Abstract: The Boscoreale Cups: What level of historical specificity was intended in the Tiberius Cup?
The Tiberius Cup is one of the only surviving artefacts of Early Imperial Rome that appears to depict scenes of historical reality: a triumph for the Imperial heir Tiberius on one side of the cup, and his leading the sacrifice of a bull of the other. Most scholarship, therefore, has focused upon identifying the specific events shown. In this essay, conversely, the physicality of the object and scenes is prioritised. It is argued that, rather than a record of historical reality, these scenes are better understood as representing timeless virtues, whose presentation on the cyclical cup reinforces their didactic significance.
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