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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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Roman Marble Head of Eros
Nov 30, 10:00 AM GMT
Roman Marble Head of Eros
by TimeLine Auctions
Est: £50- £70
£559 Bids
Late Roman Pattern-Welded Spatha Sword Blade
Dec 01, 10:00 AM GMT
Late Roman Pattern-Welded Spatha Sword Blade
by TimeLine Auctions
Est: £2,000- £3,000
£1808 Bids
Celto-Roman Short Sword
Dec 01, 10:00 AM GMT
Celto-Roman Short Sword
by TimeLine Auctions
Est: £1,200- £1,700
£3008 Bids
Roman Bone Dice Pair
Nov 30, 10:00 AM GMT
Roman Bone Dice Pair
by TimeLine Auctions
Est: £50- £70
£557 Bids
Roman Bone Dice Pair
Nov 30, 10:00 AM GMT
Roman Bone Dice Pair
by TimeLine Auctions
Est: £50- £70
£506 Bids
Roman Agate Intaglio Ring
Dec 01, 10:00 AM EST
Roman Agate Intaglio Ring
by Berner's Auction Gallery
Est: $10- $1,000
$166 Bids
Roman Bone Dice Pair
Nov 30, 10:00 AM GMT
Roman Bone Dice Pair
by TimeLine Auctions
Est: £50- £70
£505 Bids
Roman Bone Dice Pair
Nov 30, 10:00 AM GMT
Roman Bone Dice Pair
by TimeLine Auctions
Est: £50- £70
£555 Bids
Roman Silver Snake-Headed Bracelet
Nov 30, 10:00 AM GMT
Roman Silver Snake-Headed Bracelet
by TimeLine Auctions
Est: £180- £240
£604 Bids
Byzantine Silver Horse Harness and Baldric Buckle Collection
Nov 30, 10:00 AM GMT
Byzantine Silver Horse Harness and Baldric Buckle Collection
by TimeLine Auctions
Est: £120- £170
£354 Bids
Roman Semi-Spatha Sword Blade
Dec 01, 10:00 AM GMT
Roman Semi-Spatha Sword Blade
by TimeLine Auctions
Est: £300- £400
£2004 Bids
Roman Ring with Hand Motif
Nov 30, 10:00 AM GMT
Roman Ring with Hand Motif
by TimeLine Auctions
Est: £40- £60
£53 Bids
22 INCH STERLY BYZANTINE NECKLACE/CHAIN
Dec 01, 11:00 AM EST
22 INCH STERLY BYZANTINE NECKLACE/CHAIN
by Vintage Auctions Online
Est: $150- $200
$303 Bids
Roman Bone Dice Pair
Nov 30, 10:00 AM GMT
Roman Bone Dice Pair
by TimeLine Auctions
Est: £50- £70
£353 Bids
Ancient Pair Of Roman Dice
Dec 03, 11:00 AM EST
Ancient Pair Of Roman Dice
by Ancient Objects
Est: $100- $300
$903 Bids
Roman Prick Spur
Dec 01, 10:00 AM GMT
Roman Prick Spur
by TimeLine Auctions
Est: £80- £100
£52 Bids
Silver Ring with Animal Gemstone
Nov 30, 10:00 AM GMT
Silver Ring with Animal Gemstone
by TimeLine Auctions
Est: £300- £400
£202 Bids
Byzantine Silver Buckle with Fantastic Animals
Nov 30, 10:00 AM GMT
Byzantine Silver Buckle with Fantastic Animals
by TimeLine Auctions
Est: £200- £300
£202 Bids
Roman Redware Sherd with Cavalryman
Nov 30, 10:00 AM GMT
Roman Redware Sherd with Cavalryman
by TimeLine Auctions
Est: £100- £140
£102 Bids
Roman Iridescent Handled Glass Vessel
Nov 30, 10:00 AM GMT
Roman Iridescent Handled Glass Vessel
by TimeLine Auctions
Est: £1,500- £2,000
£3802 Bids
Roman Bone Dice Pair
Nov 30, 10:00 AM GMT
Roman Bone Dice Pair
by TimeLine Auctions
Est: £50- £70
£102 Bids
Roman Military Stamped Tegula Fragment from Caerleon
Nov 30, 10:00 AM GMT
Roman Military Stamped Tegula Fragment from Caerleon
by TimeLine Auctions
Est: £40- £60
£52 Bids
SIENNA MARBLE GRAND TOUR SOUVENIR ROMAN RUINS 19" TALL
Dec 04, 10:30 AM EST
SIENNA MARBLE GRAND TOUR SOUVENIR ROMAN RUINS 19" TALL
by Carlsen Gallery, Inc.
Est: $2,000- $4,000
$1,0002 Bids
Roman Glass Face Bead
Nov 30, 10:00 AM GMT
Roman Glass Face Bead
by TimeLine Auctions
Est: £100- £140
£52 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Roman Antiquities


TimeLine Auctions

TimeLine Auctions

Bonhams

Bonhams

Apollo Art Auctions

Apollo Art Auctions

Gorny & Mosch Giessener Münzhandlung GmbH

Gorny & Mosch Giessener Münzhandlung GmbH