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roman britain from ad43 to ad410

In 55 BC, and again in 54 BC, Julius Caesar made two brief expeditions to Britain with a small force of men. There is evidence to suggest that he may have brought gifts of gold to the Celtic Kings as peace offerings. On the second occasion it is believed he arrived with a larger force, most likely to have been some 800 ships with five legions and 2,000 horsemen. On both occasions he arrived in Kent, and it is believed by historians that he was unopposed.

 

Britain was a fertile land and for some while the Celts had been trading wheat with the Roman armies in Europe. Perhaps Caesar decided to come and take a look for himself at this fertile land, which was also rich in minerals, with tin from Cornwall and copper from Ireland. No rice or potatoes at this time in Britain, so bread was the staple diet of the Roman Army, hence the importance of wheat and fertile farming land.

 

Caesar was supported by the Celtic Trinovantes tribe who helped him battle against their enemies the Catuvellauni tribe led by Cassivelaunus. The British king was defeated in battle by Caesar at Verulan, and Cassivelaunus thereafter made peace with Caesar. An agreement was also made that an annual tax should be paid to Rome.

 

Almost one hundred years were to pass before the return of the Roman Army led by the emperor Claudius in 43 AD. He arrived at Richborough in Kent with four legions which consisted of 40,000 men. The second legion was commanded by Vespasian who would eventually go on to become Caesar after the rule of Nero, and to occupy Wales.

 

Within four years Britain was turned into a Roman province. Under Claudius the senior army general was Aulus Plautius who would become first governor in first century Roman Britain. He made agreements with the Iceni tribe in Norfolk, and the Atrebates tribe in Hampshire, and added the Roman name Calleva to their city Atrebatum in a symbol of unity. This created the Romano-Celtic city of Calleva Atrebatum, near modern day Silchester in Hampshire. By the end of the forth century Calleva would have been a very large city, making many items for use throughout Roman Britain, and also had its own Amphitheatre, Forum, Basilica, and was surrounded by high stone walls.

 

Early in the 4th century the Emperor Diocletian divided the province into four regions called the "Diocese of Britain". Also during the 4th century prosperity grew under the reign of the by now Christian Holy Roman Emperor Constantine. Impressive villas with under floor heating and fantastic mosaics were constructed, as well as bathhouses. At the end of the 4th century the Romans were defeated in battle by an alliance between invaders from Ireland, and the Picts and Saxons. This period coincided with the beginning of the fall of the Roman Empire.

 

Finally, at the start of the 5th century, Britain was asked by the Emperor Constantine the 3ed to defend itself. The call was answered by Honorius resulting in the withdrawal for good of the Roman Army from Britain in the year 411 AD. This brought to an end 400 years of Roman rule, artistic, cultural, and religious influence in Britain. From the occupation in 43 AD to the departure in 411 AD saw the stylistic change from Romano-Celtic to Romano-British, a legacy that can still be seen today in artefacts from this period of our cultural development and history. 5th century Britain was to see the start of the "Dark Ages" and Anglo Saxon rule.

Catalogue Description -1 (Next)

R-1001

Roman Bronze Casket Fitting circa 1st Century AD. A stunning Roman artefact with significant historical importance and good provenance. Discovered in Pompeii and retuned to the UK in the mid-19th century, and kept in the private collection of Lord Cooper of Yorkshire England. Made from bronze, this item was probably one of a pair and would have been mounted to a wooden chest and used as handles. It is in extremely fine condition, depicting the form of a lion's head. The chased detail clearly shows the eyes, ears, mouth, and mane. You can also see the remains of the three iron mounting studs which are still intact, and would have fixed the piece to the chest. It is understood that there is a parallel chest-fitting to this one in the National Museum of Naples in Italy, undoubtedly made in the same Roman workshop. Also a very similar one to this came up at an antiquities auction in New York several years ago and reached a very high price. This is a very fine, rare Roman artefact in wonderful condition for an item of such great age being approximately 2,000 years old. The item comes with a beautiful polished acrylic stand for display purposes. The fitting itself measures 130mm in diameter, not including the ring. 

