The Silchester eagle

Contributed by Reading Museum

The Silchester eagle

This eagle was made famous when it featured in Rosemary Sutcliffe's book The Eagle of the NinthThis bronze eagle was damaged in the Roman period, repaired and damaged again. It is a good example of the high quality of Romano-British craftsmanship, although the repairs were somewhat less skilfully done. The bird is posed with wings outstretched, its head raised and turned to the right. The original wings are missing but it is clear from the careful modelling of the feathers beneath them that they must have been extended and raised. The curve of the undersides of the feet suggests that the eagle's talons once clasped the surface of a globe. It was probably held in the hand of a statue of Jupiter or an emperor, and, in spite of its fame as such, was not part of a military standard.

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  • 1 comment
  • 1. At 11:23 on 25 February 2011, Pontio wrote:

    Good to see this entry but come on BBC, please, having transmitted various of her novels as Jackanory, CHildren's Hour, and TV, you should know that one of this country (Britain's) greatest authors of the last century is spelt Sutcliff without an E. Sadly you are not alone in getting this wrong: see

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