Measurements: 3 cm - length


Description: A Roman bronze applique, cast with a depiction of the head of Sol facing front; the details finely modelled, with long flame-like radiating locks crowning his head, youthful face with almond-shaped eyes, pronounced eye sockets beneath arching brows and small mouth. The reverse hollow backed, with a central stud for fixing. The applique was used for the decorative purposes, possibly, with the apotropaic function.


The cult of Sol emerged by way of amalgamation of the Greek worshipping practices of Helios and Apollo and Mesopotamian solar cults. Even though it is mentioned already shortly after foundation of Rome, Sol gained imperial significance only with the reign of emperor Elagabalus, who introduced Deus Sol Invictus as chief god of the Roman pantheon in the third century AD. Later in the century emperor Aurelian reintroduced the ideology in a more acceptable for Roman tastes way. He erected a temple in the Campus Agrippae in the honour of Sol, who was considered from now on a protector of the emperor and the Empire. In art, Sol is shown as a young man, with long radiating hair and on some occasions with a halo of sunrays following quite closely the iconography of Helios’ depictions.


Reference: Christie's sale 2565, lot 206

The British Museum


Period: 2nd - 3rd century AD


Condition: Very fine.

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