Choose Category:

Home > Auctions > 30th August 2016 > Roman Military Parade Buckle with Gods

Print page | Email lot to a friend

Back to previous page

Use mousewheel to zoom in and out, click to enlarge
Gallery loading...

LOT 0668

Sold for (Inc. bp): £26,040

8 1/4" (256 grams, 21cm).

A silver parcel-gilt military belt suite comprising: three articulating rectangular panels, each with a beaded border and four attachment lugs to the reverse, central rectangular plaque with low-relief image: an ithyphallic faun (Pan) with stick and pan-pipes; a facing Bacchus (Dionysus) with thyrsus and raised horn, lion at his feet and wine jug; a dancing maenad with pipes and swirling drapery; each in a pointillé tendril and leaf frame; buckle loop formed as a pair of opposed gilt lion-heads on textured curved necks, the tongue formed as a rectangular block with geometric ornament, protruding tail and flanking curved legs terminating in gilt claws.

Property of a London gentleman, acquired in 1980s from a European professional; acquired by him from Countess Ellendorf, Munich, in 1970s. Supplied with a positive X-Ray Fluorescence metal analysis certificate.

Accompanied by an Art Loss Register certificate.

Bacchus was the Roman name for the Greek deity Dionysus, a god who originally came from Thrace. He was closely associated with wine, fertility and the harvest, as well as being patron god of theatres and actors. A mystery cult developed around him that was extremely popular in the Greek and Roman periods, but which was viewed with suspicion by the authorities for its bending of social conventions. The mystery cults were based on sacred stories that often involved the ritual re-enactment of a death-rebirth myth of a particular divinity. In addition to the promise of a better afterlife, mystery cults fostered social bonds among the participants, called mystai. The followers of Dionysus derived many of their eschatological beliefs and ritual prescriptions from Orphic literature, a corpus of theogonic poems and hymns. The mythical Thracian poet Orpheus, the archetypical musician, theologian, and mystagogue, was credited with the introduction of the mysteries into the Greek world. References by Herodotus and Euripides attest to the existence of certain Bacchic-Orphic beliefs and practices: itinerant religion specialists and purveyors of secret knowledge, called Orpheotelestai, performed the teletai, private rites for the remission of sins. For the Orphics, Dionysus was a saviour god with redeeming qualities. He was the son of Zeus and Persephone and successor to his throne. When the Titans attacked and dismembered the baby Dionysus, Zeus in retaliation destroyed the perpetrators with his thunderbolt. From the Titans’ ashes the human race was born, burdened by their Titan inheritance which could only be destroyed through the ecstatic worship of Dionysus.