Art and sculptures from Hadrian’s Villa: Marble head of Antinous

This week’s sculpture from Hadrian’s Villa is a marble head of Antinous, one of the ten marble images of Antinous found there.

Antinous, from Hadrian's Villa, late Hadrianic period 130-138 AD, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome

Antinous, from Hadrian’s Villa, late Hadrianic period 130-138 AD, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome

This portrait of Antinous is conserved in the Palazzo Massimo alle Terme in Rome. It is related to a coin type minted in the city of Adramyttium in Mysia (modern Edremit, Turkey) by an individual called Gessius (his name appears on the reverse of the coin). The coin was struck with the head of Antinous on the obverse and the words ΙΑΚΧΟC ΑΝΤΙΝΟΟC (Iacchos Antinous). Antinous is portrayed as Iacchos, a minor Dionysian deity (also epithet of Dionysus) associated with the Eleusinian Mysteries (Hadrian first took part in the Mysteries in about 124 AD and again in late summer 128 AD together with Antinous). The British Museum holds such a coin with the Eleusinian goddess Demeter on the reverse.

Commemorative coin minted by Gessius at Adramyttium. OBV: Antinous as Iacchos, with legend IAKXOC | ANTINOOC REV:

Commemorative coin minted by Gessius at Adramyttium
OBV: Antinous as Iacchos, with legend IAKXOC | ANTINOOC
REV: Demeter seated left ΓECIOC ANΘHKE AΔPAMVTHNOIC
©Trustees of the British Museum

Gessius’ inclusion of his own name on the reverse of the coin shows how the provincial elite members sought to identity themselves and their cities with the imperial cult.

Sources:

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The Nerva-Antonines in Florence

The Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence is one of the oldest and most famous art museums in the world. In addition to Renaissance masterpieces including works from Botticelli, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, the Uffizi houses one of the world’s most important collections of ancient Roman and Greek statues. The Medicis’ interest in ancient art started with the founder of the family Cosimo I de’ Medici (1519-1574) and grew over nearly four decades. The antiquities were stored and displayed in several rooms in Palazzo Vecchio and Palazzo Pitti where they could be admired by the visitors to the court. The antiquities were later transferred to the Uffizi.

Most of the ancient statues and busts are displayed on the u-shaped second floor of the museum. The wide corridors are filled with numerous portraits of the members of the different imperial dynasties including those of the Nerva-Antonine dynasty.

  • Nerva (ruled 96 – 98 A.D.)
Bust of Emperor Nerva in lorica military cloak and paludamentum, Greek marble, 96 - 98 AD, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Bust of Emperor Nerva in lorica military cloak and paludamentum, Greek marble, 96 – 98 AD
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

  • Trajan (ruled 98 – 117 A.D.)
Statue loricata with the head of Trajan, Greek marble (head), Italic marble (?) (statue), 98 - 108 AD, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Statue loricata with the head of Trajan, Greek marble (head), Italic marble (?) (statue), 98 – 108 AD
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Trajan, Greek marble and oxyx, ca. 110 AD, the bust is a modern work, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Trajan, Greek marble and oxyx, ca. 110 AD, the bust is a modern work
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Bust with the head of Trajan, ca. 105 AD, the head is inserted in a modern bust of red marble,  Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Bust with the head of Trajan, ca. 105 AD, the head is inserted in a modern bust of red marble
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

  • Ulpia Marciana, beloved elder sister of Trajan
Female statue with a portrait of Ulpia Marciana, 110-120 AD, with modern restorations, Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Female statue with a portrait of Ulpia Marciana, 110-120 AD, with modern restorations
Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence

  • Salonina Matidia, niece of Trajan and mother-in-law of Hadrian
Statue of a Roman lady, so-called ”Sabina”, with a portrait of Matidia, 2nd century AD with modern restorations, Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Female statue with a portrait of Matidia, 110-120 AD, with modern restorations
Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence

  • Hadrian (ruled 117 – 138 A.D.)
Bust of Hadrian, 117-121 AD (of the Termini type), Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Bust of Hadrian, 117-121 AD (of the Termini type)
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

  • Antinous, favorite of Hadrian
Bust of Antinous, 130-138 AD, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Bust of Antinous, 130-138 AD
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

  •  Lucius Aelius Caesar, intended successor of Hadrian
Lucius Aelius Caesar, intended successor of Hadrian who died prematurely, 2nd century AD, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Lucius Aelius Caesar (101–138 AD), intended successor of Hadrian who died prematurely
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

