Marcus Aurelius head found at Kom Ombo Temple

Dashing off a quick one tonight — little more than a picture, truth be told — due to extreme business/tiredness, if you’ll forgive me.

Archaeologists have unearthed the remains of a bust of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius at the Temple of Kom Ombo, about 600 miles south of Cairo. The team was working on a groundwater reduction project at the temple when they came across the sculpture. The head is made of marble and is very finely carved, depicting the emperor with his characteristic wavy hair and beard. The find is noteworthy because statues of Marcus Aurelius are very rarely seen in Egypt, and this one is a particularly quality example.

8 thoughts on “Marcus Aurelius head found at Kom Ombo Temple

  1. I’d like to know how they identified this as Marcus Aurelius. Inscription? Context of the site? Or was it simply a guess on how it looks?

  2. Good point! – I likewise assume inscriptions or some form of other ‘context’. The wavy hair and beard, however, are characteristic to a couple of emperors from the time. When it comes to “spur tourism”, a ‘Marcus Aurelius’ counts probably more than a -let’s say- ‘Septimus Severus’ 😉

  3. Looks like Marcus to me.

    And why be surprised? Egypt had been a province of Rome for 400 years. Reportedly his former tutor, Lucius Volusius Maecianus, had been prefectural governor of Egypt at Marcus’ accession. Plus there have been likenesses of Marcus found on the Silk Road in Xi’an China (4000 miles from Rome), and also in ancient ruins near HCM City in Viet-Nam (~6000 miles from Rome).

    On the other hand, is it a later import or hoax similar to the theories on the Tecaxic-Calixtlahuaca head found as a grave offering in Toluca Valley of Mexico?

  4. The head shows the over expressive eyes and the characteristic treatment of the iris extenuating into the upper lid, and the notch for the glint of the eye or the pupil so characteristic of late Roman art. Compare to the monumental head of Constantine in Rome.

  5. I’ve recently published a book about the life of Severus, focusing in detail on the influence Marcus Aurelius had on him as a young man.

    Severus follows the amazing true story of a rebellious boy who grew up in an African province and became the first Black Caesar of the Roman Empire, the head of a dynasty that would lead Rome through bloody civil wars and rapidly changing times.

    As a young man, Severus hates the Romans and conspires to humiliate them. What begins as a childish prank unfurls into a bloodbath that sends Severus careening into his future. Through a tragic love affair, dangerously close battles and threats both internal and external, Severus accrues power — and enemies — in his unlikely rise to become the most powerful man in the ancient world.

    There is old world magic and tradition clashing with new world expectations. Severus has political intrigue, romance and familial drama. Treachery from his advisors and his own wife gets closer every day and his son emerges as a ruthless and disturbed emperor-in-waiting.

    Even in its ancient setting, the book addresses timely questions of home, family and parenting, immigration and assimilation. What has a man abandoned when he fights against something he used to believe in? Is it growth? Is it betrayal? Who gets to rule and what makes a good leader? There is also the eternal, unanswered question: is history always doomed to repeat itself?

    The book is available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback format:

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