Just as narratives of utopia and decline permeate Roman written texts, they also are mapped on to the visual culture of the city, and played out in discussions of Rome’s artistic and architectural history; and, in turn, the physical structures of the city are closely bound up with military conquest and imperial power. While moralists blamed the conquest of exotic regions for the presence of extravagant objects in the city, the booty itself was displayed as conspicuous proof of the Roman army’s achievements – and specifically those of the general (Livy 30.15.12, Plut. Aemil. 32-6).1 Often the money raised by the spoils would be used to fund building activity in Rome, as a perpetual reminder of the triumph. And foreign conquest provided new raw materials for building. The strong association between military figures and foreign building materials is stressed by the naming of a black, red-flecked marble after the general Lucius Licinius Lucullus. In contrast to the usual practice of naming the material after its provenance – Chian, Phrygian, Parian, for example – Lucullan was a rare example of a marble named after the man who brought it to Italy from Asia Minor to Rome in 74 BCE.2 The Elder Pliny alone tells this tale, and, for him, conferring one’s name to marble is a dubious honour:

post hunc Lepidum quadriennio L. Lucullus consul fuit, qui nomen, ut ex re apparet, Luculleo marmori dedit, admodum delectatus illo, primusque Romam invexit, atrum alioqui, cum cetera maculis aut coloribus commendentur. nascitur autem in Melo3 insula, solumque paene hoc marmor ab amatore nomen accepit.