Sword of Tiberius. Detail of the scabbard: Tiberius and Augustus
Ca. 15 CE.
Length: 57.5 cm. Width: 7 cm. Thickness: 1 cm (max.).
Inv. No. 1866,0806.1.London, British MuseumPhoto by Roger B. Ulrich

Sword of Tiberius. Detail of the scabbard: Tiberius and Augustus.

Ca. 15 CE.
Length: 57.5 cm. Width: 7 cm. Thickness: 1 cm (max.).
Inv. No. 1866,0806.1.

London, British Museum

Mainz (Germany). Gift of Felix Slade.
Detail of the scabbard of the “Sword of Tiberius” in the British Museum (inv. GR 1866.8-6.1; Bronze 867).

Tiberius, standing at the left and wearing a cuirass, presents himself (and a miniature victory) to an enthroned Augustus, the latter semi-nude and rendered on a relatively larger scale (Augustus is presumably shown in his deified state; thus after his death in 14 CE). The left hand of Augustus rests on a shield with the inscription “FELICITAS TIBERI.” Between the two, Mars Ultor looks on (the image of Mars probably mimics the cult image that stood in the Temple of Mars Ultor in the Forum of Augustus in Rome). A winged Victory, now damaged, stands behind the enthroned Augustus.

The iron sword and its decorated bronze scabbard presumably did NOT belong to Tiberius himself, but to a senior military officer. It is from Mainz, Germany, so might have been a commemorative piece made during campaigns in Germany.

Dated to ca. 15 CE.

For additional information see: http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/gr/t/the_sword_of_tiberius.aspx.

© 2010. Photo, text: Roger B. Ulrich.
Keywords: ρωμαϊκή μυθολογία mythologia romana roman mythology mitologia römische mythologie romaine βικτώρια dea victoria winged goddess victory alata vittoria geflügelte göttin personifikation personnifie victoire déesse ailée θεός μαρς deus mars god dio marte gott dieu epigraphia epigraphy inscription iscrizione epigrafia epigraphik epigrafik inschrift épigraphie romano romani römisch honorary onoraria ehreninschrift honorifique απεικόνιση portrait portraiture ritratto ritrattistica porträtmalerei porträt römisches romain αυτοκρατορικό imperial imperiale kaiserliches impérial ρωμαίος αυτοκράτορας οκταβιανός αύγουστος imperator octavianus augustus emperor octavian august imperatore ottaviano augusto römischer kaiser empereur octave octavien auguste τιβέριος tiberius i tiberio tibère ιουλιο-κλαυδιανή δυναστεία iulio-claudia iulii-claudii julii-claudii the julio-claudian dynasty dinastia giulio-claudia julisch-claudische dynastie famille julio-claudienne julio-claudiens ρώμη ρωμαϊκό rome rom toreutics toreutica cesellatura toreutik treibarbeit toreutique bronze sword of scabbard sheath male throne sceptre drapery victoriola ultor avenger armor armour armatura lorica loricata round shield clupeus clipeus latin felicitas tiberi felix slade inv no 1866 0806 1