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Detailed Roman Bronze Phalera with Horse Portrait

Detailed Roman Bronze Phalera with Horse Portrait


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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Ancient World: Roman: Pre AD 1000: Item # 1293266
Apolonia Ancient Art
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290 Fillmore St. #D
Denver, CO. 80206
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 $1,875.00 
$1,875.00

This detailed piece is a Roman bronze military phalera that dates circa 2nd-3rd century A.D. This piece is approximately 2.4 inches in diameter, and has a cupped shaped. The center of this piece has a beautiful animated portrait bust of a horse with a flowing main, that is seen facing right, and is also seen wearing a Roman military cavalry bridle. This bridle also has an attached "curb bit" that ran through the mouth of the horse, and a "hackamore", which was a strap that ran above the nose and under the chin. The "curb bit" allowed the rider greater control of the reins with one hand, as the other hand held a weapon such as a lance or a sword. The "hackamore" straps prevented the horse from opening his mouth and throwing the "curb bit", and used in combination, this was a major military advance in Roman cavalry. The Roman cavalry was then able to become more of an effective fighting force which often surpassed the fighting capabilities of the Roman ground legions. (See Karen Dixon and Pat Southern in "The Roman Cavalry", Barnes & Noble Pub., 1992, p. 65 for the bridle type, and pp. 67-68 for the phalera.) The bust of the horse is also framed with a detailed cable border, and the background has a dotted surface. The back side of this piece also has two pins which formed part of a "u-ring" that held the leather straps in place, and these straps also formed the Roman harness system. The harness system held the saddle in place on the horse and additional decorative phalera, such as the piece offered here, covered junctions where the straps came together on the breast, shoulders, and haunch junctions of the harness. A drawing of this harness system can be seen in the reference noted above on p. 68. (See attached photo.) This piece is complete, save for a section of the "u-ring" on the back that is missing. This piece also has a nice multi-colored patina, with an overall dark green/black color, and light brown and green highlights. This piece is a scarce to rare example, and is a superb example of a Roman military collectable. This piece is also mounted on a custom display stand. Ex: Private German collection, circa 1980's. (Note: Additional documentation is available to the purchaser.) I certify that this piece is authentic as to date, culture, and condition: