Statuettes with an eagle sitting on top of a stag’s head or, such as this rare example, on a recumbent stag, is usually associated with the Dolichene couple, in which the eagle symbolises Jupiter Dolichenus and the stag his consort, Juno Dolichena. Almost all bronze statuettes baring together an eagle and stag have survived without any inscriptions, making extremely difficult for archaeologist to discern the meaning behind such iconography. However, an inscribed marble group of an eagle and stag recovered at the Dolichenus’ temple on the Esquiline hill in Rome, helped researchers to link such figurative composition with Jupiter Dolichenus and Juno Dolichena. Jupiter Dolichenus was a soldier god, usually portrayed wearing a full military attire and standing on a bull, while his consort would have been shown standing on a deer or stag. During the 2nd century AD the mystery cult of Jupiter Dolichenus spread from the eastern Mediterranean to Rome and all across the Roman Empire, appreciated especially by the Roman military. Bronze statuettes of an eagle and a stag would have been placed in temples and shrines as votive offerings.
Roman Bronze Statuette of the Dolichene Couple
A finely modelled Ancient Roman cast bronze statuette in the shape of an eagle, portrayed with its wings neatly folded, standing proudly on a stag. Both animals are rendered in a naturalistic manner, with much attention given towards the rendering of facial and anatomical features, such as the eagle’s beak and plumage, and the stag’s antlers. The motif of the eagle and stag is typically associated with the Roman god Jupiter Dolichenus and his wife Juno Dolichena. Statuettes of this type were usually produced in Anatolia, modern day Turkey.
Condition: Fine, complete and intact. Areas of olive-green and brown patina.