Lot Content

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
A ROMAN MARBLE PORTRAIT BUST OF JULIA AQUILIA SEVERA
A ROMAN MARBLE PORTRAIT BUST OF JULIA AQUILIA SEVERA

220-222 A.D.

Details
A ROMAN MARBLE PORTRAIT BUST OF JULIA AQUILIA SEVERA
220-222 A.D.
The wife of the Emperor Elagabalus realistically portrayed and recognizable by her coiffure and distinct physiognomy, her hair parted at the center and falling behind her ears, the back pulled into an elaborate series of tightly wound braids, her rectangular face with a strong jaw and knobby chin, her thin arching brows above heavy lidded and articulated eyes, with a long aquiline nose, her naso-labial folds broadly crossing her cheeks, the head set into a draped bust upon a socle, the drapery gathered in deep V-shaped folds along her chest, vertical folds falling from her mantle on either shoulder
21 7/8 in. (55.6 cm.) high
Provenance
German Private Collection.

Lot Essay

In A.D. 220 the Emperor Elagabalus prevailed on the Senate to allow his unprecedented marriage with a Vestal Virgin, Julia Aquilia Severa. He argued that as high priest of the god Sol Invictus, his offspring by her would be divine. He divorced her shortly thereafter under continuous pressure from the Senate and married Annia Faustina, a descendant of Marcus Aurelius. After only a few months, the emperor divorced Annia Faustina and remarried Julia Aquilia Severa. These events occurred only months before Elagabalus was murdered.

As wife of the Emperor, Julia Aquila Severa appears on coinage from the period (see illustration above) and, as such, can be identified in this portrait. For another portrait see no. 159, pl. 186 in Fittschen and Zanker, Katalog der römischen Portraits in den Capitolinischen Museen und den anderen kommunalen Sammlungen der Stadt Rom, Band III.
;

More from Antiquities

View All
View All