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volume 3 – 2017

ISSN 2421-6380

ISBN 978-88-7140-952-8



volume 3 – 2017

Editor in Chief
Salvatore De Vincenzo (Viterbo)

Associate Editors
Stefano De Angeli (Viterbo); Alessandro Naso (Roma);
Monika Trümper (Berlin)

Editorial Board
Judy Barringer (Edinburgh); Martin Bentz (Bonn);
Johannes Bergemann (Göttingen); Chiara Blasetti Fantauzzi (Göttingen);
Jacopo Bonetto (Padova); Fabio Colivicchi (Kingston);
Matteo D’Acunto (Napoli); Gian Maria Di Nocera (Viterbo);
Filippo Demma (Ancona); Johanna Fabricius (Berlin); Marco
Galli (Roma); Klaus Geus (Berlin); Erich Kistler (Innsbruck);
Enzo Lippolis (Roma); Carlos Márquez Moreno (Córdoba);
Attilio Mastino (Sassari); Marina Micozzi (Viterbo); Raffaella
Pierobon (Napoli); Silvia Polla (Berlin); Chiara Elisa Portale (Palermo);
Jonathan Prag (Oxford); Christoph Reusser (Zürich);
Thomas Schäfer (Tübingen); Stephan Schmid (Berlin);
Gianluca Soricelli (Campobasso); Enrico Angelo Stanco (Napoli);
Tesse Stek (Leiden); Nicola Terrenato (Ann Arbor); Stephan Verger (Paris);
Raimondo Zucca (Sassari)

Editorial Staff
Maria Amodio (Napoli); Gian Franco Chiai (Berlin); Anca
Dan (Paris); Sabatino Martello (Napoli); Cristina Murer
(Berlin); Salvatore Sindoni (Viterbo)

“Analysis Archaeologica” is a yearly journal and is funded by

the Dipartimento di Studi linguistico-letterari, storico-filosofici e giuridici / Università degli
Studi della Tuscia (Viterbo)

For further information

ISSN 2421-6380
ISBN 978-88-7140-952-8

©  Roma 2018, Edizioni Quasar di S. Tognon srl, via Ajaccio 41-43,

I-00198 Roma; tel. 0685358444, fax 0685833591, email

Die lokale Produktion geometrisch bemalter Keramik aus Erice

(Sizilien). Eigenarten in Form und Dekor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Chiara Blasetti Fantauzzi

Terra Sigillata Tardo Italica e Sud Gallica dall’antica Capua . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

Sergio Cascella

From Nero to Vespasian. Two re-carved marble portraits in Lucus

Feroniae . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Armando Cristilli

La via Amerina-Annia e Falerii Novi. Osservazioni e proposte

sull’origine e lo sviluppo di una via publica romana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Stefano De Angeli

Il ruolo annonario di Melita . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63

Piero A. Gianfrotta

Le Latomie a nord di Eloro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75

Livio Idà

Edifici termali e sviluppo urbanistico. Analisi preliminari di alcune

città costiere della Sardegna romana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89
Sabatino Martello

Reshaping civic space: some remarks on the transformations of the

towns of Roman Sicily in the late Republic and early Empire . . . . . . . . . . . . 99
Elisa Chiara Portale

Attestazioni di apparecchiature murarie in opera a telaio al Rione

Terra di Pozzuoli . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127
Lucia Manuela Proietti

Le analisi chimico-fisiche delle malte del Rione Terra di Pozzuoli . . . . . . 135

Giovanni Paternoster

Aspetti archeologici di due terremoti distruttivi nel Samnium . . . . . . . . . 141

Salvatore Sindoni

Note sulla ricostruzione tridimensionale di un’unità abitativa a medi-

anum a Ostia Antica. Le strutture delle Casette Tipo (Reg. III, Is. XII-
XIII, 1-2) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169
Claudia Sorrentino
Archaeological Fieldwork Reports

