Roman Bronze Military Hercules Phalera


A fine Roman military phalera cast from bronze featuring a profile exhibiting a lifelike representation of the bearded Hercules facing forward. The Nemean lion skin is draped over his shoulders and tied around his neck. His facial features have been naturalistically rendered. The background is smooth, decorated with curved incisions around his head. Green patination covers the surface, the reverse remains unworked.

Date: Circa 1st-3rd century AD
Condition: Fine condition, professionally cleaned and mounted on a custom-made stand. The bronze its self weighs 208.5g and the height including the stand is 14.2cm.


The phalera was a decorative disc, used either to adorn the breastplate of a soldier, or harness of a horse. Phaleras were usually produced from gold, silver, bronze or glass. They were often impressively embellished, serving as a status symbol and mark of military achievement, like a medal. Hercules was the Roman equivalent of the Greek hero Herakles, famous for his adventures and labours. The half-god’s mother was the mortal Alcmene (granddaughter of Perseus) and his father Zeus. After murdering his wife and children, due to the tricks of Hera, he wished to be punished and therefore was appointed by Apollo to complete the 12 labours which in turn would make amends with the king Eurystheus. The first labour was to slay the Nemean lion, who had impervious fur, which Hercules completed and from then on wore the skin, as shown on this phalera.

Weight 324 g
Dimensions L 10.2 x W 10.2 cm

Roman Mythology



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