Late Roman Silver Ring with a Dove


A late Roman – Early Byzantine silver ring featuring a plain, round-section hoop and a square bezel. The hoop itself is flattened, forming a wide band. The square bezel is decorated with an incised scene, depicting a central bird, most likely a dove, a branch and a star motif. The scene is enclosed by an incised frame of repeated triangular motifs.

Date: Circa 5th - 6th century AD
Provenance: From the late Alison Barker collection, a retired London barrister; from her collection formed early 1960s-1990s.
Condition: Very fine. A few small knicks to the band. Professional repair to the band as it joins the bezel.


SKU: AH-986 Category: Tags: , ,

The use of bird imagery, specifically peacocks and doves, was common amongst the Late Roman and Byzantine period. In this case, the combined scene is clear. The dove represents the Holy Spirit, who is usually depicted holding an olive branch. The star motif, whilst a little crude, could represent either a cross or the chi-rho christogram. After the 4th century, when Christianity became the official religion of the Empire, scenes such as this were an open display of a wearer’s faith. Prior to this, when Christians were persecuted for their beliefs and expression of faith was clandestine, scenes such as this could simply represent a bucolic scene. To those that shared such beliefs however, the secret meaning was clear.

To discover more about Byzantine jewellery with Christian imagery, please visit our relevant blog post: The Byzantine Empire, Art and Chrstianity.





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