A Roman silver ring with the image of a fighting soldier brandishing a spear and shield on a black agate intaglio. The shoulders are engraved with incised lines. Circa 1st - 2nd Century A.D. Given the military depiction, this ring almost certainly belonged to a soldier.
One of Don's many fieldwalking finds. Would love to know where he found it. A one-off.
Condition: Very good. Still set with its original intaglio. *Please note: what looks like blurring on the intaglio (main photo) is just the light reflecting off the surface which is highly polished.
Dimensions: Dia 23 mm external, 17mm internal.
Provenance: Ex. Don Lee Collection, UK; formed between 1950 - 2007.
Don Lee was a prolific collector of antiquities and coins. A former school teacher from London, Don made some remarkable finds himself, including a fabulously rare Wuneetton type gold thrymsa while 'mudlarking' on the banks of the river Thames at the age of 76! His collection spanned thousands of years from Stone Age axe heads to Roman glass and Viking brooches. His collection of coins and antiquities was auctioned in the summer of 2007.
One of the most popular Roman antiquities for sale are finger rings. As important then as they are now, there were a huge variety of different types and styles, including wedding rings.
Gold and silver rings were predominately for the wealthy elite and their fingers were often festooned with rings bearing precious gemstones. Everyday Romans wore bronze and iron rings. Seal rings were worn not just for their aesthetic appeal, but served an important practical purpose to seal documents. Every wealthy Roman had his seal as part of his ring. These rings were engraved or set with precious stones bearing the owner's emblem. Other rings had more practical functions, including keys for strongboxes.
Wealthy Romans often wore rings below the knuckle. This might seem odd to us today, but it served to accentuate their display, especially when eating and gesturing at social gatherings.
A common misnomer is where Roman rings are described as 'child's rings' on account of their size. This is often incorrect, as these smaller rings would have fitted nicely below the knuckle, especially on female hands.
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