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Image: The head of the statue of Sulis Minerva.  Minerva’s wavy hair is parted in the middle and fastened at the back. Her face still looks gold and shiny where gilding remains.

Roman Minerva's head

Bronze, gilded head of the goddess Sulis Minerva whom the Romans worshipped in Aquae Sulis (Bath).

The head is slightly larger than life size. It would once have had a separate helmet attached to it. The head was cast in bronze and then gilded with layers of gold leaf. It looks as if it were chopped off the body.

Minerva was the goddess of wisdom and military success. When the Romans came to Bath they found the native Celts worshipped a god of the spring who had similar powers. They combined the two into Sulis Minerva who could then be worshipped by both Celt and Roman at the Spring.

It is thought the head comes from the statue that stood in the Temple of Sulis Minerva. It was probably broken off when the Temple was ransacked perhaps by Christians in the sixth century.

It was found by chance in 1727, by workmen in a trench in Stall Street, Bath near to the site of the Temple.

Height: 247.5 mm

Barry Cunliffe, Roman Bath (1969), page 34, plate II

Number: batrm 1978.1
Material(s): copper alloy and gold
Technique(s): cast and gilded
Creation date: Roman
Display status: On display : Roman Baths Museum, Bath

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