Collections OnlineGregorian Egyptian MuseumRoom IIIThe Serapeum And The Canopus Of Hadrian's Villa


From Tivoli, Hadrian's Villa, Palestra (found circa 1550)
Period of Hadrian 131-138 AD
White marble
Height120 cm.
cat. 22804.

Monumental bust of the goddess Isis-Sothis-Demeter, considered the bearer of the flood of the River Nile. The bust did in fact tower above a fountain that was supplied by a huge cistern which, operated by complex hydraulic mechanisms, was able to reproduce in the Canopus a sort of flood of the Nile. The association of Isis with Sothis was due to the fact that in 139 a new Sothic cycle was beginning (every 1465 years) and Hadrian had programmed a series of festivities for the occasion.