The statue has been recomposed from many pieces and the surface of both head and body has been covered with gesso and paint. It was restored in Florence before 1848, and later in the nineteenth century by Penelli of Paris; it was taken apart and reconstructed again by Andre in Paris before 1905. Both modern and ancient repairs are visible. The following appear to be modern: drapery over left shoulder and left arm; upper section of upper right arm with part of shoulder; right hand; a piece of upper back, the genitals, and both feet including support below left heel. Head appears ancient but is smaller in scale than the colossal torso. Although the head appears on the statue in a drawing reproduced in 1852 (Koehne), it is possible they did not originate together.
The head can be securely identified as a portrait of the emperor Caius Vibius Trebonianus Gallus through comparison with his coin portraits (Del- brueck, 1940, p. 93, pi. 11). The high, furrowed brow, which gives the portrait its intense expression, can also be found in some of the coin portraits. Among other sculptures in the round considered to be portraits of Trebonianus Gallus, the bronze head in Florence (Felletti Maj, 1958, no. 261) is closest to this one, though the Florence portrait lacks the power of expression seen here. Both portraits recall earlier Roman realism in their emphasis on harsh linear surface detail. The brow is distorted and the face largely asymmetrical. The hair and beard are rendered by short chisel strokes that convey movement by swirling patterns. The abrupt glance to the left catches an impression of momentary energy.
The right arm is raised in the traditional Roman gesture of the orator addressing citizens or troops.
The statue was reportedly found in pieces with its pedestal in a hall, perhaps of a military camp, in the vicinity of S. Giovanni in Laterano, by Count Nicolas Nikivitch Demidov in the early nineteenth century. In 1828 it passed to his son, and in 1848 Count A. de Montferrand took it to St. Petersburg, where it remained until it was sold to Rollin and Feuardent in Paris. It was bought by the Museum in 1905.
This fine portrait of the emperor Publius Egnatius Gallienus must have been inserted into a draped bust or statue, for remains of a drapery fold can be seen over the right shoulder. The point of the nose and ends of the frontal curls are missing, as well as a small section at the right edge of the bust piece. The surface is damaged in places, but the ancient polish can still be observed on the cheeks and around the eyes.
The likeness may be closely compared to that portrayed on a medallion struck in Rome in 262, the year of the emperor’s decennalia (Delbrueck, 1940, pi. 16, fig. 62) and on medallions issued in 267 (Delbrueck, 1940, pi. 17, fig. 76). In both medallions and sculpture appear the idiosyncratic features of the emperor: the square head, pursed mouth with protruding upper lip, small eyes framed by wide brows, low cheek bones, and full chin. These medallion portraits also show in profile the same scattered, pointed locks over the forehead and the short, elegantly curled beard which clings around the upper neck. An intensity of expression is conveyed through the staring eyes, which here are directed slightly upward. The overall plastic rendering is reminiscent of classical portraiture, and thus the term “renaissance” is commonly applied to Gallienic art. The classicizing tradition, however, is only one in a complex of layers of stylistic traditions, and the total impact of this head is actually strongly anticlassical. The compact, massive shape dominates and not even the ears are allowed to protrude from the controlling abstract form. The individual features are not organically related as in classical portraiture but are isolated by the broad flattened planes of the face. Moreover, the uneasy tension conveyed by the upward stare and the asymmetrical contortion of the brows reflect a new spiritual consciousness, an emphasis also found in the contemporary Neoplatonic philosophy of Plotinus, who we know from ancient accounts enjoyed the patronage of Gallienus and his empress Salonina.
Gallienus may also have intended further symbolic meaning. L’Orange (1947, pp. 86-90) first noted the reference to Alexander the Great on a medallion of Gallienus of 260 (Delbrueck, 1940, pi. 15, fig. 45). Through this portrait type Gallienus presented himself to the Roman people as a Savior-King in the Hellenistic tradition, deliberately allowing his own features, particularly the upward gaze and peculiar hairstyle, to be adopted to those of his model, Alexander, in his deified form.
Found in the House of the Vestals in the Roman Forum.
The head, broken off at the neck, faces front and gazes fixedly forward. The upper part of the nose and the rim of the right earlobe are missing; a small central section of the back of the head is damaged. Although there is some discoloration, the surface is in excellent condition. The closely cropped beard and mustache are indicated by short random strokes of the chisel.
