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Bronze Genius as Togatus Augustus

Circa 1st Century AD    

Description:  A beautifully rendered bronze statuette of the Emperor Augustus in the guise of togatus genius. The figure stands with outward-turned feet joined together at the heels, and arms bent at the elbows in a traditional posture of offering. Augustus is cloaked in a ankle-length toga wrapped snug against the torso, over the left arm and up around his head as a veil. The toga is replete with folds that accentuate the figure's posture. In his right hand, he holds a patera for pouring an offering at the altar, while his left hand is closed in a fist grasping a section of his garment. He has a serene smooth face with deep-set eyes, broad nose and pursed lips. His hair is visible from beneath the veil and evenly cropped in thick bangs across his forehead, typical of the official large scale marble portraiture of Augustus. He stands atop a footed triangular pedestal. Attractive dark patina and wonderful detail. 

Genius figures such as this one, were a regular fixture at a Roman family's Lararium, or family shrine, until about 325 AD, representing the paterfamilias, the "man of the house", in his capacity as household priest of the cult of his ancestors, and would have been placed at the family altar sacrifice along with a Lar. This particular type of genius is in the guise of the Emperor Augustus. In 30 AD the Senate decreed that at all banquets, offerings be made to the Genius of Augustus, which became regular practice of the cult of Augustus. As the genius of a family protected its continued existence, so the Genius of Augustus protected the future of the Roman state.

Height:  3.75 in. (9 cm)

Condition:  The statuette is in tact with smooth green and red patina with nicely preserved details. 

Reference:  See Master Bronzes from the Classical World, by David Mitten, no. 243 for similar genius figure holding an offering of incense. Also see The Age of Augustus, by Donald Earl, p. 174 for discussion.

Provenance: Formerly a German property.

Price:  $ 7,500

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