Key to Umbria: Gubbio

Museo Civico

Umbria:  Home   Cities    History    Art    Hagiography    Contact 


Gubbio:  Home    History    Art    Saints   Walks    Monuments    Museums

The Museo Civico is housed in Palazzo Consoli.  Part of the archaeological collection is exhibited in the Sala dell’ Arengo and another part is in the former sacristy and Cappella Palatina.  The rest is on the lower floor, which is reached by a door at the back of the palace.

Sacristy and Cappella Palatina

Iguvine Tables (within the period late 3rd - 1st century BC)

These seven bronze tables, which contain what is by far the longest surviving inscription in an Italic language other than Latin, are described in the page “Iguvine Tables”.

Fragment of a sarcophagus cover (ca. 200 BC)

This fragment of a sarcophagus, which came from the necropolis at vigna Boccolini, Bevagna, is decorated with a relief of a wheel flanked by griffins.  The inscription below is in Umbrian, using an Etruscan alphabet:

Pe. Pe. Uferier Uhtur

It commemorates Petro Ofedius, son of Petro, who held the post of “uhter” (senior magistrate).  This inscription is also described in the page on Umbrian Inscriptions  after 295BC.

Umbrian coins (from the 3rd century BC)

These come from the collection that Bishop Giacomo Ranghiasci-Brancaleone formed in 1816-38.  It includes (in the chapel) three coins from the Roman era that were minted in Gubbio, probably to pay Iguvine mercenaries in the First Punic War (264 AD).  They record the Umbrian name Ikuvina, and use an Etruscan rather than a Roman unit of weight, although it is divided into twelfths as in Roman coinage.

Sala dell’ Arengo

Fragments of an Inscription (44 - 27 BC)

Six fragments that were found in the Roman theatre probably came from the same inscription (CIL XI 5828, EDR137551), which probably commemorated the dedication of the theatre in the triumviral period.  (Note that fragment (f) is described in EDR 139351, and might not have belonged to the same inscription as the other fragments).

Gnaeus Satrius Rufus (late 1st century BC)


                                                 Found in the 16th century                                                     Found in 1863

These two inscriptions (CIL XI 5820), which were found in the Roman theatre (one in the 16th century and the other in 1863), seem to have carried identical texts, although the second is more complete.  They record the civic works of Gnaeus Satrius Rufus,  a quattuorvir iure ducundo of Iguvium in the late 1st century BC.    Apparently, Rufus made a number of bequests for (inter alia):

  1. the roofing of the basilica (foyer) of the theatre and the paving of the floors of two of its rooms;

  2. the renovation of a temple to Diana; and

  3. the victory games held in honour of the Emperor Augustus. 

Lucius Veturius Rufio (1st century AD)

This funerary inscription (CIL XI 5824) from an unknown location in Gubbio commemorates:

L[ucius] Veturius Rufio, [a]vispex extispicus, [sac]erdos publicus [et] privatus 

defined here as an auger, diviner and public and private priest.

Caius Pompeius Sceptu (1st century AD)

This [funerary ?] inscription (CIL XI 5819) from an unknown location in Gubbio commemorates the freedman and sevir Caius Pompeius Sceptus,

Caius Pomponius Graecinus (1st century AD)

This inscription (CIL XI 5809), which came from the base of a statue that was found near the Roman theatre in the late 19th century, commemorates Caius Pomponius Graecinus, son of Caius, who was of senatorial rank and was probably born at Iguvium (or perhaps at Perusia, where the Etruscan name pumpuni is attested).  He is usually assumed to have been the son of Caius Pomponius Graecinus, the suffect consul of 16 AD.  Our Pomponius is sometimes suggested as the owner of the Roman mausoleum, although there is no hard evidence for this.

Maria Carla Spadoni (referenced below, at p. 94) suggested that Graecinus’ cursus honorum is given in the inscription in reverse order:

  1. Line 6 records his tenure as “quattuorvir quninquennialis ....”; and

  2. Line 5 records his tenure as “praefecto ...”

As she pointed out (at p. 95), line 5 is incomplete and the missing word(s) would have completed the title.  But, as she asked rhetorically::

  1. “ ... which praefectura are we dealing with here ? ... By a process of elimination [of possible alternatives] .. and only at the hypothetical level, we can think that lines 5 and 6 contain the “citizen” posts of our subject [i.e. those that he held outside Rome], which preceded his senatorial career ...” (my translation).

More specifically, she suggested that:

  1. Line 6 could be completed as “quattuorvir quninquennialis, aedile” (a cursus recorded at Iguvium in CIL XI 5811); and

  2. Line 5 could be completed as “praefecto iure dicundo” or “praefecto quinquennialis”.  (Magistrates with these titles were appointed in particular circumstances to augment the usual municipal magisterial structure.)

In relation to Graecius’ subsequent career at Rome, Maria Carla Spadoni suggested (at p. 95) that the inscription recorded only the most junior and the most senior posts in this phase of Graecinus’ career:

  1. Line 4  records his tenure as “decemvir stlitibus iudicandis” (member of a college of ten jurists); and

  2. Line 3  records his tenure as “praefecto urbis

She suggested that this last post was that of Urban Prefect, which implied consular rank.  However, other scholars (including, for example, Peter Wiseman, referenced below, at p. 253, entry 332 and Rosetta Bernadelli Calavelle, in the catalogue edited by Maurizio Matteini Chiari, referenced below, at pp. 96-7, entry 10) assumed that this was the more junior post of ‘praefectus urbis feriarum Latinarum’, one of the ten commissioners for deciding disputes during the Latin games.

Sarcophagus (early 4th century AD)

This sarcophagus has an unknown provenance.  The front depicts the winged ‘genii’ carrying baskets of fruit that personify the seasons (with the male organs of the participants chiseled off at a later time).  A bust of the deceased in his toga is depicted in a circular shield in the centre.  The ends are decorated with reliefs of griffins.

