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Roman Antiquities

From the days following Julius Caesar to the slow decline over the course of the 4th century, the history of the Roman Empire is captivating. Alongside tales of nefarious Emperors and intriguing matrons stands an incredible heritage of fine and decorative artistic production that is revealed today through ancient Roman antiquities and artifacts.

When Augustus became the first official Emperor of Rome in 27 B.C., he ushered in an era of unprecedented peace that paved the way for advances in art. In addition to a vast visual record in the form of portrait sculpture of the Emperor and his entourage, a diverse field of decorative and luxury arts also emerged. Bejeweled adornments from earrings to necklaces dangled from the décolletages of Rome's most aristocratic ladies. In addition to advancing the field of inset stones, Roman jewelers also developed the practice of intaglio carving and cameo work, which can still be seen today in some surviving examples of miniature carving.

Roman interiors were stocked with wall paintings and sculptures of various scale and in various levels of decoration. From life-size family portraits to miniature household deities, these figures reflected the finessed practice of sculpting during the Roman age. In more intimate spaces, such as a lady's dressing table, fine cast bronze mirrors and dressing sets were de rigeur. All of these artistic pursuits showcase the talent of Roman artisans while also painting a metaphorical picture of life in the ancient Empire, making their acquisition all the more remarkable.


Quick Facts

  • The women associated with each respective imperial dynasty typically assumed a unique hairstyle that typified the trends of the day. So elegant were these representations that they often included carved holes in the earlobes for eternal adornment with earrings
  • Romans greatly advanced the field of glasswork, creating a rich array of glass pieces. Their renowned iridescent patina was most frequently caused by the environment in which the glass object was enveloped for hundreds of years before discovery
  • In addition to loving luxury items, ancient Romans also enjoyed fabulous festivities. The ancient Roman calendar featured more than 100 "feriae," or holidays, around many of which lavish celebrations and art commissions would be planned

