The Temple of Hadrian at Ephesus, Ionia (Turkey)

The Temple of Hadrian at Ephesus is regarded one of the most famous monuments of the ancient city of Ephesus. It lies on the south side of Curates Street, one of Ephesus’ main arteries connecting the Gate of Hercules with the Library of Celsus.

The Temple of Hadrian on Curetes Street, Ephesus, Turkey Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Temple of Hadrian on Curetes Street, Ephesus, Turkey
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The remains of the Temple were unearthed in 1956 during excavations carried out by the Austrian Archaeological Institute (ÖAI). Due to its excellent state of preservation and cultural and historical importance it was rebuilt with original building elements in 1957/1958. There were also some supplementation with modern building material so as to reproduce the building’s precise appearance more fully. In 2012 the Austrian Archaeological Institute began an extensive conservation project with the support of the J. M. Kaplan Fund. The project was completed in September 2014. All the photos included in this post were taken in April 2015 after the conservation was finished.

The Temple of Hadrian on Curetes Street, Ephesus, Turkey Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Temple of Hadrian on Curetes Street, Ephesus, Turkey
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

According to an inscription engraved on the archivolt of the entablature, the small temple-like structure was dedicated to Artemis Ephesia, Emperor Hadrian and to the demos of Ephesus, by the asiarch Poplius Vedius Antoninus Sabinus of Ephesus.

The archivolt with inscription decorated with the crowning bust of the goddess Tyche, and behind the cella's tympanon of the Temple of Hadrian on Curetes Street, built before 138 AD by the asiarch P. Vedius Antoninus Sabinus, Ephesus, Turkey Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The entablature with inscription decorated with the crowning bust of the goddess Tyche, and behind the cella’s tympanon
Temple of Hadrian, Ephesus, Turkey
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The building is a tetrastyle (4 columns) prostyle (only columns are along the front side) temple of modest dimensions and has rich architectural and sculptural decorations. Two Corinthian columns and two pillars on the edges support the entablature with a curved Syrian type pediment decorated with floral patterns and bearing a relief of Tyche, the goddess of victory. The Goddess is wearing a crown depicting the walls and towers of the city.

The curved arch decorated with floral patterns and bearing a relief of Tyche, the goddess of victory, Temple of Hadrian, Ephesus, Turkey Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The curved arch decorated with floral patterns and bearing a relief of Tyche, the goddess of victory
Temple of Hadrian, Ephesus, Turkey
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Behind the arch is the pronaos, the inner area of the temple’s portico. It has a door opening crowned by a typanum, a semi-circular relief depicting a female figure (probably Medusa) among acanthus leaves and scrolls.

The tympanum of the Temple of Hadrian, a semi-circular relief over the entrance door depicting a female figure among acanthus leaves and scrolls, Ephesus, Turkey Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The tympanum, a semi-circular relief over the entrance door depicting a female figure among acanthus leaves and scrolls
Temple of Hadrian, Ephesus, Turkey
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The door leads to the cella, the interior of the monument. The cella measured 7.50m in width and 5m in length and was roofed by a barrel vault.

The door opening leading to the cella of the Temple of Hadrian, Ephesus, Turkey Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The door opening leading to the cella, Temple of Hadrian, Ephesus, Turkey
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The pronaos is decorated with a frieze consisting of four marble slabs depicting the foundation of the city of Ephesus by the Athenian prince Androclus. The frieze is not Hadrianic as it was not sculptured at the same time as the Temple. It was probably added to the monument from an unknown building during a restoration in the 4th century AD. The frieze on the Temple is a copy, the original is on display in the Ephesus Museum.

Original frieze slabs from the Temple of Hadrian depicting the foundation of Ephesus, 4th century AD, Ephesus Museum, Selçuk, Turkey Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Original frieze slabs from the Temple of Hadrian depicting the foundation of Ephesus, 4th century AD
Ephesus Museum, Selçuk, Turkey
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The first slab depicts five figures: from left to right; a male possibly representing Zeus, a Nymph representing the Hypelaios spring, a warrior and Androclus on horseback attacking a wild boar. Beneath the figure of the animal is a fallen warrior. The foundation myth of Ephesus states that Androclus, the son of Athenian king Codrus, consulted the oracle of Apollo in Delphi, who prophesied that fish and a wild boar would lead him to the site where he would found a new city. After landing on the coast of Ionia near the later harbour of Ephesus, the Greek colonists – in search for a new location for his people to protect them from the Dorian invasion – cooked some fish. One of them leaped out of the brazier scattering coals and set fire to the nearby bushes, from which a boar ran out. Androclus slew the boar and established the city where the animal fell.

Original frieze slab from the Temple of Hadrian depicting the foundation of Ephesus, Ephesus Museum, Selçuk, Turkey Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Original frieze slab from the Temple of Hadrian depicting the foundation of Ephesus, 4th century AD
Ephesus Museum, Selçuk, Turkey
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The second frieze shows a Roman Emperor making a sacrifice in front of an altar decorated with garlands. The Emperor wears a military tunic and paludamentum (a military robe), and is crowned by a Nike. On the right of the altar is a male figure, possibly Theseus, and next to him Heracles while four Amazons are fleeing from him. The Amazons, according to myth, took refuge in the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus from both Heracles and Dionysus.

Original frieze slab from the Temple of Hadrian depicting a sacrifice in front of an altar, Ephesus Museum, Selçuk, Turkey Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Original frieze slab from the Temple of Hadrian depicting a sacrifice in front of an altar following a military victory, 4th century AD
Ephesus Museum, Selçuk, Turkey
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The third frieze depicts three female figures which have been identified as Amazons fleeing from Dionysus. Dionysus is represented embracing a Satyr in the centre of the relief with Pan holding a thyrsus on his right. Next to him a figure sits on an elephant and a dancing Maenad is holding a cymbal.

Original frieze slab from the Temple of Hadrian depicting Amazons, Pan, Dionysos, Satyrs and a Menead, Ephesus Museum, Selçuk, Turkey Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Original frieze slab from the Temple of Hadrian depicting Amazons, Pan, Dionysos, Satyrs and a Menead, 4th century AD
Ephesus Museum, Selçuk, Turkey
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The fourth frieze portrays various divinities: from left to right; Dea Roma, Selene (Moon), Helios (Sun), Apollo, Artemis, Heracles, Dionysus, Hermes, Aphrodite, Ares and Athena. In the middle of the frieze is Androclus and his dog.

Original frieze slab from the Temple of Hadrian portraying various divinities and Androclus and his dog, Ephesus Museum, Selçuk, Turkey Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Original frieze slab from the Temple of Hadrian portraying various divinities and Androclus and his dog, 4th century AD
Ephesus Museum, Selçuk, Turkey
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

During the imperial period, the image of the city founder could be seen throughout the city. Androclus was also represented in various statuary forms while the boar appeared on coins minted in Ephesus. A statue from the Fountain of Trajan shows him standing with his dog.

