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Leaf from the Diptych of the Consul Felix 

Rome, 428

Ivory, 29.2 x 13.6 cm


Only this leaf survives from a diptych made to celebrate the consulship of Felix in 428; its lost mate is known, however, through an eighteenth-century engraving published by Mabillon. The format of both leaves is simple: the consul, with his feet seemingly hovering in space, stands between knotted curtains. Above him, on the leaf here, is the inscription FL(avii) FELICIS V(iri) C(larissimi) COM(itis) AC MAG(istri). He is clad in triumphal regalia and holds a scepter crowned with portrait busts in his left hand. On the now lost pendant leaf he was similarly posed but dressed in a chlamys and holding the scroll of office in his right hand. Apart from a long oblique crack, the leaf is well preserved. In technique — low relief carving with engraved details — it is consonant with other examples of official art of the period and region. Felix appears to have been a large, imposing man with a fleshy face and medium, well-trimmed beard.

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