Sculpture of a lion overpowering a ram

Roman Britain, 2nd-3rd century AD
From Kirkby Thore, Cumbria

The lion as a symbol of death

This sculpture was probably from a cemetery or mausoleum outside the Roman fort at Kirkby Thore. The lion was commonly used in Roman funerary sculpture to symbolize the all-devouring power of death.

African lions were brought to Rome and other provinces, principally for use in wild-animal hunts, and gladiatorial combat in amphitheatres. However, it is unlikely that many reached Britan, which was at the edge of the Empire; the sculptor of this statue may never have seen a live lion.

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Dimensions

Height: 45.000 cm
Length: 65.000 cm

Museum number

P&EE 1969.7-1.1

BCB84833

Location

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