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Victory of Emperors Claudius and Britannia

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Victory of Emperors  Claudius and Britannia
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Photo Comments

The Greek inscription on the panel on the left identifies the subject as 'Victory of Emperors' (Neike Sebaston), and refers to the conquest of Armenia and Britannia on the adjacent relief.  A half-naked Victory flies diagonally across the panel, carrying a military trophy over her shoulder.  A small winged Eros, now damaged, was clinging to the end of the trophy pole.  Victory was a key imperial attribute.  (from the description of the panel in the Museum of Aphrodisias).

The panel on the right depicts the naked warrior [Roman Emperor] Claudius about to deliver a death blow to a slumped figure of Britannia.  He wears a helmet, cloak, and a sword-belt with a scabbard.  Britannia wears a tunic with one breast bare — like the Amazon figures on which she was modeled.  The Greek inscription reads: Tiberios Klaudios Kaisar — Bretannia. (from the description of the panel in the Museum of Aphrodisias).

The Sebasteion was a complex of structures that served as a municipal imperial cult sanctuary.  It was dedicated to Aphrodite, the main deity of Aphrodisias, and to the "gods Sebastoi"—that is to the "August Ones," namely Julius Caesar and his successors.  Local elite persons built it to solidify their ties with Rome.  Its construction began during the reign of Tiberius and continued into the reign of Nero.