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The core of the Roman collection is formed by the archaeological finds of the Belgian mission in Apamea on the Orontes in what is now Syria.


Besides the spectacular reconstruction of the mid-section of the great colonnade that crosses the city from north to south, there is also a remarkable selection of mosaics that throw light on the many facets of this art form during the fourth and fifth centuries.

Gallery Apamea
Gallery Apamea

Model of Rome

The model shows Rome at the end of the 4th century, at the height of its splendour. It was made by the French architect Paul Bigot, who dedicated most of his life to the creation of scale models of the capital of the Roman empire, producing four in all. Today, only his working model (at the University of Caen) and the model in Brussels remain. The version at the Art & History Museum is the only one to be coloured in. A true masterpiece and a must-see for every school visit, the model measures 11 x 4 metres at a scale of 1/400.
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Model of the city of Rome in the 4th cent.
Model of the city of Rome in the 4th cent., 1938, Paul Bigot

The Daily life

On the lower floor is a selection of works that give an indication of how the collection has grown over the years. Other items, too, help to paint a fascinating picture of daily life in ancient times.

Lantern in the shape of a theatre mask
Lantern in the shape of a theatre mask, -2nd-1st cent., Rome, terracotta


The collection also includes numerous idealized marble figures, Roman copies and imitations of famous Greek originals. Various depictions of gods, heroes and other mythological beings date back to Roman collections from Renaissance times. In the portrait gallery, the visitor comes face to face with Romans from various regions of the empire and from a period of more than 500 years; the star attraction here is the rare, monumental, bronze figure of Emperor Septimus Severus.

Portrait head of emperor Trajan, marble
Portrait head of emperor Trajan, 1st cent., Rome, marble

Cécile Evers