The engraved decoration on the stone displays different and popular Roman Imperial iconographic motives, such as the depiction of the Egyptian-Hellenistic god Serapis, the cult of whom developed in Ancient Greece around the 3rd century BC. The iconography of the eagle, known as aquila in Latin, appeared as the official emblem of Rome and the Roman Empire. The eagle was also used a symbol of the Roman military, representing power and strength, and was associated with the god Jupiter, the chief deity in the Roman pantheon. Depictions of eagles between two military standards appeared also in Roman coinage. This fine intaglio is engraved in a beautiful variety of jasper, known as heliotrope, from the Ancient Greek ἥλιος, meaning “sun”, and τρέπειν, meaning “to attract”. Such stones were worn in Antiquity to prevent injury or disease. Ancient Greeks and Romans used to wear this stone during athletic competitions to boost endurance and increase physical strength.
To discover more about Intaglios, please visit our relevant blog post: Intaglios: Miniature Masterpieces.