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Terracotta 'Campana' plaque with a scene of a triumphal procession


Height: 32.500 cm
Length: 39.000 cm

Townley Collection

GR 1805.7-3.342 (Terracotta D 625)

Room 69: Greek and Roman life

    Terracotta 'Campana' plaque with a scene of a triumphal procession

    Roman, early 2nd century AD
    From Italy

    Chained captives

    Named after Giorgio Campana who first published them in the mid-nineteenth century, plaques of this type were used to decorate the upper walls of porticoes and shrines, and occasionally private houses. The scene shows a part of an imperial triumph, the procession which marked victory in military campaigns. Two barbarian captives, clearly in great distress and with their necks and ankles chained, are led on an open cart through the streets of Rome. Two men by the side of the cart hold (or pull) the chains, while a third leads the horses.

    The triumph was originally for victorious generals but was increasingly reserved for members of the imperial family. Senators and magistrates led the procession, followed by the booty from the campaign, oxen for sacrifice, and captives, often of high rank. Next came the emperor in a quadriga (four-horse chariot) and then the soldiers. The captives on this plaque resemble the natives of Dacia (Romania) seen on Trajan's Column, and the scene could therefore come from the triumph of the emperor Trajan over Decabalus, the king of Dacia in AD 107.

    S. Walker, Roman art (London, 1991)