre, Paris
© Carole Raddato

Outside Pompeii and Herculaneum, the Fourth Style was used in Roman Wall Painting until the first years after 100 AD. The most important post-Pompeian wall painting evidence for the Fourth Style comes from Ostia Antica and Ephesus, where the trend carried on into Late Antiquity.

Painting in Gaul during the Flavian period was an original provincial creation. With the exception of Narbonne, no Gallic site has produced examples of Fourth Pompeian Style frescoes. Instead, the wall paintings created in Gaul from the second-half of the first century are developments of the third style and regional schools rapidly developed. The exhibition brings numerous fresco fragments which show these developments.

Fresco fragment in the Third Pompeian Style with cantharus from Vienna (Vienne), 2nd half of 1st century AD, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco fragment with cantharus from Vienna (Vienne), 2nd half of 1st century AD
Empire of colour – From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Gallo-Roman Museum of Saint-Romain-en-Gal
© Carole Raddato

One of the fresco panels exhibited from Orange depicts a candelabra and two swans. The swans, the birds of Apollo, patron god of Augustus, may symbolize Augustus’s victory over Mark Antony at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC. Swans also appears as decorations on public imperial monuments erected at this time, such as the monumental Altar of Peace (Ara Pacis) in Rome.

Fresco fragment in the Third Pompeian Style with candelabra and two swans, from the cubiculum of the Roman Domus in Arausio (Orange), 2nd half of 1st century AD, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco fragment in the Third Pompeian Style with candelabra and two swans, from the cubiculum of the Roman Domus in Arausio (Orange), 2nd half of 1st century AD
Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Museum of Art and History of Orange
© Carole Raddato

Another fresco fragment from Aix-en-Provence (Aquae Sextiae) depicts a candelabra holding a tragic theatre mask.

Fresco fragment in the Third Pompeian Sytle with candelabra on blue background and theatre mask, from a domus in Aquae Sextiae (Aix-en-Provence), ca. 50-70 AD Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco fragment in the Third Pompeian Sytle with candelabra on blue background and theatre mask, from a domus in Aquae Sextiae (Aix-en-Provence), ca. 50-70 AD
Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Mairie d’Aix-en-Provence, Archéologie
© Carole Raddato

Post Pompeian Paintings

Mau’s categorization goes as far as Pompeii. But what about Roman painting after 79 AD? The Romans did continue to paint their homes and monumental architecture and the artists of this era adapted some of the earlier styles. During this time we see a development in ceiling and vault paintings as they became more luxurious. Ornamental motifs became richer in color and had more detail.

Fresco fragment depicting a Felin on the edge of a cornice, from Nemausus (Nimes), 2nd century AD, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco fragment depicting a feline on the edge of a cornice, from Nemausus (Nimes), 2nd century AD
Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Nîmes Archaeology Museum
© Carole Raddato

Fresco fragment with a gladiatorial scene (munus gladiatorium), from the Forum of Vesunna (Périgueux), 2nd century AD, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco fragment with a gladiatorial scene (munus gladiatorium), from the Forum of Vesunna (Périgueux), 2nd century AD
Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Vesunna Gallo-Roman Museum, Périgueux
© Carole Raddato

Fresco depicting a menead carrying a thyrsus, from a ceiling of a domus in Colonia Narbo Martius (Narbonne), end of 1st century AD, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco depicting a menead carrying a thyrsus, from a ceiling of a domus in Colonia Narbo Martius (Narbonne), end of 1st century AD
Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Narbonne Archaeological Museum
© Carole Raddato

Fresco fragment with vegetal motifs on write background, from the Gallo-Roman Villa Grassi in Aquae Sextiae (Aix-en-Provence), 2nd century AD, L'Empire de la couleur. De Pompéi au sud des Gaules, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco fragment with vegetal motifs on write background, from the Gallo-Roman Villa Grassi in Aquae Sextiae (Aix-en-Provence), 2nd century AD
Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Mairie d’Aix-en-Provence, Archéologie
© Carole Raddato

Fresco fragment with mask and Tympanum (tambourine) on red background, from Narbonne, 2nd century AD, Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse © Carole Raddato

Fresco fragment with mask and Tympanum (tambourine) on red background, from Narbonne, 2nd century AD
Empire of colour. From Pompeii to Southern Gaul, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
On loan from Narbonne Archaeological Museum
© Carole Raddato

Exhibition catalogue

Exhibition catalogue

 

The museum Saint-Raymond has produced a wonderful and richly illustrated exhibition catalogue (in French). You can order it online here.

The museum is among the best and richest archaeological museums in France. One can discover the Roman town of Tolosa, the sculptures of the villa Chiragan and the remains of a necropolis from late antiquity. Its collection, spread over three floors, gives a fascinating glimpse of the history of Toulouse and its area. The museum houses a great gallery of marble statues. Since the first excavation of the villa of Chiragan, in 1826, dozens of Roman marble portraits were unearthed. Today they form one of the most important collections in Europe and the second in France, after the Louvre’s collection.

