Even more busts of Roman emperors (and others)

For some reason one of my most popular posts was about busts of Roman emperors at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. Turns out the place that has even more busts of Roman emperors is Italy — specifically, the Uffizi in Florence. Here are a few.

Here’s Claudius, not looking very happy:

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Here’s Domitian, who was awful:

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Here’s Marcus Aurelius, who wasn’t awful:

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Here’s Caligula. Does he look like he’s insane?

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Here’s Tiberius, who was a perv:

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Here’s Julius Caesar, who wasn’t an emperor, but c’mon, this is a pretty interesting bust. I wouldn’t want to mess with this guy:

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And Cicero, who also wasn’t an emperor:

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I don’t know how lifelike these busts are, of course, but they sure seem lifelike. These are real people, staring out at us across 2000 years of history.

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Who doesn’t like MORE busts of Roman emperors?

For some reason, one of my most popular post here was this one showing some busts of Roman emperors from Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.  I was at the Harvard Art Museums the other day, and guess what?  More busts!

Here’s the Emperor Tiberius:

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He’s not looking all that great, if you ask me.  The accompanying description says the bust was probably sculpted when he was in his early sixties.  Read Tom Holland’s book Dynasty for an interesting discussion of this tortured soul.

Here is Lucius Verus, who ruled for a while in the second century AD with his adoptive brother Marcus Aurelius.

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Note the beard, which became fashionable for emperors starting with Hadrian earlier in the century.

Finally, here’s a full statue (well, almost full) of the Emperor Trajan:

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The description in the Harvard catalog suggests that he was probably holding a spear in his left hand.

Trajan was one of the best of the Roman emperors.  Wikipedia says:

As an emperor, Trajan’s reputation has endured – he is one of the few rulers whose reputation has survived nineteen centuries. Every new emperor after him was honored by the Senate with the wish felicior Augusto, melior Traiano (that he be “luckier than Augustus and better than Trajan”). Among medieval Christian theologians, Trajan was considered a virtuous pagan. In the Renaissance, Machiavelli, speaking on the advantages of adoptive succession over heredity, mentioned the five successive good emperors “from Nerva to Marcus”[2] – a trope out of which the 18th-century historian Edward Gibbon popularized the notion of the Five Good Emperors, of whom Trajan was the second.[3]

Once you’ve finished reading Dynasty, you should read the wonderful SPQR  by Mary Beard, for a fuller view of a thousand years of ancient Rome.

Who doesn’t like busts of Roman emperors from the Museum of Fine Arts?

As a pre-Father’s Day treat I went to Buston’s Museum of Fine Arts with my son (the good one, not the other one).  I took lots of random photos.  Here are three photos of Roman emperors, in descending order of greatness. Plus a goddess.

This is a well-known bust of Augustus as a young man (it’s an idealized likeness from after his death):

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And here’s a somewhat placid-looking Hadrian:

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And here is the loser emperor Balbinus, who managed to rule as co-emperor for three whole months before the Praetorian Guard offed him (238 AD was not a great year to be a Roman emperor):

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As a special bonus image, here is a statue of the goddess Juno, which I am told is the largest Classical marble statue in North America.  I should have my good kid stand in front of her to show you her size.

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