Two joining sculpture fragments Images of Empire: Flavian Fragments in Rome and Ann Arbor Rejoined

7. Relief Fragment with the Head of a Soldier (MNR 310257)
11. Fragment of a Lorica Segmentata and Right Hand in Relief (KM 2431)

Head of soldier

inv. no. 310257
max. h. 0.33 m; max. w. 0.22 m; max. d. 0.24 m
Pentelic marble
The fragment is broken on all sides. The head of the soldier is well preserved, aside from the broken nose and damage to the forehead and the part of the helmet over the brow. A substantial portion of the relief ground is preserved.

The fragment preserves the head, in high relief, of a soldier depicted against the background of a building with isodomic masonry. The figure has a beard and moustache and wears a helmet decorated with a very delicate vegetal design. The right cheek guard is decorated; the other has been left plain because it would not have been visible.

This fragment can be joined to the loricate torso fragment in Ann Arbor (KM 2431); the total height of the figure was 1.20 m (h. chin to cranium 0.15 m).

The fragment must have belonged to a scene of military character, probably involving the presence of the emperor Vespasian. Some aspects of the head are close to certain individuals on Relief A from the Palazzo della Cancelleria (F. Magi, I rilievi Flavi del Palazzo della Cancelleria, Roma 1954, cf. the head of the noncommissioned officer in pl. XVII, I; Koeppel 1984, pp. 29-33, nos. 7-8, figs. 11-22), as is evident in particular in details of the lower lip, the eyebrows, the ear, and the beard on the chin. In the Cancelleria relief, however, the workmanship is much more formal and academic.

In comparison to the lower part of the body and the preserved right hand, the face appears to have been carved with a greater degree of refinement, suggesting that different parts of the figure were worked by different artists.


Hartwig 26, pl. III, 9; Koeppel (1984) 13-15; 56-58, cat. 25, figs. 36-38; Di Mino and Bertinetti (1990) 140, fig. 117 b (R. Paris), with earlier bibliography.

Catalogue entry by Rita Paris

Torso of soldier

inv. no. 2431
Purchased by F. W. Kelsey in February 1901, from F. Romano, the foreman of a new building near the Grand Hotel in the vicinity of the Baths of Diocletian
max. h. 0.23 m; max. w. 0.18 m; max. d. 0.16 m
Pentelic marble
Broken on all sides and back. Traces of red pozzolana on broken sides; none on rear break, which appears more recent.

The torso fragment preserves a portion of the upper chest, right hand, wrist, shoulder, and upper arm of a soldier. Eight low relief bands of his lorica segmentata fasten along the center of his chest in an alternating pattern. Two segments from the right shoulder flap and one from the left survive. Around the neck he wears a focale. The soldier's right hand grasps a lance marked with a spiraling groove. The pommel of his gladius is visible near the wrist. His hand is sketchily but strongly modeled. Deep drill channels mark the separations between the fingers and the folds of the focale.

Koeppel has shown that this fragment joins the Hartwig soldier's head at the neck. He reconstructs the original height of the figure as ca. 1.15-1.20 m, slightly shorter than that of the other soldier (KM 2425). This figure, like KM 2425, probably belonged to an imperial adventus. (See KM 2425 for further discussion.)


Koeppel (1980) 21, no. 5; 24, fig. 5; Koeppel (1984), 14; 56-57, cat. 25, fig. 36.

Catalogue entry by Elaine Gazda

Copyright ©1997, 2002 Ministero per i Beni Culturali e Ambientali, Soprintendenza Archeologica di Roma and the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

Hartwig fragments
Kelsey fragments
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