The inscription is referring to a ‘Valerian’, possibly the Christian martyr who was buried on 14 April in an unspecified year in the Catacombs of Praetextatus on the Via Appia near Rome, and was honoured on 1 June during the Byzantine Empire. It might also refer to Saint Valerian of Abbenza, a bishop in North Africa who was martyred in 457 when he refused to surrender sacred vessels to the Vandals. His feast day is celebrated on 15 September. The Church Fathers, such as Clement of Alexandria, discouraged the wearing of any jewellery at all. However, they did permit Christians to wear one ring: rings with the seal of a family, a wedding ring, or rings bearing Christian symbols and inscriptions were deemed acceptable.
Byzantine Silver Ring
A Byzantine silver signet ring with the Greek inscription ‘ΟVAΛ/EΡΙΑΝ/OV’, meaning ‘Valerian’, on its hexagonal bezel. The ring consists of the inscribed bezel, two prominent shoulders decorated with mirrored scrolls and cut-outs, and further mirrored scroll and cut-out decorations around the loop. UK ring size T.
Provenance: Ex. important collection of Christian items from a City gentleman, formed in 1970s - 1990s.
Condition: Very fine, intact, with minor scratches and dark patina over the whole.