Marble relief fragment with the head of Mars


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 168

Mars was one of the more important gods of the Roman pantheon. Numerous temples, shrines, and altars were dedicated to him in Rome and throughout the Empire. As the god of war, he had many of the same attributes as the Greek god Ares, but he was also closely associated with the imperial cult, since the emperor's power and popularity depended heavily on the army and its military successes. Mars was therefore often depicted on monuments celebrating imperial victories, notably on triumphal arches, a distinctively Roman type of public building. This fragment presumably comes from one such monument, perhaps even from the now lost Portico of Septimius Severus in Rome. Mars is represented in the canonical guise of an older, bearded man wearing a Corinthian helmet tipped back on his head.

Marble relief fragment with the head of Mars, Marble, Roman

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