• r2-251-10
    Head of the Elder Faustina, British Museum 1936-3-10-1. Front view. (©Trustees of the British Museum)
  • r2-251-20
    Head of the Elder Faustina, British Museum 1936-3-10-1. Left side. (©Trustees of the British Museum)
  • r2-251-30
    Head of the Elder Faustina, British Museum 1936-3-10-1. Right side. (©Trustees of the British Museum)
  • r2-251-40
    Head of the Elder Faustina, British Museum 1936-3-10-1. Back showing hollow. (©Trustees of the British Museum)

Head of the Elder Faustina

Ca. 140 AD, Roman
London, British Museum, 1936-3-10-1
Museum Inventory No.
Sardis or Museum Inv. No.
British Museum 1936-3-10-1
Marble, Stone
Object Type
Sculpture Type
Colossal Imperial Portrait, Human Figure, Portrait
AT Temple of Artemis, misc.
Found in 1882 by G. Dennis, then British consul in Smyrna, "just beyond the centre of the naos [of the AT] lying on about a metre of debris," according to R. H. Bacon's letter in Sardis I, 7, ill. 2.

The following description is after İnan-Rosenbaum: The back of the head is hollow and has a large dowel hole in the center flanked by two oblong dowel holes. Two other dowel holes at ear lobe level are broken away. There are drill channels in the hair. The hair and locks on the I. side are carved in less detail than those on the r.

The piece was part of an acrolith statue, about three to three and a half times life size. Together with the statue of her husband, Antoninus Pius (Cat. 79 Figs. 196-197), the portrait of Faustina the Elder was erected to celebrate the neocorate bestowed upon Sardis by Antoninus. The exact date is not known (ca. A.D. 140, if before Faustina's death?). It is probable that the statue stood in the W cella of the Artemis Temple with a colossal Artemis.


Fine-grained white marble.

"Parts of nose, lips, and neck restored in plaster. Rim of l. ear knocked off, of r. chipped. Chips on hair, eyebrows, eyelids, parts of face" (İnan-Rosenbaum, 75f.).

P.H. 1.45; chin to crown 0.91; W. between outer corners of eyes 0.51.
Cf. colossal head in Istanbul (Cat. 252 Fig. 435) and the discussion of other colossal fragments under (Cat. 79-Cat. 88 and Cat. 102-Cat. 105 (Figs. 196-201, 223-228). On the date, A.E.M. Johnston notes that Sardis VII, 72, no. 58, attributes to Antoninus the titles he had in A.D. 139.
See Also
Published: Sardis I, 7-8, 64, ill. 2; F. Poulsen, Zwei Neuerwerbungen, 87, figs. 15-17; Wegner, Herrscherbildnisse, 27f., 90, 116, 157f., 278, 292, pl. 13b; L'Orange, Apotheosis, lll, fig. 81; İnan-Rosenbaum, 75f., no. 41, pl. 26:2-3; Hanfmann, Croesus, 73, fig. 158. Wegner (p. 158) followed by İnan-Rosenbaum (p. 75) considers it a replica of the Museo Capitolino "Imperatori 36" type.