L''Ara di Domizio Enobarbo'. Un monumento fra Oriente e Occidente
In: Bullettino della Commissione Archeologica Comunale di Roma: 122, 2021
The group of relief slabs known as the ‘Altar of Domitius Ahenobarbus’, part of a Roman republican monument and now divided between Munich and Paris, is re-examined from an iconographic and stylistic point of view. A comparison is suggested with the friezes that decorated the temple of Hecate at Lagina in Caria, thus hypothesising an affinity between the craftsmen responsible for the
two monuments, and concluding that they all originated in the geographical horizon of south-western Asia Minor or nearby islands. The chronology of the two monuments cannot be specified with certainty: both have been dated between 130 and 80 BC. Nonetheless, the traditional though only hypothetical identification of the patron with Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus, consul in 123 BC, is taken into
consideration once again.
At the beginning of his career, he acted as an ‘antistrategos’ in Caria during the Aristonicus revolt (130-129 BC); it is therefore plausible that he built up a clientele network in this region. In facts, only such networks enabled Roman patrons of the late Republican period to promote the building of temples with marble decoration. However, this hypothesis is only proposed as an interpretative model, and other compatible solutions in the same period are left open. The suggested interpretation sheds light on the early development of Roman historical reliefs.