Giacobbe Giusti, Capitoline Venus, Capitoline Museums

Giacobbe Giusti, Capitoline Venus, Capitoline Museums

The Capitoline Venus (Capitoline Museums)

Giacobbe Giusti, Capitoline Venus, Capitoline Museums

Antonine copy of a late Hellenistic variant of Praxiteles‘ Cnidian Venus (4th century BC).

Giacobbe Giusti, Capitoline Venus, Capitoline Museums

The Capitoline Venus (Capitoline Museums).

The Capitoline Venus is a type of statue of Venus, specifically one of several Venus Pudica (modest Venus) types (others include the Venus de’ Medici type), of which several examples exist. The type ultimately derives from the Aphrodite of Cnidus. The Capitoline Venus and her variants are recognisable from the position of the arms—standing after a bath, Venus begins to cover her breasts with her right hand, and her groin with her left hand.

This original of this type (from which the following copies derive) is thought to be a lost 3rd- or 2nd-century BCE variation on Praxiteles’ work from Asia Minor, which modifies the Praxitelean tradition by a carnal and voluptuous treatment of the subject and the goddess’s modest gesture with both hands—rather than only one over the groin, in Praxiteles’s original.

Principal example

The Capitoline Venus is a slightly over lifesize[1] marble statue of Venus. It is an Antonine copy of a late Hellenistic sculpture that ultimately derives from Praxiteles(Helbig 1972:128–30).

It was found on the Viminal Hill during the pontificate of Clement X (1670–76) in the gardens belonging to the Stazi near San Vitale.[2]Pope Benedict XIV purchased it from the Stazi family in 1752 and gave it to the Capitoline Museums,[3] where it is housed in a niche of its own—called “the cabinet of Venus”—on the first floor of the Palazzo Nuovo on the Campidoglio.

The statue was on loan to the United States and was shown in the rotunda of the West Building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. from June 8 to September 18, 2011.[4]

Its reputation vis-a-vis the Venus de’ Medici in Florence grew only slowly, according to Haskell and Penny, fueled in part as a negative sensitivity to extensive restorations began to undermine the Florentine Venus. It was triumphantly removed to Paris by Napoleon under the terms of the Treaty of Tolentino; the Emperor commissioned a marble replica from Joseph Chinard, now at the Château de Compiègne. When the original was returned to the Capitoline Museums in 1816,[5]the plaster cast that had replaced it during the Napoleonic era was shipped to Britain, where John Flaxman praised it to his students (Haskell and Penny 1981:319).

Giacobbe Giusti, Capitoline Venus, Capitoline Museums

Giacobbe Giusti, Capitoline Venus, Capitoline Museums

Other copies

External video


Giacobbe Giusti, Capitoline Venus, Capitoline Museums


Capitoline Venus in in Washington, D.C. - 4.jpg
Capitoline VenusSmarthistory[6]
Giacobbe Giusti, Capitoline Venus, Capitoline Museums

A 2nd-century copy of a 4th-century BCE original by Praxiteles, at the National Archaeological Museum, Athens.[7]

About 50 copies of Venus Pudica are extant, with most of them displayed in Europe.[6]

