Apolonia Ancient Art offers ancient Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Pre-Columbian works of art Apolonia Ancient Art

Intact & Scarce Roman Bronze Military "Tabula Ansata" Votive Plaque


browse these categories for related items...
Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Ancient World: Roman: Pre AD 1000: Item # 1397562
Apolonia Ancient Art
View Seller Profile
290 Fillmore St. #D
Denver, CO. 80206
303-321-7351 gallery

Guest Book
 Sold 
Sold

This scarce piece is a Roman bronze "Tabula Ansata" military plaque that dates circa 1st-2nd century A.D. This complete piece is approximately 3.4 inches long, by 1.2 inches high, by 1/8 inches thick, and has an exceptional dark green patina with spotty dark brown/red highlights. This piece is rectangular shaped, and was made from a sheet of bronze cut in a "Tabula Ansata" format, which was a tablet with dovetail handles at each end. This type of format was also a favored shape in Imperial Rome for creating votive markers, and "Tabula Ansata" simply means "tablet with handles". Roman bronze military tablets/plaques of this form have also been found with the remnants of leather covers of soldier's shields at Vindonissa, a Roman legion camp at the modern town of Windisch, Switzerland. The example offered here has a hole at each end, and within are remnants of iron rivets, in addition to, an iron rectangular plate seen on the backside of each rivet that fastened the plaque to leather, or some sort of other material. There is also some remnants of this material seen between the plaque and the iron rectangular plates as well. This attractive piece also has five lines of engraved text that reads: VIHANSAE-Q.CATIVS.LIBO.NEPOS.-CENTVRIO.LEG.III-CYRENAICAE.SCV-TVM.ET.LANCEAM.D.D. This piece likely refers to a Roman centurion whose name and title is seen on the first two lines of the plaque, and was a member of the famed Legion III, Cyrenaica, which was first formed by Mark Antony in Alexandria, Egypt circa 35 B.C., and was under his direct command along with his ally, Cleopatra VII. Elements of this legion were also known to have fought in the "First Jewish-Roman War", circa 66-70 A.D., and was one of the principle legions that besieged the city of Jerusalem. Vespasian, Proconsul of Africa, led this campaign, and subsequently, this legion also accompanied Vespasian back to Alexandra, circa 69 A.D., in the "Year of the Four Emperors", and proclaimed Vespasian emperor while also controlling the grain supply to Rome. Vespasian was quickly sworn in as emperor while still in Egypt in December circa 69 A.D. This legion also was known to have participated in yet another Jewish war, the Bar Kokhba revolt, circa 132-136 A.D. Elements of this legion were also known to have been along the Danube River, circa 84-88 A.D., the Parthian frontier under Trajan, circa 120 A.D., and again the Parthian frontier under Lucius Verus, circa 162-166 A.D. It's also likely this legion was involved in the fighting with Queen Zenobia of Palmyra circa 262-267 A.D., and over time, this legion was perhaps one of the most traveled Roman legions in Roman history. This piece is a remarkable Roman military object seldom seen on the market, and sits on a custom display stand. For the type see: Elizabeth Meyer, "Legitimacy and Law in the Roman World: Tabulae in Roman Belief and Practice", Cambrige University Press, 2004. Ex: Private CA. collection circa 1980's-2000's. (Note: Additional documentation is available to the purchaser.) I certify that this piece is authentic as to date, culture, and condition: