Broken right foot

Domus Romana Group
About This Artefact

I.D. no: 28977

Dimensions: Max. L. 21 cm. Max. W. 13 cm. The dimensions (namely, the width) are only slightly (20%) larger than normal.

Material: Medium-to-large crystal white marble with traces of burning on the big toe and below it.

Provenance: Probably the 1881 excavations of the Roman Domus in Rabat, Malta (see Caruana 1881:7).

Current location: Domvs Romana Museum in Rabat, Malta (mounted onto the statue of Claudius).


Condition: Only the front half of the foot survives together with the corresponding half of the sole of a footwear. The small toe is almost completely missing and the front third of the big toe as well. Smaller chippings on the tips of the toes in-between and the front of the sandal sole.


Description:  The fragment preserves the front half of a right foot of a probably male statue. Though there is no sign of a strap crossing over, the foot must have been wearing a sandal of some sort since a thick leather sole follows the whole contour of the right foot. The surviving toe nails suggest that the anatomy of the foot was quite carefully carved.


Discussion: Though the larger-than-life-size dimensions seem to fit with those of the statue of Claudius, this foot might not have belonged to it because of the difference in the marble, unless it was added on separately to the original statue. Besides, a togate statue such as this one, would have worn the typical calcei patricii which cover the entire feet and with straps crossing over, rather than this sandal-type of foot-wear which is typical of mythological or allegorical figures, preferably female.


Bibliography: (previous publications of item):

Caruana 1881: 7 refers to “one foot” in his list of sculpture found in 1881, which is not , however, shown in the plate at end of publication. Otherwise unpublished.