This close-cut hairstyle is characteristic of the age of the Tetrarchs, distinguished by the enlarged staring eyes, whose irises are outlined and pupils drilled in three-quarter moon shapes. The brows are pulled into an asymmetrical pattern accented by two vertical furrows; the broad forehead is articulated by three horizontal lines. The head conveys the impression of frozen tension and cruelty, particularly through the brows and mouth.
A number of specific similarities can be found between this head and some of the images of Diocletian on coins and usually accepted portraits in the round. For example, the portrait on a gold medallion in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, from the mint at Alexandria, probably struck shortly after his abdication in 305 (Boston, 1972, fig. 81); the portrait of Diocletian in a medallion relief on his Mausoleum at Split (Calza, 1972, no. 11).
The main difference between the Worcester portrait and the above images is the appearance of hair across the forehead. Since the temples and upper forehead, however, are slightly raised in the usual hair convention of the time and the sides chiseled, the man portrayed was not bald. This hair treatment resembles that of a portrait from the Villa Doria Pamphilj, which has been identified as Diocletian (L’Orange, 1929).
Diocletian made a trip to Egypt in 302, celebrated the twentieth anniversary of his reign in Rome in 303, and abdicated in 305. Any of these events would have been appropriate for the special honoring of the emperor by this fine portrait. It seems unlikely that we have a postabdication portrait of Diocletian or one of a private individual in basalt.
The gold setting consists of a frame with two grooved loops at the top for suspension; three beads (beryl, emerald, and green glass) hang from wires attached by rings to the bottom. At back the stone occupies the full height of the frame, but at bottom front a horizontal strip, about inch deep, has been cut away for insertion of a gold plaque with the roughly incised inscription DiocL(etianus) MAXiM(ianus) AVG(ustus).
The subjects are usually identified in accord with the inscription (e.g., Richter , 1956) as with Diocletian and Maximian. Recent objections have been based on the fact that the inscription is incorrect: it should read avgg. Richter (1971) was aware of the blunder, but considered it unimportant. Poulsen (1974) further insisted that the images do not correspond with other accepted portraits of these Tetrarchs, including their coin types.
Two male busts are carved in dark stone against an opaque white background. The man on the left of the cameo is frontal, with head turned right, bearded and mustached; his chlamys is fastened at his left shoulder—apparently an arbitrary choice of the gem cutter—with a round brooch. The man on the right appears younger—beardless and without mustache; he is slightly behind his senior and slightly lower. Whereas the older man’s hair and beard are in short curls, his hair is in suggestion that the men are Caracalla and Geta (a.d. 211-212).
There is, in fact, no reason to reject the gem as a product of the Tetrarchy in terms of its style of execution, its use of materials, or its expressivity. If the authority of the inscription is rejected, the two rulers so represented are most likely to be a senior-junior pair, as in the porphyry group in Venice (Calza, 1972, no. 28). The older man resembles a togate figure in Syracuse (Calza, 1972, no. 39), already identified by Niemeyer with Maximianus Herculeus; in this case, the younger man should be his son Maxentius, whose extremely broad face is distinctive (cf. Calza, 1972, no. 107). Maxentius invited his father to break his retirement and join his own revolt in 306; in view of Maxentius’ early assumption of a beard on his coins (Calza, 1972, pis. lxiv-lxv; only fig. 211 is beardless), the cameo was probably executed about this time.
Said to have been found at Rennes, France, in the heart of Maximian’s domains.
The bust has lost foot and base but is otherwise in almost perfect condition. The emperor wears the chlamys fastened at his right shoulder; head turned slightly right, he glares fixedly ahead. Surfaces of hair, mustache, and beard are raised slightly from flesh surfaces and textured with uniform chisel strokes; the face is drawn into a grimace with arched brows, straight nose, and downturned mouth. The forehead is delineated by two horizontal ridges above two vertical ones, leaving four raised “islands” of flesh above the brows. The eyes are strongly geometricized, and sharp creases arc from corners of nose to corners of mouth. The costume is treated in broad, smooth areas contrasted with sections of closely spaced folds across the shoulder and at the fall of the cloak.
