Herm of Zeus Ammon



Herm of Zeus Ammon, part man, part beast, the head sits on a herm support which although extensively restored reflects the work's original format. Zeus Ammon was a syncretic deity of early classical origins. The facial features are human but the ears and the coiling of the ram's horns are bestial. The hair looks old fashioned in style, especially the roll at the back and the locks over the forehead which is combed in a flat pattern. The narrow eyes, the planar forehead, low brow and long moustache are features of early classical Greek art. A narrow hair band runs above the forehead, encircling the head and hanging down below the shoulders gives the head a religious aura. The open mouth seems to indicate to the oracle power of Jupiter. In Roman times decoration with herms was extremely popular and the shafts with their supports helped define the space in gardens and domestic interiors. Jupiter Ammon was also an important religious figure for the Romans and very different to the classical Greek cult figure of Zeus. Jupiter Ammon was a tutelary deity of Alexander the Great and posthumous images of Alexander depict him with the horns of Ammon. Roman rulers used Jupiter Ammon as decoration on their armour and for its protective powers as well as for asserting the supremacy of the military. Blundell falsely saw the name Ammon as Greek than Egyptian but he sensed the ideological power of the image.