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Metal Antiquities

Roman Republic, Lead Glandes Sling-Bullet, 2nd - 1st Century B.C.

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According to the contemporary report of Vegatius, Republican slingers had an accurate range of up to six hundred feet. The best sling ammunition was cast from lead. For a given mass, lead, being very dense, offered the minimum size and therefore minimum air resistance. Also, lead sling-bullets were small and difficult to see in flight. In some cases, the lead would be cast in a simple open mold made by pushing a finger, thumb, or sharpened stick into sand and pouring molten metal into the hole. The flat top end was carved to a matching point after the lead cooled. More frequently, they were cast in two-part molds. Sling-bullets were made in a variety of shapes including an ellipsoidal form closely resembling an acorn; possibly the origin of the Latin word for lead sling-bullet: glandes plumbeae (literally leaden acorns) or simply glandes (meaning acorns, singular glans). The most common shape by far was biconical, resembling the shape of an almond or an American football. Why the almond shape was favored is unknown. Possibly there was some aerodynamic advantage, but it seems equally likely that there was a more prosaic reason, such as the shape being easy to extract from a mold, or that it will rest in a sling cradle with little danger of rolling out. Almond-shaped lead sling-bullets were typically about 35 millimeters (1.4 in) long and about 20 millimeters (0.8 in) wide. Sometimes symbols or writings were molded on the side. A thunderbolt, a snake, a scorpion, or others symbols indicating how it might strike without warning were popular. Writing might include the name of the military unit or commander, or was sometimes more imaginative, such as, "Take this," "Ouch," "Catch," or even "For Pompey's backside."
AW66458. Lead glandes sling-bullet; cf. Petrie XLIV 15-23; roughly biconical, without symbols or inscriptions, c. 40 - 90 grams, c. 3 - 5 cm long, one sling-bullet randomly selected from the same group as those in the photo, ONE BULLET, BARGAIN PRICED!; $20.00 (17.60)


Hellenistic Greek, Bronze Relief Ring Fragment, Anatolia, 3rd - 2nd Century B.C.

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This bronze ring fragment is nearly identical to the referenced the ring fragment currently in The J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu, California, listed in Spier Rings, as shown to the right. It is clearly the same woman depicted and they are very likely from the same engraver and workshop. The Getty Museum piece is similarly missing almost the entire hoop.ring fragment

AS72537. Spier Rings 90 (nearly identical fragment!, bezel 21.1 x 17.3 x 4.5 mm), fragment, entire bezel present, only traces of the hoop remain, rough green patina, some corrosion, bezel 22.5 x 18.3 x 4.7 mm, high relief portrait of a woman facing left (perhaps a Ptolemaic queen), draped and wearing her hair in melon coiffure; $490.00 (431.20)


Roman, Bronze Repousse Plaque with Centaur Holding a Bow, Lorica Sqaumata Armor Plate(?), c. 1st - 3rd Century B.C.

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Likely used in some legionary application; perhaps as a lorica squamata legionary armor plate segment.
AA59779. Roman, bronze repousse, 1.75 x 1.75 inches, c. 1st - 3rd century A.D.; sheet bronze hammered from behind in repousse technique to raise the figure of a centaur holding a bow, remains of two rivet holes where it was attached, tear on body, rare and interesting; from a New Jersey collection; $400.00 (352.00)


Roman Bronze Vessel Handle, Ornamented With Bacchus and a Panther, c. 1st Century A.D.

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The Panther was the companion of Bacchus. The grapevine and its wild barren alter-ego, the toxic ivy plant, were both sacred to him. This handle was once attached to vessel used for serving or drinking wine.
AI30971. height 8.0 cm (3"), excellent condition with a nice green patina, bronze vessel handle ornamented with a facing young head of Bacchus wearing an ivy wreath in his long flowing hair, panther skin tied at neck, the curving handle ends with a panther head; $390.00 (343.20)


Roman, Bronze Priapus Amulet, c. 1st Century B.C. - 1st Century A.D.