Statue of Androclus, the mythical founder of the city of Ephesus depicted with his dog as a hunter, 2nd century AD, from the fountain of Trajan, Ephesus Museum, Selçuk, Turkey

Statue of Androclus depicted with his dog as a hunter, 2nd century AD, from the Fountain of Trajan
Ephesus Museum, Selçuk, Turkey
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Another statue was discovered in 1927 in the Vedius Baths and Gymnasium complex at Ephesus by the Austrian team who was excavating the site. The statue was dated to ca. 150 AD. It is thought to represent Antinous as Androclus. A fragment of a dog’s paw grasping a stiff hair from a boar was found next to the statue. This indicates that Androclus was shown boar hunting.

Antinous portrayed as the hero Androclus, mythical founder and first king of Ephesus, ca. 138 - 161 AD, from Ephesus, Izmir Archaeological Museum, Turkey Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Antinous portrayed as the hero Androclus, mythical founder and first king of Ephesus, ca. 150 AD,
from the Vedius Baths and Gymnasium complex at Ephesus
Izmir Archaeological Museum, Turkey
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Long before the frieze was added in the 4th century AD, the Temple had suffered extensive damage following the 262 AD earthquake. It was renovated with several additions and alterations about forty years later, when the pedestals with the statues of the Tetrarchs were added to the facade. The pedestals with inscriptions in front of the temple are the bases for the statues of the emperors Diocletian, Maximian, Constantius I, and Galerius. The originals of the statues have not been found.

The original function of the temple-like structure remains unknown but it was long assumed to have been an official cult temple of the emperor Hadrian because Ephesus received permission to construct such a building. However this interpretation has since been refuted since it hardly seems possible that the Ephesians would have honored Hadrian with such a small temple. After Hadrian’s second or third visit to Ephesus in 129-131 AD, the Emperor granted the city a second “neokorate(temple warden of the imperial cult – the first neokorate was granted during the reign of Domitian). Between 1984-86, archaeologists uncovered a massive structure in the northwest part of the city which has been attributed to the Olympieion, a temple dedicated to Hadrian Olympios. The Olympieion would therefore be connected to the second neokorate temple but this has also been debated amongst scholars.

 Ephesos (AD 117-138) AE 32 - Hadrian Hadrian, 117-138 AD. AE32 (24.87g, 6h). Laureate and draped bust right / Two temples, each containing standing male figure holding scepter, viewed in perspective, vis-à-vis; Π and Δ in pediments.  © 2004-2014 AsiaMinorCoins.com

Ephesos (AD 117-138) AE 32 – Hadrian
Laureate and draped bust right / Two temples, each containing standing male figure holding scepter, viewed in perspective, vis-à-vis; Π and Δ in pediments.
© 2004-2014 AsiaMinorCoins.com

Hadrian visited Ephesus on at least two occasions during his journeys through the eastern part of the Empire; in August 124 and five years later in 129 (and possibly in 131). The outcome of his visits was several monuments and benefactions. In return the Emperor was granted the honorific title of “founder and savior” by the council (boule) and the Ephesian people (demos).

The Temple of Hadrian on Curetes Street, Ephesus, Turkey Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Temple of Hadrian on Curetes Street, Ephesus, Turkey
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Sources:

* TEMPLE OF HADRIAN – Conservation Project 2012 – 2014 (pdf)

* Dalaveras Andreas , Dawson Maria-Dimitra , “Ephesus (Antiquity),
Temple of Hadrian“, Encyclopaedia of the Hellenic World, Asia Minor (2005)

* Aristodimou Georgia, “Ephesus (Antiquity), Olympieion”, Encyclopaedia of the Hellenic World, Asia Minor (2005)

* Erich S. Gruen (ed.), Cultural Identity in the Ancient Mediterranean. Issues & Debates.   Los Angeles:  Getty Research Institute, 2010.

* Bowie, E. 1971. ‘The “Temple of Hadrian” at Ephesus

* “Temples of Hadrian, not Zeus” by Barbara Burrell, Dept. of Classics
Univ. of Cincinnati, February, 2003

 

Posted in Archaeology Travel, Asia Minor, Hadrian, Ionia, Photography, Roman Temples, Turkey | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Art and sculptures from Hadrian’s Villa: Marble head of a female divinity, Persephone?

This week’s sculpture from Hadrian’s Villa is a marble head of a female divinity, probably Persephone, the daughter of Demeter and queen of the underworld.

Bust of a female divinity (Persephone?), from the Nymphaeum at Hadrian's Villa, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Head of a female divinity (Persephone?), from the Nymphaeum at Hadrian’s Villa
Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The head is closely related to the head of Persephone which is on display in the Museo Barracco in Rome (the Barracco-Budapest type female head, Inv. MB 85), and to the statue of Persephone recently excavated at Rione Terra near Naples and now in the Castello Aragonese in Baia (Kore-Persephone). Another marble head of Persephone from the Hadrianic era was put up for auction at Sotheby’s in 2013.

The head was probably part of a larger than life-size statue inspired by a Greek work in the Severe style of the 5th century BC. It was found in 1927 inside the cryptoporticus near the nymphaeum.

Posted in Hadrian's Villa, Museum, Mythology, Roman art | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Hadrianic Baths at Aphrodisias, Caria (Turkey)

“THIS ONE CITY I HAVE TAKEN FOR MY OWN OUT OF ALL ASIA”

Octavian, from a Letter of Octavian to Stephanus (governor of Laodicea) concerning Aphrodisias, c. 38 BC

Mosaic depicting Aphrodite, from the east Bouleuterion, 2nd century AD, Aphrodisias Museum, Turkey Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Mosaic depicting Aphrodite, from the east Bouleuterion, 2nd century AD, Aphrodisias Museum, Turkey
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The beautiful ancient Greek city of Aphrodisias, still partly excavated, is one of the most important archaeological sites of the late Hellenistic and Roman period in Turkey. The city was located in Caria in Asia Minor, on a plateau 600 meters above sea level. Today it lies near Geyre village, some 80 kilometers west of Denizli. The city was founded in the 2nd century BC on the site of a rural sanctuary of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. It was named after Aphrodite who had her unique cult image, the Aphrodite of Aphrodisias, and who became the city’s patron goddess.

In the 1st century BC Aphrodisias came under the protection of Augustus, following the return to the city of Zoilos, an Aphrodisian who had been made a free man by the Roman emperor. Zoilos had become a very wealthy man when he returned to Aphrodisas in 40 BC and this initiated a period of prosperity and growth. He was responsible for the planning of much of the civic centres of Aphrodisias and of many of its early monumental projects. The ruins that remain today reflect this period of wealth which lasted until the 6th century. They include a Temple of Aphrodite, a theatre, a large Agora with its associated Bouleuterion (council house), a bath complex and a stadium.

