Measurements: 4.2 cm − length


Description: A cast bronze terminal of a knife in the form of an eagle's head, showing strongly curved beak, eyes and striations to indicate feathers; hollow inside to accommodate the hilt. The piece has two small holes on either side of the opening for attachment to the handle. Such decorations were especially popular within members of the military, since the eagle was the symbol of Roman legions. Each legion carried one eagle standard (aquila) and the loss of the eagle was considered a terrible omen. This particular piece likely belonged to a soldier. More elaborately decorated bronze handles would have been used by gladiators, evidenced by the sword handle found in the Quadriporticus of the Theatre of Pompeii.


Provenance: German collection, 1970's.


Reference: Timeline Auctions, February 2016, lot 406.


Period: 1st to 3rd century AD


Condition: Very fine, complete and intact, patination to the entire surface and minor exterior encrustations, with some encrustations on the piece's interior.

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