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Octavia Claudia – a princess of the Julio-Claudian dynasty who died at a very young age – found her place into eternity in one of the lateral niches of the Submerged Imperial Nymphaeum of Punta dell’Epitaffio.

The statue – found at the bottom of the building during the excavations in 1981 – was inspired by the model of the “young she-bears”, i.e. Young girls consecrated to the cult of Artemis Brauronia. The model was replicated many times in the Roman world in the early Imperial age, though it took on a distinctly funerary connotation. This is probably why the girl held a butterfly ready to fly away in her right hand, a symbol dedicated to a life flown away in childhood.

The replica in its original position during the documentation works for MUSAS project (photo: M. Stefanile)

The statue does not show signs of biological degradation.


Andreae, B. 1982. L’immagine di Ulisse. Mito e archeologia. Torino: Giulio Einaudi Editore, pp. 69-77
Andreae, B. 1983, Le sculture, in Zevi F., Baia. Il ninfeo imperiale sommerso di Punta Epitaffio. Banca Sannitica, pp. 50-52.

Avilia F., Caputo, P. 2015, Il ninfeo sommerso di Claudio a Baia. Napoli: Valtrend Editore.

De Franciscis, A. 1969, La sorpresa sottomarina di Baia, in Il Domani d’Italia. Rivista meridionale di cultura e politica, 2, pp. 48-50.

Zevi F. 1983, Baia. Il ninfeo imperiale sommerso di Punta Epitaffio. Banca Sannitica.

Zevi F. (cur.) 2009, Museo archeologico dei Campi Flegrei. Castello di Baia. Napoli: Electa Napoli.

MUSAS Ref. No.BAI-019Inv. No.222740DimensionsHeight cm. 120MaterialsMarbleLocationArchaeological Museum of Campi Flegrei, room 55OriginSubmerged imperial nymphaeum of Punta dell'Epitaffio (1981)DatingI century A.D.Share