Large 19th Century Oval Marble Relief of the Roman Emperor Claudius with Eagle

45 inches high and 34.5 inches wide this truly is an impressive manifestation of 19th century Italian carving craftsmanship. The relief is centering a circular profile portrait of the emperor Claudius, who ruled Rome from 41-54, surrounded by a latin inscription: Ave cesar morituri te salutant which is a well-known Latin phrase quoted in Suetonius, De Vita Caesarum. It was reportedly used during an event in AD 52 on Lake Fucinus by naumachiarii—captives and criminals fated to die fighting during mock naval encounters—in the presence of the emperor Claudius. The portrait is set in an oval panel decorated by the imperial eagle, laurel branches and oak leafwork surmounted by ribbons. A band of gray marble separates the carvings from the marble framing featuring the classical egg and dart corniche carving.

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