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. The equivalent to the Greek Herakles, Hercules was the divine hero gifted with super strength who undertook the Twelve Labours as an atonement for having killed his own children when driven mad by Hera, the Roman Juno. The First of the Twelve Labours for the hero Hercules was to rid the Nemean plain of the wild, enormous and extremely ferocious beast known as the Nemean Lion. Hercules fired many arrows at the lion, but his skin could not be penetrated with sharp weapons. Thus, Hercules stunned him with his club and realising no weapons could harm the animal, strangled the lion with his bare hands. After the deed, he skinned the lion and wore its skin as a protective cloak.
To learn more about everyday bronze items in the Classical World, visit our relevant post: Everyday Items in the Classical World.