MSR, Musée Saint-Raymond, Toulouse © Carole Raddato

MSR, Musée Saint-Raymond, Toulouse
© Carole Raddato

MSR, Musée Saint-Raymond, Toulouse © Carole Raddato

MSR, Musée Saint-Raymond, Toulouse
© Carole Raddato

FURTHER INFORMATION
Opening hours: The museum is open every day from 10am till 6pm.
Admission rates: 4 € fee (permanent collection) / 8 € fee (with exhibition).
Free for students, teachers at the Fine Arts School of Toulouse, and youth under 18 years of age.
A guidebook is available in three languages : french, english, spanish.
Address: 1 ter place Saint-Sernin 31000 Toulouse

Website / Twitter / Facebook

MSR, Musée Saint-Raymond, Toulouse © Carole Raddato

MSR, Musée Saint-Raymond, Toulouse
© Carole Raddato

Posted in Exhibition, France, Italy, Museum, Photography, Roman art, Roman Frescoes | 2 Comments

Felix Dies Natalis, Luci Aeli!

Originally posted on FOLLOWING HADRIAN:

On this day (January, 13) in 101 AD  Lucius Aelius, Hadrian’s first intended successor, was born. Aelius was the son of a powerful senatorial family. He served as consul in 136 AD and was officially adopted by Hadrian as his heir in 137 AD. However Aelius died before Hadrian on January 1st, 138 AD of tuberculosis. Hadrian was therefore forced to choose a new heir; Antoninus Pius.

Heroic statue of Lucius Aelius Caesar, Louvre Heroic statue of Lucius Aelius Caesar, Louvre
© Carole Raddato

“Verus was a man of joyous life and well versed in letters, and he was endeared to Hadrian, as the malicious say, rather by his beauty than by his character.” Historia Augusta

If you want to learn more about Lucius Aelius, I highly recommend you read Gareth Harney’s excellent article Aelius – Forgotten Prince.

Heroic statue of Lucius Aelius Caesar, Louvre © Carole Raddato Heroic statue of Lucius Aelius Caesar, Louvre
© Carole Raddato

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The Hadrianic aqueduct of Caesarea Maritima, Israel

Caesarea Maritima is perhaps one of Israel’s most famous attractions. Its ruins are located by the sea-shore of Israel about half way between Tel Aviv and Haifa. It is the site of one of the most important cities of the Roman World, the capital of the province of Judaea. The city was founded between 22 and 10 BC by Herod the Great (37-4 BC) as an urban centre and harbor on the site of the earlier Straton’s Tower. The city has been populated through the late Roman and Byzantine era. Today, Caesarea is a large and beautiful national park and a fascinating place to visit while exploring the Holy Land.

Herod the Great's palace and circus, Caesarea, Israel © Carole Raddato

Herod the Great’s palace and circus, Caesarea
© Carole Raddato

The Judaean port of Caesarea had no reliable source of fresh water when construction on the city began around 22 BC. King Herod commissioned a raised aqueduct to deliver water from the springs near Shuni, 16 kilometers north-east of Caesarea Maritima. Today, the most impressive part of the Herodian aqueduct (known as the high-level aqueduct I) can be seen on the beach of Caesarea, north of the ancient city.

The high level aqueduct of Caesarea, Israel © Carole Raddato

The high level aqueduct of Caesarea built by Herod the Great, Israel
© Carole Raddato

When Hadrian visited Caesarea in 130 AD on his grand tour of the eastern part of the Roman Empire, the growth of the city required additional water. Hadrian then commissioned extensive repairs and a new aqueduct to be built. This new section (known as the high-level aqueduct II) was added to the right of the first canal and doubled its capacity. These twin parallel aqueducts continued to supply water for 1200 years.

Hadrian’s improvement on the work of Herod can be seen on the beach portion of the high-level aqueduct. The following photo shows the southern end of the aqueduct where the two stages of construction are clearly visible. The east channel of the aqueduct (right) was constructed by Herod the Great while the west channel (left) was built during the days of Hadrian.

A portion of the high level aqueduct of Caesarea showing the two stages of construction are visible, Caesarea Maritima © Carole Raddato

A portion of the high level aqueduct of Caesarea showing the two stages of construction, Caesarea Maritima
© Carole Raddato

Several inscriptions have been discovered and indicate that a number of legions, or rather vexillationes (a detachment of the Legion) from these legions, took part in the building task. These inscriptions make mention of three Roman legions active in repairing the high-level aqueduct during Hadrian’s reign: five inscriptions refer to Legio X Fretensis, two to Legio VI Ferrata, one to Legio XXII Deiotariana, and another one to Legio II Traiana Fortis.

The one attached to the aqueduct close to Beit Hanania,  located about 2.8 miles north of Ceasarea, mentions the Tenth Legion (Legio X Fretensis) and comprises, on the left, of the legionary insignia (the legion’s emblem) and on the right, of a tabula ansata (table with dovetail handles) with the text “IMP CAES(ar) TRIAN HADR(ianus).”

