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Lot 0071
1st century BC-1st century AD. A pair of hollow-formed bronze chariot mounts of hunting dogs, each with head resting on the forepaws and spine bent; the body with hair texture to the flanks and longer hair parted along the spine, palmette-shaped ears, large annular eyes, muzzle with detailed modelling; two large square-section iron spikes to the underside. See Rolland, H. Bronzes Antiques de Haute Provence, Paris, 1965, item 257 for type. 960 grams total, 14.5cm each (5 3/4"). From the collection of a European gentleman living in South London; acquired 1970-1980. The use of hunting dogs among the Britons was already noted by the Roman poet Gratius Faliscus in the later 1st century BC. His works include a poem on hunting known as a Cynegeticon, which is preserved in a single manuscript of 9th century date. The poem describes various kinds of game, the appropriate methods of hunting it and the best breeds of horses and dogs for this purpose. Gratius stresses the role of 'reason' (ratio) in developing hunting strategy; it is therefore a mental as well as a physical exercise and deserving of respect from a cultured Roman audience. In his work Geographia, the Greek writer Strabo reported that dogs were exported from Britain to the Continent for the purpose of game hunting, and that such dogs were used in war as well as the chase. Tacitus is another ancient writer who shared this view, and he probably had first-hand knowledge of Britain since his father-in-law was Gnaeus Julius Agricola, the Roman general who had charge of the British province in the later 1st century AD; his life and achievements were summarised in Tacitus's work De vita et moribus Iulii Agricolae (On the Life and Death of Julius Agricola"). He mentions that the wealth to be gained from Britain included grain, hides, cattle, iron, silver, slaves, and skilful hunting-dogs. Claudius Claudianus, writing in the later 4th century, states that British hunting dogs can break the backs of powerful bulls. Roman pottery often depicts hunting scenes in which a hound chases a hare, deer or other prey.

Condition

Very fine condition.

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Large Roman Hunting Hound Chariot Mount Pair

Estimate £2,000 - £3,000May 28, 2019