• r2-201-10
    Marble corinthian capital with head of “Sad Satyr,” overview. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)
  • r2-201-20
    Marble corinthian capital with head of “Sad Satyr,” overview. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)
  • r2-201-30
    Marble corinthian capital with head of “Sad Satyr,” three-quarter view. (©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
E38 / N71 *97.7

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 (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).

The head of the satyr has high cheekbones and protruding chin. His ears are pointed, his hair brushed back from the forehead in coarsely carved strands. Wrinkles in the forehead are incised. The brows are sharp and have incised hair. The eyes are looking down, although no pupil or iris is indicated. Nose and upper lip are largely missing but the mouth was clearly open and smiling. The capital is a Corinthian one, typical of the 3rd. C. Asia Minor style (Hirschland, Head Capitals, 14 and 20) with three rows of acanthus leaves, all having deeply drilled channels next to the stems and sharply bent leaves.

The workmanship in the head is only summary, but the sharply incised details would have been sufficient for the viewer, observing from far below, to get a strong impression. The original placement of this capital has not been ascertained, because its base, round at one end and square at the other, does not fit the surviving shafts or bases. However, its findspot, near the screen colonnade, and the similarity of type to the other heads and capitals support the conclusion that this is from the same series.

See also Cat. 198, Cat. 199, Cat. 200, Cat. 201, Cat. 202, Cat. 203, Cat. 204, Cat. 205, Cat. 206.



Most of capital preserved, but large break at back l. side, and much of r. side missing. Damage also to leaves and corners. Head preserved but battered.

Capital: H. 0.73; W. across front top 0.90, across front bottom 0.62; L. at bottom 0.90. Head: H. 0.22; W. 0.21.
See Also
Published:BASOR166, 48, fig. 38; Hirschland, Head Capitals, 17f., no. 7, pls. 6a and 7a.