Aeneas escaping from Troy carrying his father Anchises

This marvelously detailed figurine is a mold –made representation of Aeneas escaping from Troy carrying his father Anchises. Found in Pompeii and dating to the first century AD it would have been brightly painted however little of the pigment remains. This little figure represents much more than the literal subject matter for it also implies a cultural shift in progress. A transition was beginning in the Italian peninsula and drifting away from the manufacture Grecian style pottery towards a large scale production of cheaply made terracotta figurines. The functional ware traded much of its visual grandeur for a much more pragmatic simplicity. Gone too are the ornate stylings of the Bucchero earthenware of the Etruscans and in its place rises the molded red-ware of the Italians. Represented in this little figurine too are the improvements in kiln technology necessitated by mass production. As manufacture of these types of figurines increased they also became culturally normative authorities. As the people traveled, so did their trinkets which illustrated “the Roman image”. Locally distinctive styles of manufacture existed within the Roman Empire however all had a similar vocabulary of subject matter linked literally or figuratively to the various deities or events in history such as the narrative pictured here.