Julius Sabinus and Empona. A.R. 828. card

Julius Sabinus and Empona. A.R. 828.

WAG 7743

Currently not on display


This in one of a group of drawings by British artist and book illustrator Edward Francis Burney, depicting scenes from Greek and Roman history and mythology. This composition was used for a headpiece in 'Le Souvenir, A Pocket Remembrancer', a memorandum book printed by J Cary for Godwin in 1807, on the page for 1st January. One of the inscriptions on the margin, January No. 1, seems to refer to the month in a calendar for which Burney created this frontispiece drawing. He executed many headpieces of this kind for pocket calendars and memorandum books between 1796 to 1829. [See correspondence between Patricia Crown and Edward Morris, in the docket file] The drawing depicts a scene in which Julius Sabinus is leading his wife, Empona, into the cave where he has been hiding. Julius Sabinus was an aristocratic Gaul who attempted to take advantage of the turmoil in Rome after the death of Nero to set up an independent Gaulish state. He was defeated, however, and went into hiding in a cave with two of his loyal servants. Empona was deliberately misled into believing that her husband had died, but when her grief seemed to overwhelm her Julius Sabinus sent for her. She visited him every night in the cave, while helping him to remain hidden from the Romans.