Larry F. Ball/Sopraintendenza Archeologica di Roma

Along with its temples and arches, the Forum was once crowded with commemorative columns and statues, most of which have disappeared. This relief comes from the base of the so-called Decennalia Column, erected in 303 A.D. to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the emperor Diocletian’s reign. The relief depicts an unidentified emperor (perhaps Diocletian himself) standing before a sacrificial altar and being crowned by a tiny winged victory. The Roman war god Mars looks on from the left, while the headless figure of Roma (the patron goddess of Rome) is seated at right. On the opposite side of the monument’s base, is an inscription reading CAESARUM DECENNALIA FELICITER (Happy Tenth Anniversary to the Caesars).