Galba; Otho; Vitellius; Vespasian; Titus; Domitian. 🖼️ Print available here

Appearance of The Principate [Pt. II]

68–96: Year of the Four Emperors and Flavian dynasty

Using the neural-net tool , and historical references I have created photoreal depictions of Roman Emperors. Scroll down to see each emperor.

Galba: (Upper Left) Musei Capitolini Rome; (R) Same, but before repair (?); (LL) Museum of Antiquities Stockholm.


68–69 (Died aged 72 — Murdered by Praetorian Guard in coup led by Otho)

  • Born: Terracina, Italia
  • Hair: “grey/white-haired” (via see clarification above) head bald”
  • Eyes: blue eyes (“oculis caeruleis” — Suet. Gal. 21) (via Cocci)
  • Skin: “face and forehead wrinkled” (via Canter)
  • Other: “feet and hands so crippled by gout that he could not wear a shoe or turn the leaves of a book” (via Canter)
  • Height: “Medium height with no hair, a hooked nose and a heavyset body disfigured by arthritis and gout.” (Suetonious) (via Collector)
Otho (v1): ↖️ Louvre; ↗️ Painting by Peter Paul Rubens; ↙️ British Museum; ↘️ Uffizi Gallery Florence
Otho (v2): Rather than guessing at inconsistent wig depictions, I have rendered him without a wig and bare shoulders.


69–69 (Died aged 36 — Committed suicide after losing Battle of Bedriacum to Vitellius)

  • Born: Ferentinum, Italia
  • Hair: “a well-made toupee covered his practically bald head.” (Suetonius) (via ) “Otho had his whole body shaved and used a special unguent on a daily basis in order to prevent the growing of a beard.” (via Historum)
  • Eyes:
  • Skin: “rubbedhis face with moistened breadto prevent having a beard, or shaved often; removed the hair from his body” (via Canter)
  • Other:
  • Height: “average height and build.” (via Historum) “Low of stature; ill set on his feet and bowlegged” (Suetonius ) (via Canter)
Vitellius (v1): ↖️ Louvre*; ↗️ Painting by Peter Paul Rubens; ↙️ New Carlsberg Gylototek; ↘️ Rubens House Antwerp. [*Pseudo-Vitellius]
Vitellius (v2): Darker hair and eyes. Disregarding previous source John Malalas. Also: Influenced by 17th century bust by Francesco-Righetti in style of bronze ↘️ Reubens House.


69–69 (Died aged 54 — Murdered by Vespasian’s troops)

  • Born: Rome, Italia
  • Hair:
  • Eyes:
  • Skin: “face red from drunkenness” (via Canter)
  • Other: “huge abdomen of the glutton” (via Canter)
  • Height: “abnormally tall” (via Canter)
Vespasian (v1): ↖️ Louvre; ↗️ Museum of Classical Archaeology, Cambridge (original: Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek c. 70 CE); ↙️ Capitoline Museum; ↘️ National Archaeological Museum, Naples, Italy.
Vespasian (v2): Weighted more heavily to ↗ ️Museum of Classical Archeology bust which is believed to be less idealized. Head proportions more influenced by ↙️ Capitoline Museum.


69–79 (Died Aged 69 — Natural causes)

  • Born: Falacrine, Italia
  • Hair: — “head bald” (via Canter)
  • Eyes:
  • Skin:
  • Other:
  • Height: “in stature short, square built, strong limbed” (via Canter)
Titus (v1): ↖️ Museo Nazionale, Naples; ↗️ Archaeological Museum Théo Desplans, France; ↙️ British Museum
Titus (v2): Darker hair and eyes, disregarding unreliable citation of John Malalas which described Titus as having blond hair. More facial hair according to coinage.


79–81 (Died aged 41 — Natural causes)

Father: Vespasian.

Brother: Domitian.

  • Born: Rome, Italia
  • Hair:
  • Eyes:
  • Skin:
  • Other:
  • Height: “body not tall, but very strong; neck thick; abdomen somewhat prominent; physical strength sufficient for most arts of war and peace” (via Canter)
Domitian (v1): ↖️ Vatican Museum, Vatican City, Italy; ↗️ Altes Museum Berlin; ↙️ National Archaeological Museum, Venice, Italy (16th century); ↘️ Louvre Paris; + Also: Toledo Museum of Art; Capitoline Museum, Rome; National Archaeological Museum, Naples, Italy (c.1500–1577)
Domitian (v2): More influence from balding ↗️ Altes Museum Berlin bust. Darker hair and eyes, disregarding unreliable citation of John Malalas which described Domitian as having blond hair.


81–96 (Died aged 44 — Assassinated by court officials)

Father: Vespasian

Brother: Titus

  • Born: Rome, Italia
  • Hair: Wore a wig.
  • Eyes: “eyes large, but not sharp-sighted” (via Canter)
  • Skin: “face modest and with tendency to blush” (via Canter)
  • Other: “in later years exhibited pallor of body, bloated cheeks, and a haughty, savage, terror-inspiring, shameless countenance” (via Canter)
  • Height: “In stature tall” (via Canter)


This is a quarantine project by Daniel Voshart. 🖼️ Prints available here.

Design | Cinematography | Criticism