Dr. Jeffrey A. Becker

About Dr. Jeffrey A. Becker

Dr. Jeffrey A. Becker is Contributing Editor for Ancient Roman and Etruscan art. His research is focused on Italo-Roman architecture and urbanism, but he is interested in urbanism across the Mediterranean basin, as a well as in building techniques, city planning, Roman villas, and archaeological theory. Becker was trained in Classics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (M.A., Ph.D.) and has extensive experience as a classroom instructor and as an excavator, having worked for a number of years in and around Rome.

Arch of Titus, Rome, after 81 C.E.
At the end of a Roman triumph, the defeated general was murdered. The victim was marched under this triumphal arch.

The Arch of Titus

Temple of Portunus (formerly known as Fortuna Virilis), travertine, tufa, and stucco, c. 120-80 B.C.E., Rome
This small temple is a rare surviving example from the Roman Republic. It is both innovative and traditional.

Temple of Portunus, Rome

Ruins of the Temple of Mars Ultor in the Forum Augusti, c. 2 B.C.E.; the stairs to the temple platform are visible (left) and the paving stones of one portico can be seen at the lower right
These awe-inspiring public complexes were built to reinforce the imperial family’s political message.

Imperial fora

Inscription (detail), Aule Metele (Arringatore), from Cortona, Italy, early 1st century B.C.E., bronze, 67 inches high (Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Florence) (image: corneliagraco, CC BY 2.0)
An Etruscan in Roman clothing, this figure is a masterwork—made as Etruscan culture was slipping away.

Aule Metele (Arringatore)

Mars of Todi, late 5th or early 4th century B.C.E., hollow-cast bronze, 141 cm high (Gregorian Etruscan Museum, Vatican Museums)
Lighting struck this statue dedicated to the Etruscan god of war, marking it as a particularly sacred object.

Mars of Todi

Chimera from Arezzo, c. 400 B.C.E., bronze, 129 cm in length, (Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Florence)
A vicious mythic beast, the Chimera is a terrifying mix of animals—that even attacks itself.

Chimera of Arezzo

Tomb of the Reliefs, late 4th or early 3rd century B.C.E., Necropolis of Banditaccia (Cerveteri)
All signs point to a party: cushions, drinking equipment, and armor hung on the wall … but a party in a tomb?

Tomb of the Reliefs

Two dancers on the right wall (detail), Tomb of the Triclinium, c. 470 B.C.E., Etruscan chamber tomb, Tarquinia, Italy
Etruscan funerals were a celebration, where the living could share a final meal with the deceased.

Tomb of the Triclinium

Terracotta kantharos (vase), 7th century B.C.E., Etruscan, terracotta, 18.39 cm high (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
The distinct black pottery of the Etruscans, bucchero, shines like metal, and was a symbol of rank and achievement.


Head and torso (detail), Statue A, from the sea off Riace, Italy, c. 460-450 B.C.E. (?), 198 cm high (Museo Archaeologico Nazionale Reggio Calabria) (photo: Luca Galli, CC BY 2.0)
Archaeologists pulled these bronze warriors from the sea in 1972, but their origin and date remain a mystery.

Riace Warriors

The classical orders (detail)
Identify the classical orders—the architectural styles developed by the Greeks and Romans used to this day.

Greek architectural orders