Roman Bronze Casket Mount


A striking bronze Roman casket mount with a symmetrical design depicting the Gorgon Medusa as the focal point. Her facial features are detailed and completed by the heads of four small snakes nestled within her mane. Flanking the portrait are two dolphins, positioned upside down, each displaying an eye and dorsal fin markings. The terminals of the mount are in the shape of the Acanthus leaf which also function as the dolphin’s tail. Some patination visible.

Date: Circa 1st-3rd Century AD
Condition: Fine Condition

In stock

A Roman casket typically housed small treasures and jewels. To remind oneself of the beauty hidden within, the outside of these caskets were heavily adorned with mounted decorative pieces, like this fine example.

According to Greek mythology, Medusa was one of three sisters in the Gorgon family, generally described as winged deities with living snakes for hair. Medusa was the only mortal of the sisters and her death is famous in mythology. She was beheaded by the hero Perseus, and according to mythology, was  pregnant at the time of her death. As she was beheaded, her children Chrysaor and Pegasus sprang from her body. In some myths, Medusa was a monster from birth like her sisters. They had snakes for hair, wielded the ability to turn onlookers into stone. In other versions of the myth, Medusa was the only Gorgon to have snake-hair, having been cursed by Athena as punishment for her rape and desecration of Athena’s temple by Poseidon (the Sea god). Medusa was a popular talismanic symbol, her iconography was widely used to decorate jewellery and everyday objects, she protected the people from evil. She was considered to be a  symbol of strength; her name comes from the Greek verb “μέδω” “to guard or protect.”

Both dolphins and acanthus leaves are highly significant in Ancient Roman Culture; dolphins symbolise protection and guidance, they were often named as transporters of the dead. The vegetal motif of the acanthus represents immortality, healing and rebirth.

Weight 128.1 g
Dimensions L 16.2 x W 5.6 cm



Roman Mythology

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