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Lot 0282

Description

2nd-4th century AD. A lead plaque with figures relating to the Danubian rider cult in three registers within an arched frame, coiled snakes to the upper corners; in the upper register Sol holding orb and wearing sun-burst crown in quadriga; below a standing figure of a goddess flanked by two male deities seated on horses, male figures to either side of these; in the lower register a group of figures including a soldier, three figures seated round a table with fish on top a couch, twins (possibly Castor and Pollux, known as the Dioscuri, meaning 'Divine Twins'), to the bottom a kantharos with snake, lion, cockerel and fish either side. 5.4 grams, 95mm (3 3/4") Property of a West Yorkshire lady; from the private collection of John Moore, Brigantia Antiquities, York, UK; acquired by John Moore in the 1960s. The Danubian Riders were associated with a mystery religion of the Getae and the Dacians, peoples of Thracian stock who lived in ancient Dacia (roughly equivalent to modern-day Romania). The cult of the Danubian Riders began to spread among Roman soldiers soon after 106 CE, when Dacia was conquered by Trajan and made a province of the Roman Empire. Traces of the cult have been found as far away as the Roman provinces of Gaul and Britain.The plaques are found in both stone and lead and depict two horsemen, a goddess with a fish, as well as prostrated characters, attendants, and various symbols, such as the sun, the moon, stars, and numerous animals (including the ram, dog, lion, eagle, peacock, raven, cock, snake, and sometimes even the bull). Scholarly identifications of the goddess are widely divergent. The two horsemen have been identified with the Dioscuri by some scholars and with the Cabiri brothers by others. The Greek iconography of the Dioscuri has had a particular impact on that of the Dacian Riders, though a local identity is more likely and that they developed from a earlier hero figure who is identified as Sabazios.

Condition

Fine condition.

Buyer's Premium

  • 27%

Iron Age Danubian Rider Cult Plaque

Estimate £250 - £350Aug 30, 2016
Starting Price £225
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