The Joy of Museums

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Marble Portrait of Agrippina the Elder

Penn Museum - Joy of Museums - Agrippina

This Marble Portrait depicts Agrippina the Elder (14 BC – 33 AD). Vipsania Agrippina, commonly known as Agrippina the Elder was a distinguished and prominent Roman woman. Her husband Germanicus was a general and statesman  and a relative to the first Roman Emperors. Germanicus was a great-nephew of Emperor Augustus and Agrippina bore nine of Germanicus’ children.

Agrippina the Elder was the daughter of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa a wealthy, lifelong friend and supporter of Augustus. Unfortunately, when her husband died suddenly, suspected of poisoning, Agrippina was banished from Rome and died of starvation in exile and imprisoned.

Benjamin West 001

Agrippina Landing at Brundisium with the Ashes of Germanicus by Benjamin West

After her death, one of  Agrippina the Elder’s children, Caligula, became an Emperor of Rome. With her son as Emperor Agrippina received the posthumous honours she was denied when her husband died during challenging political intrigue of Imperial succession.

Eustache Le Sueur - Caligula Depositing the Ashes of his Mother and Brother in the Tomb of his Ancestors - WGA12607

Caligula Depositing the Ashes of his Mother and Brother in the Tomb of his Ancestors by Eustache Le Sueur 

Essential Facts:

  • Title:                Marble Portrait of Agrippina the Elder
  • Culture:          Roman
  • Provenience: Turkey (Country) Troad
  • Findsite:         Dardanelles / Plain of Troy
  • Period:            Roman
  • Date Made:    c. 38 AD
  • Material:        Parian Marble
  • Dimensions:  H: 33cm; W: 22cm; D: 24.5cm
  • Museum:        Penn Museum

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“Death is the wish of some, the relief of many, and the end of all.”
Seneca

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Photo Credit: Benjamin West [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons 2) Eustache Le Sueur [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons