May 14, 2008

The true face of Julius Caesar

Divers find bust of Julius Caesar in Rhone River

"The culture ministry said that the life-sized bust is believed to be the oldest of the Roman emperor ever discovered.

It portrays the Roman ruler at an advanced age, with wrinkles and hollows in his face."

21 comments:

Crimson Guard said...

In this one he looks stereotypically Italo-Alpine. There was another contemporary bust found of Caesar in Sicily, from back in 2003.

http://www.cronaca.com/archives/001481.html

Here's a pic:

http://flickr.com/photos/78147607@N00/490890040/

Maju said...

How do they know it's Caesar and not someone else? There don't seem to be any surviving engravings that would identify the person portrayed.

Antigonos said...

He looks Upper Paleolithic to me.
If we knew the sizes of the head perhaps we could have figured out if he was Alpine or Cro-Magnid.
I think Caesar is another example that Roman Rulers, to a significant number, at the times of Democracy and early Empire were Upper Paleolithic Europeans.

Razib said...

...he wasn't an emperor. augustus is usually considered emperor #1, though vespasian was the one who started using the term regularly....

Maju said...

He looks Upper Paleolithic to me.

How on Earth can you know?!

And Upper Paleolithic what? Archaic Aurignacian, quasi-mythical but exotic-looking Cro-Magnon (Gravettian), or just modern-looking narrow-jawed Magdalenian?

Enfin.

...he wasn't an emperor. augustus is usually considered emperor #1, though vespasian was the one who started using the term regularly....

Very good point. He was dictator for life.

The term Emperor was originally a military term meaning something like "victorious". But as Romans were so wary of monarchy after their Etruscan experience, they reinvented it with new terms - though keeping the republican formalities until the Christian (neo-hellenistic) period.

n/a said...

"stereotypically Italo-Alpine" / "Roman Rulers, to a significant number, at the times of Democracy and early Empire were Upper Paleolithic Europeans."

No.

Urselius said...

Imperator meant "having the power to command."

Caesar did use the title, so technically he was an imperator, but at the time any Roman "commander-in-chief" would be accorded the dignity of being addressed as imperator. Only later did the term become synonymous with the "Princeps" or "First Citizen - Head of State

Crimson Guard said...

Yeah, it was a similar title to "Tyrant". He didnt except the kingship title however, which was slightly different.

eramm said...

Maju is right - no evidence that this is Julius Cæsar has been provided. Someone is jumping to conclusions because it reminds them of later busts of him.

Crimson Guard said...

Well Dienekes as well as that article, clearly states: " "The culture ministry said that the life-sized bust is believed to be the oldest of the Roman emperor ever discovered."

The key word is believed. I think its fair to say that the experts gave it some kinda preliminary examination to this Italian.

It looks very close to this one from National Archaeological Museum, Naples.

http://www.wired.com/images/article/full/2008/02/ceaser_500px.jpg

Maju said...

There are some resemblances indeed but also many differences, not just with that one but with other well known Caesar busts and statues (and even the less relistic but necessarily contemporary effigy in coins). In all the other Caesar heads I've seen there are at least the following differences:

- Eyes are more separated and somewhat bigger.
- The root of the nose is higher and much less marked.
- The nose itself is narrower and more prominent (though this may be an effect of nose damage in the Rhone bust) but also more "perfect", with both nostrils at the same height, an aspect where the Rhone bust clearly shows a marked assymetry.

There are some other differences (the ears, for instance, a very personal marker), and really the new bust stroke me as a different person, really.

I think the Ministry of Culture or the researchers are throwing out the Caesar head idea as publicity stunt. He doesn't really look like the other "Caesars" I have seen anywhere.

dienekesp said...

In this one he looks stereotypically Italo-Alpine.

Clearly recognizable as belonging to the lateral type admired by the Romans.

miz RAND BLOWTON said...

