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18th C French Engraving - Suovetaurilia - Trajan Column

Europe, original copperplate engraving - a double plate - entitled " Souvetaurilia de Mars - Colonne Trajane", ca. early 18th century CE. "1719 and RARE OLD PRINT" handwritten in pencil at lower edge. A Neoclassical engraving of a section of the Classical frieze from the Column of Trajan in Rome, among the most superb relief sculptures in existence, narrating the victories against the Dacians defeated by Emperor Marcus Ulpius Trajanus (52-117 CE) in 104 CE. This composition presents the Souvetaurilia (also Suovitaurilia) de Mars - a sacred rite of the Romans involving the sacrifice of a pig, a sheep, and a bull to Mars in order to bring about a blessing and purification of the land. Size: plate measures 17.625" W x 12.75" H (44.8 cm x 32.4 cm); sheet measures 20" W x 17.125" H (50.8 cm x 43.5 cm)

Cato the Elder preserved the Suovetaurili ritual in his "De Agri Cultura" (On Agriculture). The Suovetaurili involved leading these three animals - pig, sheep, and bull - around the land being blessed and pronouncing these words (translation), "That with the good help of the gods success may crown our work, I bid thee, Manius, to take care to purify my farm, my land, my ground with this suovetaurilia, in whatever part thou thinkest best for them to be driven or carried around."

"LXXXI, Pl, a la 188 - page T. II" in upper right. "Tome II 81" in lower right. Title "SUOVETAURILIA DE MARS" above. "Colonne Trajane" below.

Condition: Strong plate mark. Visible crease down center as this was a double plate. Paper shows normal toning, particularly to margins. Taped to laid paper backing at upper edge.

Provenance: private Lucille Lucas collection, Crested Butte, Colorado, USA

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