Ancient Roman Silver Ring with Horse Intaglio


An ancient Roman silver ring featuring an ellipsoid hoop with the shank decorated with two mirroring wave trails. The shoulders are further enriched by protruding granulated details on either side of the bezel, one of which is now missing. The horizontally orientated carnelian stone inside the oval bezel is carved with an intaglio of a horse. The animal is depicted bending down to reach the ground, its thick herringbone mane flowing above its head.

Closest UK ring size: R

Date: Circa 3th-4th century AD
Condition: Fine condition, a decorative detail with granules is missing from one ring shoulder.

In stock

SKU: SK-79 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 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.

During the Roman Empire, horses were extremely important for battle, as well as for aspects of everyday life, such as transportation, hunting, farming, and chariot racing. The Romans associated the horse with the spoils of war, connecting it symbolically with power, victory, honour, domination, and virility. In Graeco-Roman mythology and culture, the horse was said to have been created by Poseidon (Neptune) and devoted to Hades (Pluto) and Ares (Mars). The Romans also believed the horse to be a symbol of the continuity of life, and would sacrifice a horse to the god Mars every October, keeping its tail through the winter as a sign of fertility and rebirth.

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

Weight 4.61 g
Dimensions L 2.5 x W 2.4 cm



Semi-Precious Stones

Reference: For similar intaglio: The British Museum, London, item 1987,0212.294

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