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Unknown Artist
The Death of Sophonisba
around 1720

Upon conquering the Numidian capital, the Roman general Scipio Africanus demands that the king Masinissa deliver his wife as war booty. Having vowed to protect her from the Romans, Masinissa delivers a cup of poison to Sophonisba. Livy (around 64 BCE–around 15 CE) emphasizes her magnanimity by declaring that “she was to decide for herself” whether to risk recrimination for her people by disobeying the command. In this representation, the lifeless figure of Sophonisba slumps in the corner as Masinissa clasps the empty cup, which she had “fearlessly drained without a sign of wavering”.

 
Unknown Artist
Eighteenth century
The Death of Sophonisba
around 1720
Oil on canvas
height / width: 63.80 x 66.50 cm; 25.12 x 26.18 in.
Gift of Alfred and Isabel Bader, 1990
33-015

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