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Bronze statue of a goose

300/399

British Museum

British Museum

This life-sized image of a goose was found on the site of the Hippodrome (the racing arena) in Istanbul. The removable neck section and the pipe in the beak suggest that it was more than a simple ornament. Perhaps it was a fountain spout, or even a mechanical device which could produce steam, smoke or even sound through its beak. Certainly it seems to have once been part of a larger group, perhaps featuring geese together with Juno, to whom they were sacred. Byzantium, as the city was first called by its Greek founders, had been a prosperous though unremarkable provincial city in the early Roman Empire. In the early fourth century, however, the emperor Constantine decided to make the city into a new imperial and Christian capital, which he renamed Constantinople. The city was transformed by a massive building programme of churches, palaces, public meeting-places, baths and other public structures, such as the Hippodrome.

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  • Title: Bronze statue of a goose
  • Date Created: 300/399
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 58.42cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Subject: bird
  • Registration number: 1859,0601.1
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Constantinople
  • Period/culture: Roman
  • Material: bronze
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Bollinot

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