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R-1001

£1,750.00

Roman Bronze Casket Fitting circa 1st Century AD. A stunning Roman artefact with significant historical importance and good provenance. Discovered in Pompeii and retuned to the UK in the mid-19th century, and kept in the private collection of Lord Cooper of Yorkshire England. Made from bronze, this item was probably one of a pair and would have been mounted to a wooden chest and used as handles. It is in extremely fine condition, depicting the form of a lion's head. The chased detail clearly shows the eyes, ears, mouth, and mane. You can also see the remains of the three iron mounting studs which are still intact, and would have fixed the piece to the chest. It is understood that there is a parallel chest-fitting to this one in the National Museum of Naples in Italy, undoubtedly made in the same Roman workshop. Also a very similar one to this came up at an antiquities auction in New York several years ago and reached a very high price. This is a very fine, rare Roman artefact in wonderful condition for an item of such great age being approximately 2,000 years old. The item comes with a beautiful polished acrylic stand for display purposes. The fitting itself measures 130mm in diameter, not including the ring. 


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R-1002

Roman Bronze Bust of Cupid, Roman God of Love, circa 1st - 2nd Century AD. Cupid, son of Venus goddess of love, and also often linked to Bacchus. A beautiful example measuring 60mm high by 45mm wide. The bronze bust shows good facial features with classical hairstyle. Also very good hairstyle markings to the back of the head. The bust has classical sloped shoulders. This item comes complete with an attractive acrylic base for display purposes. 

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R-1002

£650.00

Roman Bronze Bust of Cupid, Roman God of Love, circa 1st - 2nd Century AD. Cupid, son of Venus goddess of love, and also often linked to Bacchus. A beautiful example measuring 60mm high by 45mm wide. The bronze bust shows good facial features with classical hairstyle. Also very good hairstyle markings to the back of the head. The bust has classical sloped shoulders. This item comes complete with an attractive acrylic base for display purposes. 


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R-1003

Roman Bronze Statue of Fortuna, Roman Goddess of Good Luck and Fortune, circa 1st - 2nd Century AD. A small bronze statuette fixed to its original bronze base and standing 85mm high. This female deity is shown wearing a "chiton" which is draped down over her feet. Her left arm is holding the horn of Amalthea, symbol of the plentiful gifts of fortune, which rests against her shoulder. The head is turned to the right and is surmounted by a corn modius. Fortuna was believed to have the power to change the direction of bad luck or evil forces by steering the rudder. She is also sometimes depicted with the rudder on a globe, and with a wheel besides her. Basic features to the face but good markings in the bronze to the front and rear of the gown. Also good markings to the long hair at the back of the head. A charming little Roman statue. 

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R-1003

£675.00

Roman Bronze Statue of Fortuna, Roman Goddess of Good Luck and Fortune, circa 1st - 2nd Century AD. A small bronze statuette fixed to its original bronze base and standing 85mm high. This female deity is shown wearing a "chiton" which is draped down over her feet. Her left arm is holding the horn of Amalthea, symbol of the plentiful gifts of fortune, which rests against her shoulder. The head is turned to the right and is surmounted by a corn modius. Fortuna was believed to have the power to change the direction of bad luck or evil forces by steering the rudder. She is also sometimes depicted with the rudder on a globe, and with a wheel besides her. Basic features to the face but good markings in the bronze to the front and rear of the gown. Also good markings to the long hair at the back of the head. A charming little Roman statue. 


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R-1004

Roman Bronze Statue of Jupiter, Roman God and Protector of the Empire, circa 1st - 2nd Century AD. A small bronze statuette of Jupiter who was also the protector of Emperor as well as the Empire. As a sky divinity, he was linked by the Celts to the sun and the thunder god Taranis. Jupiter revealed the future to man through signs or signals from the heavens such as thunder and lightning, also through the flight of birds who were his messengers. The left arm is raised and would have once held a sceptre. He wears a full cloak which is draped over his left shoulder. Basic features to the face, but good markings in the bronze to the cloak front and rear. Surface is a little rough especially on the back due to centuries in the ground. Nevertheless, this is a super little statuette showing great signs of age as would be expected. Measures 60mm high. 

