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    Description

    ROMAN EMPIRE. Fragment of Roman breastplate. Ca. AD 200-275.  Measuring 2" X 1.8" (55 X 48 mm) and weighing 11.18 grams, the irregular embossed bronze fragment depicts a nude figure of Mercury, Olympian messenger and god of commerce, holding a winged caduceus cradled in his right arm and and a money purse in his left hand. It is almost certainly a piece of the chest plate of a set of Roman body armor of a type commonly used by Roman cavalry troopers in the third century AD. During this period two rectangular breast plates embossed with mythological scenes were mounted at the pectoral region of a scale or mail cuirass; slots and turnkeys mounted on the chest plates were employed to close the armor. Embossing added a decorative flourish to armor and strength to the thin metal. See Bishop & Coulston, Roman Military Equipment (Oxbow, 2006) pp. 177-178 and figures 87-89 for similar fragments and complete chest plates.  Obverse displays minor wear to figure and an attractive natural bright green patina; reverse somewhat encrusted. Rare and fascinating for anyone with an interest in the military history of the Ancient World!

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2014
    3rd-10th Wednesday-Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
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