This small bust is laden with visual imagery and symbolism pertaining to the goddess Athena. She was the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilisation, law and injustice, mathematics, strength, war strategy, the arts, crafts, and skill, according to Greek religious beliefs. She wears a helmet, which is typical of Athena’s portrayal in the Greek iconographical tradition, and alludes to her prowess in war and to the idea that military strategy was in her domain. Similarly suggestive of these qualities are her cuirass (breast plate) and phalera (horse brass). The acanthus leaf is a symbol of immortality – a particularly apt choice in the case of a goddess. Perhaps the original owner of this bust would have relied on it for protection or guidance in war.
Greek Silver Athena Bust Military Votive Plaque
Small and unique, this Hellenistic cast bust of a youthful Athena bears a helmet and cuirass, with a phalera to the chest between scrolled shoulder plates. The helmet has a broad rim; flared wings to the sides; and median acanthus-leaf crest. The bust is hollow to the reverse with lead filling.
Condition: Fine condition with encrustations visible.