Gaius Caesar bust ‘heading home’ to Italy

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A Roman marble portrait bust of Gaius Caesar, the adopted son of Augustus Caesar, has sold at auction for £374,500.

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One of a small number that features Gaius with long sideburns and a short beard, the bust is to return to Italy following the auction at Bonhams Antiquities.

The bust, created just months before Gaius’s death in AD 4 and restored in the late 18th century, sold for more than double the estimated £150,000.

Madeleine Perridge, head of antiquities at Bonhams, told historyextra: “We’re delighted. It is a really great piece and it deserved to go for more than the estimated price. 

“The bust will be going home to Italy, which gives it a nice circular feeling. 

“It came down to one bidder on the phone and one in the room, and both seemed quite determined. They took it right up to the end, with incremental rises. But in the end it comes down to one person.”

Gaius Caesar and his brother Lucius Caesar were the sons of the Emperor Augustus’s only child, Julia, and his close confidant Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa.

With no sons of his own the emperor adopted the brothers in 17 BC, and they were intended as his successors. However, both died young, predeceasing Augustus who died in AD 14.

Gaius died aged 23, months after sustaining a wound at the fall of Artagira in Armenia in AD 3.

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To find out more about the bust, click here