**First Time At Auction**
Ancient Greece, Hellenistic, ca. 3rd to 1st century BCE. A beautiful 18K gold earring of a hoop style with the front end of a lively feline adorning it. The Greeks and Romans kept cats as pets; however, the cat was not terribly popular among the ancient Greeks due to its associations with Hecate - the goddess of death, witches, and darkness - in certain myths. For example, a well-known story about Herakles (Heracles, Hercules) involves a cat that attains such associations. Zeus seduced Alcmene who became pregnant with Herakles. Zeus' wife Hera attempted to kill Alcmene and Herakles, but her attempts were thwarted thanks to the cleverness of Galinthius. Maddened by this, Hera transformed Galinthius into a cat and sent her to the underworld in order to serve Hecate. Given these associations of cats with darkness, the underworld, and witchcraft, I wonder for whom this earring was created. A lovely piece of ancient jewelry for anyone curious about tales of the dark side during antiquity. Size: 1.125" L x .75" W (2.9 cm x 1.9 cm); 4.3 grams
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection
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