Roman, Republican to Imperial Period, ca. 1st century BCE. A special ring featuring a large oval carnelian intaglio, finely incised with the likeness of a philosopher, his portrait head in profile facing left, presenting a bald pate, short hair above the ear and behind the head, with one wide open eye beneath an arching brow, a prominent nose, and generous beard and mustache framing his mouth. Mounted as a ring in a modern 22K gold setting. Weight: 14.8 grams Size: intaglio measures ~ .75" L x .625" W (1.9 cm x 1.6 cm) US ring size 7.
Interestingly, the ancient Romans were more interested in pursuits of engineering and the law than science and philosophy - in this way departing from the Greeks. However, the Romans were responsible for disseminating Greek culture and ideas. After all, they honored many of the same gods, only renaming them and claiming them as their own. As far as philosophy was concerned, Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BCE) adopted the Greek philosophy of Stoicism which aimed to identify universal morals and standards based upon reason and nature. Marcus Aurelius and Epicetus would popularize it further.
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection; ex-Christie's, New York (Ancient Jewelry, Sale 2771, December 13, 2013, Lot 286); ex-Vasken Demirjian, New York, USA, ca. 1990; ex-Christie's, New York (Ancient Jewelry, December 9, 2004, lot 139)
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