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Griffin Plaque - Item #82

$ 1,060.00



45 Inches High x 32 Inches Wide x 8 Inches Deep

Trajan's Forum commemorates the Roman Emperor Trajan's victory in the Dacian Wars. Trajan himself commissioned the public square, which was comprised of a basilica, a temple, two libraries, markets, and a triumphal column. Its construction was most likely ordered by the Roman Senate and supervised by Apollodorus of Damascus. The forum was decorated with much sculptural work. This plaque was once part of a frieze whose exact location is undetermined. 

The griffin depicted in this plaque has a lion's head and a goat's horns. The Greeks and then the Romans often included griffins in decoration because there was deeper meaning for the mythological creature's use. For example, griffins were the attributes of the gods Apollo, Dionysus, and Nemesis. In the complete fragment, located in the Vatican Museums, the griffin is joined by a cupid who pours a drink for the griffin. The proper right forepaw, not included in this fragmented cast, is lifted up to and resting on the vessel that is receiving the poured drink.


Artist: Unknown

Museum: Gregoriano Profano Museum, Vatican Museums, Vatican City

Origin: Trajan's Forum in Rome

Time Period: Ancient Roman, 106-113 C.E.

1911 Catalog ID # - 18901 (fragment)



Becker, Jeffrey. "Forum and Markets of Trajan." Khan Academy,

Nicotra, Laura. "The Figurative Programme of the Architraval Friezes in the Forum of Trajan, Rome." Dissertation, University of Leicester, 2015.

Ramage, Nancy H. and Andrew Ramage. "Trajan, Optimus Princeps, AD 98-117." Roman Art: Romulus to Constantine. 5th ed., Pearson Prentice Hall, 2009, pp. 206-227.