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Priapus or Priapos was a minor rustic fertility god, protector of livestock, fruit plants, gardens and male genitalia. Priapus is marked by his absurdly oversized permanent erection, which gave rise to the medical term priapism. He became a popular figure in Roman erotic art and Latin literature, and is the subject of the often humorously obscene collection of verse called the Priapeia. The word "amulet" comes from the Latin word amuletum, which Pliny's Natural History describes as "an object that protects a person from trouble."
AS91386. cf. Rolland, H. Bronzes Antiques de Haute Provence, Paris, 1965, #136; 41mm (1 5/8") tall, 14.4g, Choice, complete and intact, Priapus standing, bearded, wearing long garment and boots, holding open drapery to expose his large phallus; from a New England Collector; $250.00 (220.00)


Egypt, Bronze Seated Figure of Harpokrates, Ptolemaic - Roman, c. 100 B.C. - 100 A.D.

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Harpocrates, the god of silence, secrets and confidentiality extends his right index finger, in one of his classic poses.
AS20835. Bronze figure, Choice, complete, intact, attractive green patina, c. 100 B.C. to 200 A.D.; Harpokrates seated (on a modern clear Lucite cube), 4.7 cm high, nude but for his pointed cap, right hand raised and index finger extended; $250.00 (220.00)


Roman, Gaul, Bronze Bird (Dove?) Fibula, c. 2nd Century A.D.

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This type with a "jaw" pin hing was produced in the northern Gallic provinces and Rhine area, c. 2nd century A.D.
AS71467. cf. Buora 855; 28.8 mm, 7.808g, Choice, attractive surfaces, green and red patina, missing pin, otherwise complete and intact, c. 2nd century A.D.; very finely made, bronze cast bird (dove?) fibula with engraved decorative details, "jaw" pin hing; rare; $200.00 (176.00)


Hellenistic Greek, Bronze Relief Ring Fragment, Eastern Mediterranean, 3rd - 1st Century B.C.

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This bronze ring fragment is very similar to the referenced ring fragment in the British Museum (click here to see it online).
AS84167. cf. BM Collection 1917.0501.1267 (very similar ring fragment), bezel complete, 22.1 x 16.1, obverse high relief portrait of a woman facing left, draped and wearing her hair in a bun at the back (perhaps a Ptolemaic queen, either Berenike II or Arsinoe II); $200.00 (176.00)


Iberia, Hacksilver, Solid Lunate Earring, c. 650 - 150 B.C.

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The lunate earring type, characterized by a solid crescentric body in a tapered bent over hoop, is the most basic and popular form of earring found in Bronze and Iron Age contexts. The earliest know were found at Ur and date to the third millennium B.C. They are very often found in hacksilver hoards, indicating that they were a bullion medium of exchange. The referenced examples and others known to Forum are all from the East and are under 2 grams. This much larger and heavier example was found in Iberia. Perhaps it was produced locally or perhaps it was brought to the region by Phoenician trade.
CE84813. Silver Ring Money, cf. Gitler Hacksilber 24 ff. (Samaria, late 4th c. B.C.); Golani-Sass Fig. 10, 1 - 2 (Tel Miqne-Ekron, Canaan, 7th c. B.C.) , weight 6.575 g, maximum diameter 25.2 mm, solid silver, crescentric body in a tapered bent over hoop; $120.00 (105.60)


Roman, Bronze Bird Fibula, C. End 2nd - 4th Century A.D.

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This type is predominantly found in the Rhine area, in Noricum, and in Pannonia.
AS61829. Roman fibula; cf. Riha type 3.21, pl. 13, 316; Hattatt BOA 1158 (very similar to these two referenced specimens); 1.25 inches, pin missing, c. end 2nd - 4th century A.D.; crude type without decoration, detail or even much of a tail; from a New Jersey collection; $110.00 (96.80)




  



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Metal Antiquities