However, porphyry, the hardest stone known to antiquity, was found only in Egypt and was worked only by Egyptian craftsmen (Delbrueck, 1932). No doubt the bust is one of a considerable number of porphyry sculptures produced in Egypt for the Tetrarchy (cf. no. 7). While many of these are larger, none is finer and none is in better state of preservation. The reduced scale seems to focus the dynamics of the figure. While the summary treatment was dictated by the hardness of the stone—which must be worked by abrasion, not cutting—the mode of portrayal is found in other sculpture and on coin portraits of the Tetrarchs minted all over the East. The style—as divorced from the technique—of this bust is no more confined to Egypt than to the Sassanian marches.
Identification of the subject has also been disputed. Discovery in 1957 of a sure image of Galerius in a clipeus on the “Little Arch” at Thessalonike (Calza, 1972, no. 53) has persuaded most experts that this is the correct identity of the present bust, whose profile also corresponds best with those on Galerius’ coins (Calza, 1972, pi. xxxvn, figs. 103-104): his short straight nose and scowling brow are unique in the First Tetrarchy. All representations compare closely with Lactantius’ description of Galerius as a fierce and terrifying giant of a man (De mortibus persecutorum 9.3).
The model for this head is clearly Trajan, but many traits indicate that it was made almost two centuries later: above all, the large geometric form on which the features are applied as specific details. The general character of execution and form fits the Tetrarchy, particularly its later phase; and the corona civica seems to have enjoyed favor exactly at this time (fig. 3). The coiffure represents a clear reaction against the cropped hair of the first Tetrarchs and prefigures the conformation of imperial hairstyles for a century to come; the clean-shaven chin and jaws are also more representative of the Second than the First Tetrarchy.
Of the Tetrarchs, the one with the specific features portrayed here, in particular the broad brow and the mordant, sneering mouth, was Galerius, who in his last years is said to have become grossly fat, even dropsical (see Lactantius, admittedly a biased observer [De mortibus persecutorum 9.3]). That Thessalonike was Galerius’ headquarters in the Balkans makes this identification still more probable. Comparison with the key to Galerius’ portraiture, the tiny bust on the so-called Little Arch from Galerius’ mausoleum.
This head of a middle-aged emperor is turned slightly to his left; the eyes have lost filling of colored matter and have suffered some damage, especially to left eyelid; other losses are to nose, both ears, and in small chipping of various areas of surface; but overall the piece is in a good state of preservation. Abrasion has eliminated the relief on central jewel, presumably a cameo, of oak-leaf crown fastened behind the head by a summarily carved ribbon knot. The hair is brushed forward over the brow in uniform locks, with ears fully revealed. The face is fleshy, creased by nasolabial folds, with downcurved mouth and traces of a double chin.
The crown is clearly the corona civica, the highest honor the state could bestow on a Roman citizen, but reserved since Claudius reign for use at Thessalonike (Calza, 1972, no. 53), and even with the stylistically contrasting porphyry bust (no. 5), confirms the identification and shows at its clearest the range possible within Tetrarchal art from “hard” to “soft” styles.
A source in the imagery of Trajan for the early coin types of Constantine, during his campaign of conquest in the West, has already been demonstrated by M. R. Alfoldi (1963, pp. 57-69), but Dontas (1975) has now shown that Galerius, too, was still more devoted to the model of Trajan, the soldier-emperor, than to that of Augustus.
The head is said by the owner to have been found in Thessalonike.
This head is broken off irregularly at the neck; a large chip has broken off the upper left top of the head, another off the back of the head; other chips from left eyebrow, front of nose, upper lip and chin, and right ear; apparently willful chiseling of both eyeballs has erased all trace of pupils. Head was apparently turned slightly to its left; it is abnormally shallow from front to back, and modeled with great simplicity in brownish purple porphyry quarried at the Mons Porphyrites in Egypt’s Eastern Desert.
The caplike hair and beard are indicated by short, parallel strokes of the chisel; the eyes are enlarged and staring, their gaze emphasized by the linear organization of the circular lids and arched brows. The right eye is slightly lower than the left, and in other ways the face avoids exact symmetry. The nose gives evidence, despite its damage, of having been hooked.
This portrait bears a strong resemblance in full face to a marble one in Leiden (cf. von Sydow, 1969, pp. 117-119, 140-141), which in turn is quite similar to a porphyry head found in the Antioch excavations, already identified by Brinkerhoff (1970, pp. 19-28) with Constantius Chlorus.
