Dish Depicting Marcus Curtius Leaping into the Chasm
2.75 x 15.75 in diameter
6.99 x 40.01 cm
Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Fund
Not on view
Executed in exceedingly rich colors and detail, this maiolica platter presents the story of Marcus Curtius. According to Livy and other classical writers, an earthquake in 362 BC caused the ground near the Roman forum to open. After the Roman people failed to seal the chasm with earth, soothsayers warned that it would only close if they filled it instead with their greatest strengths. Marcus Curtius ordered the Romans to gather their arms and armor, and as they threw these sacrifices into the chasm, he leapt into it on horseback, wearing his own armor and weaponry. This ultimate sacrifice for his people and country mended the great divide.