Roman Silver Ring with Jasper Intaglio of a Hunting Scene

$1,011.14

A fine Roman silver ring featuring a round band which broadens at the shoulders towards an oval bezel. The ring is enriched with a jasper intaglio carved with a hunting scene. The intaglio displays the side profile of a lion, facing left, pouncing towards a bird trying to capture its prey. The bird has its wings in motion attempting to escape.

Closest UK ring size P 1/2

Date: Circa 2nd-3rd century AD
Condition: Very fine condition, minor chip to intaglio.

SOLD

SKU: LD-720 Category: Tags: ,

In the Roman world, lions maintained a strong association with Hercules, as he famously encountered the Nemean Lion as one of his Twelve Labours. The lion was far from a mythological beast, however, and would have been a familiar sight across the Roman Empire. The ‘venationes’ (“hunts”) and other ‘spectacula’ (“shows”) of ancient Rome saw exotic species (including panthers, elephants, and bears) procured from all corners of the Roman Empire – a conscious demonstration in itself of the nation’s extensive reach and authority – and placed in the amphitheatre for gory entertainment. Notoriously, lions were integral to the form of capital punishment known as ‘damnatio ad bestias’, whereby condemned criminals were pitted against the beasts. Lions were also sought out by Roman army units as a pastime when not at war – the process of capturing the beasts is recorded in several Roman mosaics, as is ‘damnatio ad bestias’, which became a motif of Christian martyrdom in later antiquity.

For more information about the meanings of animals in Roman art, see our relevant blog post: Animal Symbolism in Roman Art.

Weight 7.7 g
Dimensions L 2.5 x W 2.1 cm
Culture

Metal

Semi-Precious Stones

Region

Reference: For a similar lion depiction on a silver ring,The British Museum, item 1872,0604.169

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