Nîmes’ Musée de la Romanité Part Two: the Monumental and the Mundane

…continued from Part One

Once we get on to the Augustan period, we start to look at the world of Rome thematically.  Rows of road markers, a room of religious art, many interesting funeral stele… mosaics, frescoes, objects from everyday life… the list goes on.  It’s really fun to explore and they’ve done a great job of displaying everything so you can see details and really appreciate the variety of objects that have been found in and around the city of Nîmes.

There’s not much for me to say, except that I was constantly surprised by what was on show.  The quality of the objects is high, and some are unique.

Let’s start with one of the city’s most famous creations: the ‘as of Nîmes’.  It commemorates the capture of Egypt and the settling of veterans in the city of Nemausus.  The story is connected to the final years of the Roman Republic, when Mark Anthony and Octavian (later given the name Augustus) were battling it out in a civil war caused by the death of Julius Caesar.  Mark Anthony allied himself with the Egyptian Queen, Cleopatra, and their defeat at the Battle of Actium saw not only the end of that couple’s ambitions, but also the end of Egypt’s independence.  The crocodile on the coin, therefore, symbolises Egypt, and it is chained to a palm tree, representing Roman triumph.  The image is still used to represent Nîmes and can be seen around the city.

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Dupondius, the ‘as of Nîmes’, c10-14/5 AD, with the busts of Agrippa and Augustus and the crocodile attached by a chain to a palm, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Military Marker from the reign of Augustus, 3BC, found on the Via Domitia, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Inscription in honour of Marcus Agrippa, 20-19BC, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Military Marker from the reign of Antoninus Pius, 144-145AD, from the Via Domitia, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Military Marker from the reign of Antoninus Pius, found on the road connecting Nimes to Alba, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Glass funerary urns, 1st-2nd century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Enticing displays in Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Glass funerary urns, 1st-2nd century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Statue group from the route de Beaucaire, Nimes, 2nd century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France. There are two nymphs, a silenus, two goats, a shepherd and a male head. They were made locally in the Roman style and were discovered in a funerary area – the bacchic and pastoral theme corresponds with the spirit of funerary gardens.

Statue of Silenus, from the Beaucaire group, 2nd century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Detail of the cup held by Silenus, from the Beaucaire group, 2nd century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Statue of a shepherd, from the Beaucaire group, 2nd century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Detail of the base of the statue of a shepherd, from the Beaucaire group, 2nd century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Statue of a nymph, from the Beaucaire group, 2nd century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Statue of a nymph, from the Beaucaire group, 2nd century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Statue of a shepherd, from the Beaucaire group, 2nd century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Epitaph of Marcus Attius Paternus, decurion of the colony of Riez, end of 1st, beginning of 2nd century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France. He died at the age of 25 and this was erected by Coelia Paterna, daughter of Sextus, to her excellent son.

Detail of the griffins on the epitaph of Marcus Attius Paternus, decurion of the colony of Riez, end of 1st, beginning of 2nd century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Detail of the side on the epitaph of Marcus Attius Paternus, decurion of the colony of Riez, end of 1st, beginning of 2nd century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Funerary monument of Cintia Honorata, second half of the 1st century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Marble urn, Roman era, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Funerary monument to Caesonia Horeae, by Marcus Fuscius Nedymus for his wife, second half of the 1st century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Funerary portraits, end of 1st century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France. The represented are: Julia Privata; Porcia Quartina, her granddaughter; Quartinus, her husband; Sextus Porcius Julinus, her grandson; Helvia Quartina, her daughter; Sextus Porcius Hecataeus, her son; Sextus Porcius Julianus, her other grandson.

Portrait of Sextus Porcius Julianus from the Julia Privata monument, end of 1st century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Portraits of Julia Privata, Porcia Quartina, her granddaughter, and Quartinus, her husband, from the Julia Privata monument, end of 1st century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Female figure representing Ceres, second half of the 1st century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Head of Isis, 1st/2nd century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France. She would have had enamel or glass eyes and earrings.

Head of Isis, 1st/2nd century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France. She would have had enamel or glass eyes and earrings.

