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Heads of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus

Heads of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus

Commodus  (born 161, ruled 180-193 CE). Born while his father, Marcus Aurelius, was emperor, he co-ruled with him (177-180). His reign was fairly peaceful but marked by the emperor's rising megalomania. Declaring himself a new Herakles (many statues of him refer to this), he began fighting in the arena as a gladiator (winning all bouts). In November 192, he was assassinated.

Marcus Aurelius (born 121, co-ruled with Lucius Verus 161-169, sole ruler until his death in 180 CE). His reign was marked by almost continual warfare either in the east against the Parthians or in central Europe against Germanic tribes. His "Meditations," written in Greek while on campaign between 170 and 180, is a Stoic essay on finding equanimity in the midst of conflict.

Featured item:

Nike (Victory) of Samothrace (reduced size)
Modern plaster replica (given to the Wilcox by the KU Department of French and Italian) at a about 1/2 scale of a Greek original of ca. 190 BCE (original is just over 8 ft tall). According to the small metal oval in the back, the cast was purchased from the Caproni Bros. cast company of Boston probably in 1885.

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