Fragmentary marble head of a helmeted soldier

Period: Early Imperial, Flavian

Date: ca. A.D. 69–79

Culture: Roman

Medium: Marble

Dimensions: Overall: 7 1/8 x 7 1/16in. (18.1 x 18cm)

Classification: Stone Sculpture

Credit Line: Fletcher Fund, 1925

Accession Number: 25.78.62


Of the face of this soldier, only the right eye and part of the cheek have survived. The helmet is better preserved, but only the upper half of the cheekpiece remains. A galloping horse and rider in the relief decorate the side of the helmet, although both the rider's upper torso and the horse's head are missing. A small bulbous helmet with a ring top and plume is sculpted in relief on the cheekpiece.
The helmet type worn by this Roman soldier dates from around A.D. 50–75. Likewise, the sharp detailing of the soldier's eye and the fleshy fold above it are compatible with a Flavian date, perhaps around the time of the emperor Vespasian. Due to the sculpture's fragmentary state, it is difficult to determine its original context. It is close in scale to relief sculpture on the roughly contemporary Arch of Titus (ca. A.D. 82), and may have been part of a comparable commemorative monument.