La viabilità di Asculum: nuove acquisizioni dall’archeologia urbana . . . . . 199

Filippo Demma, Michele Massoni, Serena De Cesare, Luca Speranza

Indagini geofisiche a Liternum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 221

Salvatore De Vincenzo – Giancarlo Pastura

Colour plates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 233

4 Contents
From Nero to Vespasian.
Two re-carved marble portraits in Lucus Feroniae

Armando Cristilli

Reworking of marble portraits in Roman age is an interesting occurrence, because
of its related cultural, aesthetical and technical implications. Two refashioned marble
portraits of Vespasian found at Lucus Feroniae (one well-know, the other one less fa-
mous) are case studies focusing on this topic very well. However, they clearly indicate
not only the technical skills of the local sculptors, but also provide significant data in
reconstructing the history of the colony and of the Volusii Saturnini family between the
Nero’s principate and the early Flavian age.

Keywords: Vespasian, portrait, reworking, Lucus Feroniae, Nero, Aedes Genii coloni-
ae, Volusii Saturnini.

Reworking of marble portraits in Roman age is a really interesting phenome-

non, mainly because they were re-carved into those of other people (succes-
sors or admired predecessors) for different reasons1 (for example, a frequent
cause was so called memoria damnata2 in the period between Republican
age and early 3th century A.D.3) and also because this operation includes of-
ten the rededication and the relocation of themselves from a place to anoth-
er. During the 1st century A.D. a lot of portraits of fallen in disgrace emper-
ors (the “bad” emperors Caligula4, Nero and Domitian)5 had been reworked:
these emperors had suffered more or less officially memoria damnata6, al-
though their portraits not always have been recut and not always had been
recut immediately. Moreover, “the total destruction or mutilation of images
of these individuals was not carried out systematically throughout Rome’s
vast empire”, as J. Pollini rightly pointed out7. But at all times their damna-
tion presupposed the partial destruction or defacement of the portrait, the
purpose of which was the persistence of the negative memory of the damned
ones but above all the full suppression of them8. In addition, also a kind of
political visual cannibalism could be a part of these dynamics9. Not to men-
tion, finally, of the economic causes that have led to not get rid of an used
piece of marble to give it a new life. For these reasons, this is a cultural and
artistic phenomenon (and not a freak), which from time to time is always
renewed and the interest of all scholars resides in its ideological complexity.
In this essay I shall address some problems related to the refashioning
of two remarkable marble portraits from Lucus Feroniae, the ancient Roman

  See, e.g., Pollini 1984, 547–548.
  Pollini – Storage 2010, 23.
  Prusac 2011, 33.
  I recently wrote about the unofficial Caligula’s damnation in Cristilli 2018.
  There are at least 120 refashioned portraits of these emperors in all media. Varner 2010, 45.
  Bianchi 2014.
  Pollini – Storage 2010, 32.
  Hedrick 2000, 89–130; Flower 2006; Pollini – Storage 2010, 24.
  Varner 2008.

From Nero to Vespasian. Two re-carved marble portraits in Lucus Feroniae  37

colony near Rome and domain of the powerful gens Volusia10. These two
sculptures are very interesting because they document reworking for memo-
ria damnata in a minor town of the urban settlements network around the
capital city in the delicate passage from the julio-claudian dynasty to that
flavian. At the same time they also testify the high technical skills of local
sculptors, for the reason that generally re-carving a previously likeness was
more difficult than carving a new marble block. That’s why I would like to
focus on the technical aspects of their re-cutting, and not investigate their
stylistic and chronological issues that would not makes much sense in this
survey, in order to highlight the skills of the artists: this approach will allow
us to verify what the two portraits share with the other contemporary re-
fashioned portraits and, if so, which most original techniques were adopted
for them. The technical practice, in fact, has been a topic too often underes-
timated by the scholars. Instead, it must be recognized as a compulsory role,
because it is at the origin of the success of any process of marble reworking,
that is to achieve the somatic and psychological features of the new subject:
actually considering it as an argumentum ex silentio would falsify the correct
perspective of study.
The portraits I present here, one from the north-west corner of the
Forum portico and the other one from the Aedes Genii coloniae, had been
refashioned from the Emperor Nero into the likeness of the Emperor Vespa-
sian (fig. 1). As a matter of fact the traces of the original portraits are enough
to suggest that both heads probably had been recut from the later portrait
types of Nero11. Originally, these pieces had been on public display in crucial
point of the city, like the Forum area: however, considering the places where
they have been found during the last century, it is highly plausible that at the
beginning they had already been there.

