Civil Basilica reliefs

Athletic victor and floral design

A nude youth stands on a plinth next to an acanthus rosette. He raises his right hand to crown himself and holds in his lowered left hand a large palm branch, the reward for his victory. The figure’s stocky proportions are in keeping with the general lack of careful design and detailed finish in these reliefs.

Masks and flower

A central acanthus rosette at the centre of the panel is flanked by two masks of satyrs. One mask is larger and has a wild shock of hair that springs upwards; the other emerges from a round pinwheel of pointed leaves.

Stylised acanthus with flowers and snake

A central acanthus calyx is flanked by two different acanthus rosettes. Above the calyx is a stylized palmette. A snake is represented rising in the centre of the palmette. Snakes were common motifs among flowering vegetal ornament of this kind, both at Aphrodisias (for example, in the decorated piers of the Hadrianic Baths) and in Rome (for example, on the Ara Pacis).

Scrolling acanthus with flowers

At the centre of the panel is a large acanthus calyx, out of which grow symmetrical scrolls of flowering tendrils. Within the first scroll is four-pointed leaf and within the second scroll a six-pointed flower. The design is elegant, simple, and stylised. It draws on well-established models typical of the later first century AD and refers to fertility and prosperity.

Found at: Civil Basilica