A Late Roman Silver Gilt Ring with Christian Imagery

$493.69

A beautiful Roman silver ring featuring a flattened, circular band that leads to a circular engraved bezel. The bezel is decorated with the emblem of an anchor flanked by two suspended stylised fish, and enclosed by two concentric circles as a border. Remains of the gold gilding can be seen amongst the engraving. Further decoration has been added to the shoulders of the band with incised geometric patterns.

Closest UK ring size: R

Date: Circa 4th century AD
Provenance: From the late Alison Barker collection, a retired London barrister; from her collection formed early 1960s-1990s.
Condition: Excellent. Remains of gilding still visible.

SOLD

SKU: AH-988 Category: Tags: , , ,

The symbols seen here, of the anchor and the fish, were ones commonly used in context with Christianity. Examples have been found amongst the catacomb burial sites, on other intaglios and on personal amulets. The anchor is aesthetically similar to the crucifix and was a fitting symbol to be used when Christians wished to hide their faith. The fish, a well-known christian allegory, was called ‘Ichthys’ (Ιχθυς) in Greek. The word was an anagram for the phrase ‘Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour’,  ‘Iēsous (Ἰησοῦς) Christos (Χριστός) Theou (Θεοῦ) uios (Υἱός) sōtēr (Σωτήρ)’. The first letter of every word making up the anagram.

This symbol seems to become less popular from the 4th century AD, however there were a few workshops in the Easter mediterranean that continued to produce engraved rings and gemstones with religious iconography into the 5th – 6th centuries.

Weight 2.52 g
Dimensions W 1.9 cm
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