Roman herm of youthful Bacchus / Dionysos


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ITEMHerm of youthful Bacchus / Dionysos
PERIOD2nd Century A.D
DIMENSIONS185 mm x 115 mm x 65 mm
CONDITIONGood condition
PROVENANCEEx Spanish private collection, acquired between 1960 – 1970

A carved marble herm depicting the Olympian god Bacchus (Greek Dionysos or Dionysus). God of wine, pleasure, ritual madness, ecstasy, and theatre.

In the 2nd century A.D, Roman artists started depicting him as a youth, with a smooth face. The cult of Bacchus was hugely popular, signifying the freedomcreated by wine, music, and ecstatic dance.

Herm or herma are sculptures with a head, sometimes a torso, and male genitals carved at the appropriate height. They are thought to derive from theancient Greek practice of worshipping divinities that were in the form of cairns or columns of stone or wood. These later evolved into adding a head andphallus to the column. Many herma are of Hermes himself, but others – both gods and real figures like Socrates and Plato – are known. Statues like thisone were apotropaic and kept in many places – at crossroads, in temples, in public places, and in homes.