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HOME : Intaglio Jewelry : Seal Bracelets : Roman Intaglio of an Emperor, an Eagle, and Deity
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Roman Intaglio of an Emperor, an Eagle, and Deity - FJ.6632
Origin: Mediterranean
Circa: 100 AD to 300 AD

Medium: Carnelian-Gold

Additional Information: Sold

Location: United States
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This Ancient Intaglio Has Been Set in a Modern 18 Karat Gold Ring

Glyptics, or carving on colored precious stones, is one of the oldest known art forms. Intaglios, gems with an incised design, were made as early as the fourth millennia B.C. in Mesopotamia and the Aegean Islands. They exhibit a virtuosity of execution that suggests an old and stable tradition rooted in the earliest centuries. The tools required for carving gems were simple: a wheel with a belt-drive and a set of drills. Abrasives were necessary since the minerals used were too hard for a metal edge. One difficulty of engraving intaglios, aside from their miniature proportions, was that the master had to work with a mirror image in mind.

The allegorical scene engraved on this gemstone most likely symbolizes the divine right of the emperor. Two figures, one dressed in imperial armor and the other a naked deity, stand underneath two stars with the eagle of Jupiter in between them. The god offers a cup to the emperor. In ancient Rome, the rulers themselves were deified; their word was the word of the gods to be unquestionably obeyed by all. This scene no doubt alludes to the deification of the emperor.

The hues of the gold ring and the carnelian seal perfectly complement each other. The reserved, classical modeling of the ring elegantly displays the seal without distracting from it. The symbolism behind the seal is fascinating. The glories of ancient Rome are evident, carved onto the face of this intaglio: the gods, the emperor, and mythology as represented by the eagle. Today, this seal can be interpreted as an allegory of the glories of antiquity.
- (FJ.6632)


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