Portrait Head of C. Cornelius Gallus (?)

c. 30 BCE
Overall: 39 x 22 x 22.6 cm (15 3/8 x 8 11/16 x 8 7/8 in.)
Location: 103 Roman
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Traces of red paint remain, especially in the hair.


This highly individual portrait must have been made for a man of considerable importance. It may represent Gaius Cornelius Gallus, who lived c. 69-26 BC. After aiding Octavian in the war against Antony and Cleopatra, Gallus served as the first governor of Egypt. There he put down two rebellions, but soon fell into disgrace and exile, eventually committing suicide. The head was made to be inserted into a body, and has a flat back and top, suggesting it once wore a separately made fold of toga draped over it (in the fashion known as togatus capite velato, associated with high priests). Some scholars have suggested a later date for this portrait, perhaps in the reign of Nero or Claudius.
Portrait Head of C. Cornelius Gallus (?)

Portrait Head of C. Cornelius Gallus (?)

c. 30 BCE

Egypt, Greco-Roman period (332 BCE–395 CE), Roman empire (30 BCE–395 CE)

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