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The Sword of Tiberius

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1866,0806.1

  • Title (object)

    • The Sword of Tiberius
  • Description

    Iron sword and tinned and gilded bronze scabbard (sheath). This object illustrates the ceding of military victory to Augustus by Tiberius after a successful Alpine campaign. Augustus is shown semi-nude, and sits in the pose of Jupiter, flanked by Victory and Mars Ultor ('the Avenger'), while Tiberius, in military dress, presents Augustus with a statuette of Victory. The shield on which the seated figure rests his left arm is inscribed in Latin, Felicitas Tiberi, while the shield held by Victory nears the legend, Vic[toria] Aug[usti].

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  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 15 (circa)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 57.5 centimetres (blade)
    • Width: 7 centimetres (blade)
    • Length: 8.5 centimetres (hilt (remaining))
    • Thickness: 0.4 centimetres (blade)
    • Length: 58.5 centimetres (scabbard)
    • Width: 8.7 centimetres (scabbard)
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        Latin alphabet
      • Inscription Language

        Latin
      • Inscription Content

        FELIC
        ITAS
        TIBRE
        RI

        VIC AUG
      • Inscription Transliteration

        Felicitas Tiberi [on shield of Augustus]

        Vic[toria] Aug[usti] [on shield held by Victory]
  • Curator's comments

    The iron sword and its decorated bronze scabbard was almost certainly commissioned for a senior officer to commemorate a victory in the lengthy and bloody military campaigns in Germany. Victory in these campaigns was essential for the extension and protection of Rome's empire, and the symbolic act of presenting it to the emperor avoided the destructive competition between generals, which had brought down the Roman Republic.

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  • Bibliography

    • CIL XIII 6796 bibliographic details
    • Bronze 867 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited: 2015, 19 Jun-1 Nov, Kalkriese, Museum und Park Kalkriese, Me, Germanicus! 2009 15 May-25 Oct, Haltern am See, LWL Romermuseum, Imperium, Conflict, Myth August - December 2012, Germany, Magdeburg, Kulturhistorisches Museum, ' Otto the Great and the Roman Empire'

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1866

  • Department

    Greek & Roman Antiquities

  • Registration number

    1866,0806.1


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Object reference number: GAA1072

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