Ringstones

These are mainly the products of the 3rd to early 1st centuries BC and represent a more realistic, hellenising, style beside the purely Etruscan a globolo scarabs. The subjects sometimes reflect the scarab tradition, but also the Greek Hellenistic, as it is appearing at the time in Roman Republican gem-engraving, and there are Latin inscriptions on some. Stones with cross-banding are often chosen, a fashion in late centuries BC in Italy, and the old hatched borders.

Gem image

A man attacks a snake wound round a pillar.

Copenhagen, Thorwaldsen 171. 10mm. Martini, no. 18.

Gem image

A warrior contemplates the head of a decapitated foe.

Florence 15552. 13mm. Martini, no. 32.

Gem image

Kadmos bitten by a serpent at the fountain.

Berlin FG 543. 13mm. Martini, no. 56.

Gem image

Orestes meets Electra at the tomb of Agamemnon.

Munich. 14mm. Martini, no. 81.

Gem image

Perseus prepares to decapitate Medusa.

Hanover 1390. 17mm. Martini, no. 89.

Gem image

Prometheus fashions a man from clay. Inscribed in Latin, EROS.

Geneva Duval 7234. 14mm. Martini, no. 116.