Fresco Fragment 987

Adam Tabeling
Adam Tabeling is a 4th-year graduate student in the Department of Classics, whose research focuses on Greek and Roman iconography, Roman relief sculpture, and politics and propaganda in Roman art. He is currently writing his dissertation on imperial images of Virtus, the Roman goddess of manliness, courage and martial valor, and her militaristic relationship with the Roman emperor.


  • Accession Number: JHUAM 987
  • Measurements: Length: 10cm, Width: 9.8cm
  • Material: Paint, plaster
  • Culture/Date: Roman, 1st c. CE
  • Provenance: Italy

This fragment depicts an ornament, painted red and gold on a beige background.  This ornamental motif is mysterious and has been the object of various interpretations.  Some hypothesize that it is a fruit and others believe that it is a warrior’s helmet.  What do you think it is?