Portrait of Julia Domna (ca. A.D. 170–217) Artist: Unknown

A.D. 203–17

Ancient Art

Not on view

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.




13 3/4 × 10 1/2 × 9 1/2 in. (35 × 26.67 × 24.13 cm)

Credit Line

Ruth Elizabeth White Fund

Accession Number



Severan period


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 records is ongoing.



Reportedly Pestalozzi Collection, Zurich, by about 1970; reportedly sold to Giorgio Fallani (1921–1994), about 1970 [see note 1]; by inheritance to his son, Carlo-Maria Fallani, Geneva, Switzerland, 1994; sold through Oliver Forge and Brendan Lynch, Ltd., London, to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 2010

Note 1: According to an attestation provided to the Gallery by Forge and Lynch, London, reportedly from Carlo-Maria Fallani, Geneva, September 20, 2010 (copy in accession file)

This work appears on our "Antiquities and Archaeological Material with Provenance Documentation Gaps" page.
  • Klaus Fittschen, A Companion to Roman Art, ed. Barbara Borg (West Sussex, United Kingdom: John Wiley and Sons, 2015), 55, fig. 3.4
  • 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
  • E. Simon, "Giorgio Fallani und das Martin-von-Wagner-Museum," Antike Welt 26, no. 1–6 (1995), 404–405
  • Flemming Johansen, Roman Portraits: Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, 3 vols. (Copenhagen: Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, 1994–95), vol. 3, p. 28
  • Hans Jucker and Dietrich Willers, Gesichter: Griechische und römische Bildnisse aus Schweizer Besitz, exh. cat. (Bern: Archa¨ologisches Seminar der Universita¨t Bern, 1983), 166-67, no. 68, ill
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

busts (sculpture), human figures (visual works), portraits

Technical metadata and APIs


Open in Mirador

View IIIF manifest

The International Image Interoperability Framework, or IIIF, is an open standard for delivering high-quality, attributed digital objects online at scale. Visit iiif.io to learn more

Linked Art

API response for this object

Linked Art is a Community working together to create a shared Model based on Linked Open Data to describe Art.