  • The Aphrodite of Menophantos was found at the Camaldolese monastery of San Gregorio al Celio. It bears the signature[8] of Menophantos, a Greek sculptor, apparently of the 1st century BCE, of whom nothing more is known. The Camaldolese coenobites occupy the ancient church and monastery of S. Gregorii in Clivo Scauri founded by Pope Gregory the Great on his own family property, on the slope (clivus) of the Caelian Hill about 580. His foundation was dedicated in honor of the apostle Andrew. By the 10th century Gregory’s name was appended to that of the apostle, whom he eventually supplanted.[9] The sculpture came into the possession of prince ChigiJohann Joachim Winckelmann described this sculpture in his Geschichte der Kunst des Altertums (vol V, ch. II).[10]
  • The Campo Iemini Venus, another sculpture of the same model, was unearthed in the spring of 1792 among other sculptures in the excavation of a Roman villa at Campo Iemini, near Torvaianica, in Lazio. The dig was directed by the English dealer in Roman antiquities Robert Fagan(1761–1816) under the patronage of Prince Augustus, the Duke of Sussexin partnership with Sir Corbet Corbet of the British Museum. At the time of its discovery the English in particular found it superior to the Capitoline Venus. After restoration in Rome it was shipped to London, where Prince Augustus gave it to his brother the Prince Regent, who set it up at Carlton House. After his death, when Carlton House was replaced by a terrace of houses, William IV donated it to the British Museum.
  • A 2nd-century Roman copy of Parian marble was found at Baiae.
  • A version of Venus Pudica was also found in Hadrian Baths at Leptis Magna. The Hadrianic Baths were excavated in the 1920s, and the Lepcitanian copy of the Capitoline Venus was taken away to Europe by Benito Mussolini, who gave it to the Nazi-leaderHermann Göring. The statue graced the bedroom of his country estate near BerlinCarinhall. It was returned to Libya in 1999. and today, it is in the National Archaeological Museum in Tripoli.
  • Another armless copy of Capitoline Venus, kept at Jamahiriya Museum, Tripoli, Libya.
  • One variant is kept at the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg,[11] as well as the similar Venus Tauride.[12][13]
  • The Venus Landolina at the Syracuse Archeological Museum, Sicily. It is a headless Imperial Roman copy of a 2nd-century, similar to the Aphrodite Syracuse kept in Athens.
  • A 3rd century copy was found during archaeological excavations at Skupi, an ancient Roman town in Macedonia.
  • A 2nd to 3rd century Italian marble copy of Capitoline Venus is the result of connecting the lower part of an ancient body, a torso from the 16th century and an ancient face and the top of head. It was previously in the Borghese collection, and now kept at Louvre MuseumParis. Inv No. MR. 279 (Usual No Ma 369).
  • A copy of Capitoline Venus is held at Galleria degli Uffizi. It entered the Medici collections after a purchase from the Colonna family. The statue lacked arms, head and right leg. The Medici had it integrated by sculptor Silla in 1584 and the statue thus acquired its present aspect as a faithful reproduction of the Capitoline Venus.
  • A 2nd century copy of Capitoline Venus is held by the National Museum in Warsaw.
  • A headless statue of Capitoline Venus made in the 2nd-3rd century is held at the Naples Archaeological Museum.
  • A headless painted Roman period marble copy of Capitoline Venus of the 2nd century from Aphrodias, Asia Minor, was excavated by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (H: 159 cm; W: 60 cm).
  • A damaged ancient copy of Capitoline Venus is kept at Antalya Archaeological Museum.
  • A torso from white marble, 2nd century, unknown provenance at Museo Nazionale Romano: Terme di Diocleziano, inv. 2000656, Rome, Italy.
  • TA head from white marble, dated to the last quarter of the 1st century BCE — beginning of the 1st century CE, at Cremona, San Lorenzo Archaeological Museum. Origin: Cremona, p-zza Marconi.
  • A Roman period marble torso, similar to the Aphrodite Syracuse, held at the Cyprus Museum.


  1. Jump up^ 1.93 m (6 ft. 3 ¾ in.).
  2. Jump up^ According to the memoirs of the antiquarian Pietro Santi Bartoli noted in Haskell and Penny 1981:318).
  3. Jump up^ Accession number MC 0409
  4. Jump up^ National Gallery of Art. “A Masterpiece from the Capitoline Museum, Rome: The Capitoline Venus”
  5. Jump up^ Nancy Thomson de Grummond (11 May 2015). Encyclopedia of the History of Classical Archaeology. Routledge. pp. 240–241. ISBN 978-1-134-26854-2.
  6. Jump up to:a b “Capitoline Venus”Smarthistory at Khan Academy. Retrieved April 9, 2016.
  7. Jump up^ Illustration, National Archaeological Museum, Athens, gift of M. Embeirikos, 1924, acc. no. 3524; it is sometimes confused with a version of Antonio Canova‘s Venere Italica completed by Canova on behalf of the British connoisseur Thomas Hope (1769–1831), whose heirs sold it in 1917; Hope’s Venus is conserved at the Leeds Art Gallery (Hugh Honour, “Canova’s Statues of Venus”, The Burlington Magazine114 No. 835 (October 1972), pp. 658-671, esp. p. 667).
  8. Jump up^ “Apo tis en troadi afroditis minofantos epoiei”
  9. Jump up^ Christian Hülsen, Le Chiese di Roma nel Medio Evo: S. Gregorii in Clivo Scauri
  10. Jump up^ William Smith, A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, (1870) vol. II.1044.
  11. Jump up^ Atsma, Aaron.Of Type Capitoline Venus Theoi Project. Retrieved on May 13, 2008.
  12. Jump up^ Atsma, Aaron. “Tauride Venus“. Theoi Project. Retrieved on May 13, 2008.
  13. Jump up^ Aphrodite: Tauride Venus“. State Hermitage Museum. Retrieved on May 13, 2008.


  • Haskell, Francis and Nicholas Penny, 1981. Taste and the Antique: The Lure of Classical Sculpture 1500-1900. Yale University Press. Cat. no. 84.
  • Helbig, Wolfgang. Führer durch die öffentlichen Sammlungen klassischer Altertümer in Rome. 4th edition, 1963–72, vol. II.
  • Wilton, A. and I. Bignamini (editors.). Grand Tour: the lure of Italy in the eighteenth century London, Tate Gallery Publishing, 1996. no. 228, pp. 269–270. (the Campo Iemini Venus).





Giacobbe Giusti, Venere Landolina

Giacobbe Giusti, Venere Landolina

Aphrodite of the Syracuse type. Parian marble, Roman copy of the 2nd century CE after a Greek original of the 4th century BC; neck, head and left arm are restorations by Antonio Canova. Found at Baiae, Southern Italy.


