Marble relief with a dancing maenad

Adaptation of work attributed to Kallimachos

Period: Early Imperial, Augustan

Date: ca. 27 B.C.–A.D. 14

Culture: Roman

Medium: Marble, Pentelic

Dimensions: H. 56 5/16 in. (143 cm)

Classification: Stone Sculpture

Credit Line: Fletcher Fund, 1935

Accession Number: 35.11.3


Maenads were mythical women inspired by the god of wine, Dionysos, to abandon their homes and families and roam the mountains and forests, singing and dancing in a state of ecstatic frenzy. This figure, wearing an ivy wreath and carrying a thyrsos (fennel stalk) bedecked with ivy leaves and berries, moves forward, trancelike, her drapery swirling about her. She was copied from a famous relief of dancing maenads dated to the late fifth century B.C., when Euripides portrayed the manic devotées of Dionysos in his play the Bacchae.