While an Egyptian origin is assured by the type of stone used, the find-site of the head is unknown. It was in a private collection in Switzerland for some years before its acquisition by the British Museum.
This cast and hammered silver bowl is perfectly preserved.
Emperors of this period held elaborate celebrations on anniversaries of their accession, particularly at the five- and ten-year intervals. At such times, vows were made for the well-being of the members of the imperial house; one set of vows was acknowledged as having been fulfilled, another undertaken for the next period. The normal coin legend in this case would read vot x mvlt xx, or a variation of this; the version used on these bowls only occurs otherwise on a few medallions celebrating such events (no. 38).
The date of Licinius’ decennalia was 11 November 317. The manufacture of such mementos as these bowls at Constantine’s birthplace might be taken as a special sign of courtesy to a co-emperor at this brief moment of peace.
The close similarity of the design of the bowls with numismatic types has led to the assumption that workers from the traveling imperial mint were responsible for such work as well as for coins. Since coins honoring Licinius decennalia, with closely similar designs, were issued as early as 315-316, the bowls may have been made earlier.
This is one of four, possibly five, similar bowls found on the site of ancient Naissus in 1901.
The nose, mouth, chin, and parts of the ears are restorations, drastically altering the likeness.
Nevertheless, there can be little doubt of the identification; about the time this head was made, Constantine’s official imagery was apparently beautified under the influence of portraiture of earlier imperial dynasties.
The face is wide at the brows, which are framed by locks of hair combed forward at top and sides; behind these locks, the back and top of the head are summarily worked, indicating that the sculpture was intended to be seen frontally. The head was made to be inserted in a bust or, more probably, a full-length statue, which would have been some 10 feet tall. The shape of the visage, the coiffure, even the close-shaven face—reintroduced by Constantine after the stubble beards of the Tetrarchy—are all aspects of the effort to evoke the memories of the great rulers of the empire. The particular emphasis on the emulation of Trajan in art and coinage, pointed out by M. R. Alfoldi (1963), clearly determined the form of the portrait in the present image. The long face, the heroic scale, and the upward-gazing eyes conform with innovations in the numismatic portraiture that coincide with the beginning of Constantine’s sole reign, after the defeat and death of Licinius in 324-325. The.subject appears slightly younger than he does in the provincial bronze portrait from Nis (no. 10), which is probably slightly later in date.
In the Giustiniani collection at Rome by the seventeenth century, the head was installed in the nineteenth century in the courtyard of the Palazzo Giustiniani as Inv. 332, identified as Nero.
The head is in a perfect state of preservation, with traces of gilding on the ears and eyes; pupils and irises are modeled in gold. The outline of the neck terminal suggests the head was intended for a statue in armor. The head is frontal, with projecting ears, hair combed forward under a diadem which has a double row of widely spaced pearls and a central jewel. The hair is unworked above the diadem.
The oblong shape of the head resembles the later portraits of Constantine, such as the colossal marble in Rome (no. 11), more than the early- or middle-period works such as no. 9, where the face is wedge-shaped, widest at the brows, on a Julio- Claudian model.
The diadem appears on coins in 324 (M. R. Alfoldi, 1963, p. 93), and the coin portrait types confirm a date in the later 320s. The execution of the head has a provincial flavor, evident in the summary treatment of the surfaces and in the low arch of hair under the diadem, quite unlike any other portrayal of Constantine’s forehead.
Discovered in 1900 at Naissus (Nis, Yugoslavia), the birthplace of Constantine, together with some of his coins, and fragments of bronze chariot ornaments.
Front parts of the head and neck of a fragmentary colossus, other fragments of which can be assembled into the following parts of a human body: right arm and hand, grasping a (missing) staff; right leg from knee downward, including foot; left leg below knee, and left foot. Parts of the chest and a shoulder remain behind the apse on the site. The position of the left foot, with heel raised, confirms that these are parts of a seated figure of an emperor (a metal crown was attached to the brow); marble was used to portray the exposed flesh area, while other parts were executed in colored materials, probably stone, which have been lost. The original statue was over 30 feet high, six times life size.
