University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
Object TitleCaligula's Barge
Object Number: 2012-28-1
Current Location: Collections storage
Culture:Imperial Roman
Provenience: Italy
Lake Nemi
Date Made: 1930-1949
Early Date: 1930
Late Date: 1949
Height: 60cm
Length: 120cm
Width: 75cm
Credit Line:Gift of George Restrepo, 2012


Model / replica of Caligula's barge found 1895 at Lake Nemi, Latium, Italy; excavated 1927-1932, destroyed 1944. Model possibly made c. 1930-1940's and perhaps based on illustration by C. McKnight-Smith featured on the cover of Scientific American v. 95, no. 2 (July 14, 1906).

Barge (a) with currently detached/restorable dingy (b) and landing staircase (c). Painted wood, metal, plaster, and fabric. From narrow bow (front) to wide stern (rear): Dragon-head (?) prow. Small square pavilion housing plaster statue. Medium-sized square pavilion with bronze statue, 2-3 additional statues around exterior. Midsection of ship with entrance on one or both sides, columns only preserved on one side. Flag pole with nets running to sides of ship. Monumental staircase covered by canopy leads to large rectangular pavilion. Small square pavilion at stern. Bank of 50+ oars on each side - most made by donor imitating the few original surviving oars. Parts of deck were reassembled and restored by donor.

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