Queen Berenice is one of the most famous figures of Antiquity, made immortal by the poets Callimachus and Catullus, who told the story of ‘Berenice’s Lock’. According to this story, Berenice vowed to sacrifice her long hair as a votive offering if her husband Ptolemy III returned safely from battle. She dedicated her locks and placed them in the temple at Cape Zephyrium in Alexandria, where the queen Arsinoe II was worshipped as Aphrodite. By the next morning the locks had disappeared. The court astronomer identified a new star constellation in the sky, as the missing hair, claiming that the goddess Aphrodite herself had placed Berenice’s hair in the sky as an acknowledgement of Berenice’s sacrifice. The constellation is known to this day as Coma Berenices, translating from the Latin as ‘Berenice’s Lock’. This story was used by the Ptolemaic court as propaganda, emphasising the connection between Berenice and the goddess Isis in her role as goddess of rebirth.
Hellenistic-Ptolemaic Bronze Ring in Modern Setting depicting Berenice II
A Hellenistic-Ptolemaic bronze ring fragment, set in a solid modern silver ring featuring a D-shaped hoop, and expanding shoulders. The bezel embraces the high relief depiction of a female figure, portrayed in profile, facing left, with her hair arranged in a braided high coiffure. Although the identity behind the figure remains a mystery, the figure is identified with the Ptolemaic queen, Berenice II. Closest UK ring size S.
Condition: Extremely fine; the ring is suitable for modern wear with care.