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Public lecture examines untold story of Rome's most famous statue

Loyola press release - January 30, 2012

The Loyola University New Orleans Department of Languages and Cultures presents “The Lost Eagle: The Untold Story of the Legionary Eagle on Rome’s Most Famous Statue,” on Monday, Feb. 6 at 8 p.m. in Nunemaker Auditorium in Monroe Hall. This lecture explores the Prima Porta Augustus, the most widely-recognized marble statue from the Roman Empire, and is free and open to the public.

The Prima Porta Augustus statue depicts Roman emperor Augustus Caesar and features a central scene on his armor in which a bearded barbarian returns the lost eagle standard of a Roman legion to an armored figure. From the time of the statue’s discovery in the 19th century, the scholarly consensus was that the eagle depicted on the armor represented one of the standards lost to the Parthian Empire by Roman generals Marcus Licinius Crassus and Mark Antony, and recovered by Augustus in 20 B.C.E.

According to Bridget Buxton, Ph.D., a leading expert on ancient history and Mediterranean archaeology, close analysis of the statue proves that it does not reference the so-called Parthian standards at all. In her illustrated lecture, Buxton will explore the archaeological and historical evidence that proves the Prima Porta statue was commissioned to commemorate another entirely separate event that occurred on the northern frontier many years after the Parthian standards were returned.

Buxton is an assistant professor in the Department of History at the University of Rhode Island. She specializes in underwater archaeology and has worked at underwater sites off the coasts of Turkey and Greece, as well as in the Libyan and Black Seas.

The lecture is co-sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the Classical Studies program and the New Orleans Society of the Archaeological Institute of America.

For more information, contact Loyola professor Connie Rodriguez, Ph.D., at rodrigue@loyno.edu.