A Roman Silver and Bronze Boss of Fighting Erotes, Roman Imperial Period, ca. 2nd - 3rd century CE
Medium: Silver, Bronze
Dimensions: Diameter: 4 1/4 inches (10.9 cm)
According to the playwright Euripides, Eros, the god of love, is the "tyrant of gods and men." Although the earliest Greek writers described Eros as a powerful and potentially malevolent force, he evolved into the familiar form of the playful, chubby cupid. However, this cast central medallion with silver overlay is a reminder of the often discordant side of love. The ancients conceived of love's dual nature in the form of Eros and Anteros, the little brother of Eros and the avenger of slighted love. Here, the Erotes are locked in a physical battle: the Eros on the left is struggling to free himself from the viselike grip around his neck by the Eros on the right. Several authors of the classical era discussed paintings and sculptures depicting Erotes wrestling, biting, and choking each other. This suggests that this silver and bronze boss was inspired by a popular, large-scale work known to the greater Greek world.
Condition: Intact with some small losses to the silver that do not detract, overall in very good condition. There are two pins on the reverse for attachment, and the boss is custom mounted.
Provenance: Private Collection, Europe, 1968.
Published: Anonymous sale, Christie's, New York, 16 June 2006, lot 279.
Christie's, London, Antiquities, 7 October 2010, Lot 295.
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