Archaeological Museum of Bologna

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Collections / Sections / Roman Bologna

Basilica's antefixes with Gorgons’ heads

These two antefixes and others were discovered in the area of the Roman basilica and were part of the same series, characterized by the head of a Gorgon with her tongue out, set in a palmette with ten scrolls. The back still has part of a pantile, of which it constituted the terminal portion, attached to it.

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The antefixes clearly reflect a central Italian tradition but with local elements, as there are details that are not found elsewhere. Given that they are datable to the republican period, it is likely that they were part of the decoration of the eaves of the basilica in its early construction phase.

The basilica, site of judiciary proceedings, commercial transactions and administrative offices, the basilica was discovered under what is now the Sala Borsa Library. The structure probably occupied a rectangular space divided into a nave – the widest section – and two aisles. The last restructuring work was done between the late 2nd and the early 3rd centuries AD, the period of the relief with putti holding a festoon.


Provenance: Bologna, Palazzo Comunale, former Sala Borsa, 1920 excavation
Datation: Early 1st century BC
Material: clay
Dimensions: height from cm 19,5 to cm 22; width from cm 18,5 to cm 22
Inventory #: 4777 - 4776 - 4775 - 4773

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Exhibition rooms | Room XII - Roman Bologna