Friday, July 20, 2012

Buried treasure: Head of Claudius

It's C-C-Claudius – or rather, Claudius the god. This is a portrait of the Roman emperor immortalised in the historical novels by Robert Graves. Claudius also happens to be the emperor who succeeded where Julius Caesar had failed, and conquered Britain. He invaded in 43AD and suddenly Britain belongs to history, not prehistory.

Romans brought writing, roads – and portraiture. This bronze head found in Suffolk is one of the oldest portraits from British soil and it is wonderfully characterful. It is a portrait of an ordinary man posing as a hero.