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The inscription opens Πολειταργούντων Σωσιπάτρου κ.τ.λ. It gives the names of six Politarchs, together with a steward and gymnasiarch.
A cast of an inscription forbidding gentiles to approach within the railing of the inner enclosure of the temple at Jerusalem, on pain of death (Acts xxi. 28, 29; Josephus, de Bello Jud. v. 5, 2).
A Greek inscription (4th to 5th cent. A.d.) from Mount Hermon, with the warning, 'Hence, by order of the God, those who do not take the oath'; probably referring to an oath taken before celebrating the mysteries in honour of Baal-Hermon, whose temple stood on the mount.
This room also contains sculptures, mainly of a decorative character and subordinate interest.
Beginning on the left of the entrance are :
1638. Statue of Ariadnè, the spouse of Bacchus, with Bacchic emblems.
1906. Statue of Marcus Aurelius, in civil costume. A feeble work, obtained by the British at the capitulation of Alexandria (1801).
2500. Marble vase (much restored) with a Bacchanalian dance of Maenads and Satyrs.
On the West wall are portrait busts of Greek philosophers. In most cases the suggested attributions are very conjectural, though the Demosthenes (1840) represents a well-known and authentic type.
On the North wall are:
1301. Statue of Nicocleia, from the temenos of Demeter at Cnidos (p. 15). The inscription on the base records that the statue was dedicated to Demeter, Persephone, and the gods beside Demeter,' by Nicocleia, in pursuance of a vow.
Sir C. Newton suggested alternatively that this figure might be a figure of Demeter sorrowing, and seeking for her daughter, or a priestess. The goddess searching for her daughter is described in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter as like an old unmarried woman, a nurse or housekeeper. It is, however, probable that the statue is a portrait of Nicocleia herself.
1895. Hadrian in armour. His cuirass is richly decorated with reliefs.
In the middle of this half of the room is :
2502. A large marble vase with reliefs representing Satyrs making wine. Found in the Villa of Hadrian at Tivoli.
In the right or East half of the room are :
A series of Roman sepulchral cippi, square urns with the sepulchral inscription surrounded by decorative sculpture, often of rich design. See, for example, the cippus (No. 2350) erected to Agria Agathè by her heirs (fig. 48).
1383. Portrait head of Cnaeus Cornelius Lentulus Marcellinus, with a base (originally connected with the head by a square pedestal), containing an inscription by the people of Cyrenè
in honour of Cornelius Lentulus, their patron and saviour. He seems to have obtained the latter title on account of his services when Pompey was engaged in the suppression of the pirates in 67 b.C.
On the south wall are portraits of Greek poets and others,
including (1833) a fine bust of Euripides; also (1944) a poor statue of Septimius Severus (?) from Alexandria ; and (1685) a figure of Thalia, the Muse of Comedy.
In the middle of this half of the room are :
1886. An equestrian statue, restored as the Emperor Caligula (A.D. 37-41), but probably a work of a later period; (1719), a seated Sphinx; (2131), a group of two dogs and other decorative subjects.
1721. A group of Mithras slaying the bull (compare p. 92), dedicated by one Alcimus, the slave bailiff of Livianus, who has been identified as an officer of Trajan, in fulfilment of a vow. A work of the second century A.D. (fig. 49).
On the South side of one of the square piers is a bust by Nollekens of Charles Townley, the collector of the principal Graeco-Roman sculptures.
[In order to visit the collections of smaller antiquities on the upper floor, the visitor must ascend the principal staircase, and turn to the right at the head of the stairs to enter the Room of Terracottas.
Near the head of the staircase are the collections of the remains of Roman civilisation, found in this country, and therefore forming a section of the Department of British and Mediaeval Antiquities).
ROOM OF TERRACOTTAS. *
SUBJECT: --GREEK AND ROMAN WORKS IN
The specimens in this room illustrate the art of working in terracotta (that is, 'baked clay ') as practised by the Greeks and Romans from the beginning of Greek art onwards to the time of the Roman Empire.
As might be expected from the nature of the material and the small scale of most of the works with which we are concerned, the terracottas show a slighter and often a more playful manner when compared with the formal and deliberate work of the sculptor in marble. It is to this fact that a collection of terracottas owes its special charm. The works individually are for the most part unimportant, and made half mechanically in great numbers, but it is seldom difficult to understand the intention of the artists or to sympathise with the grace and humour of their productions.
The smaller terracottas are, for the most part, derived from the tombs or from the shrines of certain divinities. In the tombs the original intention was probably to bury the terracottas as substitutes for more valuable offerings for the benefit of the dead, or as votive offerings to the gods of the lower world. But it is hard to see how this applies to the statuettes of a later time, such as those of Tanagra and Eretria, where the original intention must have been almost forgotten, and where the terracottas were buried, like the vases and ornaments, as part of the furniture of the tomb, but without any special significance. In some cases the objects buried must have been merely children's toys.
In the shrines of divinities the usual objects are of a votive character, consisting of figures of the divinity, or by the process of substitution already mentioned, representations in clay of acceptable offerings.
The principal methods employed are the following:
(1) Figures of men, horses, etc., are rudely modelled in soft clay rolled in the hands, as children work with dough, and roughly pinched to the desired shapes. This method has been named, with doubtful appropriateness, the snow-man style.'
(2) Figures are built up with clay and carefully worked like a sculptor's model. Figures thus made are comparatively rare, and are usually works of the larger and more individual kind.
* The Terracottas are described in the Catalogue of the Terracottas, by H. B. Walters (1903), (35s.). A copy can be borrowed from the attendant.