• r2-92-10
    Frontal view. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)
  • r2-92-20
    Three-quarter view of face. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)
  • r2-92-30
    Right profile view. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)
  • r2-92-40
    View of top of head, with inscription. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)
  • r2-92-50
    Head of a bearded man. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)
  • r2-92-60
    Head of a bearded man, right profile. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)

Head of a Bearded Man

Late 3rd C. AD, Roman
Manisa, Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum, 1674
Museum Inventory No.
Sardis or Museum Inv. No.
Marble, Stone
Object Type
Sculpture Type
RT 61
Marble Road
B-Grid Coordinates
E11 / S17.3 *96.46
RT, 5.6 S of stylobate of colonnade, face down in rubble fall of colonnade, (0.10 above “Late Roman Road”).

The face is framed by the beard and the hair, which falls in short curls high on the man’s forehead. There are three separate masses of hair here, one in the center made up of two separate tiers, and two at the sides. All are articulated with running drill grooves and the chisel. The forehead is plastically modeled with two horizontal bony masses, as can be seen in profile view. Upon the surface are incised horizontal furrows, both in the center of the forehead, and just over the eyebrows. Two short diagonal cuts at the inner ends of the brows add to the thoughtful and intense expression. The bushy hair of the eyebrows, cut in short curves, actually overhangs the eye in the center, where it is undercut. At the outer ends the fleshy folds beneath seem to hang over the edge of the eye. The pupil is a drilled pendent arc, the iris incised. Upper lid and tear ducts are clearly defined, as are the bags under the eyes. A chiseled channel cut above he upper lid creates an emphatic shadow. Two crow’s feet are incised at each corner. The nose, although heavily damaged, was clearly aquiline. The nostrils were large and deeply drilled. The mouth is all but engulfed by the heavy, curved moustache, neatly trimmed to follow the edge of the overhanging upper lip. Above the center of the lip the moustache is parted, leaving a small triangular bare spot. The mouth is small and seems tight. There is a short growth of beard under the lower lip, and then a bare area, before the voluminous thick curls of the chin. Here the beard falls in two tiers, one on the forward chin and one from underneath the jaw. Most of the curls are short. Deep drill runs make curving waves, but very sensitive chiseling is also used, especially to indicate the hair growing out from the cheeks. The ears have a large opening and are deeply drilled.

The back of the head is only roughly finished with a flat chisel to give the shape of the skull, and the two rows of curls on the nape. Below is a short stretch of neck before the diagonal break, which suggests that the head was part of a full statue rather than just a bust.

This magnificent head has been variously dated in the late 3rd and the late 4th to 5th C. A.D. It is here reaffirmed that the author and Hanfmann believe this to be a late 3rd. C. head, perhaps 270-300.



Broken at lower neck. End of nose missing, also a few fragments of hair and small piece of l. ear. A few minor nicks elsewhere on surface.

H. 0.30; D. (nose to hair on nape) 0.205; W. of eye 0.035. Slightly over lifesize.
For additional comparisons: L’Orange, Studien, 40-42, no. 58, figs. 108-109. Dated 270-300, this head has the same combed moustache, deep-set eyes in the center, and lines in the forehead. The head is also framed by a hair role, as ours. Again the moustache has a triangular separation, leaving bare skin, above the center of the upper lip. Cf. also ibid., no. 11, figs. 26-27.
See Also
See also: LATW Cat. 219
Published: G.M.A. Hanfmann, Sart Kazilari Son Çağ, 7; Hanfmann-Detweiler, Lydian Hellenistic Byzantine, 544, fig. 18;BASOR166, 45, fig. 37; Hanfmann-Detweiler-Kleiner, Fourth Campaign TurkArgDeg, 41, fig. 10; İnan-Rosenbaum, Portraits Asia Minor, 166, no. 220, pl. 180; Hanfmann, Late Portraits, 288-290, pl. 113:1-2; Hanfmann, Roman Art 1964, 100, no. 90, 183, fig. 90; Hanfmann, Letters 88f., fig. 65; Ettinghausen, Art Treasures of Turkey, no. 149, p. 94, fig. 149; Hanfmann, Croesus, 71, fig. 151. Lydians and Their World, cat. 219.