This category includes Ancient Roman, Byzantine, and Etruscan antiquities, from the 1st millennium BCE until the fall of Constantinople (the Empires capital) in 1453 CE.
A Roman Amethyst Bead Necklace, ca. 1st - 2nd century CE
RJ2013Regular price $3,750 USD
Background: The name of this exquisite purple quartz crystal comes from the Greek word "amethystos" which literally translates as “remedy against drunkenness”. In antiquity, this stone was believed to keep the wearer sober no matter how much wine he might consume. All the great ancient civilizations valued the gem; it was particularly popular in Egypt for scarabs and in Greece and Rome for intaglio rings. Because of its wine-dark color and its use to prevent intoxication, many were carved with the head of the wine-god Dionysus. The oldest known stone in the Crown Jewels of England is an amethyst first worn in the 11th century by Edward the Confessor. Even today, the rings of high-ranking ecclesiastics often have amethysts as their center stones. Many wonderful and therapeutic properties are ascribed to the gem: it can cure gout, it cleanses the body of impurities, it keeps the mind clear and alert and improves the memory, it gives the wearer pleasant dreams and keeps them immune from infection and contagious diseases.
Condition: Each bead is a little irregular, as is to be expected from the hand-polishing process used in their fabrication. There are expected signs of wear around the stringing holes that is not excessive and does not detract. Overall they are intact and in very good condition. The necklace has been restrung with a modern gold S hook closure in keeping with ancient design.
Dimensions: Length: 20 inches (51.30 cm)
Provenance: Private NY collection, acquired from Sumer Gallery, NYC., in the 1980s.
A Roman Bronze Appliqué, Roman Imperial Period, ca. 1st - 3rd century CE
RB1909Regular price $200 USD
Used either for furniture or for architecture, the round disc-shaped applique has a circular base with a hole drilled through the center for application, the lip slightly curved, with circles around the interior.
Dimensions: Diameter: 2 inches (5.2 cm)
Condition: Intact and in excellent condition overall.
Provenance: Ex. Villa Julia Museum collection, deaccessioned in the 1950's. Thereafter Ran Ryan private collection, acquired 1974. Alex Malloy private collection, acquired in the 1980's.
A Roman Bronze Appliqué Handle of Eros and Psyche, Roman Imperial Period, ca. 1st - 2nd century CE
RB004-PBRegular price $2,500 USD
A large cast strap handle from a vessel, with ornate busts of Eros and Psyche, facing forward with Eros's arm around Psyche's shoulders, her left hand across her chest holding onto the strap of his quiver, both with wavy hair and elaborate diadems, a small putto depicted above their heads.
Dimensions: Height: 6 7/8 inches (17.46 cm)
Condition: Intact and in good condition overall.
Provenance: Private NYC collection, thereafter private Virginia collection.
A Samnite Bronze Belt Hook, Roman Republican Period, ca. 4th century BCE
RB2004Regular price $350 USD
From a bronze Gladiator belt, a long tapered hook shaped like a scalloped palmette with incised decoration, the hooks themselves are narrow with deeply grooved flanges. Type B.
Dimensions: Length: 3 1/2 inches (8.9 cm)
Condition: Intact and in excellent condition overall.
Provenance: Alex Malloy collection, acquired 1980s -1990s.
A Roman Red Jasper Intaglio, Roman Imperial Period, ca. 2nd - 3rd century CE
RA1804Regular price $495 USD
A profile head facing left, with wide eyes, full lips, detailed locks of hair, and wearing a cap.
Dimensions: Length: 0.8 cm (0.31 inches)
Condition: minor surface loss, intact and in good condition.
Provenance: Ex. R.T. private collection, Germany, acquired 1958.
A Roman Glass Bangle, Roman Imperial Period, ca. 1st - 3rd century CE
EJ2014Regular price $300 USD
Of dark green glass, one side decorated with orange splash and a lighter green trail around the edge.
Dimensions: Diameter: 4 inches (10.16 cm)
Condition: Fracture through one side, otherwise intact and in very good condition.
Provenance: Lenman/Stohlman collection assembled by the Washington D.C. socialite Miss Isobel H. Lenman (1845 - 1931), in the early 1900's on loan to the Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., between 1916 and 1921 (part) and ex private Californian collection, acquired in the 1960's and then by descent.
A Roman Gold and Agate Finger Ring, ca. 2nd century CE
RJ2012Regular price $3,500 USD
a high karat gold hollow ring, the high bezel set with an agate intaglio with white inclusions that depicts the fertility god Priapus, shown in profile, with erect phallus and holding a long staff.
In Greek mythology, Priapus was a fertility god, protector of livestock, fruit plants, gardens, and male genitalia. Priapus is marked by his oversized, permanent erection, which gave rise to the medical term priapism. He became a popular figure in Roman erotic art and Latin literature and is the subject of the often humorously obscene collection of verse called the Priapeia.
For ring style comparison: Patricia F. Davidson, Andrew Oliver, Jr.; "Ancient Greek and Roman gold jewelry in the Brooklyn Museum" (Brooklyn, 1984)
Dimensions: US ring size: 6 1/2
Condition: There is a small chip to the lower edge of the intaglio that does not detract, otherwise intact and in very good condition overall.
Provenance: Private Texas collection, acquired from the Montreal, Canada trade in the mid-1980s.
A Roman Terracotta Appliqué of Silenus, ca. 1st century BCE/CE
RT2003Regular price $1,950 USD
Mold-made in the form of Silenus, with lidded eyes, goat ears, a diadem over the bald head, thin high-arching brows merging with the bridge of the button nose, the long down-turned mustache flowing around the open mouth and overlapping the plaited beard. With two holes at the crown of the head and one at the beard for attachment.
Condition: With losses to the glaze, intact and in very good condition overall.
Dimensions: Height: 6.7 cm (2.6 inches), Width: 4.5 cm (1.7 inches)
Provenance: RDA private collection, acquired from the NY trade as part of a collection assembled in the 1970s and 1980s. With an old collection label attached to the back, dated 1889.
A shipwrecked Roman Terracotta Amphora, ca. 2nd century CE
RP1909Regular price $1,200 USD
Condition: Intact and in very good condition.
Dimensions: Height: 9 inches (22.5 cm)
Provenance: Private Virginia collection, acquired in the 1980s and then by descent.
A Roman Garnet Ringstone Intaglio, Roman Imperial Period, ca. 1st - 2nd century CE
RJ1715Regular price $3,000 USD
The oval intaglio engraved with a two-horse chariot in profile to the left, the chariot with spoked wheel, the charioteer (perhaps Helios) with cloak flying, holding the reins of the spirited galloping horses in one hand and urging them on with a whip in the other, groundline indicated, the intaglio set in an antique high karat gold setting in the Etruscan style. A very pretty example.
cf: Ruseva-Slokoska, L. Roman Jewellery, