GALLERY OF THE EMPERORS

 

Hall number 5 is dominated by a magnificent statue-the statue of a dancer to the second half of the second century A.D. Recovered during the excavation in Perge. This statue of a dancer is today the most impressive statue in the Antalya Museum. The whirling motion of her body and the chiton she wears reveal the contours of her body. The himation rolled into a belt gathers motion in its end points. Her hands hold the ends of her skirt and the neck is turned in a swift motion. The sculptor has used white marble for the body and black marble for the hair and the garments.


In the same hall, behind the dancer, in a characteristic pose, is a group statue of the Three Graces (the Charites); Aglaia-Splendor, Euphrosyne-Festivity and Thalia-Rejoicing who in mythology attended the feasts of he Olympian gods as well as those of mortals. In this group statue, two of the Graces are shown facing the front while the third in the center, faces the back. They hold each other by the shoulders.


Hall number 5 is also known as the Gallery of the Emperors or the Gallery of the Royal Family because it contains some fine statues of Trajan, Hadrian and Septimius Severus, the most famous Roman Emperors of the second and third century A.D. In their statues the emperors are depicted wearing their military out-fits; over their short tunics they wear their armor and their military cloaks, the paludementa. The armors are decorated with the reliefs of two griffons standing opposite one another.


The hair styles and the double layer of robes comprising a chiton and a himation as shown on the statues of Sabina, the Emperor Hadrian's wife the Empress Faustina the Younger, the wife of Marcus Aurelius, as well as the statues of the Empress Julia Domna, the wife of Septimius Severus and the mother of the Caracalla and Geta, reflect the fashion of the Roman era.


These statues in the Hall of the Emperors are unique in that they portray the characteristics of the Roman portrait-sculptures as well as reflect the personal styles of the Pergaean artists.


Such styles has a strict and definite outline, especially portrait statues have this peculiarity, the different shapes are clearly outlined, transitions into details are sudden. One can see this especially at the transition from hair to the skin and from chin and to neck.


Wrinkles on forehead were made with clear strokes. The portraits of the emperors and their families do not follow the official portraits, but have their own unique style.


This is an evidence of a unique sculpture tradition; at least for the second century A.D. in Perge.


In the niches across from the Hall of the Emperors there are the statues Hera (Ephesian Type), a Priest of Apollo, Two Women, an Imperial Priest. On the head of the Imperial Priest there is a crown adorned with the bust of the emperors whose heads are missing.
Perhaps the most interesting statues of the hall are the statues of a noble lady by the name of the Plancia Magna. A leading Pergaean of the second century A.D., Plancia Magna served in many offices; she was a priestess of Artemis as well as priestess of the mother goddess Cybele. She was also a "demiourgos" or the highest civil servant of the city. As a generous donor, she presented Perge with a number of statues depicting various members of the Roman Imperial House circa 120 A.D. In her statues Plancia Magna is shown wearing a chiton over which she has a himation that also partially covers her head. Her hair which is parted in the middle is decorated with a crown adorned with the busts of emperors. Unfortunately the heads of these busts are missing.