The man and his wife, shown in this fresco portrait, were probably members of the Roman aristocracy and patrons of the arts.
In this detail from a mosaic, young women hold palm branches as a sign of victory. Greek girls and young women competed in footraces, but there is no evidence to suggest that they competed in other athletic events.
The wife of the emperor Claudius, Messalina is shown here holding her son Britannicus. She and her lover Gaius Silius were put to death for plotting against Claudius.
The formidable Scipio Africanus, at right, was the hero of the Second Punic War against the Carthaginian general Hannibal. Scipio’s mastery of military tactics and strategy is still admired.
Sophocles and Aristophanes, represented in this double bust, were among the greatest dramatists of all time. Sophocles is remembered for his tragedies, Aristophanes for his comedies.
The emperor Hadrian is shown here. The gorgon on his breastplate, like the one Athena had on her shield, was intended to ward off evil and disaster.
Alexander the Great is depicted on his horse (at the left) in the midst of the Battle of Issus—his second major battle against the Persians.
The emperor Marcus Aurelius is represented in this equestrian statue. His reign was marked by almost constant warfare. He is probably best remembered for his writings, which reveal his sensitive and thoughtful nature.
This head of the playwright Menander is a Roman marble copy of a Greek bronze original. Menander’s deep understanding of human nature was greatly admired by the Greeks, and his plays were widely imitated by the Romans.
Under the leadership of Pericles, shown here, Athens became the center of a mighty empire. Despite his aristocratic origins, Pericles favored increased participation in government by the middle and lower classes. His years as head of state were marked by great advances in philosophy and the arts.