ROMAN CARNELIAN INTAGLIO

WITH AN EAGLE

S O L D

Measurements:  1.7 cm - width

 

Description: A Roman intaglio displaying an eagle with a wreath in its beak. It is depicted standing on a flat surface, with wings folded, between two military standards. The eagle standard was extremely important to the Roman military and an attribute and embodiment of Jupiter. A lost standard was considered an extremely grave occurrence, and the Roman military often went to great lengths to both protect a standard and to recover it if lost; for example, see the aftermath of the Battle of the Teutoburg forest, where the Romans spent decades attempting to recover the lost standards of three legions. Hence to the military significance of the intaglio, it was probably set into a ring belonging to a high-ranking officer. No legionary eagles are known to have survived. However a number of other Roman eagles, either symbolizing imperial rule or used as funeral emblems, have been discovered.

 

Reference: Taylor, G., Scarisbrick, D., Finger Rings from Ancient Egypt to the Present Day, Oxford, Type 19.

 

Period: 1st – 2nd cent. AD

 

Condition: Very fine, the carnelian is intact and displays only minor chipping on the back.

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