The basilisk is a mythical reptile believed to be king of serpents. The creature was said to kill men with just its touch and to other it was its glance or even just its breath. Pliny the Elder writes that the Basilisk is from Cyrene and is quite small in size, only twelve fingers long. It was deadly and destroyed everything in its path. It was thought that if a man on horseback was to kill the beast; its poison would run up the weapon and in turn kill him and the horse too. Its only weakness was the odour of a weasel (Pliny the Elder.The Natural History.8.33)
Roman Bronze Basilisk Head Statuette
A Roman basilisk statuette cast from bronze featuring a long-curved neck leading to a cockerel-like head. The Mythical creature is displayed looking down with its mouth open. Curved incisions are used to mimic scales across the whole neck. The statuette has been mounted on a custom-made stand.
Provenance: ‘The Ancient Menagerie Collection’ formerly the property of a Cambridgeshire lady, collected since the 1990s and acquired from auctions and dealers throughout Europe and the USA, now ex London collection.
Condition: Fine condition, the piece is fragmentary with green patination covering the surface. Height without the stand; 9.8cm