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The Arcisate Treasure

 

Height: 13.000 cm (jug)
Height: 13.000 cm (jug)
Diameter: 13.400 cm (cup)
Height: 13.000 cm (jug)
Diameter: 13.400 cm (cup)
Length: 18.000 cm (stirrer)

Townley Collection

GR 1900.7-30.3-7 (Silver 126-130)

Room 70: Roman Empire

    The Arcisate Treasure

    Roman, about 100-75 BC
    From Arcisate, near Como, northern Italy

    The jug (oinochoe), two-handled cup (the handles now missing), strainer, ladle (simpulum), and stirrer (spatula) together form a set for the mixing and serving of wine, either at table or as part of a religious ceremony. Wine and water were poured into the jug through the strainer, and mixed with the spatula. The wine was then poured into the cup, from which it could be drunk, or offered to the gods, with the ladle.

    The jug has a dotted inscription on the base: Utia T(iti) f(ilia) p(ondo) I ('Utia daughter of Titus'), followed by the weight of the vessel, one Roman pound. The swan-headed ladle bears the inscription T. Uti V(ibi) f(ili) p(ondo) III sc(ripula) IV, ('[This ladle, the property of] Titus Utius, son of Vibius, weighs three pounds, four ounces').

    Titus Utius, son of Vibius' has the tria nomina, the three-part name indicating that he is a Roman citizen, and was almost certainly the father of Utia, mentioned on the jug. The family name Utius is of Italic rather than Roman origin, and was fairly common in the central and eastern parts of Italy.

    The style of the set suggests that it was originally manufactured in Campania, probably in the first quarter of the first century BC. The Utii family may therefore have been relatively new immigrants to northern Italy, perhaps forming part of the large settlement of 3,000 colonists founded in Comum (modern Como) in 89 BC.

    S. Walker, Roman art (London, 1991)

    H.B. Walters, Catalogue of the silver plate (London, British Museum, 1921)

    P. Piana Agostinetti and S. Priuli, 'Il tesoro di Arcisate', Archeologia Classica, 37 (1985)

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    On display: Room 70: Roman Empire

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    Recipes from the ancient Mediterranean world, £9.99

    Recipes from the ancient Mediterranean world, £9.99