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.

The Rape of Persephone and the Death of Soteris

The Rape of Persephone and the Death of Soteris: A Case of Two Fresco Fragments and a Funerary Epitaph from a Roman Columbarium A funerary epitaph was dedicated by a grieving mother to her young daughter Soteris. The epitaph was discovered in a Roman columbarium, along with two fresco fragments that decorated Soteris’ tomb.  One […]

Select Bibliography

Blandchard-Lemée Michèle, Mongi Ennaïfer, Hédi Slim and Latifa Slim. 1996. Mosaics of Roman Africa: Floor Mosaics from Tunisia. George Braziller, New York. The Imperial Villa at Boscotrecase 1987-9. In: The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin Vol. 45 No. 3, pp. 37-55. Leach, Eleanor Windsor. 2004. The Social Life of Painting in Ancient Rome and on […]

Fresco Fragment 997

In the first century CE, pigments were collected from every corner of the Roman Empire in order to offer artists a diverse palette of colors.  Here, the painter used black for the background and bold shades of red, brown, beige and green to create the colorful border. The circular ornament was painted in beige, red, […]

A Red Fresco Fragment

The brilliant red background of this fresco fragment enlivened the interior space in which it was painted.  X-ray fluorescence analysis has revealed that this red color contains iron oxide, which suggests that this pigment derives from red ochre – a popular pigment found in Roman wall painting.  When ochre is heated, water evaporates and leaves […]

Roman Walls and Floors

In the fall of 2012, while sifting through the inventory of the JHUAM for objects that could be incorporated into our exhibition “The Roman House at Hopkins,” one small mosaic and several fresco fragments emerged from the storerooms that seemed ideal for our representation of Roman domestic space .  The goal was to curate these […]

Fresco Fragment 987

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?

A White Fresco Fragment

Images of Roman cult and religion often appeared on the painted walls of domestic spaces, and this fresco fragment is a testament of the popularity of such religious motifs.  Here, a small shrine – with ornamented columns and a golden garland hanging from its pediment – houses a golden cult statue of a god or […]

A Black Fresco Fragment

The midnight-black background of this fresco fragment emphasizes, the silver candelabrum in the foreground, by means of contrast.  The center of the candelabrum is ornamented with a horizontal base that blossoms from the center like a flowering acanthus plant with curling leaves.  This motif most likely framed a larger composition, perhaps one similar to the […]

An Emblema Mosaic

The Hopkins Emblema was the centerpiece of a larger mosaic composition, which may have been framed by a meandering non-figural pattern, as was conventional with emblema mosaics.  In general, emblemata were elaborate figural scenes created by inserting a variety of multi-colored tesserae, or little glass or stone tiles.  Due to their complexity, emblemata are believed […]