• r2-79-10
    Lower face and neck of Antoninus Pius.frontal view. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)
  • r2-79-20
    Lower face and neck of Antoninus Pius, left profile. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)

Lower Face and Neck of Antoninus Pius

2nd C. AD, Roman
Sardis or Museum Inv. No.
Marble, Stone
Object Type
Sculpture Type
Human Figure, Colossal Imperial Portrait, Portrait
AT Precinct
Found in concrete bottom of Byzantine cistern in AT in 1911. Lay for many years in E cella, near cross wall; brought to Sardis camp July, 1961.

In the top of the head is a lozenge-shaped cutting ca. 0.20 by 0.12, ca. 0.04 deep, done with oblique strokes of large point. The “dowel” hole may be for insertion of rough stone peg, irregularly tapering downward from 0.065 at top to 0.025 at bottom, D. 0.06. Hollowing in the back and lower worked edge shows the head was inserted into a statue. Ca. 0.23 below dowel hole the head is hollowed out for a H. of 0.66 and W. of 0.08 at top, 0.25 at bottom. The support of the back of the head went in here spreading toward base and leaving neck “walls” of l. 0.25 - r. 0.20.

The l. side of his neck was trimmed high so that the supporting piece would have come up much higher on l. than r. The muscles of the tall neck are strained and the neck and head turned to his r. The treatment of nude parts is simple in large plastic forms, carefully polished, but not to the “velvet” surface of Zeus (Cat. 102 Figs. 223-225). No wrinkles, no characterization of skin are delineated. The beard covered both sides of the jaw and chin; only a small triangle of thin locks appears below the full, beautiful lower lip. The beard locks tend to be long and thin except for the curls below the chin. The beard reaches high up across the cheek. The moustache was long and drooping, covering the corners of the full mouth. The mouth was slightly open (W. 0.03; D. 0.015) but no teeth were shown. From above the r. corner of his mouth ran a large fold worked as a large smooth hollow.

Despite repeated experiments, no other pieces fitted; Cat. 80 (Fig. 198) came closest; Cat. 82, Cat. 83, Cat. 84, Cat. 85 (Fig. 200, others not ill.) and Cat. 87 (not ill.) may belong. However, the larger nose and eye fragment Cat. 88 (Fig. 201) seems to come from another colossal female statue. The marble of the head fragment Cat. 81 (Fig. 199) is thought by Whimore to relate to a marble sample (Sardis MD group B) different from that of Antoninus (Cat. 79). This is a fine, restrained portrayal of the emperor. The erection of images of Antoninus and Faustina (Cat. 251 Fig. 434) must be connected with the second neocorate bestowed upon Sardis. If Faustina was still alive, the images would date before A.D.141.


Large-crystalled marble, weathering gray below eye, mouth, chin and neck. Probably local, according to D. Monna. Whitmore: compares with Sardis MD quarry group A.

Preserved is r. cheek to below neck in front, split vertically at half neck in back. Most of the upper lip is missing.

H. 1.05, chin to neck 0.53, point of chin to lower edge of lip 0.20; neck, Adam’s apple to below ear lobe ca. 0.55; W. top 0.66, cheek to beard 0.48, bottom of neck 0.51, of mouth 0.20.
Cf. Vermeule, Imperial Art, 275, and for inscriptions of Antoninus 293-294. İnan-Rosenbaum, Portrait Sculpture Asia Minor, 24, 142, rightly compare for beard and moustache a somewhat older Antoninus in Museo delle Terme (from Villa Hadriana, Tivoli). See Wegner, Herrscherbildnisse, pl. 6; for Zeus-like turn of head, ibid., 92, 125, from the Agora, pl. 9, National Museum, Athens 3563. For a discussion and literature on Hellenistic and Roman colossi, see Hanfmann, Croesus, 72-74, esp. n. 54.
See Also
Published: Sardis I, 63f., ill. 57; Sardis II, 29, 108f., pl. A and Atlas, pl. I; Hanfmann-Detweiler-Kleiner, Fourth Campaign TurkArgDeg, 44, fig. 18;BASOR166, 34; Cite>Sardis R1, 80, 81, figs. 146, 147. İnan-Rosenbaum, Cyrenaican Portrait Sculpture, 74f., no. 40, pl. 26:1, with bibliography. Hanfmann, Croesus, 73, fig. 157.