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Home > Auctions > 6th September 2022 > Roman Victorious Eagle on Bull Mount

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LOT 0134

GBP (£) 6,000 - 8,000
EUR (€) 7,170 - 9,560
USD ($) 7,310 - 9,740

Opening Bid
£5,400 (EUR 6,456; USD 6,578) (‡+bp*)

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Bid History: 0


A bronze mount depicting an eagle with wings partially spread, holding a victory wreath in its beak, standing on the head of a horned bull, gripping its forelock with large talons, stylised anatomical detailing to both animals including textured feathers and coat; piriform hole to the rear of the bull's head, remains of a square-section rivet to the centre of the eagle's back, suggesting use as a fitting or attachment; mounted on a custom-made display stand. 5 5/8 in. (6 1/2 in.) (275 grams, 14.4 cm (420 grams total, 16.5 cm including stand)).

Ex private European collection.
Acquired in Switzerland in 1999.
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 AIAD certificate no.11319-189846.

Cf. Speidel, M.P., 'Eagle-bearer and trumpeter' in Bonner Jahrbucher, 176, 1976, pp.123-163; Green, M., The Gods of the Celts, Gloucester, 1986, p.169; Durham, E., ‘Symbols of Power: the Silchester Bronze Eagle and Eagles in Roman Britannia’ in Archaelogical Journal, 170, January 2013, pp.78-105.

To the Romans, the eagle symbolised the god Jupiter and the Empire, serving as a powerful motif for legionaries and the military. The victorious eagle (with a laurel crown in the beak) was a symbol of invincible Roman power: the eagle accompanying Jupiter or an emperor was the eagle on the Legionary standard (aquila). The juxtaposition of eagle and bull could have a cultic significance, especially in the Celto-Roman provinces. The bull's head motif was known as bucranium, and it was very popular throughout the ancient world, celebrating the ritual religious practice of sacrificing bulls as well as the symbolism of the bull as a virile, powerful animal.