Bronze Satyr Baldric Phalera
Circa 1st-2nd Century AD
Description: Bronze circular baldric phalera with a satyr's head in high relief. The mythical creature has a full face with small round eyes, thick lids, flat broad nose and full lips. His face is nearly encircled by thick waves of layered hair and beard and moustache indicated by lines of incision. At his temples are thick curled horns and goat's ears. Framing the face is a flat plain edge punched above and below for suspension. Lacks backing plate.
Diameter: 1.6 in. (3.9 cm)
Condition: Intact as shown. Pleasing dark green patina.
Provenance: Formerly a German property.
Reference: See The Military Decorations of the Roman Army (U. of Cal. 1981) by Valerie A. Maxfield, pl. 15 and The Axel Guttmann Collection of Ancient Arms and Armour, Part 2, Christie's Auction Catalog, Sale 5524 (South Kensington 28 April 2004) no. 167 for the type with satyr.
Background: These small containers secured a chord embedded in wax to protect documents from tampering during delivery.