Relief with a port scene
Greek marble.
180—190 CE.
75 × 122 cm.
Rome, Torlonia Museum

Relief with a port scene.

Greek marble.
180—190 CE.
75 × 122 cm.

Rome, Torlonia Museum
(Roma, Museo Torlonia)

Private collection, Torlonia.
Ostia.
Origin:
Ostia, 1863/1864.
Description:

The Torlonia relief

The so-called Torlonia relief was found in 1863 or 1864 near the so-called Imperial Palace, between the harbours of Claudius and Trajan. It is made of Greek marble and measures 1.22 × 0.75. It is probably a votive offering from the nearby Temple of Liber Pater (Bacchus). On the sails of the ship to the left are the letters V L, meaning Votum) Libero or Votum Libens Solvit. It was made in the Severan period, as is suggested by the way in which people sacrificing on board of a ship are represented.

To the right is a ship that is tied to a mooring block (in the lower right corner). Examples of such blocks have been found around Trajan’s hexagonal basin. A porter carries an amphora of wine to the quay. The person who dedicated the relief was probably a wine merchant, and of course there is an association between Liber Pater-Bacchus and wine. Above the ship is a large eye, averting evil.

The ship to the left has just entered the harbour. On the deck (upper left) people are sacrificing — one of them a woman —, thanking a deity for the safe journey. To the right a man may be lowering objects that will protect the ship from the quay. On the sails are two representations of the she-wolf suckling Romulus and Remus. A small boat is to the left.

Between the two ships is Neptune with a trident. In the background and to the left is the lighthouse of Claudius, with a burning fire. To the right of the fire is a statue, possibly of Claudius or Nero. On either side of the lighthouse is a statue, holding a wreath and a horn of plenty. The female figure on the left (in the upper left corner) has a lighthouse on her head. This is the personification of Portus. The male figure to the right may be the Genius (protective deity) of the harbour. To the right of the female figure are an eagle and a winged figure, presumably Victoria.

In the upper right corner is a triumphal arch. On top is a chariot drawn by elephants. The person in the chariot may be the Emperor Domitian, because he holds a sceptre ending in a human head, which is also found on Domitianic coins. To the right is Liber Pater-Bacchus, holding a thyrsus and accompanied by a panther.

Credits:
© 1970. Photo: Testaguzza 1970, p. 171.
2019. Description: https://www.ostia-antica.org.
Keywords: γλυπτική sculptura sculpture sculptural scultura skulptur ρωμαϊκό roman romana romano romani römisch römische römisches römischen römischer romain romaine romains romaines ανακούφιση relief rilievo ελληνική μυθολογία mythologia graeca greek mythology mitologia greca griechische mythologie grecque ρωμαϊκή διώνυσος dionysus dioniso dionysos θεός ποσειδῶν posidon poseidon god dio poseidone posidone gott dieu poséidon γκένιους genius genio νεπτούνους neptunus neptune nettuno neptun ρωμύλος romulus romolo ρήμος ρώμος remus remo rémus lupa capitolina capitoline wolf she-wolf kapitolinische wölfin louve marble marmo greco griechischer marmor marbre grec ελληνικό μάρμαρο ship rudder timone laterale ruder heckruder gouvernail τιμόνι aquila eagle adler aigle αετός navis velifera sailing vessel veliero segelschiff voilier ιστιοφόρο velum sail sails vela segel voile πανί ιστίο triumph pompa triumphalis triumphal procession trionfo processione trionfale triumphzug triomphe triomphale θρίαμβος θριαμβευτική πομπή triumphator triumpher trionfatore triomphateur scalae ladder scala leiter treppe steigleiter échelle escalier σκάλα bearer portatore gepäckträger porteur tower torre turm tour πύργος boat barca boot bateau canot barque βάρκα harbor harbour wharves haven porto hafen port λιμένας votive votivo votiva votiv votif prora prow bow rigging tackle cordame takelung takelage geschirr seilwaren agrès gréement pulley puleggia carrucola bozzello seilscheibe poulie fuscina tridens trident tridente dreizack bowsprit bompresso bugspriet klüverbaum beaupré lighthouse faro della leuchtturm phare de la arch arco triumphbogen arc reef reefs terzarolo hoisting loading crane with a polyspast gru di carico polispasto sollevamento ladekran hebekran grue chargement levage quadriga of elephants elephant elefanti elefante siegesquadriga der elefanten elefant quadrige triomphal des éléphants éléphant so-called torlonia relief scene in the claudius ostia statue neptune sacrificial gifts pilot boat unloading inv no 340~