Plan of Aphrodisias

Plan of Aphrodisias

A nearby marble quarry provided the ancient city with a supply of high-quality white and blue marble and a school of sculptors flourished in Aphrodisias and rose to prominence under Hadrian. Aphrodisian signatures have been found on sculptures in Italy and Greece, notably on the Centaurs discovered at Hadrian’s Villa.

Hadrian AE28 Diassarion of Caria, Aphrodisias. AV K LI TPAIN ADPIANOC CE, laureate and cuirassed bust right, seen from front, slight drapery on left shoulder / AFRODEICIEWN, cult state of Artemis of Aphrodisias standing facing within tetrastyle shrine with arched central bay; ornate roofline.

Hadrian AE28 Diassarion of Caria, Aphrodisias. AV K LI TPAIN ADPIANOC CE, laureate and cuirassed bust right, seen from front, slight drapery on left shoulder / AFRODEICIEWN, cult state of Aphrodite of Aphrodisias standing facing within tetrastyle shrine with arched central bay; ornate roofline.

Hadrian visited Aphrodisias on one of his journeys to the Greek East. The city’s council had baths constructed as a memorial of his visit. They were constructed on the Roman model, with a series of parallel vaulted halls. Directly in front of the entrance on the north side was a marble pool ornamented with statues and with large pillars at the corners.

The open-air pool with columns at its corners and surrounding statues of the Hadrianic Baths, Aphrosidias Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The pool of the tetrastyle court with columns at its corners and surrounding statues of the Hadrianic Baths, Aphrosidias
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The pool of the tetrastyle court with columns at its corners and surrounding statues of the Hadrianic Baths, Aphrosidias Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The pool of the tetrastyle court with columns at its corners and surrounding statues of the Hadrianic Baths, Aphrosidias
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The pool of the tetrastyle court with columns at its corners and surrounding statues of the Hadrianic Baths, Aphrosidias Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The pool of the tetrastyle court with columns at its corners and surrounding statues of the Hadrianic Baths, Aphrosidias
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The parallel vaulted rooms were, in order, the apodyterium (changing room), the frigidarium (cold baths), the tepidarium (warm baths) and the calidarium (hot baths). The lower walls of these halls, which are still standing, were built out of huge limestone blocks and faced with marble. The vaults, which no longer survive, were made out of mortared rubble, plastered on the underside. The floors were lined with marble.

The apodyterium (changing room) of the Hadrianic Baths, Aphrodisias Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Hadrianic Baths, Aphrodisias
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The pool of the tetrastyle court with columns at its corners and surrounding statues of the Hadrianic Baths, Aphrosidias Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The pool of the tetrastyle court with columns at its corners and surrounding statues of the Hadrianic Baths, Aphrosidias
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The apodyterium (changing room) of the Hadrianic Baths, Aphrodisias Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Hadrianic Baths, Aphrodisias
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

https://www.flickr.com/photos/carolemage/17175118836/

The Hadrianic Baths, Aphrodisias
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The first excavations on the Hadrianic Baths were undertaken in the year 1904 by the French engineer, amateur archeologist and collector Paul Gaudin. A portion of the works unearthed in the course of this excavation were moved to the Istanbul Archaeology Museum, while some were removed from the country without permission. A marble torso, part of the Old Fisherman’s statue which was discovered there, was sold to Berlin’s Pergamon Museum by Gaudin’s heirs (while the head was discovered only in 1989 and remains in Aphrodisias). Today, the Old Fisherman’s torso is on display in the Altes Museum, Berlin.

The Aphrodisias old fisherman, dating between 150 and 250 AD, the head is a plaster cast of the original, discovered at Aphrodisias in 1989, Altes Museum, Berlin Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Aphrodisias old fisherman, dating between 150 and 250 AD, the head is a plaster cast of the original, discovered at Aphrodisias in 1989, Altes Museum, Berlin
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The baths were richly decorated with sculptures, including mythological statues depicting Trojan themes around the pool, architectural decoration of the highest quality in the palaestra and in the front portico.

The pilaster friezes of the palaestra which are distinctive works of the Aphrodisias school of sculpture, Aphrodisias Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The pilaster friezes of the palaestra which are distinctive works of the Aphrodisias school of sculpture, Aphrodisias
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The bath complex was carefully maintained throughout antiquity and was still functioning in the 6th century AD when it continued to attract wealthy sponsorship for its redecoration. The complex was both a bathing facility and a museum of marble statuary.

Nude hero, Achilles?, from the Hadrianic Baths, 2nd century AD, Aphrodisias Museum Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Nude hero, Achilles?, from the Hadrianic Baths, 2nd century AD, Aphrodisias Museum
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Achilles and Penthesilea statue group from the tetrastyle court of the Hadrianic Baths, 1st-2nd century AD, Aphrodisias Museum Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Achilles and Penthesilea statue group from the tetrastyle court of the Hadrianic Baths, 1st-2nd century AD, Aphrodisias Museum
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The statue group (image above) depicts the hero Achilles supporting the Amazon queen whom he has fatally wounded and fallen in love with. The stab wound under her right breast was carefully carved and painted.

Heroic male torso wearing a chlamys, 2nd century AD, Aphrodisias Museum Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Heroic male torso wearing a chlamys, 2nd century AD, Aphrodisias Museum
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Priestess wearing a star-decorated crown, found in the Hadrianic Baths, 2nd-3rd century AD, Aphrodisias Museum Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Priestess wearing a star-decorated crown, found in the Hadrianic Baths, 2nd-3rd century AD, Aphrodisias Museum
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Head of a Satyr playing the double flute, found in the Hadrianic Baths, late 2nd or 3rd century AD, Aphrodisias Museum Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Head of a Satyr playing the double flute, found in the Hadrianic Baths, late 2nd or 3rd century AD, Aphrodisias Museum
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The long-lived Hadrianic Baths provide an unparalleled opportunity to examine the evolution of statuary decoration in imperial bath complexes over time.

Statue of a Governor wearing the chlamys (cloak) with two children, found in the Hadrianic Baths, 5th century AD, Aphrodisias Museum Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Statue of a Governor wearing the chlamys (cloak) with two children, found in the Hadrianic Baths, 5th century AD, Aphrodisias Museum
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

A  major  conservation  project  in  the  Hadrianic  Baths begun  in  2010 under the auspices of New York University and the Institute of Fine Arts. Work has been focused mainly in the rooms with hypocausts and walls were restored. Sadly a large part of the baths was fenced when I visited the site last month and all the vaulted rooms were inaccessible. The images below show some of the rooms of the bath complex after conservation in 2013 (source).

