Bronze lid and upper part of an oil flask

Period: Late Classical

Date: 4th century B.C.

Culture: Praenestine

Medium: Bronze

Dimensions: diameter 3 5/8in. (9.2cm)

Classification: Bronzes

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1910

Accession Number: 10.230.1


The relief on this elegantly worked roundel depicts a nude youth being attacked by a griffin. It relates to legends, first mentioned by the ancient Greek writer Herodotus, of the people called Arimasps who lived east of the Black Sea.Their land was rich in gold, but the gold was guarded by fierce griffins. The subject became popular during the Hellenistic period, especially for terracottas produced in Tarentum. It is likely that these South Italian models inspired the Central Italian adaptation on this bronze.