Giacobbe Giusti, Venere Landolina

La Venus Pudica del Museo archeologico regionale di Siracusa, nota col nome di Venere Landolina dal nome dell’archeologo Saverio Landolina che la scoprì nel 1804. Si tratta di una copia romana del secolo II d.C. da un originale ellenistico.

Giacobbe Giusti, Venere Landolina


Venere Landolina.JPG
Autore sconosciuto
Data copia romana di un originale greco della prima metà del II secolo d.C.
Materiale marmo
Ubicazione Museo archeologico regionale Paolo OrsiSiracusa

La Venere Landolina è una scultura marmorea, copia romana di un originale greco della prima metà del I secolo a.C., conservata nel Museo archeologico regionale Paolo Orsi di Siracusa.

Storia e descrizione

La Venere Landolina di Siracusa venne rinvenuta in un ninfeo negli Orti Bonavia poi Giardino Spagna da Saverio Landolina Nava, nel 1804Bernabò Brea la lodò per l’eccellenza del modellato, lo squisito trattamento del nudo, di incredibile vivezza e morbidità“.[senza fonte]

La statua, una Venus pudica, si ispira, come le altre varianti del tema, all’Afrodite cnidia di Prassitele, con particolari similitudini con la Venere capitolina e la Venere de’ Medici (solo quest’ultima è un originale greco).

Del tipo landolino si conoscono varie copie, tra cui una completa della testa, ma di fattura più tarda, al Museo archeologico nazionale di Atene, che presenta un’acconciatura uguale a quella della Venere capitolina.

L’opera ritrae Venere al bagno, nella posizione pudica o, più probabilmente, una Venere Anadiomene, cioè nascente. Essa infatti si copre con la destra il seno, ruotando elegantemente la testa, e con la sinistra regge un panno calato sui fianchi (come la Venere di Milo), che si apre teatralmente gonfiato dal vento, rivelando le gambe della dea.

Evidente è la ricerca di una resa naturalistica e idealizzata del corpo femminile nudo, che all’epoca aveva messo in secondo piano i significati sacrali legati alla figura della dea nelle rappresentazioni anteriori.

Giacobbe Giusti, Venere Landolina

La versione del Museo archeologico nazionale di Atene

Maupassant e la Venere Landolina

Nel 1885 Guy de Maupassant effettuò un tour della Sicilia, passando anche da Siracusa dove visitò la Venere Landolina da poco ritrovata. Nel suo Viaggio in Sicilia[1] descrive la statua con commenti entusiasmanti:

