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  • image S125

Fragment of a statuette: a barbarian (Germanic?) shield

Late Antique


Height: 5cm
Width: 4cm

Museum number: S125

Vermeule catalogue number: Vermeule 439help-vermeule-catalogue-number

Curatorial note

The shield is a pointed oval shape with a high, raised, boss in the centre; the surface is decorated with linked, wave-pattern circles within a double fillet border flanked by two reeded lines.

The form as well as the decoration of this shield is unclassical and suggests late antique, particularly migratory period, work. That this is not a shield shape common to Roman legionary equipment can be seen by comparison with representations of legionaries, auxiliaries, and their equipment1. The small bronze shield here is more pointed and the enrichment does not tally with the essentially classical decoration of the Florentine examples. The Soane shield finds a close comparison, however, in style and probable origin in the shield carried by the Germanic rider of a small bronze equestrian group from the Cook collection2.

1Couissin, Les Armes Romaines, pls. III ff., 21, 22, etc. from the Column of Trajan. The closest shield type in Roman art is Oval Shield Type 52 of Crous' enumeration of those on the carved pillars in Florence, Mitteilungen des deutschen archäologischen Instituts, Römische Abteilung, 48, 1933, p. 90 etc.
2Hamberg, in Acta Archaeologica (Copenhagen), VII, 1936, p.36, fig. 10 for comparison; also figs. 12, 13 for other examples of the framea-type shield.

Provenance help-art-provenance


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