Emperor Nero in Bologna

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Statue of the Emperor Nero from the Roman Theatre in Bologna

The Statue of Nero from the Roman Theatre in Bologna

This sculpture, probably dating to the 50 AD is believed to be Nero in military dress. The sculpture is of marble (probably marble from Greece) and depicts two beasts on the chest facing each other. These particular beast have been attributed to the military insignia of Nero.

As we can see the head is missing and was probably hacked off intentionally as indicated by the marks left around the neck of the statue. This was probably as a sign of disrespect for the fallen emperor who by the end of his reign was considered a mad tyrant. And so, the legacy of Nero was condemned (damnatio memoriae). 

The statue would have been 2.5 metres tall  and probably was located in the Roman Theatre of Bologna where it was a reminder to the people of his imperial hold on the ancient city of Bononia. But it was not always so.

In fact, whilst a senator Nero spent his own private funds to rebuild part of the city of Bologna which was destroyed, by all things, a fire.

The statue was found in 1513 in an area where in 1982, a Roman theatre was discovered in via de’ Carbonesi in modern day Bologna.

The bust is currently held in the Archaeological Musuem of Bologna.

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