« Penetrando nel museo, la scorsi subito in fondo ad una sala, e bella proprio come l’avevo immaginata.
Non ha la testa, le manca un braccio; mai tuttavia la forma umana mi è parsa più meravigliosa e più seducente.
Non è la donna vista dal poeta, la donna idealizzata, la donna divina o maestosa, come la Venere di Milo, è la donna così com’è, così come la si ama, come la si desidera, come la si vuole stringere.
È robusta, col petto colmo, l’anca possente e la gamba un po’ forte, è una Venere carnale che si immagina coricata quando la si vede in piedi. Il braccio caduto nascondeva i seni; con la mano rimasta, solleva un drappeggio col quale copre, con gesto adorabile, i fascini più misteriosi. Tutto il corpo è fatto, concepito, inclinato per questo movimento, tutte le linee vi si concentrano, tutto il pensiero vi confluisce. Questo gesto semplice e naturale, pieno di pudore e di impudicizia, che nasconde e mostra, che vela e rivela, che attrae e che fugge, sembra definire tutto l’atteggiamento della donna sulla terra.
Ed il marmo è vivo. Lo si vorrebbe palpeggiare, con la certezza che cederà sotto la mano, come la carne.
Le reni soprattutto sono indicibilmente animate e belle. Si segue, in tutto il suo fascino, la linea morbida e grassa della schiena femminile che va dalla nuca ai talloni, e che, nel contorno delle spalle, nelle rotondità decrescenti delle cosce e nella leggera curva del polpaccio assottigliato fino alle caviglie, rivela tutte le modulazioni della grazia umana.
Un’opera d’arte appare superiore soltanto se è, nello stesso tempo, il simbolo e l’esatta espressione di una realtà.
La Venere di Siracusa è una donna, ed è anche il simbolo della carne.
Dinnanzi al volto della Gioconda, ci si sente ossessionati da non so quale tentazione di amore snervante e mistico. Esistono anche donne viventi i cui occhi ci infondono quel sogno di tenerezza irrealizzabile e misteriosa. Si cerca in esse qualcos’altro dietro le apparenze, perché sembrano contenere ed esprimere un po’ di quell’ideale inafferrabile. Noi lo inseguiamo senza mai raggiungerlo, dietro tutte le sorprese della bellezza che pare contenere un pensiero, nell’infinito dello sguardo il quale è semplicemente una sfumatura dell’iride, nel fascino del sorriso nato da una piega delle labbra e da un lampo di smalto, nella grazia del movimento fortuito e dell’armonia delle forme.
Così i poeti, impotenti staccatori di stelle, sono sempre stati tormentati da una sete di amore mistico. L’esaltazione naturale di un animo poetico, esasperato dall’eccitazione artistica, spinge quegli esseri scelti a concepire una specie di amore nebuloso, perdutamente tenero, estatico, mai sazio, sensuale senza essere carnale, talmente delicato che un nonnulla lo fa svanire, irrealizzabile sovrumano. E questi poeti sono, forse, i soli uomini che non abbiano mai amato una donna, una vera donna in carne ossa, con le sue qualità di donna, i suoi difetti di donna, la sua mente di donna, ristretta ed affascinante, i suoi nervi di donna e la sua sconcertante femminilità.
Qualsiasi creatura davanti a cui si esalta il loro sogno diventa il simbolo di un essere misterioso, ma fantastico: l’essere celebrato da quei cantori di illusioni. E la creatura vivente da loro adorata è qualcosa come la statua dipinta, immagine di un dio di fronte al quale il popolo cade in ginocchio. Ma dov’è questo dio? Qual è questo dio? In quale parte del cielo abita la sconosciuta che quei pazzi, dal primo sognatore fino all’ultimo, hanno tutti idolatrata? Non appena essi toccano una mano che risponde alla stretta, la loro anima vola via nell’invisibile sogno, lontano dalla realtà della carne.
La donna che stringono, essi la trasformano, la completano, la sfigurano con la loro arte poetica. Non sono le sue labbra che baciano, bensì le labbra sognate. Non è in fondo agli occhi di lei, azzurri o neri, che si perde così il loro sguardo esaltato, è in qualcosa di sconosciuto e di inconoscibile. L’occhio della loro dea non è altro che un vetro attraverso cui essi cercano di vedere il paradiso dell’amore ideale.
Se tuttavia alcune donne seducenti possono dare alle nostre anime una così rara illusione, altri non fanno che eccitare nelle nostre vene l’amore impetuoso che perpetua la razza.
La Venere di Siracusa è la perfetta espressione della bellezza possente, sana e semplice. Questo busto stupendo, di marmo di Paros, è – dicono – La Venere Callipigia descritta da Ateneo e Lampridio, data da Eliogabalo ai siracusani.
Non ha testa! E che importa? Il simbolo non è diventato più completo. È un corpo di donna che esprime tutta l’autentica poesia della carezza.
Schopenhauer scrisse che la natura, volendo perpetuare la specie, ha fatto della riproduzione una trappola.
La forma di marmo, vista a Siracusa, è proprio l’umana trappola intuita dall’artista antico, la donna che nasconde rivela l’incredibile mistero della vita.
È una trappola? Che importa! Essa chiama la bocca, attira la mano, offre ai baci la tangibile realtà della carne stupenda, della carne soffice bianca, tonda e soda e deliziosa da stringere.
È divina, non perché esprima un pensiero, bensì semplicemente perché è bella. »


  1. ^ pagg. 127-129-131-133


  • Pierluigi De Vecchi ed Elda Cerchiari, I tempi dell’arte, volume 1, Bompiani, Milano 1999. ISBN 88-451-7107-8
  • Guy de Maupassant, Viaggio in Sicilia, Sigma edizioni.

Giacobbe Giusti, Sitting bull Louvre

Giacobbe Giusti, Sitting bull Louvre

Giacobbe Giusti, Sitting bull Louvre

Original file ‎(2,790 × 1,800 pixels, file size: 2.59 MB, MIME type: image/jpeg); ZoomViewer: flash/no flash


English: Sitting bull. Black marble (formerly inlaid), found in Warka (ancient city of Uruk), Djemdet-Nasr period (ca. 3000 BC).
Français : Statuette de taureau couché. Marbre noir originellement incrusté, découvert à Warka (ancienne cité d’Uruk), période de Djemdet-Nasr (v. 3000 av. J.-C.).
Dimensions H. 12.7 cm (5 in.), L. 22.2 cm (8 ½ in.), W. 8.6 cm (3 ¼ in.)
Department of Oriental Antiquities, Richelieu wing, ground floor, room 1a

Giacobbe Giusti, Aquila (Roman)

Giacobbe Giusti, Aquila (Roman)

Relief showing aquilla from the Arch of Claudius.

Giacobbe Giusti, Aquila (Roman)

Detail of the central breastplate relief on the statue of Augustus of Prima Porta shows the return of the Aquilae lost to the Parthians. The return of the eagles was one of Augustus’s notable diplomatic achievements

Giacobbe Giusti, Aquila (Roman)

Augusto di Prima Porta, il re Fraate IV dei Parti restituisce le insegne (l’aquila) dei Romani sottratte durante la sconfitta di Carre forse a Tiberio, affiancato da una lupa

Giacobbe Giusti, Aquila (Roman)

Aquila esposta al Museo archeologico nazionale d’Abruzzo a Chieti. L’aquila è stata rinvenuta nell’area archeologica di Amiternum, in occasione di scavi eseguiti nel corso degli anni settanta del Novecento. Fusione piena e ritoccata con bulino semicircolare.

