Early 19thC Staffordshire figure depicting Agrippina with the Ashes of Germanicus. Height 20cms.
The Roman commander Nero Claudius Drusus was renamed Germanicus because of his victories over the German people. He was assassinated in Syria in 19 C.E. His wife, Agrippinna, brought his ashes back to Rome, determined to avenge his death. This subject was a popular one in the neo-classical period, no doubt inspiring this figure.
1. This figure is sometimes incorrectly dubbed Antonia with the Ashes of Germanicus. Antonia was Germanicus's mother but she is never portrayed with his ashes. I believe the mistake, which appears in Halfpenny p149, has been perpetuated over the years.
2. You may never had heard of Germanicus, but I bet you know who Caligula was. Germanicus and Agrippina were the parents of this cruel, perverted Roman Emperor.