Roman Bronze Chariot Fitting with Bacchus


An Ancient Roman hollow-moulded bronze chariot fitting, comprising a rectangular-shaped pedestal, surmounted by a round-shaped fruit, possibly a pomegranate, flanked by two thick, round-section handles, each on one side. The handles feature a zoomorphic finial, possibly representing horses’ heads. Further enrichment includes an almost in the round cast bronze figure depicting the Roman god Bacchus. The deity is portrayed standing, in the classical contrapposto pose, lifting his left hand up to his head, while the right hand holds a drinking vessel. Bacchus is portrayed nude, only wearing a light which falls from his right shoulders to his left hip. Facial and anatomical features are rendered in an extremely naturalistic manner, with much attention given towards details.

Date: Circa 1st-3rd century AD
Provenance: From The 'JL' Private collection, by descent.
Condition: Extremely fine and rare piece, complete and intact.


Chariot fittings of this type would have been used in Roman times to embellish and decorate different types of chariots. The substantial feature of such fitting suggests that it might not have been used to decorate light, racing chariots, but used instead in the heavier chariots of the aristocrats and the emperor’s family. Chariot fittings would have featured the most elaborate decoration, often modelled in the shape of gods and goddess. 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 wine, fertility and the concept of re-birth.

Weight 1750 g
Dimensions W 15.7 x H 15.4 cm


Roman Mythology


Reference: For a similar item,The Metropolitan Museum, item 1973.11.5, .6.

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