The Green Caesar is a portrait of Gaius Julius Caesar made of green slate kept in the Antikensammlung Berlin (inv. Sk 342), created around the 1st century AD.
There is widespread agreemnet that the individual depicted in the bust if Julius Caesar. The only known portraits of him that derive from his lifetime are those on coins, which are barely idealised and depict him with clearly unique features. All known sculptural portraits were created only after his death. The Green Caesar belongs to a group of late Republican portraits which appear very individualised to the modern viewer, but actually just reproduce various idealised features. These depictions represent values and qualities that were expected of the statesman, using typological forms and normalised formulae. Thus the signs of old age in this bust indicate authority (auctoritas), while the gaze and expression show dignity and strictness (gravitas and severitas) and the tilt of the head shows dynamism and vigour.
The viewer sees a serious and dignified man who is fully aware of his position adn the duties that go with it, but also of his entitlement to it. The ascetic, sober style imitates the sobriety and endurance of a successful general, even though the clothing is that of a statesman rather than a general.
The actual circumstances of the portrait's creation are unclear. Many archaeologists place it in the first century BC, but the majority prefer the first century AD, in the early Imperial period. It was probably made in Egypt, since the green slate it is made of derives from Upper Egypt. In addition, the engraving of the hair instead of carving it in the round derives from Late Egyptian art, as do the firm, heavy contours of the slate.