skip to content

Museum of Classical Archaeology Databases

Ludovisi Throne

When discovered this three-sided relief was thought to be the seat from a statue of a colossal god, but is more probably a fender in front of an altar.

The subject of the main relief seems to be the birth of Aphrodite. According to the myth, the goddess was born from the foam of the sea on the beaches of Cyprus, and we can clearly see the pebbles that Aphrodite’s attendants are standing on. The side panels show women playing pipes and burning incense.

However, the depiction of the birth of Aphrodite is a rare, if not unique subject in Classical art, so we cannot be sure. To show female figures semi-nude was then also unprecedented in large-scale Greek sculpture

Parian marble
Location of Original: 

Rome, Terme National Museum 3


From Malpieri of Rome


Lippold: Griechische Plastik, 118 (n.14), pls. 42.1, 43.1&4
Richter: Sculpture & Sculptors of the Greeks (1950), 169, figs.474-6
Paribeni: Catalogue of Greek Sculpture of the 5th Century BC in the National Museum (Terme), Rome (1953), 12
Colin, G: Revue Archéologique 25 (1946), 23-, 139-
Rhys Carpenter: Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome XVIII (1941), 41-, pls. 17-19

c.460 BCE

Found in 1887.
Villa Ludovisi, 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: 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