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R-1004

£595.00

Roman Bronze Statue of Jupiter, Roman God and Protector of the Empire, circa 1st - 2nd Century AD. A small bronze statuette of Jupiter who was also the protector of Emperor as well as the Empire. As a sky divinity, he was linked by the Celts to the sun and the thunder god Taranis. Jupiter revealed the future to man through signs or signals from the heavens such as thunder and lightning, also through the flight of birds who were his messengers. The left arm is raised and would have once held a sceptre. He wears a full cloak which is draped over his left shoulder. Basic features to the face, but good markings in the bronze to the cloak front and rear. Surface is a little rough especially on the back due to centuries in the ground. Nevertheless, this is a super little statuette showing great signs of age as would be expected. Measures 60mm high. 


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R-1005

Roman Bronze Votive Figure of Mercury, Roman Messenger of the Gods, circa 1st - 2nd Century AD. This is a very small bronze figure measuring 45mm high. It was most likely buried as a votive offering to the gods as both the feet are missing. This would have occurred in antiquity when it was felt that if you had a particular ailment to a limb, by removing that limb, and burying the votive offering, you would be cured. In this case the feet, which is usual. Mercury was messenger of the gods and adopted as one of the Celtic deities. He was one of the most popular of all Roman gods. Mercury was the inventor of the arts and god of travellers and traders. His association with the local Celts means that many figurines of him were produced in Britain. This particular figure is depicted standing naked with a cloak draped over his left shoulder. The stance of the figure is placing the weight of the body on the right leg, with the left leg relaxed and slightly forward. His right arm is down by his side and holding a purse. He has a winged hat or "petasos" which is usual for the god Mercury. This is a very small yet tactile figurine which comes mounted to a small polished acrylic block for display purposes. 

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R-1005

£185.00

Roman Bronze Votive Figure of Mercury, Roman Messenger of the Gods, circa 1st - 2nd Century AD. This is a very small bronze figure measuring 45mm high. It was most likely buried as a votive offering to the gods as both the feet are missing. This would have occurred in antiquity when it was felt that if you had a particular ailment to a limb, by removing that limb, and burying the votive offering, you would be cured. In this case the feet, which is usual. Mercury was messenger of the gods and adopted as one of the Celtic deities. He was one of the most popular of all Roman gods. Mercury was the inventor of the arts and god of travellers and traders. His association with the local Celts means that many figurines of him were produced in Britain. This particular figure is depicted standing naked with a cloak draped over his left shoulder. The stance of the figure is placing the weight of the body on the right leg, with the left leg relaxed and slightly forward. His right arm is down by his side and holding a purse. He has a winged hat or "petasos" which is usual for the god Mercury. This is a very small yet tactile figurine which comes mounted to a small polished acrylic block for display purposes. 


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R-1008

Roman Terracotta Military Wall Plaque circa 1st Century AD. A fine example of a terracotta figure depicting a figure and horse. The rider is a soldier, and although now the head is missing, his cape, shield, and sword are still clearly visible. The horse has its front left leg slightly raised, and shows good strong features. The figure is hollow with a plain reverse and a hole in the middle for fixing it to a wall, perhaps once part of a larger freeze. The item was discovered in Roman Antioch, now modern day Syria. This item has been broken and restored, nevertheless a wonderful little military depiction measuring 130mm high. 

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R-1008

£235.00

Roman Terracotta Military Wall Plaque circa 1st Century AD. A fine example of a terracotta figure depicting a figure and horse. The rider is a soldier, and although now the head is missing, his cape, shield, and sword are still clearly visible. The horse has its front left leg slightly raised, and shows good strong features. The figure is hollow with a plain reverse and a hole in the middle for fixing it to a wall, perhaps once part of a larger freeze. The item was discovered in Roman Antioch, now modern day Syria. This item has been broken and restored, nevertheless a wonderful little military depiction measuring 130mm high. 


