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LOT 0132

Sold for (Inc. bp): £11,050

3 1/2 in. (166 grams, 88 mm high).

A free-standing bronze imperial or military eagle terminal from a staff or a sceptre, modelled in the round in a dynamic pose standing on a globe, wings spread, head turned to the right, semi-naturalistic anatomical and feather detailing; the globe bearing an incised eight-armed stylised Macedonian star; sub-triangular lug to back of the neck; collar to globe with hollow underside.

with Bonham's, London, Knightsbridge, UK, 16 May 2002, lot 301.

Accompanied by a copy of the relevant Bonhams catalogue pages.
Accompanied by an academic report by Dr Raffaele D'Amato.
This lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by search certificate number no.11582-198947

See Kirk, J.R., ‘Bronzes from Woodeaton, Oxon’ in Oxoniensia, 1949, pp.1-45; Mitten, D.G., Master Bronzes from the Classical World, Mainz, 1967, p.278, fig.271, for a similar eagle formed as part of a bust; Henig, M. & Munby, J., ‘Three Bronze Figurines’ in Oxoniensia 38, 1973, pp.386-387; Bird, J., ‘Catalogue of Iron Age and Roman artefacts discovered before 1995,’ in Poulton, R., Farley Heath Roman temple, Surrey Archaeological Collection, 93, 2007, pp.34-69; Toepfer, K.M., Signa Militaria. Die römischen Feldzeichen in der Republik und im Prinzipat, Mainz, 2011, pls.146-147; Durham, E., ‘The Silchester Bronze Eagle and Eagles in Roman Britain’ in Archaeological Journal 170, 2013, pp.78-105; Beutler, F. et al., Der Adler Roms. Carnuntum und die Armee der Cäsaren, Bad-Deutsch-Altenburg, 2017, item 44.

In the Roman world, the eagle was associated with the god Jupiter or Zeus, king of the Olympian gods, and was seen as ‘the symbol and agent of apotheosis after death’. An eagle was released from the top of an emperor’s funeral pyre to signal the journey of the soul towards heaven. A sacred attribute of Jupiter, this eagle terminal may have been attached to a sceptre of the statue of the god. Eagles were also the principal standard of the legions, and became the military symbol for excellence.