Ancient Greek Bronze Double-Headed Axe


An Ancient Greek double-headed axe head featuring a rectangular body, which broadens out to its broad, convex cutting edges. The weapon is held by a custom-made wooden stand. Green patination and earthy encrustations cover the surface.

The weight and measurements provided below are inclusive of the stand, the axehead itself weights: 1739g and measures: L 20cm x W 9.5cm.

N.B. This item will require additional postage charges after checkout due to weight.

Date: Circa 2nd millennium BC
Provenance: Ex London Colln., previously in a German (Cologne) weaponry collection (Branigan, Aegean Metalwork, 1974 - Plate 10, no. 525).
Condition: Fine condition, with earthy encrustations remaining on the surface. Minor dents to the body.


SKU: MG-230 Category: Tag:

The double-headed axe, known in Ancient Greek as λάβρυς (labrys) or πέλεκυς (peleukys), is one of the most characteristic forms of bronze metallurgy. Widely found throughout the Mediterranean region, it was used as a weapon, a tool, as well as for religious purposes. Double-headed axes are often associated with Ancient Crete as a symbol of the Minoan religion and frequently appear in mythological episodes: Hephaestus used it to open Zeus’s head during the birth of Athena; Theseus chose it a weapon to slay the Minotaur. The double-headed axe was also used throughout the Roman Empire as a weapon in rituals, including the tauroctony (ταυροκτόνος, tauroktonos), the slaying of a sacred bull in Mithraic mysteries.

Weight 2.1 g
Dimensions L 19 x W 8.9 x H 13.7 cm



Reference: For a similar item, please see The Metropolitan Museum, item 24.150.11

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