• r2-128-10
    Head of Tyche, left profile. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)
  • r2-128-20
    Head of Tyche, three-quarter view. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)

Head of Tyche

2nd half of 2nd C. AD, Roman
Sardis or Museum Inv. No.
Marble, Stone
Object Type
Sculpture Type
Mythological Figure
Screen Colonnade 59
B-Grid Coordinates
E34.00 / N50.00 *98.00
B (in fill).

The head of Tyche is preserved from the crown to base of neck. She wears a crescent diadem with a crown of turrets. A mantel flows down the side of the crown behind her hair. The neck is slanted forward to her r. and the head turned back slightly to the l. This was not a relief, but a free-standing statue much like the Tyche of Antioch. The eye, which has an incised pupil and a drilled iris and inner corner, has a heavy eyelid. The nose is missing. The mouth, only partially preserved, was open, “breathing” type, like Pergamene sculpture. The ear lobe projects beneath the horizontal waves of hair. There are traces of gilding between the two lowest waves of hair. A large drill line is behind the neck and at the edge of the veil on both sides. The head is unworked at the back. A dowel hole, diam. 0.009, remains in the base of the neck.

The drilling of the mouth, corner of the eye, and pupil is typical of the 2nd half of the 2nd C. A.D.


White marble.

Only l. half of face remains.

H 0.17; W. 0.07; D. 0.10.
See Also
For the Tyche of Antioch, Bieber, Hellenistic Age, fig. 102; on Tyche in general, Dohrn, Tyche, passim. For other parallels, Toynbee, Hadrianic School, pls. 28:3-4, 29:1-4, 30:1-2. A late 4th or early 3rd C. B.C. female head (of a goddess?) from the NW foot of the Areopagus was gilded. The entire head was covered with gold, as shown by the fragments of gold leaf still adhering to the face and hair. The gilding was applied with a brush (H.A. Thompson, Hesperia 17, 177, pl. 53:1-2; G.P. Stevens, Hesperia 23. A gilded statue of Tyche was carried from the curia to the hippodrome during the foundation rites for Constantinople in A.D. 330 (R. Janin, Constantinople Byzantine, 23). On gilding: Reuterswärd, Polychromie, passim. On Cybele as Tyche: J.M.C. Toynbee, Roman Constantinopolis, 136.