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Lot 16, Auction 8/17/2017: Roman Iron Pike / Bronze Socket w/ Parrot Decoration

Rome, ca. 1st century BCE to 1st century CE. This is a bronze-socketed, iron pike with a long thin blade. The socket, immediately below the blade, is decorated with the head of a parrot. Psittacula parrots from India were incredibly fashionable amongst the Roman upper classes, many of whom employed professional parrot teachers to teach the birds Latin! Pliny the Elder, writing in 77 CE, wrote instructions for teaching parrots to talk by hitting them on the head with iron bars. The parrot decoration and the lack of wear to the blade and socket suggest to me that this item was probably decorative, owned by a wealthy Roman citizen. Size: 12.2" L x 1.2" W x 3.3" H (31 cm x 3 cm x 8.4 cm)

Condition: Patina and rust, but the shape of the object is very clear.

Provenance: private New Jersey USA collection, acquired over twenty years ago

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