Giacobbe Giusti, Aquila (Roman)

“The Reliefs of Trajan’s Column by Conrad Cichorius. Plate number LXXII: Arrival of Roman troops (Scene XCVIII); The emperor sacrifices by the Danube (Scene XCIX); Trajan receives foreign embassies” {Aquilla at the upper left}

Giacobbe Giusti, Aquila (Roman)

A modern reconstruction of an aquila

An aquila, or eagle, was a prominent symbol used in ancient Rome, especially as the standard of a Roman legion. A legionary known as an aquilifer, or eagle-bearer, carried this standard. Each legion carried one eagle.

The eagle was extremely important to the Roman military, beyond merely being a symbol of a legion. A lost standard was considered an extremely grave occurrence, and the Roman military often went to great lengths to both protect a standard and to recover it if lost; for example, see the aftermath of the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, where the Romans spent decades attempting to recover the lost standards of three legions.

No legionary eagles are known to have survived. However, a number of other Roman eagles, either symbolizing imperial rule or used as funeral emblems, have been discovered.[1]


The signa militaria were the Roman military ensignsor standards. The most ancient standard employed by the Romans is said to have been a handful (manipulus) of straw fixed to the top of a spear or pole. Hence the company of soldiers belonging to it was called a maniple. The bundle of hay or fern was soon succeeded by the figures of animals, of which Pliny the Elder (H.N. x.16) enumerates five: the eagle, the wolf, the ox with the man’s head, the horse, and the boar.[2][3] In the second consulship of Gaius Marius (104 BC) the four quadrupeds were laid aside as standards, the eagle (Aquila) alone being retained. It was made of silver, or bronze, with outstretched wings, but was probably of a relatively small size, since a standard-bearer (signifer) under Julius Caesar is said in circumstances of danger to have wrenched the eagle from its staff and concealed it in the folds of his girdle.[4]

Under the later emperors the eagle was carried, as it had been for many centuries, with the legion, a legion being on that account sometimes called aquila (Hirt. Bell. Hisp. 30). Each cohort had for its own ensign the serpent or dragon, which was woven on a square piece of cloth textilis anguis,[5] elevated on a gilt staff, to which a cross-bar was adapted for the purpose,[6] and carried by the draconarius.[7]

Another figure used in the standards was a ball (orb), supposed to have been emblematic of the dominion of Rome over the world;[8] and for the same reason a bronze figure of Victoria was sometimes fixed at the top of the staff, as we see it sculptured, together with small statues of Mars, on the Column of Trajan and the Arch of Constantine.[9] Under the eagle or other emblem was often placed a head of the reigning emperor, which was to the army an object of worship or veneration.[10]The name of the emperor, or of him who was acknowledged as emperor, was sometimes inscribed in the same situation.[11] The pole used to carry the eagle had at its lower extremity an iron point (cuspis) to fix it in the ground, and to enable the aquilifer in case of need to repel an attack.[12]

The minor divisions of a cohort, called centuries, also each had an ensign, inscribed with the number both of the cohort and of the century. This, together with the diversities of the crests worn by the centurions, enabled each soldier to take his place with ease.[13]

In the Arch of Constantine at Rome there are four sculptured panels near the top which exhibit a great number of standards and illustrate some of the forms here described. The first panel represents Trajan giving a king to the Parthians: seven standards are held by the soldiers. The second, containing five standards, represents the performance of the sacrifice called suovetaurilia.[14]

When Constantine embraced Christianity, a figure or emblem of Christ, woven in gold upon purple cloth, was substituted for the head of the emperor. This richly ornamented standard was called labarum.[15] The labarum is still used today by the Orthodox Church in the Sunday service. The entry procession of the chalice whose contents will soon become holy communion is modeled after the procession of the standards of the Roman army.

Giacobbe Giusti, Aquila (Roman)

Eagle and weapons from an Augustan-era funerary monument, probably that of Messalla (PradoMadrid)

Even after the adoption of Christianity as the Roman Empire’s religion, the Aquila eagle continued to be used as a symbol. During the reign of Eastern Roman EmperorIsaac I Komnenos, the single-headed eagle was modified to double-headed to symbolise the Empire’s dominance over East and West.