No modern scholar has challenged the identification of this figure as Constantine the Great, but the date of the work is much in dispute. Its discovery inside, not just close to, the Roman basilica begun by Maxentius and completed by Constantine after Maxentius’ death, has recently been confirmed by Buddensieg (1962), and has encouraged a number of scholars (Kahler, 1952; M. R. Alfoldi, 1963) to link this portrait with the immediate period of Constantine’s capture of Rome, 311-315. Yet the form and style of the portrait conform rather to the new coin types introduced at the vicennalia and to likenesses of the mid-320s, such as nos. 9,
10, as Delbrueck (1933) maintained, and not to the heads introduced on the Arch of Constantine (no. 58).
Furthermore, as Calza (1972) has pointed out, while the Calendar of 354 tells us that Constantine completed the basilica, we have no evidence of when it was completed; a dedication at the time of the vicennalia would be fully in accord with the archaeological evidence.
Harrison (1967), who supports dating the head to the 320s, has argued that the head and hand are in different marble and different technique from the other fragments, possibly as the result of reuse of a second-century colossus in the basilica—just as Trajanic, Hadrianic, and Antonine reliefs were incorporated into Constantine’s arch by recutting of the imperial heads (fig. 9). Such a hypothesis does not affect the attribution or date of this portrait head.
Found in the ruins of the west apse of the “Basilica Nova” at the Roman Forum in 1486 and conveyed to the Capitol between April and September of that year.
Although the surface is abraded, the statuette is intact. It depicts an emperor, wearing a crown with solar rays, astride a horse, which advances with its left front leg; its tail touches its left rear leg. The emperor wears a togalike garment; the horse has saddle and bridle. The ruler represented must have lived in the period when the cult of Sol Invictus was significant in imperial propaganda, the half century before 325: the last examples of the “radiate crown” appear on gold medallions struck by Constantine and his sons in Nicomedia and Antioch in 326, after the death of Licinius (cf. Bruun, 1966, p. 42).
Constantine had continued to stress this solar cult and its imagery on his coinage throughout the period of his struggle with Licinius, long after the Edict of Milan had raised Christianity to legal equality with other religions. The statuette presumably reproduces an equestrian statue of Constantine from those years of conflict, before the fall of Licinius and the adoption of Christianity as the favored religion of the court (Noll, 1956- 1958). The statuette is probably the product of the locality in which it was found, although the rough workmanship and simplified forms also recall the bronze weights that preserved the tradition of Constantine’s image for centuries at the level of craft (no. 13). Just as the attributes shown on the weights continue to include pagan symbols long after the triumph of Christianity, the presence of solar symbolism here is no guarantee that the work was made before the official abandonment of that cult.
Globe in right hand with stump of broken cross; left hand rests on shield with projecting boss, christogram above right, and hatched hornlike form below, with ends terminating in goat heads.
This weight is one of a group from the late empire that portray the glories of Constantine the Great. The combination of attributes places the prototype at the crossroads of his life. He appears in the guise of Jupiter, but bears the Christian symbols of the globus cruciger and the christogram, as signs that the pagan era had been replaced by another one. The pagan aspects of the imagery are still evident on a bronze medallion struck at Rome in 326 (Bruun, 1966, no. 279), while the diadem first occurs in the imperial regalia in the mid-320s, as the radiate crown disappears (cf. no. 12).
This was a contingent of savage Teutonic warriors recruited on the Rhine frontier for the campaign that captured Italy in 311. Reliefs on the Arch of Constantine (no. 58) show them in battle first at the siege of Verona and then at the Milvian Bridge, where they were a key to Constantine’s victory. While the shield must reproduce that of this corps, it also reflects the report of Lactantius that Constantine, after his famous dream, ordered the initials of Christ painted on the shields of all his soldiers (De mortibus persecutorum 44).
If, on the other hand, its model was the colossal statue (no. 11) placed in the Basilica of Maxentius/Constantine (Calkins, 1968), the date is a decade or so later than the arch. In any case, various accretions suggest that the model was modified perhaps a century later.
This is one of five weights of the same type in various museums (Ross , 1959, p. 180). All reproduce the same basic model, but vary in the shield design and in that only two have traces of the cross surmounting the globe. While the recorded provenance of most of these is Eastern, the ultimate model was not necessarily a statue in the Eastern Empire (cf. Deichmann, 1960); in addition to this weight, the one in Dumbarton Oaks is also assigned a Western origin.
