Stela of Sextus Allius

Second half of first century BC.


Istrian stone (Karst), 211cm; 88cm; 31cm

In 1552 on May 28th, stelae were found during excavations on via Castel Maraldo at the house of Gian Francesco Ferrante. The Modenese historian Ludovico Vedriani cites the finding one-hundred years after the fact in 1666-67. This area corresponds with one of the urban necropolis from the Roman era that were situated along the roads leading to the city. In the upper part of this rectangular monument a togated bust of the commemorated figure appears within a niche framed by architectural details. With its pseudo-architectural forms, this artefact is reminiscent of the funerary aediculae with statues of the deceased common during the Republican era in the necropoli of Rome, Ostia and Pompeii, which later also migrated into Northern Italy. This representation of the deceased shows stylistic traits typical of both urban and provincial art: although the face lacks physiognomic characterisation, it evokes the naturalism of the late Hellenistic era, while the bust is styled according to provincial models. The voluminous cape and oversized hand holding it in place signal that the deceased belonged to the class of Roman citizens.