Fig. 1. Lucus Feroniae Forum. Recon-

struction (Studio Groma / Rome, re-

  About this family belonging to the Senate order, originally coming from Picenum and
owner of the sumptuous suburban villa at 400 m NE of Lucus Feroniae, see, e.g., Volusii Sa-
turnini 1982; Cristilli 2018.
  About the types of Nero portraits, see: Hiesinger 1975; Bergmann – Zanker 1981, 321–
332; Maggi 1986, 47–50; Boschung 1993, 76–77; Welch 2002, 134–139; Maderna 2010; Var-
ner 2010, 55; Cadario 2011.

38  Armando Cristilli

The first refashioned Vespasian’s portrait12 is the very famous so called
“Lucus Feroniae type”, considered by Bartoccini “uno dei migliori, se non
addirittura il migliore dei suoi ritratti finora pervenutoci”13, which has been
always considered by the scholars for both aesthetic and technical-stylistic
reasons14 (figs. 2-3). According to Varner, the head belonged to a togato stat-
It might had easily been placed in the porch of the Forum square, but it
is also plausible in another location, from which it would have been moved
in the modern age perhaps to be burnt and calcined: however, at the moment
we have no data to resolve this issue. The portrait, carved in a high-quality
Parian marble, is characterized by a cold and atone look and its face is asym-
metrical respect to the axis of the oval: it has been included in the so called “II
type” of Vespasian’s portraits, maybe derived from an image created before
his elevation to the principate16 from a Nero’s portraits of the “IV type”17. But
the very obvious detail in this sculpture is the small space occupied by its
Fig. 2. Vespasian portrait. Capena. Lu-
face within the general cranial volume beyond the excessive fullness of the
cus Feroniae Antiquarium, Inv. 91118 temples, which gives an increased flaring upwards to the head. Few years ago
reworking of this portrait has been disputed for some evidences18: a) the face
doesn’t seem to be compressed with respect to the neck; b) its dimensions
and proportions appear to be correct; c) there are no traces of haircuts of
a previous portrait (of Emperor Nero); d) in the back of the head there is a
roughness of the marble, with defects and natural fractures; e) there are no
traces of marble stucco. About these matters, I think it had been reworked
saving a lot of the character of the original likeness, in according with all
scholars. I suppose so it is, especially because its face appears much small
and contracted than the available surface of the head and what’s more on the
back side, as well as behind the ears, it still has got traces of the typical hair
of the “IV type” of Nero’s portraits: then, only reworking could explain the
Lucus Feroniae portrait’s unnatural appearance, because this kind of alter-
ation reduces the mass of the image, producing proportional anomalies19. In
Fig. 3. Vespasian portrait (backside). addition, there is also the roughened surface of the marble on the top of the
Capena. Lucus Feroniae Antiquarium, Inv. skull, creating a rippling effect, surely to eliminate all traces of primary curly
91118 (foto Autore)
locks by re-cutting, and the marble stucco is missing because it had worsen
and fallen out. Furthmore, the previously mouth had been preserved, except
for two incisions on the sides to make it more suitable for an older man than
for a young. By the way, it’s sure an excellent and apprentice sculptor had
refashioned this portrait, so the result is the high quality esthetic and techni-
cal level of the head. The final proof of reworking of this first sculpture from