APHRODISIAS 2013 Images from takes from A REPORT ON THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIELD SEASON

APHRODISIAS 2013
New York University – A report on the archaeological field season

Sources: IFA Excavations at Aphrodisias / Aphrodisias School of Archaeology – University of Oxford / Aphrodisias 2013 – A report on the archaeological field season (pdf)

Posted in Archaeology Travel, Asia Minor, Caria, Hadrian, Photography, Roman art, Turkey | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

The Labours of Hercules reliefs from the Villa Chiragan, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse (France)

In honour of Twitter’s international Museum Week (#MuseumWeek), I invite you today to discover some of my favourite sculptures from the collections of the Musée Saint-Raymond in Toulouse (France). The museum is among the best and richest archaeological museums in France and visitors can discover the Roman town of Tolosa (Toulouse in Roman times), the sculptures discovered at 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.

Known since the 16th century, the first excavations at the Villa Chiragan were conducted in 1826. The villa was occupied for over four centuries, from the end of the 1st century BC to the early 5th century. Dozens of Roman marble portraits were unearthed as well as a unique ensemble of reliefs depicting the twelve labours of Hercules. The reliefs date from the end of 3rd century AD, during the time of the first Tetrarchy (‘Rule of Four’) instituted by Emperor Diocletian. The empire was effectively divided in two, with an Augustus and a subordinate Caesar in each part. Diocletian appointed fellow officer Maximian as Augustus of the West.

The Labors of Hercules, marble relief discovered at the site of the Roman villa of Chiragan, end of 3rd century AD, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Labours of Hercules, marble relief discovered at the site of the Roman villa of Chiragan, end of 3rd century AD
Musée Saint-Raymond
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Labours of Hercules, marble relief discovered at the site of the Roman villa of Chiragan, end of 3rd century AD, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Labours of Hercules, marble relief discovered at the site of the Roman villa of Chiragan, end of 3rd century AD
Musée Saint-Raymond
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The emperor Maximian (286-305) was also referred to by the title of Herculius as he was under the protection of the hero Hercules. This connection between god and emperor helped to legitimize the emperors’ claims to power and tied imperial government closer to the traditional cult. A marble head of Emperor Maximian was discovered on the site of the Villa Chiragan. The emperor is depicted with similar features as Hercules; the head becomes narrow at the top, small eyes with a piercing look, prominent cheek bones, hollow cheeks, a strong lower jaw, and a very thick neck. This physique is close to that of his heroic protector Hercules.

Marble head of Maximianus Herculius, discovered at the site of the Roman villa of Chiragan, very end of 3rd century or very beginning of 4th century AD, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Marble head of Maximianus Herculius, discovered at the site of the Roman villa of Chiragan, very end of 3rd century or very beginning of 4th century AD, Musée Saint-Raymond
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The labours of Hercules reliefs appear to celebrate Maximian’s political actions and imperial victories in an allegorical manner. Such a program could have been ordered by a relative of the Emperor or by the Emperor himself. This means that the villa was a imperial domain during this period.

Hercules battling the Lernaean Hydra

The Labours of Hercules, marble relief discovered at the site of the Roman villa of Chiragan, Hercules and the Lernaean Hydra (2nd labour), end of 3rd century AD, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Labours of Hercules reliefs, Hercules battling the Lernaean Hydra (2nd labour)
Musée Saint-Raymond
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

To read about Hercules’ 2nd labour: The Lernean Hydra

Hercules capturing the Erymanthian Boar

The Labours of Hercules reliefs, Hercules capturing the Erymanthian Boar (4th labour) Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Labours of Hercules reliefs, Hercules capturing the Erymanthian Boar (4th labour)
Musée Saint-Raymond
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

To read about Hercules’ 4th labour: The Erymanthean Boar

Hercules cleaning the Augean stables

The Labours of Hercules reliefs, Hercules cleaning the Augean stables (5th labour) Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Labours of Hercules reliefs, Hercules cleaning the Augean stables (5th labour)
Musée Saint-Raymond
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

To read about Hercules’ 5th labour: The Augean Stables

Hercules slaying the Stymphalian Birds

The Labours of Hercules reliefs, Hercules slaying the Stymphalian Birds (6th labour)
Musée Saint-Raymond
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

To read about Hercules’ 6th labour: The Stymphalian Birds

Hercules capturing the Cretan Bull

The Labours of Hercules, Hercules capturing the Cretan Bull (7th labour) Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Labours of Hercules, Hercules capturing the Cretan Bull (7th labour)
Musée Saint-Raymond
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

To read about Hercules’ 7th labour: The Cretan Bull

Heracles capturing the Mares of Diomedes

The Labours of Hercules, marble relief discovered at the site of the Roman villa of Chiragan, Heracles capturing the Mares of Diomedes (8th labour), end of 3rd century AD, Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Labours of Hercules reliefs, Heracles capturing the Mares of Diomedes (8th labour)
Musée Saint-Raymond
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

To read about Hercules’ 8th labour: The Horses of Diomedes

Hercules fighting the Amazons

The Labours of Hercules reliefs, Hercules stealing the apples of the Hesperides (11th labour) Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Labours of Hercules reliefs, Hercules fighting the Amazons (9th labour)
Musée Saint-Raymond
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

To read about Hercules’ 9th labour: The Belt of Hippolyte

Hercules fighting the three-headed monster Geryon

The Labours of Hercules reliefs, Hercules fighting the cattle of Geryon (10th labour)
Musée Saint-Raymond
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

To read about Hercules’ 10th labour: Geryon’s Cattle.

You can also read an interpretation of this unique relief here and learn why the monster in this relief is represented as a Roman soldier.

Hercules stealing the apples of the Hesperides

The Labours of Hercules reliefs, Hercules stealing the apples of the Hesperides (11th labour) Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Labours of Hercules reliefs, Hercules stealing the apples of the Hesperides (11th labour)
Musée Saint-Raymond Toulouse
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

To read about Hercules’ 11th labour: The Apples of the Hesperides

Hercules capturing Cerberus

The Labours of Hercules reliefs, Hercules capturing Cerberus (12th labour)
Musée Saint-Raymond
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

To read about Hercules’ 12th labour: Cerberus

A marble statue of Hercules resting was also found at the Villa Chiragan (although it may have been executed before the Labours reliefs). This statue is one a number of copies of a bronze statue created by Lysippos in the late fourth century BC. At the end of his twelve labors, Hercules is exhausted. The statue shows the tired hero leaning on his club, which is partly concealed by the skin of the Nemean lion. Behind his back he holds the golden apples of the Hesperides, one of Hercules last labours.

Marble statue of Hercules leaning on his club, which has the skin of the Nemean lion draped over it, 2nd - 3rd century AD, Villa Chiragan, MSR, Musée Saint-Raymond Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Marble statue of Hercules leaning on his club, 2nd – 3rd century AD, Villa Chiragan
Musée Saint-Raymond
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Musée Saint-Raymond, Toulouse
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 France, Museum, Mythology, Roman art, Roman villa | Tagged | 1 Comment

7 Roman wonders from the Corinium Museum in Cirencester (UK)

This week is Twitter’s international Museum Week (#MuseumWeek), which celebrates the many museums, galleries and cultural institutions that make valuable contributions to the arts, history and culture around the world. More than 2,200 museums, galleries and cultural institutions from over 64 countries will come together on Twitter for #MuseumWeek including the Corinium Museum in Cirencester in the UK (@CoriniumMuseum).

