Bust of Antoninus Pius

Ancient Rome, 2nd century A.D.

Antoninus Pius came from a senatorial family with roots in Gaul. His predecessor, Emperor Hadrian, divided the empire into four parts and appointed consuls to rule each of them. Antoninus was named consul of Asia and in 135 Hadrian adopted him, making him his heir. After his adoptive father’s death, Antoninus persuaded the Senate to grant divine honours to the late Emperor and so the senators gave him the byname Pius, meaning “dutiful in affection”. During Antoninus Pius’s reign the Roman Empire preserved its possessions and consolidated its borders. Continuing the traditions of portraiture from the previous reign, sculptors created an image of an educated, calm and understanding emperor. The man is presented not as he was, but as he should be – to the amazement of contemporaries and for the edification of posterity. Like some Greek philosopher, the wise ruler contemplates the fruits of his deeds and conquests.


Bust of Antoninus Pius




height: 66,7 cm

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