Height: 57.500 cm
GR 1859.6-1.1 (Bronze 1887)
Room 70: Roman Empire
Bronze statue of a goose
Roman, 4th century AD
From Constantinople (modern Istanbul, Turkey)
This life-sized image of a goose was found on the site of the Hippodrome (the racing arena) in Istanbul. The removable neck section and the pipe in the beak suggest that it was more than a simple ornament. Perhaps it was a fountain spout, or even a mechanical device which could produce steam, smoke or even sound through its beak. Certainly it seems to have once been part of a larger group, perhaps featuring geese together with Juno, to whom they were sacred.
Byzantium, as the city was first called by its Greek founders, had been a prosperous though unremarkable provincial city in the early Roman Empire. In the early fourth century, however, the emperor Constantine decided to make the city into a new imperial and Christian capital, which he renamed Constantinople. The city was transformed by a massive building programme of churches, palaces, public meeting-places, baths and other public structures, such as the Hippodrome.
P.C. Roberts, Romans, a pocket treasury (London, The British Museum Press, 1996)
H.B. Walters, Catalogue of bronzes, Greek, R (London, 1899)