This paper explores one aspect of the way in which cult-iconography of the later Iron Age and Roman periods in non-Classical Europe broke the rules of mimetic (life-copying) representation, with, reference to a particular motif: the triple horn. The presence of three-horned images within the iconographic repertoire of western Europe during this period clearly illustrates two aspects of such rule-breaking. On the one hand, the image of the triple-horned bull – well-known in the archaeological record, particularly of Roman Gaul – exemplifies a recurrent Gallo-Roman and Romano-British tradition in which realism was suppressed in favour of emphasis to the power of three. On the other hand, the triple-horned emblem is not confined to the adornment of bulls but may, on occasion, be transferred to ‘inappropriate’ images, both of animals which are naturally hornless and of humans. Such emblematic transference, with its consequence of dissonance and contradiction in the visual message, on the one hand, and the presence of symbolism associated with boundaries and transition, on the other, suggests the manipulation of motifs in order to endow certain images with a particular symbolic energy, born of paradox, the deliberate introduction of disorder or chaos and the expression of liminality. The precise meaning conveyed by such iconographic ‘anarchy’ is impossible to grasp fully but – at the least – appears to convey an expression of ‘otherness’ in which order imposed by empirical observation of earthly ‘reality’ is deemed irrelevant to other states of being and to the supernatural world.