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Palatine Museum

The female herms

The three female herms in antique black marble were discovered by Pietro Rosa in 1869 in the cryptoporticus below the sacred area of the Temple of Apollo Palatine, built by Augustus after the victory at Actium over Anthony and Cleopatra. They have been interpreted as three of the fifty herms of the daughters of Danaus, King of Libya. Perhaps together with an equal number of statues of the sons of his brother (King of Egypt), they decorated the large portico overlooking the valley of the Circus Maximus. With one arm raised, they supported a receptacle on their heads, probably pierced. Because they killed their cousins, to whom they were engaged, they were condemned by Zeus to fill large wineskins with holes in them. This was probably an original work of Augustan art, based on an eclectic classicism that also rediscovered the archaic style and was charged with a refined ideological significance. Exhibited at the Palatine Museum.


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The Palatine Museum