Roman Ram’s Head Vessel Handle


A very fine Roman bronze handle, which would have originally been attached to a small bronze jug of a typical form. The top section curves to fit the shape of the jug, and is decorated with geometric incised lines and dots. The handle extends downwards and forms a ram’s head as a finial. The ram’s features have been rendered naturalistically through incised lines. It has a pair of large curled horns, and the head is tilted slightly downwards as if about to challenge an opponent.

Date: Circa 1st-3rd Century AD
Condition: Excellent condition, some light patination on the surface due to time.


Faunus was the god of the forest, plains, and fields, and the Roman equivalent of the Greek god, Pan. Faunus was also the god considered to make the livestock fertile, and it is on this ground that rams are closely associated with him. On account of Faunus’ role power over fertility, many religious rites were performed using the blood and skins of goats. It is even thought that fertility rites involving whipping with goat skins were performed before formal courtship. This handle is of significant value, as it was likely part of an object of ritual.

For more information about the meanings of animals in Roman art, see our relevant blog post: Animal Symbolism in Roman Art.

Weight 22.4 g
Dimensions W 5 cm



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