roman relief

Head of Mars Ultor (Mars the Avenger), modeled after sculptural representations from the Temple of Mars Ultor in the Forum of Augustus.  Artist unknown; 2nd cent. CE.  Now in the Palazzo Altemps, Rome.  Photo credit: Carole Raddato.

Funerary stele of a Greek-speaking Egyptian named Elemon (Ἐλέμων) from Lycopolis, depicting the deceased in traditional Egyptian dress, being escorted by Hathor and Anubis to Osiris.  Artist unknown; 1st cent. CE (Roman period).  Now in the Louvre.

Silver, partially gilt mirror with repoussé decoration, depicting Leda and Zeus disguised as a swan.  Part of the Boscoreale Treasure.  Artist unknown; late 1st cent. BCE- early 1st cent. CE.  Found at Boscoreale, Italy; now in the Louvre.

Athena helps build the Argo: Roman moulded terracotta plaque, 1st century AD

This plaque is said to have been found near the Porta Latina in Rome. The relief represents the fitting out of the Argo, the famous vessel in which the Greeks risked the first great national undertaking. Athena herself, as Ergane, the goddess of labor, presides; and whilst the mythic builder (Argos) of the miraculous vessel is engaged in timbering the hull; she, as it were, imparts to it life and breath, by teaching the steersman (Tiphys) to clothe the towering masts with sails, which are to serve as wings to the vessel.

The goddess sits upon a stool, supported on lion’s paws; and is occupied in attaching, with her own hands, the swelling canvass to the yards, which Tiphys holds in readiness. She has laid aside the gorgon shield, and appears without the aegis. The owl, her faithful attendant, has perched on the stump of a pillar standing behind her. The surrounding landscape is simply indicated by the city-gate leading towards the haven; and by the trunk of an aged tree.

…Argus, son of Phrixus; and Argus, by Athena’s advice, built a ship of fifty oars named Argo after its builder; and at the prow Athena fitted in a speaking timber from the oak of Dodona. When the ship was built, and he inquired of the oracle, the god gave him leave to assemble the nobles of Greece and sail away. -  from Apollodorus, Library 1.9.16