Large and Finely Modeled Roman Bronze Stag, 1st Century AD
A large bronze walking stag with head held up and antlers curving up; cast mark to the top of the tail with hole in center; head detaches and with crenelated edges for securing. 22.2 kg, 85cm (33 ½").
The piece could have been a decorative piece for a villa garden, as seen in examples from Pompeii, Herculaneum and the area surrounding Vesuvius. The stag, along with the doe, was also sacred to the goddess Diana, and is seen in statues of her, most notably the cult image of the goddess at Ephesus. The stag was also sacred to the Gaulish deity Cernunos who was shown as a human/stag hybrid and was adopted by the Romans who set up a number of altars to the god in the province, most notably that found beneath Notre Dame cathedral in Paris that was set up by a guild of boat men, and now in the Musée National du Moyen Age, and which provides the only epigraphic evidence for the god’s name, which means ‘the horned one.’
Watch the video about this artifact here