Marble portrait bust of Homer

Roman, 1st-2nd century AD
From Baiae, Campania, Italy

Author of the Iliad and the Odyssey

Homer is thought to have lived in Greece around 750 to 700 BC. He is the most famous poet of all antiquity; the author of the Iliad and Odyssey, epic poems focussing respectively upon the heroes Achilles and Odysseus. The first tells of Achilles' part in the siege of Troy, while the second relates the adventures of Odysseus on his journey home following the city's fall.

Homer lived before the age of realistic portraiture. The Roman author Pliny the Elder (AD 23/4-79) tells us that the poet's later portrait type was invented in the second century BC for the library of the Attalid kings of Pergamon (Pergamum). Many copies of this 'portrait' were made in the Roman period. This one is carved as a 'terminal bust', designed to be mounted on a square stone shaft.

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More information


G.M.A. Richter, The portraits of the Greeks (London, Phaidon, 1965)


Height: 22.500 inches

Museum number

GR 1805.7-3.85 (Sculpture 1825)


Townley Collection


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