Superb Bronze Head of Medusa Appliqué


A beautiful ancient Roman appliqué of Medusa’s head. The bronze face of the Gorgon Medusa is expressive, with slightly open mouth and snakes tied below chin in a Hercules knot. Her finely-modelled hair is swept away from the face. The back is hollow and unmodelled.

Date: Circa 1st - 2nd Century AD
Provenance: From the John Aiello collection, New Jersey, USA; an important collector of Romano-Egyptian coins and antiquities for over 50 years.
Condition: Extremely fine condition.


Large bronze objects in ancient Roman world were often made with hollow cast technique, of which this appliqué is an example. It is a method by which bronze objects were created with a hollow back or centre, thereby reducing the amount of bronze required.

According to Greek mythology, Medusa was one of three sisters in the Gorgon family. Medusa was the only mortal of the sisters and her death is famous in mythology. She was beheadded by the hero Perseus and her children Chrysaor and Pegasus sprang from her head. 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 because she was cursed by Athena because she was raped in Athena’s temple by Poseidon (the Sea god). Medusa was a popular talismanic symbol to protect the people from evils. She was considered to be a  symbol of strength, as is evident from her image on military-related objects, such as shields and breastplates. Her name comes from the Greek verb “μέδω” “to guard or protect.” Which is linked to her image on military paraphernalia.

Dimensions H 5.5 cm



Roman Mythology