I re-visited the recently refurbished and extended Corinium Museum last month, and today I invite you to discover 7 ancient Roman treasures from Cirencester (named Corinium Dobunnorum in Roman times), once one of the most important places in Roman Britain, second only to London.

1. The tombstones of cavalrymen Genialis & Dannicus

Tombstones of auxiliary cavalry soldiers Dannicus and Sextus Valerius Genialis, the deceased are depicted on horseback spear in hand with a fallen enemy at the horse's feet, 1st century AD, Corinium Museum Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Tombstones of auxiliary cavalry soldiers Dannicus and Sextus Valerius Genialis, the deceased are depicted on horseback spear in hand with a fallen enemy at the horse’s feet, 1st century AD, Corinium Museum
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The short epitaph on the tombstones gives us valuable information about these two soldiers. Sextus Valerius Genialis was a Frisian (from Holland) in a unit of Thracians (modern Bulgaria) whilst Dannicus of the ala Indiana came from Augusta Raurica (Augst, Switzerland).

Both cavalrymen are depicted on horseback, spear in hand, with a fallen enemy at the horse’s feet.

2. The Hare Mosaic

The Hare Mosaic, 4th century AD, Corinium Museum (Cirencester) Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Hare Mosaic, 4th century AD, Corinium Museum (Cirencester)
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Hare has become the symbol of the city of Cirencester and the museum’s logo since the discovery of this ancient Roman mosaic depicting the animal on its central roundel. The mosaic, dating to the 4th century AD, was discovered just below the road surface during archaeological excavations in Beeches Road in 1971. The hare is seen crouching amid foliag ein the act of nibbling  shrub. Today, the mosaic graces the entrance foyer of the Corinium Museum.

Hare Mosaic (detail of central roundel), 4th century AD, Corinium Museum (Cirencester) Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Hare Mosaic (detail of central roundel), 4th century AD, Corinium Museum (Cirencester)
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

3. The Bronze Cockerel

Copper-alloy enamelled cockerel, discovered during excavations in 2011 at the site of Cirencester’s western cemetery, it came from the grave of a child aged 2–3 years and dates from the 2nd century AD, Corinium Museum, Cirencester Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Copper-alloy enamelled cockerel, 2nd century AD, Corinium Museum, Cirencester
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

This exquisite enamelled bronze cockerel was discovered during excavations in 2011 at the site of Cirencester’s western cemetery. It is believed to date from the 2nd century AD and came from the grave of a child aged 2–3 years. Only eight finds of this type are known from the Roman world but the Cirencester cockerel is the only example to have survived with its openwork tail and the only one from Britain from a grave.

4. The Orpheus Mosaic

The 4th century AD Orpheus Mosaic, Corinium Museum, Cirencester Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The 4th century AD Orpheus Mosaic, Corinium Museum, Cirencester
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

This 4th century AD mosaic was found just outside Cirencester in 1824. It depicts Orpheus, a mythical poet and musician, encircled by animals charmed by his music.

The 4th century AD Orpheus Mosaic, Corinium Museum, Cirencester Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The 4th century AD Orpheus Mosaic, detail of a feline, Corinium Museum, Cirencester
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Orpheus was a popular subject in classical art and this mosaic is one of nine Roman floors found in Britain that show Orpheus playing inside a circle of animals (including the Orpheus Mosaic from Newton St Loe, the Orpheus mosaic from Woodchester and the Orpheus mosaic from Littlecote Roman Villa). The Cirencester mosaic is thought to be the oldest of all.

The 4th century AD Orpheus Mosaic, detail of a peacock and duck, Corinium Museum, Cirencester Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The 4th century AD Orpheus Mosaic, detail of a peacock and duck, Corinium Museum, Cirencester
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

5. The Jupiter Column’s Corinthian Capital

Dating to the 2nd century AD, this Corinthian capital was found in 1838 near the centre of Cirencester. It has been raised on a reconstructed column to give the impression of what it would have looked like.

The reconstructed Jupiter Column, Corinium Museum, Cirencester Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The reconstructed Jupiter Column, Corinium Museum, Cirencester
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

It is thought that this capital was once part of a Jupiter Column topped with a statue of Jupiter. The four sides of this capital are carved with the faces of four Gods: Bacchus with bunches of grapes on either side; Silenus lifting a ram-headed drinking horn from his lips; Lycurgus holding a vine staff and a double-headed axe; and Ambrosia playing a drum.

The Jupiter Column's Corinthian capital, Lycurgus holding a vine staff and a double-headed axe, Corinium Museum, Cirencester Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Jupiter Column’s Corinthian capital, Lycurgus holding a vine staff and a double-headed axe, Corinium Museum, Cirencester
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Jupiter Column's Corinthian capital, Ambrosia playing a drum, Corinium Museum, Cirencester Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Jupiter Column’s Corinthian capital, Ambrosia playing a drum, Corinium Museum, Cirencester
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Jupiter Column's Corinthian capital, Bacchus with bunches of grapes on either side, Corinium Museum, Cirencester Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Jupiter Column’s Corinthian capital, Bacchus with bunches of grapes on either side, Corinium Museum, Cirencester
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

6. The Hunting Dog Mosaic

Hunting Dogs Mosaic, 2nd - 3rd century AD with later repairs & replacements in antiquity, Corinium Museum, Cirencester Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Hunting Dogs Mosaic, 2nd – 3rd century AD with later repairs & replacements in antiquity, Corinium Museum, Cirencester
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

This mosaic was found in Cirencester in 1849, inspiring the creation of the first museum. In the central medallion, three dogs converge to their prey. We do not know what animal they were hunting, as this part of the mosaic was incomplete when found and has been patched with plain tesserae.

The semicircles on either side each contain a mythical marine creature; a sea-leopard and a winged sea-griffin chasing a dolphin.

The Hunting Dogs Mosaic, detail of a winged sea-griffin chasing a dolphin Corinium Museum (Cirencester) Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Hunting Dogs Mosaic, detail of a winged sea-griffin chasing a dolphin Corinium Museum (Cirencester)
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

A particularly fine and detailed representation of the winged head of Medusa can be seen in one of the corner compartments as well as a representation of the the sea-god Oceanus. It is unusual to find both representations in the same mosaic.

