Roman Cameo by flavia49 ()
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This is one of the imperial cameos kept in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. This exquisite cameo is called "The Gemma Claudia," a Roman five-layered onyx cameo, ca. 49 EC. Two pairs of symmetrical busts sprout from two cornucopias: on the left the emperor Claudius (10 BC - 54 AD) and his fourth wife, Agrippina the Younger (15/16 - 59 AD). Across from them stand the busts of the parents of the bride: the brother of the emperor, Germanicus (15 BC - 19 AD), and his wife, Agrippina the Elder (14 BC - 33 AD). Claudius married for the fourth time in 49 AD. There were great expectations of Agrippina the Younger, who on the cameo is portrayed as Cybele, the goddess of fertility, and hopes that following the assassination of her predecessor, Messalina, things would take a turn for the better. Yet her elevation to the rank of Augusta and the adoption of her son Nero would have disastrous consequences for the emperor and state. By marrying the great-granddaughter of Augustus, Claudius strengthened the connection between the Julian and Claudian families. Possibly this stone was an official wedding gift to the imperial couple.
Image Comments (39)
blankfrancine () 9:19AM | Sun, 29 January 2017
Fascinating historical info and a fine piece of art. Wonderful,detailed capture!
CleonXXI () 9:35AM | Sun, 29 January 2017
Great photograph of this amazing and beautiful artifact. Interesting and informative commentary as well, particularly regarding Agrippina the Younger. Born in what is now Koln GE she is generally thought to have poisoned her husband Claudius and was of course later killed by her own son Nero. As you say, disastrous implications for the emperor and state, as Nero's own death brought about the end of the Julio-Claudians, and, after the period of the four quickly eliminated emperors from Galba to Vitellus, brought in the time of the "regular Joe" lower social order soldier emperors beginning with Vespasian. Beautiful photo of this object and reminds us that the ancients weren't stupid people and that in many areas of life and art modern humans are no more "advanced" and indeed possibly less so than our long-ago ancestors.
claude19 () 10:17AM | Sun, 29 January 2017
A magnificent shot of exceptional cameos beautiful material and beautiful photo!!!
Radar_rad-dude () 4:32PM | Sun, 29 January 2017
Excellent image and fine detailed descriptive! Most interesting to see and read!
junge1 () 4:51PM | Sun, 29 January 2017
Beautifully done Flavia and very interesting information! But why is it in Vienna rather than in Rome?
It's in Vienna because Vienna was the seat of the Hapsburgs, the last emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. The imperial cameos passed from emperor to emperor as part of the imperial treasury; even after the fall of the Roman empire they continued to be part of the imperial treasury. The various pretenders to the throne of Emperor of the Roman Empire (the Western part) and, after Charlemagne, of the Holy Roman Empire became the owners and so they were inherited by the Hapsburgs.
blondeblurr () 5:22PM | Sun, 29 January 2017
Indeed a beautiful and very distinct artifact, nothing like I have ever seen before and something that will outlast most likely everything we know, such a great Cameo - different from the ones you see nowadays, because it's Onyx !... and not made from shell, coral, ivory, lava, or mother-of-pearl etc.