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The statue of Proconsul Marcus Nonius Balbus, standing in the square near the suburban baths in Herculeneum.
The big rectangular enclosure preceding the entrance of the suburban Thermae is occupied, in the middle, by Marco Nonio Balbo's altar-cenotaph, erected in the early Augustan age in the place where his body had been cremated and his ashes collected. The loricate statue of M. Nonio Balbo, set up by his freedman Nonius Volusianus. stood on the marble base behind the altar.
Marco Nonio Balbo was an eminent character of the Augustan age.
A native of Nuceria, but resident at Herculaneum, he was praetor and proconsul of the province of Crete and Cyrene, tribune of the people in 32 b.C. and partisan of Octavian. Due to his munificence towards the town of Herculaneum (his epigraphs on walls, on the doors of the town as well as inside the basilica are well-known), he was appointed patron and when he died he was given extraordinary honours, summarized in the long inscription on the gravestone situated in the middle of the terrace adjoining the Suburban Thermae.
The city was literally invaded by his statues, erected in the most representative places. There are in fact at least ten inscriptions referred to the statues set up in his honour.
On the contrary, the statues which have effectively made it to the present are fewer. They are preserved at the National Archaeological Museum of Naples, since they had been found in the period of the Bourbon excavations.
The loricate statue is the only one preserved at Herculaneum.
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