Hunting Dogs Mosaic, detail of Medusa head, Corinium Museum, Cirencester Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Hunting Dogs Mosaic, detail of Medusa head, Corinium Museum, Cirencester
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Hunting Dogs Mosaic, detail of Oceanus, Corinium Museum, Cirencester Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Hunting Dogs Mosaic, detail of Oceanus, Corinium Museum, Cirencester
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

7. The Kingscote Wall Plaster

The Kingscote Wall Plaster, end of 3rd century or early 4th century AD, Corinium Museum, Cirencester Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Kingscote Wall Plaster, end of 3rd century or early 4th century AD, Corinium Museum, Cirencester
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

This wall fresco painting comes from site at Kingscote which was occupied from the late 1st century AD through to its heyday in the 4th century. It may have been a small town or villa estate, with evidence of a series of strip buildings replaced in the 4th century by a house within a walled compound. The house seems to have been of high status, with mosaic floors, including a Venus mosaic and wall-plaster paintings.

The Kingscote Wall Plaster, end of 3rd century or early 4th century AD, Corinium Museum, Cirencester Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Kingscote Wall Plaster, end of 3rd century or early 4th century AD, Corinium Museum, Cirencester
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The fresco has been reconstructed from thousand of fragments. It is believed to represent a continuous scene depicting Cupid and Venus with the armour of the God Mars. The other figures in the scene are thought to represent other gods and goddesses. It probably dates to the end of the 3rd or early 4th century.

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Corinium Museum guides

Corinium Museum guides

FURTHER INFORMATION
Opening hours: Monday – Saturday, 10am – 4pm  / Sunday, 2 – 4pm
Admission ratesAdults £4.95 – Children (5 to 16) £2.45, Under 5’s free – Students (16+) £3.30
Address: Park Street, Cirencester

Website / Twitter / Facebook

Corinium Museum, Cirencester Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Corinium Museum, Cirencester
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Posted in Britannia, Museum | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Art and sculptures from Hadrian’s Villa: The Lansdowne Antinous

This week’s sculpture from Hadrian’s Villa is a marble head of Antinous depicted as the god Dionysos, the closest Greek equivalent to the Egyptian god Osiris. It was  unearthed in 1769 during excavations undertook by the art dealer and archaeologist Gavin Hamilton who secured it for Lord Lansdowne. The latter was an avid collector of antiquities and owned a fine collection of classical sculpture until most of it was sold and dispersed in 1930 (including the Lansdowne Amazon and the Lansdowne Hercules). Today the Lansdowne Antinous graces the “Greece and Rome” room of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England.

Marble bust of Antinous portrayed here as the reborn god Dionysus, known as Lansdowne Antinous, found at Hadrian's Villa in 1769, c. 130 - 138 AD, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (UK) Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Marble bust of Antinous portrayed here as the reborn god Dionysus, known as Lansdowne Antinous, found at Hadrian’s Villa in 1769, c. 130 – 138 AD, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (UK)
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

This portrait head of Antinous was once part of an over life-size statue showing Antinous as the Greek god of wine, Dionysos. As was custom of the period, the missing pieces on the Lansdowne Antinous were restored in the 18th century and the head was mounted on a modern bust. The facial restoration included the tip of the nose, the upper lip, part of the ears and part of the chin.

Marble bust of Antinous portrayed as the reborn god Dionysus, known as Lansdowne Antinous, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (UK) Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Marble bust of Antinous portrayed as the reborn god Dionysus, known as Lansdowne Antinous
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (UK)
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Through the elaborate and luxuriant hair runs a wreath of ivy, very much undercut, so that the several leaves are almost detached. The head is also bound with a broad taenia, a ribbon for the hair which passes across the forehead.

Marble bust of Antinous portrayed as the reborn god Dionysus, known as Lansdowne Antinous, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (UK) Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Marble bust of Antinous portrayed as the reborn god Dionysus, known as Lansdowne Antinous
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (UK)
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Fitzwilliam Museum displays three other items from Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli; two pilaster capitals with ornate acanthus leaf decoration, and a relief (known as the Lansdowne Relief) made from dark grey limestone and beautifully decorated with scenes from Greek mythology, all of which are connected to the sea.

Marble bust of Antinous portrayed here as the reborn god Dionysus, known as Lansdowne Antinous, found at Hadrian's Villa in 1769, c. 130 - 138 AD, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (UK) Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Marble bust of Antinous portrayed here as the reborn god Dionysus, known as Lansdowne Antinous, found at Hadrian’s Villa in 1769, c. 130 – 138 AD, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (UK)
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Bibliography:
*Christie’s, The Lansdowne Collection of Ancient Marbles, London, 5 March 1930, p. 66, no. 101
*A Catalogue of the Ancient Marbles at Lansdowne House, based upon the work of Adolf Michaelis Cat. no. 64 (pdf)
*C. W. Clairmont, Die Bildnisse des Antinous, Schweizeriches Institut in Rom, 1966, p. 16, no. 8
*H. Meyer, Antinoos (1991) 116 ff. Nr. III 6 Taf. 104
*L. Budde – R. Nicholls, A Catalogue of the Greek and Roman Sculpture in the Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge (1964) 68 Nr. 10

The “Roman Room” of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge (UK)
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

 

Posted in Antinous, Hadrian's Villa, Museum, Roman Portraiture | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A taste of Ancient Rome – Pullum Numidicum (Numidian Chicken) and Conchicla Cum faba (Beans with Cumin)

It has been over a year since I last blogged about ancient Roman cooking, even though I have tried a few more recipes in the meantime, as people who follow me on Twitter or Facebook have probably noticed.

One of my last cooking sessions was on the occasion of Hadrian’s birthday on 24th January. Pullum (chicken) dishes from ancient Rome have proven to be a favorite of mine and I invite you to try this recipe taken from Apicius’ De Re Coquinaria Book VI Pullum Numidicum (Numidian Chicken). Pullum Numidicum is a chicken dish flavoured with pepper and asafoetida that is roasted and served with a spiced date, nut, honey, vinegar and stock sauce. I choose to accompany my Pullum Numidicum with Conchicla Cum faba (Beans with Cumin).

Pullum Numidicum recipe in Latin:

Apicius 6.8.5: Pullum Numidicum: pullum curas, elixas, levas, laser ac piper et assas. teres piper, cuminum, coriandri semen, laseris radicem, rutam, caryotam, nucleos, suffundis acetum, mel, liquamen et oleum, temperabis. cum ferbuerit, amulo obligas, pullum perfundis, piper aspergis et inferes.

Translation: Prepare the chicken as usual; parboil it; clean it seasoned with laser and pepper, and fry in the pan; next crush pepper, cumin, coriander seed, laser root, rue, fig dates and nuts, moistened with vinegar, honey, broth and oil to taste. When boiling thicken with roux, strain, pour over the chicken, sprinkle with pepper and serve.

