Luxury Roman Art – Separating the Classes


During the late Republic, wealth poured into Rome on an unprecedented scale in the form of tribute, taxes, and profits from commerce and banking. Not all of the riches were honestly or legitimately acquired, for some came in the form of booty and spoils, including defeated enemies of Rome that were enslaved.

It did mean, however, that a few leading men, such the general and politician Marcus Licinius Crassus (ca. 115–53 B.C.), became enormously rich. Such wealth was used principally to secure success in the intense political rivalry that afflicted Rome at that time, but it also stimulated patronage of the arts, the formation of libraries and art collections, and the construction of palaces and gardens.

Here are some amazing pieces of luxury art in Rome which signified the highest of class.

Cameo fragment with Jupiter astride an eagle, 1st century B.C.–1st century A.D.

Scyphus, Early Imperial, late 1st century B.C.–early 1st centuryA.D.

Sandaled foot, Augustan, late 1st century B.C.–early 1st centuryA.D.
Roman Ivory

Spoon, Julio-Claudian, first half of 1st century A.D.
Roman Rock crystal and silver

Marbled slip ware bowl, Neronian, mid-1st century A.D.
Roman - Terracotta

Intaglio, mid 2nd–early 3rd century A.D. Roman - Jasper, gold mount set with pearls and glass

Necklace with coin pendants, Late Imperial, 3rd century A.D. Roman - Gold


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