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Group of bronze statuettes of Roman gods and goddesses

 

Height: 10.700 cm (Mercury, 4th from left)

Gift of Alderman Combe

P&EE 1811.3-8.1-8

Room 49: Roman Britain

    Group of bronze statuettes of Roman gods and goddesses

    Roman Britain, 3rd century AD
    Found in Southbroom, Devizes, Wiltshire

    Celtic tradition was not swept away during the Roman rule of Britain

    These eight statuettes formed part of a remarkable hoard said to have been found in a pot in the early years of the eighteenth century.

    Though the figures depict Roman gods and goddesses, they are markedly native in style. The warrior god Mars is identifiable by his crested helmet, but instead of his usual spear and shield he holds two ram-headed snakes, creatures which feature in Celtic myth. The other figures show the same combination of Roman and native British qualities, and express the complex interaction of cultures in Roman Britain.

    T.W. Potter, Roman Britain, 2nd edition (London, The British Museum Press, 1997)

    T. Richard Blurton (ed.), The enduring image: treasures, exh. cat (British Council, 1997)