A fine Roman bronze appliqué of circular form, depicting the head of a god, possibly Apollo. The round plaque is slightly curved in the back, and centrally pierced for attachment at the top and bottom – over time, earthly encrustations have filled the bottom piercing. The facial features are delicately shaped and youthful: the god boasts carefully-rendered eyes, full lips, and coiffured hair frames his face.
Further to the figure’s general appearance, weight is added to the suggestion that this plaque depicts Apollo by the importance of his birthplace, Delos, as a centre for the manufacture of bronze appliqué ornaments since the Hellenistic period. Apollo, who was known to the Romans as Phoebus, was one of the most important deities in the Graeco-Roman canon. He was the god of oracles, healing, the sun, and poetry among other attributes. His multivalent nature and prevalence in mythology meant that he was a popular deity for both worship and artistic interpretation. He was the son of Zeus and Leto; the twin brother of Artemis (goddess of the hunt), and had key sanctuaries at Delos and Rhodes.
Date: 1st – 3rd Century AD