Recommended Items at Auction

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Ancient Roman Pale Green Ribbed Bowl
Oct 24, 12:00 PM EDT
Ancient Roman Pale Green Ribbed Bowl
by Showplace
Est: $600- $800
$1,6006 Bids
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A Roman marble figure fragment, possibly Artemis, possibly Ancient
Oct 24, 10:00 AM PDT
A Roman marble figure fragment, possibly Artemis, possibly Ancient
by Andrew Jones Auctions
Est: $800- $1,200
$6503 Bids
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FRAGMENT DE SARCOPHAGE EN MARBRE Art romain, vers le milieu du 2e siècle
Nov 02, 2:30 PM CET
FRAGMENT DE SARCOPHAGE EN MARBRE Art romain, vers le milieu du 2e siècle
by Artcurial
Est: €4,000- €6,000
€4,5003 Bids
Ancient Roman Iridescent Clear Glass Beaker
Nov 07, 12:00 PM EDT
Ancient Roman Iridescent Clear Glass Beaker
by Showplace
Est: $300- $500
$1001 Bid
Ancient Roman Pale Green Glass Beaker
Nov 07, 12:00 PM EDT
Ancient Roman Pale Green Glass Beaker
by Showplace
Est: $400- $600
$1001 Bid
Ancient Roman Glass Beaker
Oct 24, 12:00 PM EDT
Ancient Roman Glass Beaker
by Showplace
Est: $400- $600
$1001 Bid
Roman Glass Jug w/ Applied Handle
Nov 04, 10:00 AM CDT
Roman Glass Jug w/ Applied Handle
by Revere Auctions
Est: $400- $600
$2001 Bid
A Roman clear glass dish and a lid, 2nd-4th century AD, the first of deep f
Oct 26, 10:30 AM BST
A Roman clear glass dish and a lid, 2nd-4th century AD, the first of deep f
by Roseberys
Est: £100- £200
£701 Bid
A Roman green glass flask, 1st-3rd century AD, on an indented base, rounded
Oct 26, 10:30 AM BST
A Roman green glass flask, 1st-3rd century AD, on an indented base, rounded
by Roseberys
Est: £150- £200
£901 Bid
Wearable Roman Gold & Glass Bead Earrings
Oct 21, 8:00 AM MDT
Wearable Roman Gold & Glass Bead Earrings
by Artemis Gallery
Est: $1,200- $1,600
$7501 Bid
Roman Glass Bracelet w/ Stunning Iridescence
Oct 21, 8:00 AM MDT
Roman Glass Bracelet w/ Stunning Iridescence
by Artemis Gallery
Est: $700- $1,050
$3501 Bid
Roman Sidonian Glass Date Vessel w/ Iridescence
Oct 21, 8:00 AM MDT
Roman Sidonian Glass Date Vessel w/ Iridescence
by Artemis Gallery
Est: $800- $1,200
$4001 Bid
Roman Terracotta Lamp Fragment with Victory Quadriga in Circus Maximus
Nov 30, 10:00 AM GMT
Roman Terracotta Lamp Fragment with Victory Quadriga in Circus Maximus
by TimeLine Auctions
Est: £400- £600
£51 Bid
Roman Bust of Young Commodus
Nov 30, 10:00 AM GMT
Roman Bust of Young Commodus
by TimeLine Auctions
Est: £1,500- £2,000
£51 Bid
Roman Silver Plaque with Goddess
Nov 30, 10:00 AM GMT
Roman Silver Plaque with Goddess
by TimeLine Auctions
Est: £1,200- £1,700
£51 Bid
Roman Silver Legion II Flavia Seal Matrix
Nov 30, 10:00 AM GMT
Roman Silver Legion II Flavia Seal Matrix
by TimeLine Auctions
Est: £600- £800
£51 Bid
Roman Gold Pendant with Bust of Athena Parthenos Gemstone
Nov 30, 10:00 AM GMT
Roman Gold Pendant with Bust of Athena Parthenos Gemstone
by TimeLine Auctions
Est: £3,000- £4,000
£51 Bid
A Roman glass vessel, Rhineland, circa 3rd-4th century AD., with rounded s
Oct 26, 10:30 AM BST
A Roman glass vessel, Rhineland, circa 3rd-4th century AD., with rounded s
by Roseberys
Est: £150- £250
£1000 Bids
A Roman bottle with pinched projections, Eastern Mediterranean, circa 5th-6
Oct 26, 10:30 AM BST
A Roman bottle with pinched projections, Eastern Mediterranean, circa 5th-6
by Roseberys
Est: £200- £300
£1400 Bids
A Roman green glass vessel of spherical form the sides slightly flattened,
Oct 26, 10:30 AM BST
A Roman green glass vessel of spherical form the sides slightly flattened,
by Roseberys
Est: £500- £800
£3400 Bids
A Roman glass sprinkler flask, circa 4th century A.D., the globular body wi
Oct 26, 10:30 AM BST
A Roman glass sprinkler flask, circa 4th century A.D., the globular body wi
by Roseberys
Est: £400- £600
£2800 Bids
A pair of gold earrings in the Roman style, the hoop with twisted wire deta
Oct 26, 10:30 AM BST
A pair of gold earrings in the Roman style, the hoop with twisted wire deta
by Roseberys
Est: £1,500- £1,800
£1,1000 Bids
A Roman bronze dagger sheath element, circa 1st century A.D., with the prin
Oct 26, 10:30 AM BST
A Roman bronze dagger sheath element, circa 1st century A.D., with the prin
by Roseberys
Est: £300- £500
£2000 Bids
A Roman clear glass ewer, circa 1st-2nd century AD., the base with indented
Oct 26, 10:30 AM BST
A Roman clear glass ewer, circa 1st-2nd century AD., the base with indented
by Roseberys
Est: £1,200- £1,800
£8000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Roman Antiquities


TimeLine Auctions

TimeLine Auctions

Showplace

Showplace

Roseberys

Roseberys

Artcurial

Artcurial