 Capena, Lucus Feroniae Antiquarium, inv. 91118; inv. fot. MiBACT-MN-ETRU 5053
and 34065; white marble; h. 31cm; from Lucus Feroniae - Forum Portico (4/11/1953). Varner
2004, 52–53 and 243, n° 2.22, fig. 46 (with complete litterateur); E. Rosso in: Coarelli 2009,
Cat. 9, p. 413; Pollini – Storage 2010, 32–33.
  Bartoccini 1961, 254.
  Varner 2000, 12; Varner 2004, 52–53 e 243, n° 2.22, fig. 46; E. Rosso in: Coarelli 2009, Cat.
9, 413 (with complete litterateur); Pollini – Storage 2010, 32–33; Prusac 2011, 134.
  Varner 2004, 53.
  For the status quaestionis about the Vespasian’s portraits, see: Welch 2002, 138–140; E.
Rosso in: Coarelli 2009, 403; but also P. Zanker in: Coarelli 2009, 62; Raeder 2010; Rosso 2010,
  E.g. E. Rosso in: Coarelli 2009, 413.
  Pollini 1984, 551; Pollini – Storage 2010, 32–33.
  About this visual result, see Pollini 1984, 548; Varner 2010, 45.

From Nero to Vespasian. Two re-carved marble portraits in Lucus Feroniae  39

Lucus Feroniae might be the intense idealization of this Vespasian’s portrait,
depending on the fact that it previously represented another person, specif-
ically Nero20. In fact, if a portrait is reworked, its level of idealization would
necessarily be higher to represent the new subject: indeed, the sculptor must
lower and smooth the surface of the marble to attenuate the original portrait
lineament. On the contrary, if the portrait is carved for the first time and its
sculptor works a new block of marble, the head should appear more realistic
as a typical portrait of Republican tradition21, expression of the new political
ideology of the Flavian family’s founder22 (whose the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
Vespasian is considered the paradigm23). Therefore, the classicizing versions
of the Vespasian’s physiognomy are direct legacies of the Neronian por-
traits24. In light of these observations, I doubt that the likeness in hand has
been uncut previously.
About the second marble portrait25, it is no doubt less known than the
first, but it is equally interesting from a technical and artistic point of view
and it has not been recognized in the past as a refashioned portrait (figs. 4-8).
Although it has already been published26, however, it did not caught the at-
tention of the scholars, so it’s necessary to give some more detail about it.
In fact, it has been often considered a second-class image and it has been
forgotten in comparison with the above-analyzed head.
It was discovered in early 1959 in the small aedes of Genius Coloni-
ae on the Sacred Terrace of the Lucus Feroniae Forum27 and it is a life-size
fragmented head, almost certainly a part of the shrine’s sculptural equip-
ment (fig. 1). This sculpture, curved in Luni marble, is without any doubt
a beautiful portrait of the Emperor Vespasian, depicted as a bald man and
with hair only on his temples and with a massive, squared and mature face.
The top of the skull had been fixed with a metal pin (which still holds its
casing)28, even if I could not see in person this typical technique of piecing.
Anyway, it may have been a repair of a break in ancient times. An important
factor to observe about this portrait is the chiseling of the hair at the top, in
addition to the excessive fullness of the clasps on the temples, which give an
imbalanced development of the skull (figs. 7-8): surely the sculptor had add-

