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Julius Caesar tazza


Not on view

On each tazza, the ruler looks down at a positive version of his life and the adoration of his people. The images are oriented inward toward the ruler’s statuette, which stands on a pedestal at the center of the dish. This arrangement makes the scenes difficult for us to see, accommodating the emperor’s imaginary gaze rather than that of the flesh- and-blood observer. These four episodes from the biography of Julius Caesar bristle with tightly packed energy.

Scene one
Julius Caesar goes beyond the bounds of the Roman world to invade Britain (55 B.C.)

His fleet is nearly destroyed by a violent storm off the coast

Scene two
Julius Caesar halts his army at the river Rubicon, unsure whether to cross. To do so would mean civil war with Pompey and his enemies in Rome

A giant appears, playing a pipe. Soldiers and shepherds listen

The giant grabs a trumpet from one of the soldiers, blows a battle cry, and strides across the river. Julius Caesar recognizes the giant as an omen from the gods and decides to lead his men across the river and into battle

Scene three
Julius Caesar wages a civil war against Pompey for control of Rome. After almost four months of fighting, he finally defeats his enemy at the Battle of Pharsalus (48 B.C.)

Scene four
Julius Caesar rides in a chariot during his triumph, a Roman procession celebrating his victories (46 B.C.)

Forty elephants carrying torches light the way

Julius Caesar tazza, Gilded silver, Netherlandish?

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