Notable is the coiffure, which shows tight ringlets over the forehead but long tresses swept back over the ears, gathered into a plait, and brought forward over the top of the head: this is the Scheitelzopf introduced by empresses around the middle of the third century (cf. no. 363), and still worn by the empresses of the First Tetrarchy (Calza, 1972, no. 23).
Although this head has been identified with Helena by Vermeule (, 1964) partly on the basis of the coiffure, it does not belong with the group of likenesses convincingly identified by Calza (1972, nos. 80-86) as this empress. On the other hand, there seems little reason to date the head to the turn of the century (as von Sydow, 1969, does); its style is in conformity with what we know of imperial portraiture of the early 320s.
The profile resembles that shown on the coins of Fausta more closely than those of any other of the ladies of the Tetrarchal or early Constantinian courts: in addition to the hairdo, we see the same regular features, the almost straight nose, the small mouth, and the distinctive eyebrow curving gently upward, then steeply downward at the bridge of the nose (Calza, 1972, pi. lxxxvi, figs. 301-304, pi. lxxxviii, figs. 311, 312). Fausta’s beauty was often mentioned in contemporary panegyrics and even recalled by Julian the Apostate (Oratio 1. 9).
Married to Constantine in 307, Fausta gave him three sons and two daughters; since the first of them, Constantine II, was born in 316, she probably married very young, but the age of this head does not seem too mature to fit her chronology. All coins bearing her image give the title Augusta (conferred in 324), but on none of them—unlike Helena—does she wear the diadem (Bruun, 1966, p. 45); hence, the absence of a diadem on this portrait cannot be used to date the work to before her elevation.
Acquired in Rome.
Though the head has sustained numerous minor losses, including tip of nose, and parts of lips, ears, and diadem, it is largely intact. In some areas traces of red color are preserved, as at corners of mouth and on diadem. The head was made for insertion in a statue, perhaps mantled. The back and top of the head are very summarily worked. A young emperor is portrayed, looking out with straightforward, calm gaze under arched, lightly carved eyebrows. The pupils and irises are incised; the hair is combed forward from under diadem with double row of pearls; locks of hair are distinguished by delicate striations. The modeling is soft and naturalistic.
The coiffure and diadem—of the type inaugurated by Constantine in about 325—place the subject within Constantine’s family, while the particular features and introspective gaze seem closest to the likeness of his youngest son, Constans (Delbrueck, 1933). While most of Constans’ portraits are fuller of face (e.g., Louvre [Calza, 1972, no. 234]), the essential traits of this portrait are similar and distinctive within the group; the subject here is younger, perhaps shown at about the time of his accession in 337, when he was at most seventeen years old.
The style is characteristic of the last phase of Constantinian classicism, when models were no longer being sought in the stern Augustan- Trajanic tradition, but in the more subtly modeled, emotional style of the Antonines. The lower part of the face shows this subtlety, particularly in the undulations of the mouth; there is a similar treatment of surfaces on a head, probably of the youthful Constantius II, acquired in Aleppo and now in the University Museum, Philadelphia (Calza, 1972, no. 210). If we contrast the flesh areas on these heads.with the firm surfaces of the Louvre head of Constans, found in Rome, we have probably distinguished a stylistic difference which is geographic, not temporal, in its basis.
Formerly in a private collection in Istanbul.
Round plate engraved with circular bands of floral and geometric ornament and inscription, surrounding medallion with profile portrait bust; traces of niello and gilding in all zones. Generally good condition, but one plugged repair in upper left field; rivets of modern hanging device penetrate at top (for reverse side, see Delbrueck, 1933, p. 145, fig. 43). Back inscribed with modern weight, and punched letters С VC (Matzulevitch, 1929, p. 107, n. 1).
Outer band has strigil ornament; next inner zone contains inscription: D(omini) N(ostri) const anti avgvsti (ivy leaf) votis (ivy leaf) xx (ivy leaf): “To our lord Constantius Augustus, vows for twenty [more] years of reign.” The next inner band has a vine rinceau, while the inner medallion shows a young man in right profile, wearing the chlamys fastened over a tunic with a three-jeweled fibula at his right shoulder; his laurel crown is fastened behind, where long hair falls at nape of neck.
