• r2-200-10
    Column capital with Satyr head, overview. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)

Corinthian Head Capital from Screen Colonnade: Head of Satyr

Early 3rd C. AD, Roman
Sardis or Museum Inv. No.
Marble, Stone
Object Type
Sculpture Type
Capital, Mythological Figure
BE 61
B MC Screen Colonnade
B-Grid Coordinates
E57 / N66 *97.5
B. Incorporated in screen colonnade reconstruction.

The series of head capitals belong to the “screen colonnade” of ten double-engaged columns between the Imperial cult hall or “Marble Court,” MC, and the palaestra, Pa, at the E side of the Roman Gymnasium, B (see Fig. 4; Yegül, Bath Gymnasium Diss., 99). The colonnade is an integral part of the Court, and therefore must be dated to the same period. A monumental inscription on the architrave of the building is dedicated to Julia Domna, Caracalla, and Geta (name erased), and therefore must be dated to A.D. 211-212, the joint regnal year of Caracalla and Geta (BASOR 162, 42; Hirschland, Head Capitals). The other capitals in this series come from closely related colonnades--the screen in front of the hall to the N of MC, designated BE-N (Cat. 197, Cat. 209 Fig. 349-350, 367-368) and the Pa colonnade (Cat. 207, Cat. 208 Figs. 364-366). Some of the capitals, and casts of others, have been erected in the monumental reconstruction of this complex (Figs. 347-348; see also Hanfmann, Letters, 278, figs. 208-210).

There seems to be a major Dionysiac theme in the group of heads which survives: this includes Dionysus, maenads, and satyrs; in addition there are several heads of other divinities from the Olympian pantheon. Another thread which runs through this group is a series of references to Caracalla. Two of the heads may show an actual resemblance to him (Cat. 198 Figs. 351-352, Dionysus; Cat. 205 Fig. 362, Hermes) and a third (Cat. 204 Figs. 359-361) is reminiscent of Alexander the Great, for whom Caracalla had great admiration and whom he tried to emulate (M. Bieber, Alexander the Great, 76; L’Orange, Apotheosis, 39).

This round-faced satyr turns his head to the r., as it projects from the capital. The tendons in the neck on the l. side are shown taut. His hair, brushed back from the forehead, is deeply gouged into curls. His ears are pointed, his cheekbones high. The pupils are not indicated, but upper and lower lids are prominent. There are drilled dots in the inner and outer corners of the eyes, but otherwise they are chiseled. Incisions on the brows indicate hair. Nose, lips, and chin are damaged, but the mouth clearly was open and turned downwards at the corners. Sharply cut wrinkles separate cheeks from mouth.

The capital was Corinthian, as are all in the series from the screen colonnade, and has moldings of egg and dart and short vertical fluting.

See Cat. 198, Cat. 199, Cat. 200, Cat. 201, Cat. 202, Cat. 203, Cat. 204, Cat. 205, Cat. 206 (Figs. 351-363).

Capital: P.H. 0.425; W. 0.97. Head: H. 0.23; W. 0.18.
See Also
Published. Hirschland, Head Capitals, 16, 21, fig. 3 and pl. 6b.