Ancient Roman Bronze Appliqué of a Male Figure


A fine Ancient Roman bronze applique modelled in the shape of a young male figure. He is portrayed demi-bust, rising from a flower or foliage. His head is slightly turned left and retains some details to the facial features, rendered in a naturalistic manner. The man’s deep-set eyes are inlayed with silver, imbuing a certain nobility and allowing to place his identity within the mythological realm. Two protruding knobs resemble wings on his head, a typical attribute of Mercury, known in Ancient Greek mythology as Hermes (Ἑρμῆς), god of trade and travel and the messenger of the gods.

Date: Circa 1st -3rd Century AD
Condition: Good condition, with some patination to the surface.

In stock

SKU: MG-155 Category: Tags: , , ,

Appliqués such as this example, would have likely served as the emblema (centrepiece) of a bowl or a piece of furniture. It was a custom for the Ancient Romans, especially among the wealthier classes, to have highly decorated everyday life objects, such as jewellery boxes or toiletries tables. The subject of such decorations could vary between portraits of women, to depictions of gods, or natural elements and animals.

Mercury, Mercurius in Latin, is a major component of the Ancient Roman pantheon. Commonly identified with the Ancient Greek god Hermes, his cult has a long tradition, with the earliest evidences of his name found on Linear B tables dating to the 15th – 13th century BC. As messenger and herald, Mercury/Hermes features in several mythological episodes, such as the killing of Argos. His representations in Roman art derive from the Greek tradition, maintaining Hermes’ attributes such as the winged sandals (talaria) and hat (petasos).

Weight 31.8 g
Dimensions L 4 x W 2.7 cm



Roman Mythology

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