Ingredients: Pullum Numidicum (Numidian Chicken) Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Ingredients: Pullum Numidicum (Numidian Chicken)

Ingredients (serves 4) – (source)

  • 1 prepared chicken (or chicken legs)
  • freshly-ground black pepper
  • asafoetida

For the Sauce:

  • 1/2 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • pinch of asafoetida pinch of rue (or rosemary)
  • 4 tbsp dates, finely chopped 4 tbsp
  • ground almonds or hazelnuts
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp cornflour, to thicken -if needed- (wheat starch would originally have been used)
  • freshly-ground black pepper, to garnish

Method:

Add the chicken to a pan of boiling water and cook for 30 minutes to parboil. Then remove the chicken and pat dry. Place in a roasting tin and sprinkle with black pepper and a little asafoetida. Place in an oven pre-heated to 180°C and roast for about 40 minutes, or until cooked through.

In the meantime, prepare the sauce. Pound together the black pepper, cumin, coriander seeds, asafoetida and rue in a mortar. Add the dates and ground nuts then pound until smooth. Work in the vinegar and honey then add the chicken stock and olive oil. Turn into a pan and bring to a boil. If needed, whisk in the cornflour until smooth and cook until thickened.

When the chicken is cooked, arrange on a platter, pour over the sauce and serve.

Pullum Numidicum (Numidian Chicken) accompanied with Conchicla Cum faba (Beans with Cumin) Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Pullum Numidicum (Numidian Chicken) accompanied with Conchicla Cum faba (Beans with Cumin)

The Conchicla Cum faba (Beans with Cumin) recipe comes from Apicius’ De Re Coquinaria Book V.

Conchicla Cum faba recipe in Latin:

Apicius 5.4.1: Conchicla Cum faba: coques. teres piper, ligusticum cuminum coriandrum viridem, suffundis liquamen, vinum et liquamen in ea temperabis, mittis in caccabum, adicies oleum. lento igni ferveat et inferes.

Translation: Cook the beans; meanwhile crush pepper, lovage, cumin, green coriander, moistened with broth and wine, and add more broth to taste, put into the sauce pan with the beans adding oil; heat on a slow fire and serve.

Ingredients (serves 4) – (source)

  • 450g fresh, unshelled, beans
  • pinch of lovage seeds (or celery seeds)
  • pinch of cumin seeds
  • pinch of fresh coriander
  • 100ml chicken stock
  • 70ml white wine
  • pinch of black peppercorns

Method:

Trim the beans and steam them for ten minutes. Drain the pan and add the beans to it. Add the celery, cumin and coriander seeds to a mortar and grind them together. Blend with the stock and white wine. Pour this sauce over the beans and add the olive oil. Simmer gently until the beans are heated through and the sauce has reduced.

Pullum Numidicum (Numidian Chicken) accompanied with Conchicla Cum faba (Beans with Cumin) and served with Hapalos Artos (soft bread)

Pullum Numidicum (Numidian Chicken) accompanied with Conchicla Cum faba (Beans with Cumin) and served with Hapalos Artos (soft bread)

I later realised that the vegetable I used was green beans, which are from the New World. The “faba” of ancient Roman cookery would have been fava beans. Therefore I should have used unshelled broad beans (beans still in the pod).

Verdict:

The results were amazing and both dishes tasted exceptionally good! I loved all the flavours of the chicken sauce and particularly the sweetness from the figs and the spice from the cumin and pepper. The vinegar definitely helped cut the overpowering sweetness of the sauce so don’t forget to add the vinegar. I have to say that this is one of my favorite ancient dishes to date with the Pullum Particum (Parthian Chicken).

This savoury and sweet dish should be served with some ancient Roman red wine. I highly recommend this extraordinary spiced wine – conditum paradoxum that you can buy online via the Der-Römer-Shop here.

Conditum paradoxum - Ancient red wine from Apicius

Conditum paradoxum – Ancient red wine from Apicius

Bonum appetitionem!

Fresco showing a piece of bread and two figs, from Pompeii, Naples National Archaeological Museum Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Fresco showing a piece of bread and two figs, from Pompeii, Naples National Archaeological Museum
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Related posts:

A taste of Ancient Rome – Pullum Particum (Parthian Chicken) and Parthian Chickpeas

A taste of Ancient Rome – Aliter Patina de Asparagis (Omelette with Asparagus and Fresh Herbs)

A taste of Ancient Rome – Minutal ex Praecoquis (Pork and Fruit Ragout)

Posted in Ancient Roman cuisine | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Looking for Roman bridges in Sardinia

When I was planning my archaeological trip to Sardinia I discovered, thanks to vici.org (an Archaeological Atlas of Antiquity I have mentioned here before), that there were many Roman bridges still standing all across the country. Some are left abandoned and almost completely covered with vegetation but others are perfectly preserved. Ancient Roman bridges are an exceptional feat of Roman construction and, as I said before, I hold a certain fascination for these impressive ancient structures. I previously wrote about the Roman bridges I saw in Portugal here and in Southern France here.

Sardinia on the ancient Roman map Tabula Peutingeriana Public Domain

Sardinia on the ancient Roman map Tabula Peutingeriana
Public Domain

When the Romans began their conquest of Sardinia in 238 BC, there was already a road network built by the Punic who had inhabited the island since around 550 BC. However the Punic road network was only linking the coastal towns, leaving out the interior of the island completely. The Romans built four major roads (viae principales): two along the coasts and two inland, all with north-south direction. The road network, initially built for military reasons, was then maintained and restored continuously for economic reasons.

The main cities and roads of Sardinia in Roman times Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0

The main cities and roads of Sardinia in Roman times
Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0

The most western road ran the entire west coast of Sardinia and linked Turris Libisonis (Porto-Torres) to Sulcis (Sant’Antioco) through Bosa, Cornus, Othoca (Santa Giusta) and Neapolis. The most eastern road followed the entire east coast from Tibula to Carales (Cagliari). Inland, two parallel roads ran from Olbia to Caralis through the region of the Barbagia (a land of barbarians) and from Tibulas to Caralis, passing first through Turris Libisonis (Porto Torres), and then through Forum Traiani (Fordongianus) and Othoca right down to Caralis (Cagliari). Other important roads that have been identified ran east-west (viae transversae), like the roads connecting Sulcis with Caralis, another connecting Othoca with Forum Traiani. This communication system was very efficient and created favorable conditions for the Roman cultural penetration among local populations.

Of the numerous Roman bridges in Sardinia, the most outstanding is the one in Ozieri, a 89 meter long bridge spanning the Rio Mannu alongside the road that connected Olbia to Caralis.

Roman bridge Ozieri, dating to the 2nd century AD and restored in the 3rd–4th century AD. It has six arcades for a total length of 87.50 metres (287 ft), Sardinia Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Roman bridge Ozieri, Sardinia
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Known locally as “Pont’Ezzu” (Old Bridge), this bridge is a remarkable example of monumental architecture and is one of the largest and best preserved Roman bridge on the island. It dates to the 2nd century AD and was restored in the 3rd–4th century AD. It had six arches decreasing from the center to the sides and was still in used until the 1950’s. (Source)

Roman bridge Ozieri, Sardinia Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Roman bridge Ozieri, Sardinia
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Roman bridge Ozieri, Sardinia Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Roman bridge Ozieri, Sardinia
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Another impressive example of Roman engineering is the Roman bridge at Porto Torres. Two thousand years of traffic have crossed the seven arches of the bridge over the Rio Mannu of Porto Torres as it was still in use up to the 1980s.

