February 23–May 28, 2018

Rome: City and Empire

Ingram Gallery

  • Statue head of Augustus (Rome, Italy), 30–25 BC. Marble, 14 3/4 x 8 1/4 x 8 5/8 in. The British Museum, 1888,1210.1. © The Trustees of the British Museum

  • Relief showing two female gladiators (Halicarnassus [modern Bodrum], Turkey), 1st–2nd century AD. Marble, 25 3/8 x 30 1/2 x 7 1/8 in. The British Museum, 1847,0424.19. © The Trustees of the British Museum

  • Statue of Mithras slaying a bull (Italy), 2nd century AD. Marble, 31 1/2 x 43 1/4 x 14 5/8 in. The British Museum, 1805,0703.270. © The Trustees of the British Museum

  • Mosaic panel (Halicarnassus [modern Bodrum], Turkey), 2nd century AD. Stone, 39 3/4 in. diameter. The British Museum, 1857,1220.416. © The Trustees of the British Museum

  • Fragment of gilded wall painting (Nero’s Golden House, Rome, Italy), AD 54–68. Painted plaster and gold, 7 1/8 x 15 3/4 x 1 5/8 in. The British Museum, 1908,0417.5. © The Trustees of the British Museum

  • Armlet (Drummond Castle, Scotland), about AD 50–200. Copper alloy and enamel, 3 3/8 x 4 3/4 in.; 5 3/8 in. diameter. The British Museum, 1838,0714.3a. © The Trustees of the British Museum

  • Funerary relief of a woman (Palmyra, Syria), 200–273 CE. Limestone, 21 x 16 7/8 x 9 1/2 in. The British Museum, 1885,0418.1. © The Trustees of the British Museum

  • Funerary monument (Italy), about AD 100–110. Marble, 36 1/8 x 65 x 26 3/4 in. The British Museum, 1858,0819.1. © The Trustees of the British Museum

One of the most extraordinary geopolitical powers in history, the Roman Empire continues to capture the imaginations of people across the globe, nearly three thousand years after the city of Rome arose from a cluster of villages in central Italy. Rome: City and Empire includes more than two hundred works from the British Museum that bring this ancient civilization vividly to life. The exhibition provides insights, through art, into the experiences of the Romans themselves, while cultivating an understanding of the dynamic relationships between the imperial government and the people it conquered. The range of objects, from across present-day western Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, shows the diversity and interconnectedness of the vast empire.

While Rome was a seat of power for over five hundred years, its influence extended beyond its military conquests. Artworks in the exhibition reflect the empire’s social, political, and aesthetic impact, as seen in sculptural portrayals of emperors and military leaders, wealthy citizens, and mythological figures, as well as elegant pottery, paintings, jewelry, coins, and other objects. These artifacts connect us to this bygone civilization: we share with its people an appreciation for art as a means of documenting reality, representing ideals, memorializing the past, and creating beauty on both a grand and intimate scale.

The Frist Center is the exclusive North American venue.

Connect with us at #FristRome

The presentation of this exhibition is a collaboration between the British Museum and the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. 

This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.


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