In ancient mythology, satyrs were lustful and drunken gods of the woodland, and depicted in typical Greek iconography as men with the ears and tails of a horse. In Roman art, however, they were represented as rather more animalistic, as men with the ears, tail, legs, and horns of a goat. On these handles, it is the beards that identify the faces as those of satyrs: they are unkempt and unruly, as were the satyrs themselves.
Such handles would probably have been affixed to a vessel, most likely also made of bronze. The motif of the drunken satyr might suggest that this vessel had a role in the symposium (a male drinking party).