Since the movements of a body of troops and of every portion of it were regulated by the standards, all the evolutions, acts, and incidents of the Roman army were expressed by phrases derived from this circumstance. Thus signa inferre meant to advance,[16]referre to retreat, and convertere to face about; efferre, or castris vellere, to march out of the camp;[17]ad signa convenire, to re-assemble.[18] Notwithstanding some obscurity in the use of terms, it appears that, whilst the standard of the legion was properly called aquila, those of the cohorts were in a special sense of the term called signa, their bearers being signiferi, and that those of the manipuli or smaller divisions of the cohort were denominated vexilla, their bearers being vexillarii. Also, those who fought in the first ranks of the legion, in front of the standards of the legion and cohorts, were called antesignani.[19]

In military stratagems it was sometimes necessary to conceal the standards.[20]Although the Romans commonly considered it a point of honour to preserve their standards, in some cases of extreme danger the leader himself threw them among the ranks of the enemy in order to divert their attention or to animate his own soldiers.[21] A wounded or dying standard-bearer delivered it, if possible, into the hands of his general,[22] from whom he had received it signis acceptis.[23]

Lost Aquilae

Arch of Constantine

South attic

Arch of Constantine showing carvings of Aquila

Ancient imagery

Detail of the central breastplate relief on the statue of Augustus of Prima Porta shows the return of the Aquilae lost to the Parthians. The return of the eagles was one of Augustus’s notable diplomatic achievements.
Relief showing aquilla from the Arch of Claudius.








  1. Jump up^ Roman eagle found by archaeologists in City of London
  2. Jump up^ The ox is sometimes confusingly described as a Minotaur. See Festus, s.v. Minotaur.
  3. Jump up^ Theodore Mommsen, History of Rome, vol. 3, p. 459.
  4. Jump up^ Flor. iv.12
  5. Jump up^ Sidon. Apoll. Carm. v.409
  6. Jump up^ Themist. Orat. i. p1, xviii. p267, ed. Dindorf; Claudian, iv. Cons. Honor. 546; vi. Cons. Honor. 566
  7. Jump up^ Veget. de Re Mil. ii.13; compare Tac. Ann. i.18
  8. Jump up^ Isid. Orig. xviii.3
  9. Jump up^ see Causeus de Sig. in Graevii Thes. vol. x p2529
  10. Jump up^ Josephus, B.J. ii.9 §2; Suet. Tiber. 48, Calig. 14; Tac. Ann. i.3941iv.62
  11. Jump up^ Sueton. Vespas. 6
  12. Jump up^ Suet. July 62
  13. Jump up^ Veget. l.c.
  14. Jump up^ Bartoli, Arc. Triumph.
  15. Jump up^ Prudentius cont. Symm. i.466, 488; Niceph. H.E. vii.37
  16. Jump up^ Caesar, B. G. i.25, ii.25
  17. Jump up^ Virg. Georg. i.108
  18. Jump up^ Caesar, B. G. vi.37
  19. Jump up^ Caesar, B. C. i.43, 44, 56
  20. Jump up^ Caesar, B. G. vii.45
  21. Jump up^ Florus, i.11
  22. Jump up^ Florus, iv.4
  23. Jump up^ Tac. Ann. i.42
  24. Jump up^ Res Gestae Divi Augusti, 29
  25. Jump up^ Res Gestae Divi Augusti, 29
  26. Jump up^ Cassius Dio 47, 35–36
  27. Jump up^ Cassius Dio, 54.11
  28. Jump up^ Velleius Paterculus, Vell. II – 97
  29. Jump up^ Tacitus Annales 1, 60
  30. Jump up^ Tacitus, ann. 2,25
  31. Jump up^ Cassius Dio 60,8,7
  32. Jump up^ TaciteDe vita et moribus Iulii Agricolae41.
  33. Jump up^ Dion CassiusHistoire romainelivre LXVIII, 9, 3.
  34. Jump up^ Peter Schäfer (2003) The Bar Kokhba War Reconsidered: New Perspectives on the Second Jewish Revolt Against Rome Mohr Siebeck ISBN 3-16-148076-7 p 118
  35. Jump up^ Cassius Dio LXXI.2
  36. Jump up^ Duncan B Campbell, The fate of the Ninth: The curious disappearance of Legio VIIII Hispana“, Ancient Warfare

External links

Giacobbe Giusti, Caryatid (/kæriˈætɪd/ kair-ee-AT-id), archaic Greece

Giacobbe Giusti, Caryatid (/kæriˈætɪd/ kair-ee-AT-id), archaic Greece


Giacobbe Giusti, Caryatid (/kæriˈætɪd/ kair-ee-AT-id), archaic Greece


Giacobbe Giusti, Caryatid (/kæriˈætɪd/ kair-ee-AT-id), archaic Greece

A caryatid from the Erechtheion, standing in contrapposto, displayed at the British Museum


 Giacobbe Giusti, Caryatid (/kæriˈætɪd/ kair-ee-AT-id), archaic Greece

A caryatid from the Erechtheion, standing in contrapposto, displayed at the British Museum

caryatid (/kæriˈætɪd/ kair-ee-AT-idGreekΚαρυάτις, plural: Καρυάτιδες) is a sculpted female figure serving as an architectural support taking the place of a column or a pillar supporting an entablature on her head. The Greek term karyatidesliterally means “maidens of Karyai“, an ancient town of Peloponnese. Karyai had a famous temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis in her aspect of Artemis Karyatis: “As Karyatis she rejoiced in the dances of the nut-tree village of Karyai, those Karyatides, who in their ecstatic round-dance carried on their heads baskets of live reeds, as if they were dancing plants”.[1]

