Bronze Bacchus Jug Handle


A large Ancient Roman bronze handle, the looped section of which is cast with overlapping leaves and duck head ornament. The upper part features a second smaller loop which was likely attached to another object, made of a different material. The loop also features an horizontal bar at the bottom, curving slightly to adhere properly to the other object’s surface. The handle is made with bronze worked into a thin bar, forming an elegant curve leading to the bust termination. The lower attachment takes the form of a human bust, possibly intended to represent the Roman wine god, Bacchus. The object features green patination on the surface.

The handle is mounted on a custom made stand.

Date: Circa 1st Century AD
Provenance: Formerly part of the Sir Daniel Donohue Collection.
Condition: Excellent condition.

In stock

Bacchus, known as Dionysus in Ancient Greek culture, was one of the most important gods in Ancient Roman pantheon and he was often associated with several key concepts of everyday life. One was rebirth after death; his dismemberment by the Titans and his return to life was symbolically echoed in viticulture, where the vines must be pruned back sharply, and then become dormant in winter for them to bear fruit.

The god is perhaps best known for being the god of wine. Given that this handle was most likely affixed to a vessel for holding wine, this imagery is particularly apt. The jug would have served as striking tableware during the convivium (the Roman equivalent of the Greek symposium), the most extravagant and notorious of which was possibly the Cena Trimalchionis, as recorded in Juvenal’s Satyricon.

To discover more about the cult of Dionysus please visit our relevant blog post:Dionysus: Madness, Release, and Wine.

Weight 426.2 g
Dimensions H 22 cm
Roman Mythology




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