- Museum number
Marble altar dedicated to the god Silvanus, who is portrayed on the front holding fruit and a pruning-knife, with a dog at his side; a dedicatory Latin inscription beneath the relief. The sides show sacrificial animals: a ram and a pig.
- Production date
- 2ndC (probably)
Height: 0.76 metres
Width: 41.91 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Cook 2013, nr. 31:
‘A votive cippus dedicated to Silvanus, who is represented in the front, crowned with the pine branch, and holding a bunch of fruits in the left hand, with the pruning knife in the right; on one side of him is a pine tree with flourishing branches, and on the other side a withered one; at his feet a dog, and on the sides of the cippus are a pig and a patera. under the figure of Silvanus is the following inscription’
SILVANO • SANCTO • SACR •
CALLISTVS • VILICVS •
C • HELI • CAELI • D • D •’ (TY 12/3).
Bought from Piranesi in 1768 (TY 10/1) for 4 Scudi (TY 10/2; TY 10/3, fo. 5; TY 10/5) rendered (too highly) as £6 in TY 10/7. This piece is probably to be included among the ‘five aras for pedestals’ mentioned in TY 10/6. It may have been the ‘ara from Piranesi’ mentioned by Jenkins in a letter of 9 November 1768 (TY 7/298).
Townley’s annotations on this piece are not always accurate. In the ‘L’ Catalogue (TY 12/3) he wrote ‘(purchased from Cav. Piranesi 1773)’, and the same statement appears in ST 2, but there crossed out. It was also crossed out in the Towneley Hall catalogue, which served throughout the 1790s as the actual parlour catalogue, but Townley added there ‘It was formerly in the Della Valle collection’, which was repeated in the JT Catalogue (BL Add Ms 34009). In GR 2 it was said to have been in the Villa Burioni, perhaps by confusion with Cook 2011, nr. 25 (1805,0703.208 (Sculpture 2491)), and this statement was duly copied by Smith.
* Townley drawings 2010,5006.308 and 303.
* Chambers: B. F. Cook, `The Townley Marbles in Westminster and Bloomsbury', The British Museum Yearbook, 2 (1977), 48-49, figs. 30-31, no. 26.
- Synopsis of the Contents of the British Museum (1808) VI.44.
- A Guide to the Graeco-Roman Sculptures in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities (Synopsis of the Contents of the British Museum) (2 vols., London 1874 [2nd ed. 1879] and 1876), II, no. 87.
- A. H. Smith, A Catalogue of Sculpture in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, British Museum, Vol. III (London 1904), 387-8, no. 2490 , fig. 63.
- LIMC, VII, 764 s.v. Silvanus, no. 19*.
- CIL VI.666.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Greek and Roman
- Registration number