Lower Floor

Terracotta Antefixes (mostly 3rd and 2nd centuries BC)

Many of the finds displayed here came from a hoard of material that was found in Via degli Ortacci in 1928.  The terracotta antefixes probably came from one or more temples in the Ikuvine settlement that was on the site of modern Gubbio.  Other material was excavated on what seem to have been ritual sites on the peaks of the surrounding mountains.

Finds from Scarico di San Biagio (4th to the late 2nd century BC)

This huge deposit of ceramics was discovered along the stretch of Via Bruno Buozzi between Via Allende and Via Ubaldi (now part of the "percorso archeologico") in 1975.  It had not been formed in chronological layers, which suggests that it had been moved here from elsewhere.  Since the hoard contains nothing that can be dated later than the late 2nd century BC, it seems likely that it was associated with earth moving during the urbanisation of the surrounding area at this time. 

A ceramic vase (ca. 280 BC) vase that was found in the dump, which is of quite exceptional quality, attests to Etruscan influence in the area in the early 3rd century BC.  The handle is formed from a (now headless) nude female figure standing on the head of a satyr.  The body of the vase carries reliefs of four chariot groups.

Mars Cyprius (2nd century AD)


The museum exhibits copies of a statue and a related inscription that were found in 1781 at San Pietro in Vigneto, some 16 km from Gubbio on the River Chiascio.  The originals are in the Museo Archeologico, Florence:

  1. The base of the statue contains an inscription (CIL XI 5806) that reveals the donor as L[ucius] Iavolenus Apulus.

  2. The related inscription (CIL XI 5805, now partly lost) identified the statue as that of  Mars Cyprius, and also recorded that Lucius Iavolenus Apulus had also restored the temple, which had collapsed some time before, adding a pronaus and columns. 

The EDR database (see the CIL links) attributes both inscriptions to the 2nd century AD.

Thus, it seems that San Pietro in Vigneto stands on the site of a temple dedicated to Mars Cyprius.  Although the temple was restored in the 2nd century AD, its roots are much older.  This is evidenced by two terracotta figures that were also found here in 1781: although they no longer survive, they were sketched at the time of the excavations (see the reproduction of the sketch by Simone Sisani, referenced below, at p. 73, figure 41.)  Sisani suggested (at p. 76) that these statues dated to the 3rd or 2nd century BC, and furhter that they represented (respectively) Mars and the Umbrian goddess Cupra.  Thus the temple dedication to Mars Cyprius implied that, in this case, Mars was associated with Cypria (Cupra).

This inscription is also described in the pages on Umbrian Religion.

“Apollo” (1st century AD)

This fine bust was found, probably near the Roman theatre, in 1789.  It came from a larger figure, usually identified as Apollo.  I fact, it is more likely to be a copy of a Greek figure of a Muse from the 4th century BC.

Figure of a Man (1st century AD)

This semi-naked figure, which is now without its head and most of its legs, probably represented an emperor.   It was found near the Roman theatre.  It was originally against a wall, perhaps in a niche in the theatre itself.

Finds from Via degli Ortacci (1st century AD)

The museum exhibits fragments of statues that were found in 1928 during excavations under the hospital in Via degli Ortacci:

  1. part of the head of a man; and

  2. the lower part of a figure of a woman.

These probably originally decorated the Roman baths on this site.

“Narses” (ca. 300 AD)

According to tradition, this is a bust of the Byzantine general, Narses.  The identification was probably made on account of its bulging eyes, which are apparently characteristic of eunuchs.  However, the bust also has a cross inscribed above the right eye, so it is more likely to be a portrait of a priest of the goddess Isis.

Horus (ca. 300 AD)

Small bronze statue of the Egyptian god Horus, the son of  Isis and Osiris, provides further evidence of the Egyptian cults in Gubbio at this time.

Paleo-Christian Sarcophagus (ca. 800 AD)

This is one of seven sarcophagi were apparently unearthed in an ancient cemetery behind a Christian basilica during excavations in Via degli Ortacci (see Walk II) in 1928.   The inscription records that it was used for the burial of three people who are identified only by their given names: Gratiosus and Iania, and their son, Auterius. Both the carving and the form of the names suggest that the burials belong to the brief period of the Lombard occupation of Gubbio.

Museo della Ceramica

The collection includes two important works by Giorgio di Pietro Andreoli (Mastro Giorgio) (see below) and a number of the exhibits from the pharmacies of the Ospedale di Santa Maria, which opened in 1636, and of the Monastery of Santo Spirito, which also operated from the 17th century. 

Works by Mastro Giorgio

No works by Giorgio di Pietro Andreoli (Mastro Giorgio) survived in Gubbio until the 1990s, when the city government bought these two examples of his work:
  1. a plate (1527) signed by Master Giorgio that depicts the Fall of Phaeton, which was bought at great expense at auction in Zurich in 1991; and 

  1. a plate (1528) attributed to Francesco Xanto Avelli and  finished by Master Giorgio that depicts the fable of Circe, Picus and Canens, which was purchased in 1997.

Read more: 

M.C. Spadoni, “I Prefetti nell' Amministrazione Municipale dell' Italia Romana”, (2004) Bari

S. Sisani, “Tuta Ikuvina: Sviluppo e Ideologia della Forma Urbana a Gubbio”, (2001) Rome

M. Matteini Chiari (Ed.), “Museo Comunale di Gubbio: Materiali Archeologici”, (1995) Perugia

T. P. Wiseman, “New Men in the Roman Senate, 139 BC - -14 AD”, (1971) Oxford

Return to the Museums in Gubbio.

Return to Walk I.