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Philip the Arab

Following the boy emperor Gordian, Philip the Arab’s maturity is emphasised in this portrait. His military character is represented by the close-cropped hair, stubble and creased face, while the far-away look in his eyes shows the aspirational nature of an emperor. Although not easily visible on this cast, which omits his shoulders, there is a turn of the head reminiscent of the strong portrait of Caracalla.

So-called as he was born in Syria of Arabian descent, Philip the Arab spent much of his reign (244-249) engaged in military campaigns to repel invaders, and died in a military coup

Location of Original: 

Rome, Vatican, Braccio Nuovo 124


Transferred from the Museum für Abgüsse Klassischer Bildwerke, Munich, 29-30 October 1991


Kleiner: Roman Sculpture, 368, fig.332

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