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The so-called Marius and the so-called Sulla | by Egisto Sani
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The so-called Marius and the so-called Sulla

The bust in the foreground depicts the consul - general Gaius Marius (157 - 86 BC); behind him, his contender Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix (c. 138 BC – 78 BC).

These two portraits are usually mentioned together. They still bear today the illustrations names that were bestowed upon them long ago, although no one any longer believe they depict these great political figures of the late Roman Republic. A convincing identification of the depicted persons has not hitherto been made.

The similarity of the heads can be seen in the composition, modeling and three-dimensional effect of the face, as well as in the proportions: the width of the mouth and eyes and the distance from the root of the noise to the chin are exactly he same.

The portraits, with they life-like turn of the heads and their dramatic facial expressions, recall Hellenistic images.

(from C.H. Beck’s book, Glyptothek, Munich)


Roman marble portrait

End of the 1st cent. BC

Munich, Glyptothek


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Taken on August 14, 2012