The Rhone River: Memories of Caesar.
This stunning exhibition is currently on display in the Musée Départemental Arles Antique.
For the last twenty years archaeologists have been working underwater, pulling out of the murk and silt of the mighty River Rhone over seven hundred objects that bear witness to to the importance of the city in Roman times. In addition to everyday items and evidence of trade in every type of material, there are artefacts which show the wealth and culture of Arles in the Roman era.
The highlight of the exhibition is this bust of Julius Caesar. The carved head seems so real, so immediate that it is easy to feel this is a man you could meet round the next street corner [on his way to the theatre or the arena... sorry, imagination running away with me there...]
More intriguing for me, was the metal statuette placed next to Caesar - and at a lower level - of the Gaulish captive. This man, stripped of his clothes, hands tied and forced to his knees before the conqueror of his country, is a poignant reminder of the power of brute force, perhaps more so with all the trappings of wealth and ceremony surrounding him.
I'm left with the feeling that his tale must be told....