Ancient Roman Glass Frog Pendant


An ancient Roman glass pendant featuring the moulded image of a splayed frog on a lily pad, with its arms and legs reaching outwards to the edge of the surface. The pendant’s glass is opaque, coppery brown, with nuances of black and ochre. The relief of the frog is clearly visible but presents signs of wear and small chips on the head and limbs. The reverse is plain and unadorned. The pendant is pierced vertically for suspension.

Date: Circa 4th – 6th century AD
Provenance: Ex Sasson family coll., Jerusalem (since 1925). Acquired by Ancient & Oriental in April 2022
Condition: fine condition, some minor chips but the relief of the frog is undamaged and clearly visible


SKU: AH-1123 Category: Tags: , , ,

Glass pendents with frogs like these were considered as lucky charms, potent apotropaic pendants to be worn on the body. The frog was depicted both as a solitary figure, or accompanied with an inscription, usually ‘ZOE’, meaning ‘life’ in Greek. Thus they were powerful symbols of rebirth, and accompanied the deceased during their afterlife. The Romans associated frogs with harmony and life, they were sacred animals protected by Venus, connecting with the goddess’ licentiousness and fertility. The amphibious character of the frogs, living between water and earth, inspired Roman people to associate them with metamorphosis, transformation and regeneration, and were used as powerful charms in times of change. Frogs were also important characters in ancient mythology, in plays (such as ‘The Frogs’, by Aristophanes) and in the fables of Aesop and Phaedrus. In literature they are often portrayed as light-hearted and playful, they could be frivolous or quick to leap into things, rushing to decisions and usually getting in trouble.

For more information about the meanings of animals in Roman art, see our relevant blog post: Animal Symbolism in Roman Art.

Weight 1.3 g
Dimensions L 1.5 x W 1.5 cm



You may also like…