  • Antoninus Pius (ruled 138 – 161 A.D.)
Marble bust with the head of Antoninus Pius, middle of 2nd century AD, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Marble bust with the head of Antoninus Pius, middle of 2nd century AD
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

  • Empress Faustina the Elder, wife of Antoninus Pius
Bust of Empress Faustina the Elder, wife of Antoninus Pius, circa 141 AD, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Bust of Empress Faustina the Elder, wife of Antoninus Pius, circa 141 AD
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

  • Marcus Aurelius (ruled 161 – 180 A.D.)
Young Marcus Aurelius, circa 150 - 160 AD, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Young Marcus Aurelius, circa 150 – 160 AD
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Marble bust with the head of Marcus Aurelius, end of 2nd century AD, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Marble bust with the head of Marcus Aurelius, end of 2nd century AD
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

  • Empress Faustina the Younger, wife of Marcus Aurelius
Bust of Empress Faustina the Younger, wife of Marcus Aurelius, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Bust of Empress Faustina the Younger, wife of Marcus Aurelius
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

  • Lucius Verus (ruled 161 – 169 A.D.)
Modern marble bust with the head of Lucius Verus, 2nd half of 2nd century AD, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Modern marble bust with the head of Lucius Verus, 2nd half of 2nd century AD
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

  • Empress Crispina, wife of Commodus
Portrait of Crispina, wife of Commodus, 180 - 187 AD, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Portrait of Crispina, wife of Commodus, 180 – 187 AD
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

In addition to the members of the Nerva-Antonine dynasty, the Uffizi houses a number of portraits of unknown citizens from the same era. Some of these portraits were incorrectly attributed to members of the Nerva-Antonine dynasty during the Renaissance but the original inscriptions have remained.

  •  Private portraiture of unknown citizen from the Nerva-Antonine era
Portrait of Vibia Sabina (wife of Hadrian) with a Flavian hairstyle?, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Portrait of Vibia Sabina (wife of Hadrian) with a Flavian hairstyle?, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Portrait of an ederly woman inspired by the iconography of Marciana (sister of Trajan), 98 - 117 AD, Greek marble (head) and red onyx (bust),  Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Portrait of an elderly woman inspired by the iconography of Marciana (sister of Trajan), 98 – 117 AD, Greek marble (head) and red onyx (modern bust)
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Portrait of an unknown young man from the Antonine era (previously thought to be Lucius Verus and Marcus Aurelius), Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Portrait of an unknown young man from the Antonine era (previously thought to be Lucius Verus or Marcus Aurelius)
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Portrait of an unknown young man so-called "Young Hadrian", 130-140 AD, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Portrait of an unknown young man so-called “Young Hadrian”, 130-140 AD
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Bust with the head of a young man (previously known as Marcus Aurelius), mid 2nd century AD, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Bust with the head of a young man (previously known as Marcus Aurelius), mid 2nd century AD
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Togated statue with the head of a man, circa 100-200 AD, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Togated statue with the head of a man, circa 100-200 AD
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Portrait of an unknown woman so-called Lucilla, mid 2nd century AD,  Apuan marble, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Portrait of an unknown woman so-called Lucilla, mid 2nd century AD, Apuan marble
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Private portrait of a citizen of the late Antonine period thought to be Commodus, 160 - 180 AD, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Private portrait of a citizen of the late Antonine period thought to be Commodus, 160 – 180 AD
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Many more portraits of the Nerva-Antonines dynasty can be viewed from my image collection on Flickr.

Related posts:

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Art and sculptures from Hadrian’s Villa: Marble head of Hypnos

This week’s sculpture from Hadrian’s Villa is a marble head of Hypnos, the Greek god of Sleep.

Marble head of Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep, 117-138 AD, Hadrian's Villa, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Marble head of Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep, 117-138 AD, Hadrian’s Villa
Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Hypnos is represented as a young man with wings attached to his temples (now lost). The head must have been part of a full length statue showing Hypnos running forwards, holding in his hands poppies and a vessel from which he presumably poured a sleeping potion. One of the most complete representations of Hypnos is a bronze statuette from the collection of the Roman Museum in Augst (see an image here).

