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A Roman bronze Appliqué of Dionysus, ca. 1st - 2nd Century AD
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A Roman bronze Appliqué of Dionysus, ca. 1st - 2nd Century AD

cast using the lost wax method, the youthful god of wine with striking facial features, wearing a diadem, the hair dressed with a wreath of ivy leaves and berries, a goat skin knotted at the left shoulder.

The cult of Dionysus was not easily accepted into the Roman religious system at first, creating much consternation during the Bacchanalian scandal of 186 B.C., and matching its legendary initial negative reception among the Greeks, as told in Euripides’ Bacchae. Evidently, the wild and antinomian rites practiced by the devotees of Dionysus concerned the more conservative members of both Greek and Roman society when the god’s cult first was introduced. The Romans called Dionysus by his alternate name, Bacchus, and would ultimately give his cult a place of honor in the Roman pantheon just as the Greeks did. His cult celebrated the god’s role in the creation of wine and theater for humankind, as well as his connection to fertility themes, as witnessed by his association with the god Pan, and his cult may have existed in Greece as far back as the Archaic period.

Dimensions:  Height: 2 1/4 inches (5.7 cm), width: 1 5/8 inches (4.13 cm)

Condition:  Intact and in excellent condition overall.  Museum quality custom mount.

Provenance:  Private Massachusetts collection, acquired from the New York trade in the early 1970's.

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