skip to content

Museum of Classical Archaeology Databases


Caracalla was emperor from 211 to 217, the son of Septimius Severus. He is noted for extending Roman citizenship to all free inhabitants of the Empire, though this may have been to extract more tax revenue to pay for his extravagances. Some biographers, notably Edward Gibbon, have represented him as unstable and brutal.

This portrait is unusual for the tense facial expression and the turn of the head, which are in contrast to the refined portraits of the Antonine emperors who preceded Caracalla. It also marks the return to fashion of close-cut beard and hair. These early decades of the third century CE were the last major flourishing of Roman portrait sculpture

Location of Original: 

Naples, National Museum 979


Transferred from the Fitzwilliam Museum in 1884


Vessberg: Romersk Portratkonst, 59
Ruesch: Guide to the National Museum, Naples, 235-6
Walston: Catalogue of Casts in the Museum of Classical Archaeology (1889), 116, no.616 (?)
Reporter: 19 June 1885, 895, no.538

Early C3 CE

From the Farnese collection

Search Casts

Use our search tools to search the Casts Archive

Museum of Classical Archaeology, Cambridge

Every cast tells two stories.
One ancient. One modern.

Admission is free.

We are open

Opening hours

Tues-Fri: 11am-2pm
Sat: 2-5pm (Univ. term-time only)
Sun & Mon: Closed

Closed on Bank Holiday Mondays

Visit us

Museum of Classical Archaeology
Faculty of Classics
Sidgwick Avenue

Get in touch

Tel. +44 (0)1223 330402

Facebook Twitter

For an explanation of what personal information we gather when you visit the University’s website and details of how that information is used please see the following University Privacy policy:

Copyright statement

All images and material on our websites are ©Museum of Classical Archaeology, University of Cambridge unless otherwise stated. Permission is required to reproduce our images.

See also our Copyright Notice and Take Down Policy.

Important Information

Museum of Classical Archaeology Web Accessibility Statement