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Case X 50. Heads of Medusa, Minerva, etc. The amethyst head of Medusa in the centre, winged and intertwined with serpents, is of exceptional size and brilliancy for this material.
Case X 51. Portraits, chariot groups, etc. In the middle is a large sardonyx portrait of Julia, daughter of Augustus, partially idealised as Diana. [The pale sard background is modern.] Case X 52. Roman portraits, etc.
(1595.) Head of Messalina, wife of Claudius. Row c. (1610.) The combined heads of Trajan and his wife Plotina.
(1581.) Fragment in sard of an emperor (perhaps Tiberius), wearing an oak wreath. A small fragment of what must once have been a splendid work.
Bust of Caracalla. A characteristic portrait.
Row d. Fragment from a vessel of rock crystal, with a part of the figure of a dancing Maenad. A piece of the rim of the vase is preserved above the Maenad's head.
Busts of Julia, the daughter of Augustus, partly idealised, and wearing the helmet and aegis of Minerva, and of Livia, the stepmother of Julia, side by side. [The ground is modern.]
Below is a late Roman cameo (1687), with a figure of Victory carrying the bust of an empress (?).
Case X 53. Roman portraits, etc.
Row b. A small fragment of a once splendid cameo contains a figure of Livia as Ceres, enthroned, seated on a cornucopia held up by the hand of a figure now lost, probably Tiberius.
In the centre is (1560) the splendid bust of Augustus wearing the aegis, formerly in the Strozzi and Blacas collections. It should be observed that the gold diadem is probably mediaeval, and that the stones set in it are of trifling merit. Originally the hair was bound with the plain fillet, of which the ends are seen behind the head.
Row d. (1589.) A head of Germanicus has the signature, probably genuine, of Epitynchanos.
Two cameos, one (1561) the head of Augustus, the other of a boy, in beautiful sixteenth century settings of gold and enamel.
Case X 54–56. Miscellaneous cameos.
Case X 54. In the centre, a fine head of Claudius, laureate, in plasma, acquired in 1912. Smaller cameos of Venus, Cupids, etc.
Cupid leading the panthers that draw the chariot of Bacchus. Signed by Sostratos.
Case X 55. Four fine cameos, acquired in 1899 at the sale of the Marlborough collection, including:
Sardonyx cameo. Two busts, confronted, of Jupiter Ammon and Isis. The Ammon wears the aegis, and an oak wreath, and has the ram's horn on his temple. The Isis has a wreath of corn and poppies, and her mantle has the special Isiac fringe and knot.
It is probable that the heads are those of a Roman emperor and empress, but there is no authority for the names of Didius Julianus (who only reigned 64 days) and Manlia Scantilla, formerly assigned to the portraits. This cameo ranks fourth amongst those now extant in respect of size. The extreme flatness of the treatment is due to the artist's desire to make use of the coloured layer of the material. Chalcedony cameo, worked in the round.
Apotheosis of Marciana, the sister of Trajan. Her half-length figure is borne up on the back of a peacock. Rows f, g.
Miscellaneous subjects, actors, masks, etc. Case X 56. Mottoes and devices-e.g. in rowa, a hand twitching an ear, and the motto “Remember’; row c, “They say what they like. Let them say. I care not.'
At the ends of the central case are objects of the Roman period, in hard materials and gems, such as agate, chalcedony, onyx, crystal, etc.
PASTES. The frames which are placed in the windows contain a series of glass pastes, ancient and modern. The pastes (Italian pasta, a piece of dough) are casts in glass from gems or from clay moulds made for the purpose.
For the most part probably they were employed innocently as cheap imitations of favourite and costly engraved gems. Pliny speaks of 'glass gems from the rings of the multitude. Also, no doubt, they were occasionally used for purposes of fraud, and in another passage he speaks of imitations by lying glass (mendacio vitri). The middle and right hand windows contain ancient pastes. The left hand window has a selection of modern pastes made in the eighteenth century by James Tassie, the publisher of a very extensive series of pastes taken from gems in public and private collections.
Cases A-H (upper part). A series of fresco paintings from Pompeii, Herculaneum, and elsewhere, of the period of the early Roman Empire.
[On leaving the Gold Ornament Room we return to the Room of Greek and Roman Life. The Roman terracottas and miscellaneous antiquities in the South Wing have already been described above, p. 125.]
THE ROOM OF GREEK AND
SUBJECT:-OBJECTS ILLUSTRATING THE DAILY
LIFE OF THE ANCIENTS.
The central portion of the room is devoted to a collection of objects grouped in such a way as to illustrate the public and private life of the Greeks and Romans. The objects are therefore brought together in respect of their purpose or subject-matter, and not with reference to their material or period. The objects illustrating the public life and institutions of the ancients are on the West side of the central gangway, or the left on entering from the Terracotta Room. Objects illustrating private and domestic life, and the arts and sciences, are on the East side. We deal first with the public group and next with the private group.
Wall-cases 94, 95. Marriage. A diminutive vase with scenes of a marriage, and of Eros visiting the lady, is a model of the loutrophoro8, the vase in which water was brought for the bridal bath. The fifth century vase, No. 45, represents the mystical marriage ceremony between the god Dionysos and the Basilinna, the wife of the Archon Basileus, at Athens.
The gold ring (No. 48) with clasped hands is a Roman betrothal ring. The sarcophagus relief represents the Roman nuptial ceremony of joining hands. The gods that personify valour, success, and fortune are shown as in attendance. The same action is shown below on the sepulchral chest of Vernasia Cyclas (No. 49).