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R-1010

Roman Bronze Skillet Handle circa 1st Century AD. A wonderful piece of Roman History. This is a skillet handle. Very much like a saucepan in shape, the vessel would have been used during the Roman period to contain liquids for sacrificial or domestic purposes. The hole at the end of the handle would have been used to suspend the skillet to the wall of the dwelling. Like Samian ware, this would have been for a high class person as the handle is not only highly decorated, it also shows a makers mark in the centre of the handle which reads "ANSI . DIORDORI". An unusual and interesting item. 105mm. 

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R-1010

£150.00

Roman Bronze Skillet Handle circa 1st Century AD. A wonderful piece of Roman History. This is a skillet handle. Very much like a saucepan in shape, the vessel would have been used during the Roman period to contain liquids for sacrificial or domestic purposes. The hole at the end of the handle would have been used to suspend the skillet to the wall of the dwelling. Like Samian ware, this would have been for a high class person as the handle is not only highly decorated, it also shows a makers mark in the centre of the handle which reads "ANSI . DIORDORI". An unusual and interesting item. 105mm. 


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R-1012

Roman Bronze Key circa 3rd - 4th Century AD. Locks and keys were first introduced into Britain during the Iron Age. However it was the Romans who developed and improved them. This is a large heavy bronze key used in what was one of two types of locks in this period, the tumbler lock. It has a good green patina and the bit contains five teeth showing obvious signs of use with cross patterning to the underside. The bow shows good wear through suspension, probably to a belt. No pockets in those days. Measures 70mm. A nice example of an everyday Roman item. Approximately 1,700 years old. 

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R-1012

£80.00

Roman Bronze Key circa 3rd - 4th Century AD. Locks and keys were first introduced into Britain during the Iron Age. However it was the Romans who developed and improved them. This is a large heavy bronze key used in what was one of two types of locks in this period, the tumbler lock. It has a good green patina and the bit contains five teeth showing obvious signs of use with cross patterning to the underside. The bow shows good wear through suspension, probably to a belt. No pockets in those days. Measures 70mm. A nice example of an everyday Roman item. Approximately 1,700 years old. 


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R-1013

Roman Bronze Mount circa 1st - 2nd Century AD. This rectangular flat bronze plate is solid cast and then hand fashioned. It depicts a female face with long hair and what looks to be a necklace and crown. The mount shows markings around its edge and is flat backed. It is regarded that this type of rectangular mount were fixed as inset panels to adorn furniture. A rather rare item which could be that of a queen or deity. 

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R-1013

£190.00

Roman Bronze Mount circa 1st - 2nd Century AD. This rectangular flat bronze plate is solid cast and then hand fashioned. It depicts a female face with long hair and what looks to be a necklace and crown. The mount shows markings around its edge and is flat backed. It is regarded that this type of rectangular mount were fixed as inset panels to adorn furniture. A rather rare item which could be that of a queen or deity. 


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R-1014

Roman Bronze Mount circa 2nd - 3rd Century AD. A small Roman bronze mount in the form of a lion's head. These mounts were very popular during the whole Roman period. Their sizes varied and were used as decoration for a number of items including furniture, chest fittings, chariots, vessels etc. This mount is hollow backed with a hole for the lion's mouth. It has good animal facial features and a green patina.

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R-1014

£90.00

Roman Bronze Mount circa 2nd - 3rd Century AD. A small Roman bronze mount in the form of a lion's head. These mounts were very popular during the whole Roman period. Their sizes varied and were used as decoration for a number of items including furniture, chest fittings, chariots, vessels etc. This mount is hollow backed with a hole for the lion's mouth. It has good animal facial features and a green patina.


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R-1015

Roman Bronze Mount circa 2nd - 3rd Century AD. A much cruder, almost Celticised bronze lion's head mount or boss from a casket. The face is almost anthropoid with a long face and flatter nose. Unfortunately the bronze is damaged to one side of the face. Nevertheless an interesting form at an affordable price. 

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R-1015

£45.00

Roman Bronze Mount circa 2nd - 3rd Century AD. A much cruder, almost Celticised bronze lion's head mount or boss from a casket. The face is almost anthropoid with a long face and flatter nose. Unfortunately the bronze is damaged to one side of the face. Nevertheless an interesting form at an affordable price. 


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Catalogue Description -1 (Next)

 



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