I always wondered what ethnicity the Romans were.I think they were regular White folks who ruled Rome,because they never look Italian to me.Rome might have been a "Great City" not a "Italian City"-I see more Italians in Atlantic City,NJ than I do in Roman Pictures.Also many of the early Mediterraneans were regular Scandinavian people,weren't they ?-I've noticed from pictures that they always look just like regular White people or sometimes Jews,but they never "LOOK" authentically Italian.

miz RAND BLOWTON said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
miz RAND BLOWTON said...

I've never seen a photo or bust of Caesar where he looks Italian. Better yet what is Italian? What do real Italians look like and does Caesar look like one? Caesar could be Irish-seriously.I deleted one comment above for misspellings,but I couldn't go back and fix it so I trashed it; I don't want to look too stupid..

Maju said...

Also many of the early Mediterraneans were regular Scandinavian people,weren't they?

Obviously not. That's just a piece of Nazi propaganda.

I see more Italians in Atlantic City,NJ than I do in Roman Pictures.

US Italians are mostly Sicilians or otherwise from the south.

What do real Italians look like and does Caesar look like one?

Try to do an image search. It's so easy now. Use keywords like "Italiano", "Romano", "Toscano", "Veneziano", "Siciliano"...

There is a lot of variety anyhow. Like anywhere, I guess.

To me Caesar (not this bust, that for me is a different person) looks very Italian (narrow jaw, big eyes, prominent nose) - but could be from other places anyhow. It's not like there's an electric fence at the Alps or the Adriatic preventing people from moving inside and outside Italy.

This bust looks more western, Irish could be a good proxy, with a lower depressed nasal root. The classical Caesar has a much higher root with almost no depression (almost Greek or Persian - well, maybe not so exaggerated).

pconroy said...

Miz, Maju,

Are you kidding me, that's not an Irish look at all?!

Irish people in general have square jaw lines, do not have wide,bulbous foreheads and certainly do not have wide noses...

To me this bust looks Dalmatian, Dinaric or even Greek - though in the mid-face looks somewhat like actor Giovanni Ribisi.

Maju said...

Irish people in general have square jaw lines, do not have wide,bulbous foreheads and certainly do not have wide noses...

Ok. No problem with me. Just meant this bust looks vaguely western. I wasn't the one who used the term Irish first.

The depressed root nose is much more common in Western than Eastern Europe, that's for sure. Though the type is somewhat atypical: he reminds me of my uncle but with a "borreby" touch.

The narrow space between the eyes is also somewhat atypical. The rather deep sockets and small eyes rather fit better with northerners than southerners anyhow.

Not sure what you mean by wide bulbous forehead but if it's what I think, it's very common among Basques, for instance.

So it was more thinking in the mix of these traits, some western/SW, some northerner/NW, what made me think of Irish as a "good proxy". Maybe they are not: you are probably much more familiar with heir phenotypes.

In any case I see in him a different person from the usual Julius Caesar busts and other images (nose, eyes and cheeks specially). I have no idea why this caprice of claiming this guy is Caesar. Just publicity, I guess.

pconroy said...

Maju,

Here's a few typical Irish types:
Roy Keane:
http://www.google.com/images?q=%22roy+keane

Aidan Quinn:
http://www.google.com/images?q=%22aidan+Quinn

Liam Neeson:
http://www.google.com/images?q=%22liam+neeson

Richard Harris:
http://www.google.com/images?q=%22richard+harris

for comparison

alfio said...

miz RAND BLOWTON said...

I always wondered what ethnicity the Romans were.I think they were regular White folks who ruled Rome,because they never look Italian to me.Rome might have been a "Great City" not a "Italian City"-I see more Italians in Atlantic City,NJ than I do in Roman Pictures.Also many of the early Mediterraneans were regular Scandinavian people,weren't they ?-I've noticed from pictures that they always look just like regular White people or sometimes Jews,but they never "LOOK" authentically Italian.


Instead i always wondered how nazi idiots as you look like. Too bad your beloved "regular white scandinavian people"(lol you mean those who still had cannibhalism at the time of romans?) have never had any historical accomplishement paragonable to mediterranean basin and romans.

Dobba Makale said...

So it is safe to assumed that Julius Caesar is not a Roman or Italian by origin?