Clay Togati (Men Wearing a Tunic and Holding a Scroll) from Harbour and River Towns: Some Hypotheses Regarding Their Occurrence and Meaning

In: Hellenistic and Roman Terracottas
Author: Elena Martelli

Abstract

The paper focuses on a group of clay figurines representing young/mature men wearing a calf-length tunic and holding a scroll (togati). Contextual analyses have revealed that the clay togati come from diversified contexts such as the domestic sphere, commercial areas and burials. Their occurrence is connected with harbour/river towns such as Ostia and Pompeii and they appear to be both a chronologically (end of the first-second centuries CE) and geographically (Italian peninsula) contained phenomenon. The places of recovery of the clay togati, their small number, the short production period and their peculiar iconography, characterised by very detailed facial and body features, would suggest that these artistic representations portrayed specific individuals or specific groups of workers who held certain social roles. In this work a new interpretation of these statuettes as the representation of the protective spirit (genius) of a group of harbour workers, possibly functionaries, is put forward.

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