Head, Possibly of Empress Flaccilla


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 301

The hairstyle and facial features are those of Aelia Flaccilla, wife of Theodosius I. In about 382 she was the first woman officially to be crowned empress since Constantine the Great's mother and his wife far earlier in the century. Flaccilla was described at her death in 387 as "this ornament of the Empire, this zeal for the faith, this pillar of the church." During her husband's reign Christianity was established as the official religion of the state.

Head, Possibly of Empress Flaccilla, Marble, Byzantine

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