Altar to the Moon and Isis, by Caius Octavius Pedo, Roman era, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Detail of a sistrum on the altar to the Moon and Isis, by Caius Octavius Pedo, Roman era, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Dedication to Isis by Quintus Parucius, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Head of Serapis, 150-250AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Julia Domna (possibly), end of 2nd, beginning of 3rd century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Portrait of a prince, 3rd century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Altar to the numen of Augustus, Roman era, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Possibly a Statue of Bona Dea, 1st century BC, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France. Her cult was diffused through the Empire, and there is a concentration of images in Narbonnaise Gaul. The fact that two were found in Nimes shows that there were people from Latinum in the area.

Sucellus, 2nd/3rd century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France. He was the Gallic god of death and resurrection as well as fertility and prosperity. He protected vines and forests and those who made boats. He was Romanised and assimilated with the god Sylvan. His iconography shows characteristics of Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto – but his clothes and attributes remain Gallic.

Monument to Jupiter and Sylvan, from Caius Octavius Pedo, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Head of Apollo, 1st century BC, bronze, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France. This head is of a type that was shown on coinage from 29-27 BC, used to pay the troops engaged in the battle of Actium. Augustus attributed his victory and the foundation of his reign to Apollo. It is possible that this Apollo was used in an Imperial cult monument in the forum.

Ombilic, 1st century AD, bronze, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Head of a statue of Mercury, beginning of 2nd century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Purse of Mercury, beginning of 2nd century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France. Inscribed on his purse is “Quintus Servaeus Reburrus, for Mercury, with gratitude, in fulfilment of his wish”.

Little monument offered to Nemausus, by Quintus Crassius Secundinus, quaestor of the colony, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Stele with the portrait of a couple and farming scenes, 1st century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Phaleres, Roman era, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Phaleres, Roman era, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Phaleres, Roman era, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Shaft of a chariot with the head of a hippo, Roman era, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Pendants in the form of crescents, Roman era, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Livestock brands, Roman era (?), Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Stele of the winemaker Vallo, 1st/2nd century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Funerary stele of the gardener Titus Cornelius Saturio, with a serpent and planter, 1st/2nd century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Horticultural pots, 1st century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France. They buried the lower part of the plant in a ditch, and used the pots to grow grafted trees.

Glass rhytons, 1st century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Funnel, 1st/2nd century AD, siphon (?) 1st century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Mosaic with Nereiad, end of 1st/2nd century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Detail of the mosaic with Nereiad, end of 1st/2nd century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Stove, Roman era, terracotta, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Gourd-kettle, 1st-3rd century AD, terracotta, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Lead vase, mid 2nd/3rd century AD, central Italy, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France. This style was also adopted by ateliers in Lyon and Vienne from the 1st century – but these are quite rare.

Oenochoé with a decoration of Hercules, 1st century AD, bronze, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Cup, south Gaul, second half of the 1st century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Bronze spoons, 1st-3rd century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Mosaic of panthers, beginning of the 2nd century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Portable hearth and utensils, 1st century AD, with a tripod, a grill, tongs and knife, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Fragment of a child figurine, 1st-3rd century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Horse, 1st-3rd century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Little hog, Roman era, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Learning about Roman coins at the Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Game counters, Roman era, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Oil lamp, end of 1st/beginning of 2nd century AD, bronze, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Human shaped lamp, 1st-3rd century AD, bronze, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Candlestick, 2nd/3rd century, terracotta, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

End of a knife in the form of a gladiator, Roman era, bone, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Elements of a hinge, Roman era, bone, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Number 14. jewellery box, 2nd/3rd AD; Number 13 pyxides and spoon, 1st century AD, bone, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Pyxide with cupid, Roman era, bone, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Pin with a Modest Venus and a bird, Roman Era, bone, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Statuette of a child and a dog, 1st century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France. It is from a 3rd century BC Greek model.

Papyrus un-roller, 1st/2nd century AD, bone, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Glass Feeder, 1st century AD; terracotta feeder, Roman era, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Portrait of a woman ‘Sappho’, 1st century/beginning 2nd century, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Pin of a Modest Venus, 1st century BC/AD, bone, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Marble box, Roman era; bracelets, 3rd/4th century, bronze; chain with a pearl shaped pendant, 1st century AD, bronze, glass, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Statuette of Telesphore, Roman era, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France. He is wearing a cucullus – a Celtic coat used by children and travellers.

Mosaic with swimming figures, third quarter of the 1st century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Detail of Mosaic with swimming figures, third quarter of the 1st century AD, Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France

Please click here for Part Three, with more Roman art….

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