The triumph of Emperor Constantine

Gemma ConstantinianaGemma Constantiniana


The Gemma Constantiniana is one of the greatest cameos from classical antiquity. It was made in honour of Constantine’s victory over his rival Maxentius in AD 312.

The cameo shows the emperor and his wife Fausta in a triumphal chariot. Behind the emperor is his mother Helena. The two women are pointing at Constantine’s son Crispus, his intended heir to the throne. Two centaurs are pulling the chariot and crushing enemies underfoot. To make the triumph complete, Victoria is flying towards the emperor with a victory wreath. In the seventeenth century, the Antwerp painter and diplomat Peter Paul Rubens owned this cameo.

The gem has been painstakingly carved out of a banded agate.

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