A toilette scene from Neumagen, circa 235 C.E. Located now in Trier (Landesmuseum).
A toilette scene from Neumagen, with seated elite woman attended by servants or slaves, circa 235 C.E. Landesmuseum, Trier, Germany. Photograph by Barbara McManus (Vroma), Landesmuseum Trier.
In 1877 a builder in Neumagen, Germany, discovered that the foundations and supports beneath some buildings he was renovating contained many sculptures. Hundreds were pulled out and sent to the Landesmuseum in the following years. This piece is from Noviomagus, the name of the village when it was the site of one of Emperor Constantine’s summer residences. Many of the Roman bas-relief sculptures were of daily life—a school scene, a rent collector, and this: a matron at her daily toilette. She sits fully wrapped in the stola of a matron, assuming the traditional pudicitia pose of an honorable wife with one wrapped hand to her chin.