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Marble inscribed statue base

Period:
Mid-Imperial, Antonine
Date:
ca. A.D. 160–170
Culture:
Roman
Medium:
Marble
Dimensions:
H. 44 in (111.8 cm); width 22 in (55.9 cm); depth 17 in (43.2 cm)
Classification:
Stone Sculpture
Credit Line:
Fletcher Fund, 1926
Accession Number:
26.60.70a, b
  • Description

    The base is said to have been found near Rome, but the inscription is in Greek. It records the dedication of a statue in honor of Pompeia Agrippinilla, a priestess, which was erected by fellow members of the Bacchic cult to which she belonged. Listed are more than three-hundred Greek personal names, together with some seventy Roman names; about one-third of the total are those of women. The names seem to represent all levels of society, from senatorial rank to slaves, and are ordered according to status and function in the cult. Their titles give some indication of the size and complexity of an ancient sacred procession. They include a leader (possibly dressed up as Bacchus), priests and priestesses, bearers of images of the god, bearers of mystic baskets, cowherds, torch bearers, a phallos bearer, a flame bearer, an instructor, men and women dressed in skins of newly sacrificed animals, sacred cave guards, and large numbers of followers called Bacchoi and Bacchai.

  • References

    McCann, Anna Marguerite. 1978. Roman Sarcophagi in the Metropoltian Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 88.

    Jaccottet, Anne-Françoise. 2003. Choisir Dionysos : Les Associations Dionysiaques ou la Face Cachée du Dionysisme, Vol. 2. Kilchberg: Akanthus, no. 188, pp. 302-310.

    Bowden, Hugh. 2010. Mystery Cults in the Ancient World. London: Thames and Hudson, London, pp. 128-129.

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
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