Ancient Roman Carnelian Intaglio Stone with Nemesis

£ 300.00

An Ancient Roman carnelian intaglio stone in a flat oval shape. The stone is finely carved with the image of Nemesis facing left. The finely rendered image depicts the winged goddess standing and holding an apple branch. Clear detailing to the wings and her voluminous robes are still visible. The reverse remains smooth and unworked. Intaglio stones of this kind would have been set in a piece of jewellery and worn as everyday ornamentation in Ancient Rome.

Date: Circa 1st Century BC - 3rd Century AD
Condition: Good condition, with clear definition of the intaglio; a small crack to the right side.


SKU: MG-158 Category: Tags: ,

The term intaglio refers to a small image that has been engraved into a gemstone and usually set in a piece of jewellery, most commonly a ring. Such artistic form has its origin in Sumer in the 4th millennium BC, with the appearance of cylinder and stamp seals, whereby decorations and patterns were engraved into soft stones. During the Hellenistic period and the early Roman Empire, the art of the intaglio reached its apogee, with there being a steady decline in craftsmanship in the late Imperial Rome, until a revival of interest with the Byzantine and during the Renaissance.

The subject used for intaglios are diverse, with depictions of deities being a favourite theme. Nemesis, or Rhamnousia (Ῥαμνουσία), was the goddess of divine retribution against hubris (ὕβρις), the crime of showing arrogance before the gods, a major theme in Greek tragedies. Originally part of the Ancient Greek pantheon, she was also widely venerated throughout the Roman Empire. She is often represented as a winged goddess wielding a whip, a dagger, or, as seen on this piece, an apple branch.

To find out more about intaglios, please visit our relevant blog post: Engraved Gemstones in Ancient Rome.

Weight 0.37 g
Dimensions L 1.2 x W 0.9 cm


Roman Mythology

Semi-Precious Stones

Reference: For a similar item, please see The British Museum, item 1928,0718.1 and The Metropolitan Museum, item 74.51.4234