Head of the youthful Honorius

Constantinople, 393-394 
Marble, 10.1 cm

The head is approximately half life-size; it is of fine-grained marble, broken at top of neck with fracture angling upward to nape of neck. The original surface was evidently matte. The head has a number of chips: across right eyebrow; over left eyebrow extending up into hairline; in left upper eyelid; in upper edge of headband above left eye; and in nose. Small cracks run from bridge of nose to inner corner of right eye; from central hole in headband to inner corner of right eye; and between holes on right side of head. In addition, small, irregular incised lines mark the crown of the head, apparently not part of the original design. Five small holes are drilled in upper edge of headband; three retain small amounts of lead solder, indicating a metal addition to the crown, either a wreath or, more probably, a central jewel and sun rays. The slightly asymmetrical compression of the left side of the face suggested to Delbrueck that this was one of a group, with Theodosius I as central figure and his elder son, Arcadius, in the place of honor on his left; such a group would have been made before Theodosius' death in January 395, and most probably during 394, when Arcadius and Honorius shared the consul-ship. The physiognomy—particularly the nose—as well as the delicate form and style place the subject within the Theodosian house in any case, and the best resemblance is with Honorius; the same person is shown a few years older on the Rothschild cameo in Paris, generally assumed to have been made for Honorius' marriage in 398. 

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The Byzantine Legacy
Created by David Hendrix Copyright 2016