Ancient Roman Silver Silvanus Ring

£ 475.00

A fine ancient Roman silver ring featuring a round sectioned hoop, divided into seventeenth cells. Each side is slightly concave, tapering outward to a ridge that it shares with the adjacent side. The ring is further enriched by a Latin inscription reading the words “VOTVM SILVANO”, translating to a vow or promise to the Roman god Silvanus.

Closest UK ring size: Z.

Date: Circa 3rd - 4th century AD
Provenance: From the late Alison Barker collection, a retired London barrister; from her collection formed early 1960s-1990s.
Condition: Fine condition. A minor crack in proximity to the 'N'.


SKU: MG-363 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, but as the power and spread of the Roman Empire increased, so too did 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 wide range of natural resources enabled artisans to create ostentatious jewellery using a diverse selection of materials: this increasingly included sapphires, diamonds, emeralds, garnet and amber from India, and pearls (which were particularly prized). Archaeological finds of Roman jewellery are relatively rare, considering the magnitude of Roman civilisation, and the historical and geographical span of the Empire. The custom of wearing rings was popular amongst the Romans, and was probably introduced by the Sabines, who are described in early legends as wearing gold rings with precious stones.

Silvanus was a Roman god, tutelary of woodlands, fields, flocks and husbandry. The so-called ‘Silvanus rings’ refer to a group of artefacts, sharing a similar shape to this example, which were exclusively found in the Roman province of Pannonia. Dated to the 3rd-4th century AD, the group consisted of gold and silver rings featuring simple polygonal shapes and varying inscriptions dedicated to Silvanus. These mostly invoke various denominations of the deity, such as ‘Silvanus Viator’, but also the term ‘votum’ as a more general dedicatory formula.

Weight 5.45 g
Dimensions W 2.5 cm



Reference: For a similar ring shape, please see The Victoria & Albert Museum, item 543-1871

You may also like…