This month’s sculptures from Hadrian’s Villa are portraits of Roman emperors and empresses who rose to power after Hadrian.
After the death of Hadrian in 138 AD, the Villa was occasionally used by his various successors. Busts of the emperors Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus, Septimius Severus and Caracalla have been found on the premises of the Villa.
Two more imperial portraits are on display in the Antiquarium of the Canopus at Hadrian’s Villa. Since photography is not permitted in the museum, I do not have any images for them. However, you can see the portrait of Septimius Severus and his wife, Julia Domna. The portrait of Lucius Verus is on display in the Hermitage in St Petersburg.
Frescoes on the ceiling of one of the rooms of the West Substructures of the Canopus dating from Septimius Severus’ reign have also been found. These further attest to the use of the Villa as an Imperial residence, at least until the Severan dynasty in the early 3rd century.
- Adembri, Benedetta, “Hadrian’s Villa”, Martellago (Venice): Mondadori Electa S.p.A. , 2005
- Franceschini, Marina De “Function and meaning of Hadrian’s Villa”, Soprintendenza Archeologica del Lazio, 2005 <http://www.villa-adriana.net/>