Ancient Roman Silver and Gold Ring with Intaglio of Aequitas

£ 1,600.00

An ancient Roman, silver ring featuring a carnelian intaglio, set within an oval bezel setting. The stone is carved with a standing, female figure holding a cornucopia in one hand and scales in the other. These attributes are indicative of Aequitas, the Roman personification of Fairness.The semi-precious stone is surrounded by a thin gold frame, followed by a wider silver band which sits above the hoop. The simple silver bezel is decorated with gold trefoil granules.  The band consists of a simple silver round hoop.

Internal diameter: 1.7 cm
Closest UK ring size: N

Date: Circa 2nd- 3rd century AD
Provenance: Ex Japanese collection, deceased gentleman, acquired 1970s-2000s.
Condition: Very good condition

In stock

SKU: MJ-03 Category: Tags: ,

The Ancient Romans considered jewellery to be an essential accessory, for it provided a public display of their wealth. Roman jewellery at first followed trends set by the Etruscans, using gold and glass beads. However, as the power and spread of the Roman Empire increased, jewellery designs became increasingly elaborate. Different cultural styles from Greece, Egypt, North Africa, and the Orient were all incorporated to reflect Rome’s prosperity as a dominant, conquering city. The custom of wearing rings was probably introduced by the Sabines, who are described in early legends as wearing gold rings with precious stones. During the Roman Republic, it became customary for all the senators, chief magistrates, and eventually the equities, to wear gold rings.

The deity Aequitas was most often represented as a female figure; dressed in a stola, and with a pair of scales and a cornucopia in her hands. Rarer renditions sometimes feature a patera in the right and a sceptre or hasta pura in the left. She was a representative of true fairness and equity (with a slight separation from the concept of justice, which was more closely related to the immovable letter of the law). Her scales eloquently represent this balance, whilst the cornucopia represents the good which can come from using a fair approach. Aequitas has been interpreted as a goddess for merchants, in this way ensuring good recompense for honest trade practices. Her motif and virtues have also been utilised by emperors, such as Hadrian, Marcus Aurelias, Trajan, and Antoninus Pius (amongst many others), to signify their virtue in administrating public affairs, implying an impartial devotion to the interests of the populus. To convey this message and strengthen the desired connection, Aequitas was often used as the image of the reverse of coins, distributed all over the empire.

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

To discover more about Roman deities, please visit our relevant blog post: Roman Gods in Mythology

Weight 4.68 g




Roman Mythology

Semi-Precious Stones

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