Hypnos was the son of the goddess Nyx (the deity of the Night) and Erebus (the deity of Darkness). His wife, Pasithea (the deity of Hallucinations), was one of the youngest of the Graces and was promised to him by Hera. His sons were Morpheus (the personification of Dreams), Phobetor (the personification of Nightmares), Phantasos (the personification of inanimate objects in prophetic dreams) and Ikelos (the personification of people seen in prophetic dreams).

This marble head of Hypnos was found inside the cryptoporticus from the entrance of the Piazza d’Oro (Golden Court), one of the most luxurious complexes at the villa. It was a vast building complex with a great rectangular garden embellished with flower-beds. A canal was running down the main axis and was surrounded on all sides by a portico. On its eastern side was a series of rooms including a triclinium, while on its southern side, opposite the entrance, was a monumental exedra with a nymphaeum and perhaps also a library.

See images of the Piazza d’Oro here.

See more images of Hypnos here.

Posted in Hadrian's Villa, Italy, Mythology, Roman art, Roman villa | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

The ancient people of Palmyra, Syria

The recent developments in the Middle East have drawn the attention of the world to the magnificent ruins of the ancient city of Palmyra. Its impressive remains were brought to light by travellers, first in 1678, and by archaeologists in more recent times. Equally impressive are the numerous representations of the inhabitants of the city in the form of funerary sculptures in the distinctive Palmyrene style.

From the 1st century BC the city grew in both wealth and population with the name Palmyra (city of palms) coming to replace the older Tadmor. It flourished as a caravan oasis on the trade route linking the Mediterranean with the West and Central Asia (the Silk Road). It was incorporated into the Roman Empire in the early years of Tiberius’ reign and became a metropolis with “free” status (civitas libera) under Hadrian, who visited the city in 129 AD and renamed it “Hadriana Palmyra”. Caracalla declared Palmyra a Roman colony in 212 AD and exempted the city from paying taxes on luxury items.

Palmyra on Vici.org

Many members of Palmyra’s prosperous merchant class commissioned funerary busts depicting fashionably dressed individuals and family groups. These stone faces, representing Palmyrenes who lived between 50 AD and 270 AD, came from tombs outside the city in the so-called Valley of the Tombs. Their fashion were Syrian but they were shown in a Greco-Roman style with Parthian elements. Tombs built for wealthy citizens took the form of towers of several storeys rising more than 20 m high, single-storey temple or house tombs, or underground rock-cut tombs called hypogea. They were richly decorated with wall paintings and each tomb contained several chambers (cubicula). Each cubiculum had funerary portraits with a brief dedicatory inscription (often in Aramaic and Greek) carved on limestone slabs that sealed the niches (loculi) in which the mummified bodies of the deceased were laid to rest. Palmyrenes called their tombs “houses of eternity” and took great pride in their construction. Altogether, about 300 funerary monuments have been discovered in Palmyra.

Funerary bust showing a deceased couple, from Palmyra, Syria, about AD 50-150, British Museum Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Funerary bust showing a deceased couple, from Palmyra, Syria, about AD 50-150, British Museum
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Palmyrenes were portrayed wearing elaborate clothing, jewellery and accessories with accompanying inscriptional genealogies to honor their deceased ancestors. The men wore a chiton (tunic) and himation (cloak) of linen or wool. The cloak was usually draped so as to provide a support for the right hand. The women also wore a long tunic over which a cloak was draped. The cloak was held by a fibula (brooch) on the left shoulder, and over it all a long veil covering the head, shoulders and arms. They wore jewelry such as ornate necklaces, rings, and earrings.

Palmyran funerary sculpture is the largest corpus of portrait sculpture in the Roman world outside Rome. Today, more than 1500 funerary portraits are scattered through many museums and private collections across the world. Here is a small collection of these portraits I have collected during visits to various museums.