Roman bridge of Turris Libisonis, Porto Torres, Sardinia Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Roman bridge of Turris Libisonis, Porto Torres, Sardinia
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The bridge at Porto Torres stretches for 135 m from east to west and is 8 m wide. It was built after the foundation of Turris Libisonis in the first century AD to link the city to the silver mines and grain fields of Nurra (Sardinia was important to the Roman grain supply as mosaics from Ostia attest). The 135m long bridge slopes sharply, due to the different heights of the river banks. On the east side of the bridge you can still see a part of the original road surface.

Roman bridge of Turris Libisonis, Porto Torres, Sardinia Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Roman bridge of Turris Libisonis, Porto Torres, Sardinia
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The bridge was built in opus quadratum with blocks of local limestone and slabs of thachyte that preserved the piers equipped with buttresses for regulating water flows. (Source)

Roman bridge of Turris Libisonis, Porto Torres, Sardinia Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Roman bridge of Turris Libisonis, Porto Torres, Sardinia
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

In the region of Mores, the remnants of the Roman bridge Pont’Ezzu bear witness to the importance of the territory as a major crossroads. During the Roman period the area was particularly densely-inhabited and Hafa (modern-day Mores) was an important centre, especially thanks to the dense communication network that passed through the area, like the north-south road that linked Olbia and Turris Libisonis to Caralis. The two surviving arches of Pont’Ezzu date back to the first century AD.

Pont Ezzu (Old Bridge), Roman bridge near Mores, Sardinia Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Pont Ezzu (Old Bridge), Roman bridge near Mores, Sardinia
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

In the small farming community of Allai, once at a crossing point between Forum Traiani and the interior of the island, lays another Roman bridge built in local red trachyte stone and dating back to the 1st century AD.

Pont'Ecciu, Allai, Sardinia Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Pont’Ecciu, Allai, Sardinia
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Spanning the river Flumineddu, this Roman bridge with seven arches was restored and enlarged in 1157 during the period of the Giudicati. The first structure presumably had only four arches.

Pont'Ecciu, Allai, Sardinia Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Pont’Ecciu, Allai, Sardinia
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Another Roman bridge is located the suburbs of Usellus in the interior of Sardinia. It spanned a stream close to the colony of Uselis, a city founded in the late-Republican period and raised to a colony in the Imperial Age with the name of “Iulia Augusta Uselis” as recorded by the geographer Ptolemy.

Roman bridge near Usellus, Sardinia Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Roman bridge near Usellus, Sardinia
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Roman bridge on the island of Sant’Antioco, known as “Pontimannu”(big bridge) is unique on the island. It allowed the ancient centre of Sulci to be connected to the mainland.

Roman bridge at Sant'Antioco, Sardinia Carole Raddato CC

Roman bridge at Sant’Antioco, Sardinia
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The city of Sant’Antioco was founded in the 8th century BC by the Phoenicians and later flourished as a Carthaginian colony to become one of the most considerable cities of Sardinia. There are numerous archeological sites in Sant’Antioco such as a Tophet necropolis where inhabitants from the Phoenician and Punic centres of the western Mediterranean laid their born dead infants  and those that died right after birth. Due to its strategic position, Sulci underwent noteworthy developments during the Roman Republic era when the execution of important works was carried out.

Roman bridge at Sant'Antioco, Sardinia Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Roman bridge at Sant’Antioco, Sardinia
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The bridge is 120 m long and about 5.5 m wide with two barrel-vaulted arches about 5.0 m large made of square blocks of sandstone. It undergone numerous and substantial restoration up until the 18th century. (Source)

Roman bridge, one of the barrel-vaulted, Sant'Antioco, Sardinia Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Roman bridge, one of the barrel-vaulted, Sant’Antioco, Sardinia
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

There are a few more Roman bridges to be found on the island. Here are photos of three  bridges I was able to see and another two that I sadly missed.

Roman bridge near Birori, Sardinia Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Roman bridge near Birori on the road from Olbia to Forum Traiani, Sardinia
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Remains of the roman bridge at Santa Giusta on the road from Othoca to Carales, Sardinia Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Remains of the roman bridge at Santa Giusta on the road from Othoca to Carales, Sardinia
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Roman bridge on the road from Forum Traiani to Othoca, 1st century BC - 1st century AD, Tramatza, Sardinia Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Roman bridge on the road from Forum Traiani to Othoca, 1st century BC – 1st century AD, Tramatza, Sardinia
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

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CC BY-SA 2.0

Roman bridge Fertilia, near Alghero, Sardinia from Flickr: user randomaze CC BY-SA 2.0

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Looking for Roman bridges in Provence (France)

 

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Art and sculptures from Hadrian’s Villa: Marble head of a companion of Odysseus

This week’s sculpture from Hadrian’s Villa is a marble head of a companion of Odysseus, copied after a famous work of the Hellenistic period.

Marble head of a companion of Odysseus from the Pantanello at Hadrian’s Villa, British Museum Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Marble head of a companion of Odysseus from the Pantanello at Hadrian’s Villa, British Museum
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

This head shows the face of a man that probably belonged to a multi-figure group depicting Odysseus with his twelve companions blinding the one-eyed giant and the most famous of the Cyclopes, Polyphemus, with a burning stake.

The depiction of the blinding of Polyphemus occurs a number of times in classical sculpture and especially in the decoration of grottoes and nymphaeums. Another version  of this head was found, together with the body, at the Villa/Grotto of Tiberius in Sperlonga, south of Rome. There it belonged to a figure portraying a wineskin-carrier, in a statue-group showing the blinding of Polyphemus by Odysseus and his companions (see images here). Apart from the statue in the grotto at Sperlonga, other famous examples were found in the sunken nymphaeum of Punta Epitaffio at Baia, near Naples, and in the Antrum Cyclopis  (“cave of the Cyclops”) of the Domus Aurea in Rome.

Marble head of a companion of Odysseus from the Pantanello at Hadrian’s Villa, British Museum Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Marble head of a companion of Odysseus from the Pantanello at Hadrian’s Villa, British Museum
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The sculpture was found in an area of Hadrian’s villa known as the Pantanello (little swamp). The discoveries at the Pantanello were considerable. Many sculptures and architectural fragments that are now in major international collections were found including a colossal head of Hercules and two busts of Hadrian.

This head has suffered some damage: the nose, lips and bust are modern restorations. It is on display at the British Museum in London.

Source: British Museum

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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.

“So fond was he of travel, that he wished to inform himself in person about all that he had read concerning all parts of the world.”

Historia Augusta – The Life of Hadrian

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 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 :)

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