Cameo fragment with a satyr

Roman Period, Augustus

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 137

Many artworks of the Roman Period in Egypt represent the taste of wealthy urban merchant and rich farming classes of Roman Egypt. Wide trade of luxury works is evident, and Greco-Roman style dominates.

Since Egyptian pharaohs had first authorized Greek trading colonies and employed Greek mercenaries in the seventh century BC., there was a considerable Greek presence in Egypt. With Alexander's conquest, Macedonian Greek Ptolemies ruled as successors to the pharaohs, and Ptolemaic Greek and eastern Mediterranean soldiery was heavily settled in parts of Egypt. Although the Ptolemaic kings maintained traditional Egyptian religious and political forms, elite society, of mixed Greek and Egyptian descent, aspired to Greek culture in many respects. With the replacement of a Ptolemaic pharaoh in Memphis and Alexandria by a Roman emperor in Rome, the status of Greek culture and art, if anything, increased. However, multiple cultural influences were t play, and their reconciliation differed, depending on the identity of the patron and on whether personal, public, religious, or funerary purposes were in question.

Cameo glass is created by delicately cutting back a layer of white glass to an underlying layer of blue glass. As far as is known, this type of cameo glass was produced for a rather brief period in Rome itself. The Satyr shows extremely delicate relief cutting.

Cameo fragment with a satyr, glass, white on blue

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.