Ancient Art
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Portrait of Julia Domna (ca. A.D. 170–217)

A.D. 203–17

Marble

35 x 26.67 x 24.13 cm (13 3/4 x 10 1/2 x 9 1/2 in.)
Ruth Elizabeth White Fund
2010.143.1
Wife of the emperor Septimius Severus and mother of co-emperors Caracalla and Geta, Julia Domna is shown here wearing an impressively elaborate hairstyle, but wisps of her own hair peeking out near the ears reveal that it is a wig. The empress, born in Syria, was a patron of the arts, and her prominence was a manifestation of the increasing importance of the Roman provinces. Julia’s hairstyle corresponds to that depicted on a coin in the Yale University Art Gallery’s collection (2007.183.82) as well as to her portraits on the arch of Septimius Severus in the emperor’s hometown, Leptis Magna (in modern Libya), which the imperial family visited in A.D. 203. The inscription on the coin’s reverse lists titles that Julia received between A.D. 209 and 211. She used this hairstyle for the rest of her life.
Culture: 
Roman
Period: 
Severan period
Classification: 
Sculpture
Status: 
On view*
Bibliography: 

Flemming Johansen, Roman Portraits: Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, 3 vols. (Copenhagen: Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, 1994–95), vol. 3, p. 28.

E. Simon, “Giorgio Fallani und das Martin-von-Wagner-Museum,” Antike Welt 26, no. 1–6 (1995): 404–405.

“Acquisitions,” http://artgallery.yale.edu/pdf/acquisitions_2011.pdf (accessed March 1, 2012).

Lisa R. Brody and Gail Hoffman, eds., Roman in the Provinces: Art on the Periphery of Empire (Chestnut Hill, Mass.: McMullen Museum of Art, 2014), 285, no. 88, pl. 88.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.

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