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The Berkeley PlatoFrom Neglected Relic to Ancient Treasure, An Archaeological Detective Story$
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Stephen Miller

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780520258334

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520258334.001.0001

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History of Acquisition and the First Century in California

History of Acquisition and the First Century in California

(p.1) History of Acquisition and the First Century in California
The Berkeley Plato

Stephen G. Miller

University of California Press

On November 12, 1902, eighty-eight cases of antiquities and plaster casts of ancient sculpture arrived in San Francisco. Case 186, contained an inscribed portrait herm of Plato, which is now in the Phoebe Apperson Hearst Museum of Anthropology (PAHMA) on the Berkeley campus. Mrs. Hearst had employed Alfred Emerson, a classical scholar and friend of Benjamin Ide Wheeler, to acquire Greek and Roman antiquities in Rome as part of her plan for a museum that would bring together characteristic artifacts of ancient cultures for the edification of the citizens of northern California. The Plato hermwas purchased by Emerson from the Fratelli Iandolo, a well-known firm of antiquities dealers in Rome. The inventory catalogue entry for the piece includes this statement, handwritten at an unknown time: “Pertinence of head is not certain.”. This portrait herm has been left in total obscurity for more than a century.

Keywords:   Plato herm, Berkeley, Roman antiquities, northern California, portrait herm, Fratelli Iandolo, Alfred Emerson

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