  The question about the existence of two distinct types or a ‘variant’ of a single type for
Vespasian’s portrait is still open. In my opinion, the Paladini’s theory (according to the
scholar, there is only one type of portrait with two different results depending on whether the
portrait is recut or unrecut) is still now the most reliable. Paladini 1981.
  Vespasian’s sculptural propaganda was concentrated to express the noble virtues (even
military) and the legacy of new emperor, showing how he had distanced himself from Nero
and how the Flavians’ efforts had brought the peace to the Empire. In this way, even through
his new portrait type Vespasian legitimated its sovereignty: moreover, as can be seen on the
bases of Suetonius, he was a simply farmer who had risen to the position of emperor and he
always remained a honest man, very close to his family’s origins, whose quality was a lack of
greed of money; he looked himself like a boor, but he never was ashamed of his himble-ex-
traction or his nickname “the mule track”. Suet., Vesp., 8 and 286.
  Welch 2002, 140.
  E. Rosso in: Coarelli 2009, 402–403.
  Moreover, Varner had already noted that Nero’s youthful images were mostly trans-
formed into the idealized portraits of Vespasian, although remained the distinction in two
types of his portraiture. Varner 2004, 52 (especially note 69).
 Capena, Lucus Feroniae Antiquarium, inv. 118381; white marble; h. 31cm; from Lucus
Feroniae – Aedes Genii coloniae (January 6 1959); bibl.: Daltrop et alii1966, 15 and 80, tav. 8c;
Bergmann – Zanker 1981, 333; Moretti Sgubini 1982-84, 105–106.
 Daltrop et alii 1966, 15 and 80, tav. 8c; Moretti Sgubini 1982-84, 105–106.
  About the new identification of the building, Stanco 2017.
  Moretti Sgubini 1982-84, 106, note 75.

40  Armando Cristilli

Fig. 4. Vespasian portrait. Capena. Lucus Fero-
niae Antiquarium, Inv. 118381 (MiBACT-MN-
Fig. 5. Vespasian portrait (right side). Capena.
Lucus Feroniae Antiquarium, Inv. 118381 (Mi-
Fig. 6. Vespasian portrait (left side). Capena.
Lucus Feroniae Antiquarium, Inv. 118381 (Mi-
Fig. 7. Vespasian portrait (back side). Capena.
Lucus Feroniae Antiquarium, Inv. 118381 (Mi-
Fig. 8. Vespasian portrait (from above). Ca-
pena. Lucus Feroniae Antiquarium, Inv. 118381

ed marble-dust stucco in this point of the head, as it is indicated very well by

the roughened surface and by the slightly projecting nails that had been fixed
into the surface skull to hold a layer of this stucco29, now degraded and fallen
out. The sculptor had lowered the top of the skull to make the Vespasian’s
typical baldness, but he had retained also on the back some unaltered locks
of a previous hairstyle. This operation intended probably to modify the shape
of the head so that it would more like that of the Flavian emperor. However,
some characteristics of the Nero’s image are still identifiable in this new re-
fashioned version. These aspects betray undoubtedly a reworking of a head
produced originally to represent someone other than Vespasian. Firstly,
the portrait in hand had been produced to represent the Emperor Nero (an
identification, among other things, already very likely because of the subject
created by the re-cutting). The first trace plausible of this derivation is the
cranial shape, which presupposes an overwhelming overprint of the original
as well as the well-known coma semper in gradus formata of the “III type”
and “IV type” of the Nero’s portraits (fig. 4). In a second phase, converting
the primary marble head into the secondary one, it has been added on Ves-
pasian’s forehead (where the locks had been cut back) his characteristic hor-
izontal lines and on his face pronounced vertical frown wrinkles (expression
of experience and energy at the same time) and a deep crease at the bridge of
the nose, carved after a quick cut had been made in order to change Nero’s
nose. But we don’t know the Vespasian nose’s shape because of the fragmen-
tation of the head. The second evidence is the amygdaloid shape of the eyes
(fig. 4), which also remind the image of the previous damned emperor, as in

  This is a well-known technique in a marble plastic of the Roman age. Pollini – Storage

2010, 33–34 and 37–38; Varner 2010, 47.

