The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology
Soprintendenza Archeologica di Roma
Flavian Fragments in Rome and Ann Arbor Rejoined
Images of Empire: Flavian Fragments in Rome and Ann Arbor Rejoined tells an intriguing story of archaeological detection that led to the identification of fragments of sculpture from a lost Roman imperial monument, the Templum Gentis Flaviae (The Temple of the Flavian Family). This sanctuary of the Flavian family served as a temple and tomb for the three emperors of Rome's second imperial dynasty (AD 69-96), Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian. It was built in the early AD 90s by the last Flavian emperor, Domitian. Based on fragments of marble sculptures in the collections of the Kelsey Museum and the Museo Nazionale Romano, the exhibition presents a hypothetical reconstruction of two parts of this still-elusive Roman structure.
The exhibit contains three full-scale models of parts of the dynastic complex decorated by the marble fragments. One frieze reconstructs part of the precinct wall that enclosed an altar. The other two restored friezes depict a sacrificial procesion, and Vespasian's return to Rome. The exhibit consists of six ancient marbles belonging to the Kelsey Museum and casts of nine marbles belonging to the Kelsey Museum and casts of nine marbles belonging to the Museo Nazionale Romano. The casts were made by professional conservators in Rome using a technique that allowed experts to produce replicas so faithful to the originals that it is nearly impossible for the naked eye to distinguish between original and copy. The fragments were first displayed in Rome in 1994 at the Museum Nazionale Romano.
Copyright © 1997 Ministero per i Beni Culturali e Ambientali, Soprintendenza Archeologica di Roma and the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.