Marcus Aurelius Sacrifice Relief

Marcus Aurelius Sacrifice Relief, 3rd century CE, marble, Capitoline Museum in Rome.

The relief comes from the decoration of a triumphal arch erected in 176 CE in the Roman Forum at the foot of the Capitoline Hill to celebrate the victories over the Germanic peoples and Sarmatians. One of the traditional roles of a Roman Emperor was to be the pontifex maximus or chief priest. Characteristic of the visual formula used for this type of scene is the toga with part of the mantle covering the head and an outstretched hand holding a patera or a dish used in a sacrifice. The temple in the background of the Marcus Aurelius relief is thought to be that of Jupiter Optimus Maximus Capitolinus located on the top of the Capitoline Hill in Rome.


The anointed high priest who enjoys a status above that of regular priests; the chief priest is the only priest allowed to enter the innermost sanctum of the tabernacle or temple, the holy of holies.

the head god of the Roman pantheon, god of sky and thunder

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