From Nero to Vespasian. Two re-carved marble portraits in Lucus Feroniae  41

the first portrait discussed above30: surely no alterations were deemed here
as necessary because of the similar features in Vespasian’s images. Though
the rather crude cutting of the chunky locks on the temples31, made with
deep chisel shots to create a chiaroscuro effect, is very interesting, pointing
again a derivation from a Neronian original. One last observation must be
made about the falling cheeks for Vespasian’s old age, which imply a great
availability of marble in that point of the head for the sculptor, which is once
again typical of the fleshy and plump cheeks of the later images of Nero. The
result of this re-cutting is a portrait with a strong artistic effect that occupies
a place of total respect in the local sculptural production of Roman age.
Thus, these portraits of Vespasian from Lucus Feroniae clearly indicate
the real technical skills of the local sculptors, able to produce excellent stat-
ues in a short time though previously carved. Actually this is a very under-
estimated aspect. In fact, the quality of two heads, as well as some other
refashioned portraits of Vespasian in the Empire32, is justified only by the
artists who had a well-grounded technical tradition and a fashionable and
styled aesthetic taste, surely in touch with the contemporary artistic expe-
riences in Rome. Only on these conditions we could have portraits with a
strong artistic impact such as these here analyzed, in which the mastery of
sculptural process is combined with an elegant refinement and the pursuit
of effective realism. They also claim for themselves a significant role in the
study and generally in the distribution of reworking, as well as provide im-
portant details for the reconstruction of the historical events of this Roman
colony. After the chaotic events following Nero’s assassination, the rapid rise
to the imperial throne of the Flavian emperor had to have misplaced the
local community and certainly the same Volusii Saturnini’s family, strongly
compromised with the former government and with all the Julio-Claudians
in general. For this reason it was necessary to present themselves to the new
sovereign of Rome in the most obsequious way possible to try to hide a mo-
mentarily uncomfortable political past. In a such historical contingency, the
availability of good artists who could transform the effigies of the public en-
emy Nero into those of Vespasian, the new savior of the Roman Empire,
turned out to be an opportunity to exploit immediately, beyond economic
reasons (or, anyway, not just for economic reasons). This possibility then
turned into the realization of high-level sculptures, which could only sat-
isfy the expectations required by the circumstances, in primis those of the
gens Volusia. In regards to this matter, it should be reminded that Moretti
Sgubini noted that the presence of two portraits of the same emperor could
be a sign of a strong vitality of Lucus Feroniae in the Flavian age and this
also based on epigraphic testimonies33. Anyway, looking at the data it is not
enough to imagine a social and political situation like the one above de-
scribed rather than thinking more simply to an emergency experienced by
the whole Empire and in a town where the presence of the Volusii Saturnini
must have been conditioning its past and future history: in Lucus Feroniae
the only problem was this family needed the support of the promising Ves-

  Varner 2004, 53.
  For no reason A.M. Moretti Sgubini defined incorrectly these curls as degraded (“radi”).
Moretti Sgubini 1982-84, 106, note 75.
  In regards to this a very significant example is the famous head in the Cleveland Museum
of Art. Pollini 1984, 348–552; Pollini – Storage 2010, 31–33.
  Moretti Sgubini 1982-84, 107, note 75.

42  Armando Cristilli

pasian to survive politically. On the contrary, because at the beginning these
two heads represented Nero, we must be certain that under the reign of this
emperor more than the other that this Roman colony (and its patroni) must
have lived a period of prosperous vitality.


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ein kritischer Forschungsbericht, JRA 6, 1993, 39–79.
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schebild, 2, 1. Die Flavier. Vespasian, Titus, Domitian, Nerva, Julia Titi, Domitilla,
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1986, 47–51.
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niae, RendPontAc 55-56, 1982-1984, 71–109.
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II/12.2, 1981, 612–622.
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Vespasian in American Museums, AJA 88, 1984, 547–555.
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Dr. Armando Cristilli

Università degli Studi di Roma ‘Tor Vergata’
Macroarea di Lettere e Filosofia
Dipartimento di Storia, Patrimonio Culturale, Formazione e Società
Via Columbia, 1 – 00133 Roma (Italy)

44  Armando Cristilli