The date indicated by the inscription would be that of the vicennalia of Constantius II, which began in a.d. 343 on the nineteenth anniversary of his nomination—at the age of seven—to the rank of Caesar after the defeat of Licinius in 324 (cf. no. 8). The portrait, while generalized and roughly executed, fits well enough with the routine coin types issued in his name in the 340s (cf. Calza, 1972, pi. civ).
This plate is one of three found late in the last century in graves in the fourth- to fifth-century necropolis of Panticapeum in the Crimea, near the modern Kertch. One of the others is almost identical, surely the product of the same workshop (Calza, 1972, no. 219), while the third represents the adventus of the emperor on horseback (Calza, 1972, no. 220). All three are representative of imperial largitiones: the widespread practice in late antiquity of lavish gifts to dependents, allies, and neighbors in commemoration of special occasions, such as anniversaries. Most modern scholars agree with Matzulevitch’s (1929) thesis that all three of these plates were made locally in the Crimea.
Profile bust of the emperor facing left, his breast bare, hair brushed forward under a diadem with a double row of pearls and central jewel; hair in long curls at the nape of the neck. The face is mature and full-fleshed, the nose hooked, the mouth small and pursed, with a distinctive puff of flesh at corner, the eye enlarged under a strong
brow. This is one of several gems portraying the same member of the Constantinian house (Calza, 1972, nos. 214—216), all identifiable by comparison with coin profiles as Constantius II. Given the apparent age of its subject, the gem would have been made during his period as sole Augustus, 350-361.
There is a further resemblance to the profile on another, larger amethyst, in the British Museum (Calza, 1972, no. 144), which has a different conformation of the cheek and mouth and a diadem more familiar from the Theodosian period (Richter, 1971, pp. 123-124). This is in turn similar, as are the other gems of this group, to the powerful colossal bronze head in the Museo del Palazzo dei Conservatori in Rome (Calza, 1972, no. 143). While all of these works were long identified with Constantius II (see L’Orange, 1933; Delbrueck, 1933), recently M. R. Alfoldi (1963) and Calza (1972, pp. 231-234) have distinguished the bronze head and the London gem from the others as former images of Constantine the Great that served as prototypes for the portraiture of the son. While all of these works exemplify a stylistic outgrowth of late Constantinian classicism, it would seem that the bronze and the gems cited have more in common with one another than any of them have with the securely established portraiture of the latter years of Constantine’s reign. They belong not to him but to his successors.
The head is in an extremely fine state of preservation : minor abrasions include chip off the left side of the nose; the left rim of the hair over the brow bears a chip. Some breaks have occurred in rims of both ears; there are some chisel scratches on the back of the head, which is roughly worked. The fold of the tunic around the back of the neck suggests that the head was to be mounted in a bust or statue. Skin surfaces are highly polished, but the hair left rough and strongly contrasted in texture; eyebrows are scratched into supraorbital ridges, to provide light-refracting surfaces similar to those of the hair.
The use of sharply contrasted textures, including gemlike surfaces, is characteristic of the new classicizing style of the later fourth century; the compact spherical shape and reduced scale also conform to the same post-Constantinian phase. Reduced scale, like the colossal, is rare, if not unknown, in private portraits of the time; hence, as the owner perceptively suggests, the subject should be sought among the younger members of the Valentinian or Theodosian families.
The head portrays a young boy with upturned nose, a smile slightly twisting upward to his left, his gaze slightly to the right. Among the numerous juniors of these interlocked families, the owner finds only one who has coin types that show the same distinctive snub-nosed profile: Gratian (cf. Delbrueck, 1933, pi. 14). The likeness seems to share its general conformation with that of the battered head in Trier also of Gratian, which is dated about 380 (Delbrueck, 1933, pis. 90-91). This more youthful head in Geneva would depict the same person at an earlier age; Gratian was given imperial rank in 369, at the age of ten, and was raised to Augustus in 375; he died in 383.
Said to have been found in Istanbul.
The bust is encircled by a laurel wreath whose lower part is broken off in front. There are chisel marks on right brow, cheek, neck, and shoulder, but otherwise the bust is well preserved, with traces of gilding. No solder or rivet holes, so most likely its use would have been as a finial of a military standard or similar emblem.
