skip to content

Museum of Classical Archaeology Databases

Death of Aigisthos Relief

According to the myths, Aigisthos killed Agamemnon whilst being his wife Clytemnestra’s lover, but was killed himself in revenge by Orestes, son of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon.

Few ancient sculptures better show how complicated it can get trying to date a piece, particularly on stylistic grounds alone. When found it was immediately said to be a Roman work imitating Archaic Greek, which was a popular and common style in the first century BCE there. Later it was claimed it was from some two hundred years before that, imitating Etruscan work of even earlier. Neither of these theories quite rings true, and now it is thought to be not a stylistic imitation but a straight copy of a lost Archaic Greek piece. The Romans were fond of imitating Archaic styles, but direct copies are rare.

The original shows signs of having been burnt

Italian marble
Location of Original: 

Copenhagen, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek 1623

0.49 x 0.76m

Furtwängler: Antike Gemmen III, 277, fig.140 (for comparison with bearded heads on Etruscan gems)
Poulsen: Katalog over Antike Skulpturen Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, 47, pl. 111
Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts 82 (1967), 246-
Richter: Ancient Italy, 31
Fullerton: The Archaistic Style in Roman Statuary, 203
Strong: Art in Ancient Rome I, 20

c.50 BCE (?)

Found at the end of the nineteenth century, in the precinct of Diana at Lake Nemi in Ariccia outside Rome

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: 10am-5pm
Sat: 10am-1pm (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