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date: 23 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Bronze statues are infrequent survivors of Roman antiquity, and the discovery of an ancient bronze is always treated as an extraordinary find. And yet Pliny the Elder, whose book on bronze statuary has always served as the primary source of information in this field, reports that in his day, the first century AD, there were thousands of bronzes to be seen in both public and private settings. A thorough analysis of all the evidence, not just philological but also technical and stylistic, reveals that indeed bronzes could be produced in multiples and that they were ubiquitous. Their paucity in modern times has privileged them, but this was not the case during antiquity.

Keywords: busts, collections, Greek, lost-wax casting, Pliny, portraits, reproductions, Villa of the Papyri, workshop, Zenodoros

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