The extremely sophisticated technique of engraving of gemstones was one of the most luxurious art forms in the Ancient World. Furthermore, in Ancient Roman culture gemstones were amongst the most expensive and lavish objects and were prized above all other possessions. This fine intaglio is carved from amethyst, an extremely important gemstone in ancient Greek and Roman culture. The word amethyst comes from the Greek word ἀμέθυστος (amethystos), meaning sober. In ancient Greek and Roman culture, the amethyst gemstone was associated with the god of wine, Dionysus or Baccus. Intaglios would have been engraved with motives driven from mythology or literature. This incredible example displays the representation of the goddess Victoria: according to Ancient Roman mythology and religion, the goddess Victoria, whose counterpart is Nike in Ancient Greek mythology, was the personified goddess of victory. The high number of artistic and architectural dedications to her bear witness to the popularity of the goddess’ cult: Victoria widely appears on Roman coins, jewellery, architecture, and other works of art.
To discover more about Intaglios, please visit our relevant blog post: Intaglios: Miniature Masterpices.