The ‘Gladiator’ Roman Treasure will be on display at the Yorkshire Museum

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A COLLECTION of rare bronze objects offering a glimpse into religious life in the Roman countryside of Ryedale 1,800 years ago has been purchased by the Yorkshire Museum.

The ‘truly exceptional’ Roman treasure, which includes a bust of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, who was played by Richard Harris in the Oscar-winning film Gladiator, was discovered by metal detectors in a field near Ampleforth in May 2020.

It has been described as being of “national significance”.

The artifacts, which also include a statuette of Mars, the god of war, a horse-shaped handle believed to have come from a knife, and a “plumb line” used for engineering projects, are said to be among the finest known. of Roman Britain. They are believed to have been buried as an offering to the gods as part of a religious ceremony.

The 13cm bust of Marcus Aurelius, which is said to have surmounted a scepter or priestly staff as a focal point for religious ceremonies, offers rare direct evidence of imperial worship – the Empire-wide worship of Roman emperors as divine .

York Press: A horse-shaped knife, part of Ryedale's bronzes Photo: David Aaron / Yorkshire Museum / PA Wire

Yorkshire Museum Chief Curator Dr Andrew Woods said: “The Ryedale Roman Hoard is a find of national significance. Each of the bronze objects exhibits exceptional artistic quality and craftsmanship, making them one of the finest known artifacts of Roman Britain. ”

The treasure will be part of the Yorkshire Museum’s collection and will be on display in York next spring.

York Press: Statuette of Mars, the Roman god of war, part of the Ryedale bronzes Photo: David Aaron / Yorkshire Museum / PA Wire

The museum acquired the collection from former owner David Aaron as a result of donations from the American Richard Beleson and money from the Art Fund. Mr Beleson, from San Francisco, has been interested in Roman Britain since he was a child and has been to York twice since 2010. He said: Yorkshire Museum.


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