Laura Hutchison is a student in the Interdepartmental Ph.D. Program in Classical Art and Archaeology at Hopkins. Her research interests include Greek and Roman religion, the human form in ancient art, and modern issues in illicit trade of antiquities. She was excited and grateful to work so closely with ancient objects in preparation for The Roman House at Hopkins.

Select Bibliography

Beard, Mary, John North, and S. R. F. Price. 1998. Religions of Rome. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Ceci, Carlo. 1854 C. Ceci, Piccoli bronzi del Real Museo Borbonico distinti per categorie in dieci tavole descritte e disegnate, Naples: Stamperia di Salvatore Piscopo, Museo  Nazionale di Napoli. Coralini, Antonella. 2001. Hercules domesticus: immagini di Ercole nelle […]

Lar with Flared Tunic and Leafy Crown

This Lar bears a detailed garment, with well-defined drapery folds and two fibulae, or pins that hold the garment at the shoulders. The figure stands in a dancing posture with the tunic flying back behind his hips as further suggestion of movement. The raised right hand of this figure likely held a rhyton, or horn-shaped […]


The bucranium, or ox skull, was used as a symbol of ritual sacrifice in early Mediterranean cultures, and grew to be a popular motif of Augustan art. An allusion to state religion and ritual sacrifice, this symbol would have been easily recognizable in the 1st and 2nd centuries CE. The small bucranium seen here may […]

Household Gods

These small bronze statuettes shed light on Roman religious practices in the private sphere. Most Roman households featured a niche or altar designed for private worship, called the lararium. Often located in the atrium or near the kitchen hearth, the design of the lararium evoked the architecture of public temples in miniature. Families would arrange […]

Harpokrates-Cupid with Cornucopia

The Harpokrates-Cupid figure illustrates the Roman appropriation of certain aspects of Egyptian religion during the Republican and Imperial periods. In Roman religion, Harpokrates, the child of Horus and Isis, was conflated with Cupid while his mother was conflated with Venus. This representation shows Harpokrates-Cupid wearing the crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt and lifting his […]

Etruscan Priest with Patera and Incense Box

Statuettes of this type have been found in both Etruscan and Roman sites. This statuette of a priest bears a patera, or shallow ritual offering dish, in his right hand and an incense box in his left. This figure features many of the iconographic hallmarks of Roman depictions of Lares. However, the figure’s dress, modeling, […]

Hercules with Club and Cloak

This Hercules is beardless, and thus younger than the other Hercules statuette in this group. A lion skin is draped over his left arm, and a garlanded club rests in the crux of his left arm. The right hand stretches out to pour an offering from a patera, evidenced by the gesture of the fingers […]

Lar with Patera, Flared Tunic and Leafy Crown

The Lares were tutelary deities of the Roman household. The right hand of this Lar holds a patera. The other hand, now lost, would have likely held an incense box that released smoke during worship. The Lares (the plural form of Lar) were worshipped multiple times during each calendar month, on the Kalends, Nones, and […]

Hercules with Cornucopia and Cloak

The thick beard and heavy musculature of this Hercules statuette allude to his mature age. The figure carries a cornucopia, an ancient symbol of bounty, in the crux of his left arm. Deities found in lararia, such as Hercules, Isis-Tyche, Ceres, and Harpokrates, are often shown carrying a cornucopia—a sign of their role as guarantors […]

Hand of Sabazius

The Hand of Sabazius in our museum’s collection offers a rare glimpse into Roman appropriation of foreign religious cults. Sabazius, a deity often attributed to Thracian or Phrygian cultures, was sometimes symbolized by an apotropaic hand. On this piece, a small turtle and a ram’s head adorn the hand’s palm, while a three-headed serpent extends […]