Roman Gold Ring with Carnelian Intaglio of Mars


A very fine gold Roman ring featuring a D-section hoop attached to the oval bezel. The precious stone is framed in gold and further enriched with a row of gold granules. Above this row are additional granules spaced further apart. The carnelian intaglio has been carefully carved to display the god Mars standing, facing right. He is fully armed with a spear in his right hand and a shield by his feet. The god is also wearing a helmet with a plume of feathers and has his left arm slightly raised.

Closest UK ring size: Q

Date: Circa 1st-3rd century AD
Condition: Excellent condition

In stock

SKU: LD-426 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.

Mars, also known as the Greek god Ares, was the god of war and also an agricultural guardian. He was the son of Jupiter and Juno and was a very important deity. He later became the protector of Rome during the many wars, festivals were thrown in his honour at the end of military and agricultural seasons. Even though he was known to be argumentative and unpopular among the gods, he was deeply respected by men, especially soldiers. He was also known to have fathered Romulus and Remus, the two brothers that founded Rome. A common depiction of Mars is the god clothed in armour holding a spear, much like this fine example.

To find out more about intaglios and Roman gods, please visit our relevant blog posts: Engraved Gemstones in Ancient Rome and Roman Gods in Mythology.

Weight 8.53 g
Dimensions W 2.4 cm



Roman Mythology

Semi-Precious Stones

Reference: For a similar item,The Metropolitan Museum, item 81.6.123

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