Ancient usage

Giacobbe Giusti, Caryatid (/kæriˈætɪd/ kair-ee-AT-id), archaic Greece

The Caryatid Porch of the ErechtheionAthens, 421–407 BC

Some of the earliest known examples were found in the treasuries of Delphi, dating to about the 6th century BC, but their use as supports in the form of women can be traced back even earlier, to ritual basins, ivory mirror handles from Phoenicia, and draped figures from archaic Greece.

The best-known and most-copied examples are those of the six figures of the Caryatid Porch of the Erechtheion on the Acropolis at Athens. One of those original six figures, removed by Lord Elgin in the early 19th century, is now in the British Museum in London. The Acropolis Museum holds the other five figures, which are replaced onsite by replicas. The five originals that are in Athens are now being exhibited in the new Acropolis Museum, on a special balcony that allows visitors to view them from all sides. The pedestal for the Caryatid removed to London remains empty. From 2011 to 2015, they were cleaned by a specially constructed laser beam, which removed accumulated soot and grime without harming the marble’s patina. Each Caryatid was cleaned in place, with a television circuit relaying the spectacle live to museum visitors.[2]

Giacobbe Giusti, Caryatid (/kæriˈætɪd/ kair-ee-AT-id), archaic Greece


Intricate hairstyle of Caryatid, displayed at the Acropolis Museum in Athens

Although of the same height and build, and similarly attired and coiffed, the six Caryatids are not the same: their faces, stance, draping, and hair are carved separately; the three on the left stand on their right foot, while the three on the right stand on their left foot. Their bulky, intricately arranged hairstyles serve the crucial purpose of providing static support to their necks, which would otherwise be the thinnest and structurally weakest part.

The Romans also copied the Erechtheion caryatids, installing copies in the Forum of Augustus and the Pantheon in Rome, and at Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli. Another Roman example, found on the Via Appia, is the Townley Caryatid.[citation needed]

Renaissance and after

Giacobbe Giusti, Caryatid (/kæriˈætɪd/ kair-ee-AT-id), archaic Greece

St. Gaudens‘ caryatids

In Early Modern times, the practice of integrating caryatids into building facades was revived, and in interiors they began to be employed in fireplaces, which had not been a feature of buildings in Antiquity and offered no precedents. Early interior examples are the figures of Hercules and Iole carved on the jambs of a monumental fireplace in the Sala della Jole of the Doge’s Palace, Venice, about 1450.[3] In the following century Jacopo Sansovino, both sculptor and architect, carved a pair of female figures supporting the shelf of a marble chimneypiece at Villa Garzoni, near Padua.[4] No architect mentioned the device until 1615, when Palladio‘s pupil Vincenzo Scamozzi included a chapter devoted to chimneypieces in his Idea della archittura universale. Those in the apartments of princes and important personages, he considered, might be grand enough for chimneypieces with caryatid supporters, such as one he illustrated and a similar one he installed in the Sala dell’Anticollegio, also in the Doge’s Palace.[5]

In the 16th century, from the examples engraved for Sebastiano Serlio‘s treatise on architecture, caryatids became a fixture in the decorative vocabulary of Northern Mannerism expressed by the Fontainebleau School and the engravers of designs in Antwerp. In the early 17th century, interior examples appear in Jacobean interiors in England; in Scotland the overmantel in the great hall of Muchalls Castle remains an early example. Caryatids remained part of the German Baroque vocabulary (illustration, right) and were refashioned in more restrained and “Grecian” forms by neoclassical architects and designers, such as the four terracotta caryatids on the porch of St Pancras New Church, London (1822).

Late Baroque caryatid and atlantidhemi-figures at SanssouciFrederick the Great‘s schloss at Potsdam

Many caryatids lined up on the facade of the 1893 Palace of the Arts housing the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. In the arts of design, the draped figure supporting an acanthus-grown basket capital taking the form of a candlestick or a table-support is a familiar cliché of neoclassical decorative arts. The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Artin Sarasota has caryatids as a motif on its eastern facade.

