A Roman marble dedicatory chair
Lot 240W
A Roman marble dedicatory throne
Sold for £45,600 (US$ 74,444) inc. premium

Lot Details
A Roman marble dedicatory chair
A Roman marble dedicatory throne
1st-2nd Century A.D.
Carved from a single block, the sloping back of the seat decorated with folded fluted surface representing either drapery or the tresses of a herm, the head now missing, with a flat seat, the frontal panel flanked by lions legs and paws, inscribed in Latin with nine lines of memorial dedication: 'DI(S). MANI(B)US Q.TVRRANIO.MAXIMO PRAECEPTORI.ET AMICO.BONORVM SAGARIS.ALCIMI.AVG.SER VERNAE.ARCARI.PROVINC ACHAIAE.VICAR MERENTI.MEMORIA': 'To the Shades of the Dead and to Quintus Turranius Maximus, teacher and friend of good counsel; from Sagaris, deputy of Alcimus, imperial house-born slave and Treasurer of the province of Achaea, in memory of a deserving man.', the sides of the chair formed by winged lions, the feathered wings represented in shallow relief, the heads now missing, the back of the chair of curving form,
34½in (87cm) high, 22in (56cm) wide and 36in (92cm) depth surface wear

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Acquired by the current owner in 1976. The chair was in the grounds of Wallsgrove House, (previously named Wattsgrove House), High Beach, Essex, which belonged to the Baring family before the Second World War and which prior to that had been owned by the Christie family.

    The chair is believed to have stood near the Lion's Port, Piraeus, Athens, since antiquity and is recorded as an illustration at the end of the preface to James Stuart and Nicholas Revett, Antiquities of Athens I, (1762). The illustration shows the throne complete with lions heads. In 1819, E. Dodwell, A Classical and topographical tour through Greece, p.419 refers to the throne as now being in the monastery of Saint Speridion, near Piraeus. Dodwell describes the throne with Latin inscription as having lions' feet and refers to an illustration of the throne in Stuart and Revett although he mistakenly mentions a different inscription. The above inscription is also recorded in Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, Vol III, i no 556 and includes references to the throne's provenance to the 'Port Lion and manasterio S. Spiridionis'.

    This important historical inscription provides an insight into the local government hierarchy of the Greek province of Achaea within the Roman Empire. It refers to Alcimus, an important member of the provincial Procurator's staff, who worked in the Imperial treasury of the province of Achaea and who was by origin a slave in the Emperor's household; Sagaris would be his own slave, deputy, and potential successor.

    Published:
    James Stuart and Nicholas Revett, Antiquities of Athens I, (1762), where it is illustrated in the preface. The throne is referred to by E Dodwell,A Classical and topographical tour through Greece, (1819) p.419; Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, Vol III, i no 556; Corsini fast Att.4 (1756) p.LXI
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