Left side of the pedestal of the Antoninus Pius’ column: Decursio Equitum.

White Italian marble. 161 CE.

Rome, Vatican Museums, Cortile delle Corazze
(Musei Vaticani)

Description:
Two sides of the column base show almost identical scenes related to the funeral ceremonies of Faustina (140 AD) and Antoninus Pius (161 AD). Both scenes record the consecration of the imperial couple; the bas-reliefs show the members of the equestrian rank celebrating the “decursio” or “decursius”, the joust on horseback, foreseen during the funeral ceremonies of the high rank personalities.

This rite took place around the “ustrino”, the area where the ceremony of cremation was held. The “Decursio” were arranged in two stages: before the procession on foot and then the horsemen carousel. Here the carved bas-reliefs place the two stages in the same time, one inside the other: the horsemen carousel, with their standard-bearers, is moving around a group of armed praetorians standing on the center of the scene.

Credits:
© 2011. Photo, text: Egisto Sani.

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Keywords: left side of the pedestal of the Antoninus Pius’ column white Italian marble Apotheosis of Antoninus Pius and Faustina Decursio Equitum funerbis decursius decursus relief high relief base rider horseman horse cavalry horses bridle soldier fighting man warrior oval shield standard sign of legion signum armour helmet headpiece standard-bearer signifer vexillum sagum praetorian commander commanding officer leaves leaf of acanthus apophysis cymatium
HISTORY OF ANCIENT ROME