Wall-cases 96, 97. Inscriptions relating to dedications. No. 52 is the dedication of a slave, Kleogenes, to Poseidon, dedication to a deity being the Greek process of enfranchisement. No. 53 is a list of dedicated objects in the Parthenon, about 400 B.C. It contains detailed entries such as “the larger gold necklace, set with gems, having twenty rosettes, and a ram's head pendant.' No. 54 is a list of garments (often stated to be in rags) dedicated to Artemis Brauronia, whose shrine was on the Athenian Acropolis.
Wall-cases 98-106. Religion and Superstition.
88*. A pedestal of a statue, with an inscription to the effect that it was restored whether sacred to god or goddess'-a parallel to the altar, inscribed with a dedication to an unknown god,' that caught the eye of St. Paul when he was viewing the sculptures of Athens.
Wall-cases 98-99 contain sacrificial implements, Etruscan pronged forks for drawing sacrificial meat from the caldron, and the like. Here also are various objects illustrative of ancient religion.
* More fully described in the Guide to the Exhibition illustrating Greek and Roman Life, 1908 (with 242 illustrations), ls. 6d.
The small alabaster figure of a goddess (No. 88) is curious. The mouth and breasts are pierced, evidently to allow some fluid, such as milk or wine, to flow from them when required.
No. 89 is a representation on a vase, from Cameiros in Rhodes, showing the twin brethren, Castor and Pollux, descending from heaven to take part in the Theoxenia, a feast in honour of the two gods, symbolised by the vacant couch on which they are invited to recline. With this should be compared the cast of a votive relief from Larissa in the Louvre. The Dioscuri are galloping in the air, and Victory holds out a wreath. Below are a couch, a table with food, an altar, and two worshippers.
Among the dedications are fragments of a large vase of black ware inscribed with a dedication by one Phanes, who appears to be the person of whom Herodotus (iii., 4 and 11) relates that being a mercenary under Amasis, the then king of Egypt, he deserted to join the Persian army of Cambyses, then on its way to invade Egypt. When the two hostile armies were drawn up for battle, the other Greek mercenaries, who had remained true to Egypt, took the children of Phanes, whom he
FORIVNALAVCI had left behind, shed their blood into a
PROSALVI FEIREDIV large vase within sight of their father,
DOMINORVMNE and, after adding wine and water to the
SEVERI Pil: ET. vase, drank of it. From Naucratis.
ANIONINI PILAVC A historical tragedy of the Roman
ETIVLIAE AVG MATRIS Empire is recalled by an inscription AVCE dedicated to the Imperial Fortune, for ANTONIVS. LIB: the safety and return of Septimius PROXIMV SALIBIILIS: Severus, his wife, and his two sons,
VOIO SVSCEPÍO, Caracalla and Geta. After the murder
DO D6 of Geta by Caracalla (cf. p. 111), the name of Geta was struck out, as in this instance, from all inscriptions throughout
Fig. 59. the Empire. (Fig. 59, C. I. L. vi. 180 6.)
Wall-cases 100-101. Casts of two curious votive tablets (811, 812) with representations of objects of the toilet. The original tablets, which are exhibited in the Hall of Inscriptions, were found at Slavochori, a place which is believed to be the site of the ancient Amyclae near Sparta.
Pausanias (ii., 20, 4) mentions a town near Amyclae called Bryseae, where was a temple of Dionysos which none but women were permitted to enter, and where women only performed the sacrifices. It is not improbable that these votive tablets were originally dedicated in this temple, and thence brought to Slavochori. It was a common custom among the Greeks to dedicate articles of female attire and toilet in the temple of goddesses.
811 is a tablet dedicated by Anthusa, the daughter of Damai netos. Within a raised wreath numerous objects connected with the toilet are sculptured in relief :- In the centre is a bowl inscribed
like a cap
with the dedication. Round this bowl are ranged such objects as a mirror, a comb, a small box with a lid containing three little circular boxes, which probably held paints, two pairs of shoes, a small mortar containing a pestle, shaped like a bent thumb, a scraper, a small oval box with a lid, which probably held a sponge, and a conical object
812 is a tablet dedicated by a priestess called Claudia Ageta. In the centre is a bowl inscribed with the name of the priestess, and round it are numerous objects connected with the toilet, such as a shell to hold unguents, two mirrors, two combs, a small oval tray with a lid, containing a sponge, a net for the hair, a strigil, two pairs of shoes, a small mortar (in which is a pestle like a bent thumb),
and a small oblong box with a lid, into which are fitted six little circular boxes.
These cases also contain a series of small votive shrines, with figures of deities, in cheap materials such as lead or terracotta. No 97, from Amathus in Cyprus, shows a conical sacred stone, decorated with sashes and standing in a shrine.
Case 102. Small votive altars, etc.
Cases 103-106 are mainly filled with votive dedications. Among them are: 62. A set of marble reliefs dedicated by women, Eutychis, Olympias and others, to Zeus the Highest (Hypsistos) at the Pnyx of Athens. They are representations of parts of the human body, and were no doubt dedicated as thankofferings for cures effected in the respective organs. Other votive reliefs with parts of the human body are shown in marble, bronze, and terracotta. Among them is a curious representation of the internal organs. 67. An offering made by two brothers, Philombrotos and Aphthonetos, of plaited locks of hair, dedicated in sculptured marble