Lot 166: Roman Gold Hercules Club Pendant
December 6, 2016
London, United KingdomLive Auction
Description: 1st-2nd century AD. A sheet-gold amuletic pendant of Hercules's club with ribbed loop, filigree and granule detailing, beaded wire collar, inset green glass cloison to the underside. For a similar example from Gallows Hill, Thetford, Norfolk, see The British Museum, accession number 1981,0201.28 1.59 grams, 27mm (1"). Property of a European collector; acquired Europe, 1980s-1990s. The semi-divine origins of Hercules (Greek Herakles) made him an attractive and approachable figure for the many levels of society in the Roman Empire. His role as a protector and the carrying out of labours for the benefit of mankind meant that he was viewed as a saviour god and he seems to have developed a mystery cult in the later Roman Empire. He was also associated with healing, as seen in the sacred spring complex at Deneuve, France. He had numerous shrines in the city of Rome, and one that seems to be associated with his mystery cult near Tivoli. Two symbols are associated with the god and which were incorporated into jewellery for their protective powers: the Knot of Hercules and the Club. The knot symbol seems to be mainly associated with brides and fertility, whereas the Hercules Club was worn by men and a number have been found across the empire and were popular from the second through to the fourth century AD.
Condition Report: Very fine condition.