Representation of Armenia on a Roman Temple

Representation of Armenia on a Roman TempleThe Temple of Hadrian is a temple dedicated to the idolized Roman emperor Hadrian. It was built by Hadrian’s adoptive son and successor Antoninus Pius in 145 AD. The Roman temple featured statues representing Roman provinces, including a marble statue of the Roman province of Armenia.

Roman Armenia was managed by the Roman Empire since the 1st century AD until the end of Late Antiquity. It mainly consisted of Greater Armenia, while Minor Armenia had become a client state within the Roman Empire during the 1st century AD. However, Greater Armenia remained an independent kingdom under the Arsacid dynasty.

During the mentioned period, Armenia remained a greatly contested region and a cause of wars between the Roman and Parthian Empires, as well as the Sassanian Empire succeeding the Parthian state.

Romans were well acquainted with Armenians and their ancient traditions. The marble statue is a vivid representation of the image of Armenians among Romans. We can see the statue wearing “eastern attire” holding a quiver in the left hand and what is probably an arrow in the right hand.

In Roman iconography, Armenia was frequently represented with bows and arrows, which can be seen from their coins commemorating their victory over Armenia. This agrees with the ancient Armenian legend of its founder Hayk, a legendary archer.

The marble statue can now be admired at the Naples National Archaeological Museum.

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