The subject is a youthful emperor, wearing diadem with double row of large pearls and central jewel; chlamys fastened at right shoulder with large rectangular fibula. The eyes have deeply cut pupils but no indication of iris; the hair frames the brow under the diadem in regular, striated locks, with longer locks in front of ears. The head is long and narrow, shoulders are sloping, and upper torso is rounded, almost hemispherical: this inorganic, elegant physical form is typical of the depiction of the human figure in the Theodosian period.
In fact the entire bust strongly resembles those of the imperial figures on the silver Missorium of Theodosius in Madrid, dated to about 388 (no. 64), especially that of Valentinian II, younger brother of Gratian, who died in 392. Coins confirm this identification (Delbrueck, 1933, pi. 14). Delbrueck noted that Theodosius conducted a campaign against his rival Maximus in Pannonia in 388—a likely occasion for the loss of a standard in that province.
Found in Pannonia (Hungary); in the Horvath collection, Pecs, until 1912.
The half-life-size statuette of an empress is diademed and stands with right leg slightly advanced. Her left hand holds a diptych to the side; her lower right arm was forward but is now missing. The head has been broken off and replaced, slightly shortening the neck; drapery at throat and shoulder is roughly treated, presumably because covered by necklace. Ornaments (of glass?) probably decorated clavi of dalmatic on line of left leg; missing right foot may have been of red stone. Front of statuette is highly polished, but simply worked on rear. The fine-grained white marble was thought by Delbrueck (1933) to be Parian.
The costume consists of a tunic, covered by the long dalmatic, with a palla over all, wound across the body leaving right arm free. All fabrics are light and fine, giving intricate folds and wrinkles across the body. By contrast, the head is treated formally and broadly, with simplified surfaces and strongly delineated features, such as the deep-set, large eyes under heavy brows, the straight, almost flat nose, and the small mouth.
The headdress is again the Scheitelzopf of the Tetrarchy—which misled Delbrueck (1933) into identifying the subject as Helena—now revived at the end of the fourth century in a variant form: the hairdress does not surmount a fringe of ringlets or waves but a carefully combed roll that carries the diadem with double row of large jewels and a central jewel which was probably also added separately, but is now lost. This type of diadem developed out of the Constantinian form in the second half of the fourth century.
Given the far more elegant execution of the sculpture, the treatment of the hair is remarkably close to that of the Budapest bronze bustlet of Valentinian II (no. 19), which would be closely contemporary; the eye is delineated identically as well. As Calza (1972) remarks, the head also holds intriguing anticipations of the geometry and textures of the Barletta colossus (no. 23); but this is a forecast of things to come, not a sign of close filiation.
The profile conforms to the coin types of Aelia Flacilla, empress of Theodosius the Great. While details like the diptych she holds suggest that the statuette commemorates her inauguration as Augusta in 379, there is no reason the portrait could not have been made later, even posthumously after her death in 386.
Found in Cyprus, the statuette was given to the French state by its owner in 1846.
The head is approximately half life-size; it is of fine-grained marble, broken at top of neck with fracture angling upward to nape of neck. The original surface was evidently matte. The head has a number of chips: across right eyebrow; over left eyebrow extending up into hairline; in left upper eyelid; in upper edge of headband above left eye; and in nose. Small cracks run from bridge of nose to inner corner of right eye; from central hole in headband to inner corner of right eye; and between holes on right side of head. In addition, small, irregular incised lines mark the crown of the head, apparently not part of the original design. Five small holes are drilled in upper edge of headband; three retain small amounts of lead solder, indicating a metal addition to the crown, either a wreath (Vermeule , 1964, pp. 104-105) or, more probably, a central jewel and sun rays (Delbrueck, 1951).
The slightly asymmetrical compression of the left side of the face suggested to Delbrueck (1951) that this was one of a group, with Theodosius I as central figure and his elder son, Arcadius, in the place of honor on his left; such a group would have been made before Theodosius death in January 395, and most probably during 394, when Arcadius and Honorius shared the consulship. The physiognomy—particularly the nose— as well as the delicate form and style place the subject within the Theodosian house in any case, and the best resemblance is with Honorius; the same person is shown a few years older on the Rothschild cameo in Paris, generally assumed to have been made for Honorius marriage in 398 (Delbrueck, 1933, pi. 105).
The head was acquired in New York City in 1937 by W. R. Valentiner, who donated it to the Detroit Institute of Arts.
Ed. Weitzmann K. Age of Spirituality