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Cameo Portraying Tiberius

A work made of gold, sardonyx, enamel, and pearl.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of gold, sardonyx, enamel, and pearl.


14-37 (cameo); 1525-1550 (mount)


Roman (cameo) and Italian or French (mount)

About this artwork

Although Tiberius (reigned 14–37) was 56 years old when he became emperor of Rome, portraits of him, such as this one, depict a conspicuously younger man. Here he is shown in profile and crowned with a laurel wreath, a symbol of victory. The comma-shaped locks that cover his forehead resemble those of his predecessor, Augustus, but his large eyes and slightly protruding upper lip identify him as Tiberius. This portrait was carved from a layered piece of agate with brown and white bands so that the figure of the emperor stands out against the dark background. It is likely that the cameo was originally part of a larger, multifigured composition that was broken into smaller pieces, after which the portrait may have been cut down further for setting into the gold mount.

On View

Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium, Gallery 238


Ancient Roman


Cameo Portraying Tiberius






Gold, sardonyx, enamel, and pearl


ΑΕΙΘΑΛΕΣ ("evergreen", literally, "ever-flourishing")


8 × 4.8 × 1 cm (3 3/16 × 1 7/8 × 3/8 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Marilynn B. Alsdorf

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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