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Head of Augustus

Period:
Roman Period, Augustus
Reign:
reign of Augustus
Date:
27 B.C.–A.D. 14
Geography:
Possibly from Memphis (Mit Rahina); From Egypt, Memphite Region
Medium:
Faience
Dimensions:
h. 6.8 cm (2 11/16 in)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1926
Accession Number:
26.7.1428
  • Description

    This small head is thought to depict the Roman Emperor Augustus. Based on Roman prototypes for his portrait, it is dated to the earlier part of his long reign. Egyptian influence may be present in the suggestion of loose flesh beneath the prominent cheekbones.

    The original context of the head is uniknown, but Memphite provenance would reflect the importance of the traditional religious capital in Augustus's political domination of the country. A cult of Augustus existed there, and the High Priest of Ptah of Memphis, the most important official in the country's traditional religious structure, was chosen as its chief officiant, the "prophet of Caesar." This appointment was surely intended to encourage the cooperation of the country.

  • Provenance

    Carnarvon Collection, purchased some time before 1923. Carnarvon Collection until 1926. Purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art from Almina, Countess of Carnarvon, 1926.

  • See also
    What
    Where
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
547804

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