Arts & Culture

Marble portrait bust of Homer


British Museum
British Museum

Homer is thought to have lived in Greece around 750 to 700 BC. He is the most famous poet of all antiquity; the author of the Iliad and Odyssey, epic poems focussing respectively upon the heroes Achilles and Odysseus. The first tells of Achilles' part in the siege of Troy, while the second relates the adventures of Odysseus on his journey home following the city's fall.

Homer lived before the age of realistic portraiture. The Roman author Pliny the Elder (AD 23/4-79) tells us that the poet's later portrait type was invented in the second century BC for the library of the Attalid kings of Pergamon (Pergamum). Many copies of this 'portrait' were made in the Roman period. This one is carved as a 'terminal bust', designed to be mounted on a square stone shaft.

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  • Title: Marble portrait bust of Homer
  • Date Created: 100/199
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 57.15cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Subject: poet
  • Registration number: 1805,0703.85
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Baiae
  • Period/culture: Roman; Hellenistic
  • Material: marble
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Towneley, Peregrine. Previous owner/ex-collection Townley, Charles

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