The Old Shepherd in the Forum

It was also in the forum that there was the picture of the ‘Old Shepherd with his Staff’, about which the Teuton envoy when asked what he thought was the value of it said that he would rather not have even the living original as a gift!

Pliny, NH 35.8

I think this passage helps explain the popularity of this gemstone type in the Republic:

(Thornvaldsen I1139)

Hyrde med en stav og en hund. Romersk republikansk ringsten

(Thornvaldsen I1143)

Hyrde med to får. Romersk republikansk paste

(I’ve published on this iconography previously.)


A not very old shepherd appears on the frieze from the “Tomb of the  Statilii” north side.


Landscape from the villa of Agrippa Postumus (20 BC – AD 10) at Boscotrecase, nearby Pompeii – Naples, Archaeological Museum


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