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Antonia Minor, Augustus’ niece, mother of Germanicus and Claudius, was a powerful and influential woman from the Julio-Claudian dynasty.

Her statue, discovered at the bottom of the Underwater Imperial Nymphaeum of Punta Epitaffio during underwater excavations at the beginning of the 1980s, was inspired by a famous model from the V century B.C., the so-called Kore Albani. This was originally created by Phidias’ disciples, but here we find it in a version modified according to the features of Venus Genitrix (the Venus traditionally linked to the origins of the gens Julia), with a small Erote on her left shoulder (whose hair and wings were probably made of a noble metal, maybe gold foil).

The diadem, also known from other two portraits (Cimiez in France and the Roman antiques market), denotes the work as posthumous. The Cupid was carved with notable craftsmanship from the same block of the statue.

Statue of Antonia Minor from the Cimiez bath, Nice, France (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.
Andreae, B. 1983, Le sculture, in Zevi F., Baia. Il ninfeo imperiale sommerso di Punta Epitaffio. Banca Sannitica, pp. 54-56.

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, pp. 54-56.

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

MUSAS Ref. No.BAI-017Inv. No.222738DimensionsHeight cm 159MaterialsMarbleLocationArchaeological Museum of Campi Flegrei, room 55OriginSubmerged imperial nymphaeum of Punta dell'Epitaffio (1981)DatingI century A.D.Share