Inscription from the High Level Aqueduct of Caesarea at Beit Hananya, with emblem depicting the 10th legion, Israel © Carole Raddato

Dedicatory inscription to Hadrian on the high-level aqueduct of Caesarea at Beit Hanania with emblem depicting the 10th legion
© Carole Raddato

A significant portion of the Hadrianic aqueduct is still visible at Beit Hanania. West of the aqueduct’ arches is the southern side of the Herodian aqueduct, whose arches are of a different width. The aqueduct continued straight while a new one, probably built at the end of the 3rd century AD, turned left and made a large detour to Caesarea.

Dedicatory inscription to Hadrian on the High Level Aqueduct of Caesarea at Beit Hananya, with emblem depicting the 10th legion, Israel © Carole Raddato

Dedicatory inscription to Hadrian on the high-level aqueduct of Caesarea at Beit Hanania with emblem depicting the 10th legion
© Carole Raddato

The junction of the high-level aqueduct of Caesarea at Beit Hanania © Carole Raddato

The junction of the high-level aqueduct of Caesarea at Beit Hanania
© Carole Raddato

The junction of the high-level aqueduct of Caesarea at Beit Hanania © Carole Raddato

The junction of the high-level aqueduct of Caesarea at Beit Hanania
© Carole Raddato

A few more inscriptions were uncovered on the western side of the aqueduct. One inscription refers to the Twenty-second Legion, one to the Tenth Legion, and another one to the Second Legion (click on the links to see Wikipedia images).

Additional inscriptions are displayed in several museums. One inscription in the Ralli Museum in Caesarea refers to the repairs conducted by the Sixth Legion.

Inscription of the Legio VI Ferrata from the high-level aqueduct of Caesarea, dated to Hadrian (ca. 130), Ralli Museum, Caesarea Wikipedia

Inscription of the Legio VI Ferrata from the high-level aqueduct of Caesarea, dated to Hadrian (ca. 130), Ralli Museum, Caesarea
IMP(eratori) CAES[ARI] TRA(iano) HAD(riano) AVG(usto) PER VEXIL(lationem) LEG(ionis( VI FE[R(ratae)]
Wikipedia

Another dedicatory inscription, discovered in 1927, can be seen in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The six line inscription, cut on a block of hard limestone, refers to the repairs conducted by the Tenth Legion.

Inscription discovered on the high-level aqueduct of Caesarea indicating the extensive repairs conducted by the Tenth Legion, Israel Museum © Carole Raddato

Inscription discovered on the high-level aqueduct of Caesarea indicating the extensive repairs conducted by the Tenth Legion, Israel Museum
“The August emperor Caesar Trajan Hadrian made [the aqueduct] by [means of] the unit of the Tenth Legion Fretensis.”
© Carole Raddato

 A block of limestone with a tabula ansata and an inscription referring to the Sixth Legion is exhibited in the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem. The entire block is a remarkably elaborate presentation of the legion’s work on the aqueduct. The inscription is encircled by a wreath while to the left and right of the tabula ansata a winged Victoria is standing on a globe standing on a globe.

Inscription discovered in Shuni from the high-level aqueduct of Caesarea, Rockefeller Museum, Jerusalem © Carole Raddato

Inscription discovered in Shuni from the high-level aqueduct of Caesarea, Rockefeller Museum, Jerusalem
IMP(eratori) CAES[ARI] TRA(iano) HAD(riano) AVG(usto) PER VEXIL(lationem) LEG(ionis( VI FE[R(ratae)]
© Carole Raddato

A third “low-level” aqueduct was built parallel to the high-level aqueduct during the Byzantine period in order to satisfy the growing needs for fresh water. The city reached its zenith during the 4th century, with an area of about 150 hectares and a population of some 50,000. The low-level aqueduct is the largest aqueduct in Israel. It is about 5 kilometers long and 1.4 m wide and is roofed by a round barrel-vault. It remained in operation until the end of the Byzantine period (7th century AD).

The low-level aqueduct of Caesarea built the 4th century AD, Caesarea Maritima © Carole Raddato

The low-level aqueduct of Caesarea built the 4th century AD, Caesarea Maritima
© Carole Raddato

Overview of both Roman aqueducts of Caesarea Maritima: the High level aqueduct (from 1 - 6 - 8 -12) and the Low level aqueduct (7 - 12). From: Tsuk 2011

Overview of both aqueducts of Caesarea Maritima: the high-level aqueduct (from 1, 6, 8, 12) and the low-level aqueduct (7, 12)
From Tsuk 2011 (Avigdor Orgad)

Sources:

  • Touring Israel’s ancient water systems by Tsvika Tsuk (pdf)
  • romanaqueducts.info
  • The Water Supply System of Caesarea Maritima by Yaacov Olami and Yehudah Peleg (Israel Exploration Journal Vol. 27, No. 2/3 (1977), pp. 127-137)
Posted in Aqueduct, Epigraphy, Hadrian, Israel, Judaea, Roman engineering | Tagged , | Leave a comment