In 1905 American sculptor Augustus Saint Gaudens created a caryatid porch for the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York in which four of the eight figures (the other four figures holding only wreaths) represented a different art form, Architecture, Painting, Sculpture, and Music.[6]

Auguste Rodin‘s 1881 sculpture Fallen Caryatid Carrying her Stone (part of his monumental The Gates of Hell work)[7] shows a fallen caryatid. Robert Heinleindescribed this piece in Stranger in a Strange Land: “Now here we have another emotional symbol… for almost three thousand years or longer, architects have designed buildings with columns shaped as female figures… After all those centuries it took Rodin to see that this was work too heavy for a girl… Here is this poor little caryatid who has tried—and failed, fallen under the load…. She didn’t give up, Ben; she’s still trying to lift that stone after it has crushed her…”[8]


The origins of the term are unclear. It is first recorded in the Latin form caryatides by the Roman architect Vitruvius. He stated in his 1st century BC work De architectura(I.1.5) that the female figures of the Erechtheion represented the punishment of the women of Karyæ, a town near Sparta in Laconia, who were condemned to slavery after betraying Athens by siding with Persia in the Greco-Persian Wars. However, Vitruvius’ explanation is doubtful; well before the Persian Wars, female figures were used as decorative supports in Greece[9] and the ancient Near East. Whatever the origin may have been, the association of Caryatids with slavery persists and is prevalent in Renaissance art.[10]

The ancient Karyæ (“Walnut Trees”) supposedly was one of the six adjacent villages that united to form the original township of Sparta, and the hometown of Menelaos‘ queen, Helen of Troy. Girls from Karyæ were considered especially beautiful, tall, strong, and capable of giving birth to strong children.[citation needed]

A caryatid supporting a basket on her head is called a canephora (“basket-bearer”), representing one of the maidens who carried sacred objects used at feasts of the goddesses Athena and Artemis. The Erectheion caryatids, in a shrine dedicated to an archaic king of Athens, may therefore represent priestesses of Artemis in Karyæ, a place named for the “nut-tree sisterhood” – apparently in Mycenaean times, like other plural feminine toponyms, such as Hyrai or Athens itself.

The later male counterpart of the caryatid is referred to as a telamon (plural telamones) or atlas (plural atlantes) – the name refers to the legend of Atlas, who bore the sphere of the heavens on his shoulders. Such figures were used on a monumental scale, notably in the Temple of Olympian Zeus in AgrigentoSicily.


Giacobbe Giusti, Caryatid (/kæriˈætɪd/ kair-ee-AT-id), archaic Greece



  1. Jump up^ (Kerenyi 1980 p 149)
  2. Jump up^ Alderman, Liz (7 July 2014). “Acropolis Maidens Glow Anew”The New York Times. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  3. Jump up^ Noted by James Parker, in describing the precedents for the white marble caryatid chimneypiece from Chesterfield House, London, now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Parker, “‘Designed in the Most Elegant Manner, and Wrought in the Best Marbles’: The Caryatid Chimney Piece from Chesterfield House”, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, New Series, 21.6 [February 1963] pp. 202-213).
  4. Jump up^ Also noted by Parker 1963:206.
  5. Jump up^ Both remarked upon by Parker 1963:206, and fig. 9.
  6. Jump up^ “”. Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
  7. Jump up^ “Fallen Caryatid Carrying Her Stone”The Collection Online. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  8. Jump up^ Heinlein, Robert A. (1961). Stranger in a Strange Land. Putnam. ISBN 978-0-441-79034-0.
  9. Jump up^ Hersey, George, The Lost Meaning of Classical Architecture, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1998 p. 69
  10. Jump up^ The Slave in European Art: From Renaissance Trophies to Abolitionist Emblem, ed Elizabeth Mcgrath and Jean Michel Massing, London (The Warburg Institute) 2012

Giacobbe Giusti, Cave canem

Giacobbe Giusti, Cave canem


Giacobbe Giusti, Cave canem

‘Cave canem’ (beware of the dog) mosaic.. From Pompeii, Casa di Orfeo, VI.14.20

Beware of the dog

Giacobbe Giusti, Cave canem

Mosaic at Pompeii
Giacobbe Giusti, Cave canem
2nd century Cave canem mosaic at the entrance to the House of the Tragic PoetPompeii

Notice at the Glasgow Necropolis

Beware of the dog (also rendered as Beware of dog) is a warning sign indicating that a dangerous dog is within. Such signs may be placed to deter burglary even if there is no dog.[1][2]


Warning signs of this sort have been found in ancient Roman buildings such as the House of the Tragic Poet in Pompeii, which contains a mosaic with the caption cave canem. Some suppose that these warnings may sometimes have been intended to prevent visitors from stepping upon small, delicate dogs of the Italian Greyhoundtype.[3]


Under English law, placing such a sign does not relieve the owner of responsibility for any harm which may come to people attacked by the dog.[4][5]


  1. Jump up^ R Wright, RH Logie (1988), “How young house burglars choose targets”, The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice
  2. Jump up^ C Wilkinson (1998), “Deconstructing the fort”, Journal of Australian Studies
  3. Jump up^ Cheryl S. Smith (2004), The Rosetta bone, pp. 10–11, ISBN 978-0-7645-4421-7
  4. Jump up^ James Paterson (1877), Commentaries on the Liberty of the Subject and the Laws of England, p. 271
  5. Jump up^ Charles G. AddisonHorace Gray Wood (1876), A treatise on the law of torts, p. 285

External links