Perillus Presents His Brazen Bull to Phalaris. A.M. 3452.

WAG 7702


This is one of a group of drawings by British artist and book illustrator Edward Francis Burney, depicting scenes from Greek and Roman history and mythology. The Brazen Bull was invented by Perillus and presented to Phalaris, the cruel and tyrannical ruler of Acragas. The Bull was a torture device - the victim was placed inside the bronze sculpture which was then placed over flames and the victim was roasted alive. The acoustics were designed in such a way that the screams from the victim would be emitted from the bull's head, to sound like the animal was bellowing. In this scene, Phalaris has ordered the Brazen Bull to be tested on Perillus himself. Bidents feature in this scene - a bident is a two-pronged fork-like tool often associated with Hades, god of the dead and ruler of the underworld.