Limestone bust from a Palmyrene funerary relief depicting a matron with smaller figure of a child, from Palmyra, Syria, 84 AD, British Museum Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Limestone bust from a Palmyrene funerary relief depicting a matron with smaller figure of a child, 84 AD
British Museum
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Limestone bust of a veiled woman, from a sculpture set in a tomb at Palmyra, ca. 80-100 AD Ashmolean Museum, Oxford Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Limestone bust of a veiled woman, ca. 80-100 AD
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Limestone portrait of a Palmyrene lady, the lion's head door knockers symbolize the entrance to the world of the dead, c. 120 AD Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Limestone portrait of a Palmyrene lady, the lion’s head door knockers symbolize the entrance to the world of the dead, c. 120 AD
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Limestone portrait of a Palmyrene woman called Aha, Daughter of Zabdila, 149 AD Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Limestone portrait of a Palmyrene lady called Aha, Daughter of Zabdila, 149 AD
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Limestone portrait of a Palmyrene couple, c. 150 AD Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Limestone portrait of a Palmyrene couple, c. 150 AD
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Limestone portrait of a lady from Palmyra, 2nd century AD Romisch-Germanisches Museum, Cologne Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Limestone portrait of a lady from Palmyra, 2nd century AD
Romisch-Germanisches Museum, Cologne
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Limestone funerary bust of Aqmat, from Palmyra, Syria, late 2nd century AD, British Museum Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Limestone funerary bust of Aqmat, late 2nd century AD
Victoria and Albert Museum (on loan from the British Museum)
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Limestone bust including head and upper torso of a clean-shaven man wearing a toga and holding a feather (quill pen?), ca. 150-200 AD, from Palmyra, Syria, British Museum Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Limestone bust including head and upper torso of a clean-shaven man wearing a toga and holding a feather (quill pen?), ca. 150-200 AD
British Museum
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Funerary portrait of a lady from Palmyra, 2nd century AD Civico museo archeologico di Milano Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Funerary portrait of a lady from Palmyra, 2nd century AD
Civico museo archeologico di Milano
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The lady Marti, funerary portrait of a woman from Palmyra, c. AD 170-190, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The lady Marti, funerary portrait of a woman from Palmyra, c. AD 170-190
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Limestone portrait of a Palmyrene man called Yedibel and shown with a full beard (following the fashion in Rome), c. 170-190 AD Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Limestone portrait of a Palmyrene man called Yedibel and shown with a full beard (following the fashion in Rome), c. 170-190 AD
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Limestone funerary bust of a unknown woman from Palmyra wearing an elaborate hair ornament, 150-200 AD British Museum Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Limestone funerary bust of a unknown woman from Palmyra wearing an elaborate hair ornament, 150-200 AD
British Museum
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Limestone funerary bust so called ”The Beauty of Palmyra”, AD 190-210, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Limestone funerary bust so called ”The Beauty of Palmyra”, AD 190-210
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Funerary bust showing two veiled women wearing robes, from Palmyra, Syria, AD 217 British Museum Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Funerary bust showing two veiled women wearing robes, AD 217
British Museum
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Limestone funerary relief carved with bearded man reclining on richly covered couch with wife seated beside and Palmyrene inscription 200-273 AD, from Palmyra, Syria, British Museum Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Limestone funerary relief carved with bearded man reclining on richly covered couch with wife seated beside and Palmyrene inscription 200-273 AD
British Museum
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Besides portrait busts in relief, Palmyrene tombs might have also contained portrait statues. Very few have been recovered from the city and whether they were funerary elements or honorific statues is not known.

Limestone portrait of a Palmyrene notable, c. 210-230 AD Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Limestone portrait of a Palmyrene notable, c. 210-230 AD
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Limestone portrait of a leading Palmyrene, c. 230-250 AD Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Limestone portrait of a leading Palmyrene, c. 230-250 AD
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Limestone funerary portrait of a Palmyrene priest (identified by his cylindrical hat -modius-), c. 190-200 AD Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Limestone funerary portrait of a Palmyrene priest (identified by his cylindrical hat -modius-), c. 190-200 AD
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Bibliography and links:

  • Smith II, Andrew M (2013). Roman Palmyra: Identity, Community, and State Formation
  • Malcolm A. R. Colledge, The Art of Palmyra, London, 1976
  • Andrade, Nathanael J. (2013). Syrian Identity in the Greco-Roman World
  • A. Henning, The tower tombs of Palmyra: chronology, architecture and decoration,
    Studia Palmyreńskie 12, 2013 (pdf).
  • Palmyrene Funerary Sculptures at Penn by Michael Danti, 2011 (pdf)
  • The Palmyra Portrait Project by Andreas J. M. Kropp and Rubina Raja, Syria 91 (2014) p. 393-408 (pdf)

 

Posted in Palmyra, Roman Portraiture, Syria | Tagged | 5 Comments

The Temple of Hadrian at Ephesus, Ionia (Turkey)

The Temple of Hadrian at Ephesus is regarded as 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
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Admission ratesAdults £4.95 – Children (5 to 16) £2.45, Under 5’s free – Students (16+) £3.30
Address: Park Street, Cirencester

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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

 

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