Roman Bronze Spread Eagle Statue Base

£ 295.00

A beautiful ancient Roman bronze statuette base in the shape of an eagle. The bird is modelled with its wings spread and particular attention paid to the details of the wings and head. Fragments of human feet stand on the tail of the statue, suggesting a larger original composition. Given the repertoire of references to eagle compositions with human figures, the scene depicted could have featured various mythological figures. Jupiter riding on the back of the bird, it’s wings outstretch, was a commonly featured composition. Similarly the scene could also refer to the myth of the abduction of Ganymede, who was frequently depicted with an eagle.

Date: Circa 1st-4th century AD
Provenance: ‘The Ancient Menagerie Collection’ formerly the property of a Cambridgeshire lady, collected since the 1990s and acquired from auctions and dealers throughout Europe and the USA, now ex London collection
Condition: Fine condition. The eagle is a fragment of a larger composition that did not survive. The bird is intact and detailed with some chipping to the right wing and the beak.
Product Code: RES-235
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In both Greek and Roman mythology, the eagle frequently appears. The eagle was the animal most associated with Jupiter, his sacred animal. It became a symbol of authority and supremacy for the Romans and the emblem was frequently used in daily life. As the official emblem of Rome and the Roman Empire the eagle was used both physically and as an allegorical motif. Roman Emperors would keep caged eagles beside their funeral pyres, as it was believed that the eagle would carry the soul of the deified emperor to the heavens, hence securing him a position amongst the gods. Perhaps, most famously, is the association of the eagle to Roman military life. From the mid-Republic, the eagle was used as the military’s standard. The regal qualities acting as a banner call for the military. Statues and figurines of eagles have been found in abundance. Their significance permeating into all classes. Figurines could range from large scale, public emblems to small votive and private dedications.

Within Mythology, as mentioned, the eagle was associated specifically with Zeus, or Jupiter. The animal served as the god’s own personal messenger and thus was often depicted alongside the deity.  It is said that an eagle carried the young Ganymede to Mount Olympus, where he served as the gods’ cupbearer. Zeus, infatuated by the youth’s beauty, placed him permanently by his side.

Weight 43.89 g
Dimensions L 4.6 x W 3.9 x H 2.3 cm



Southern Europe

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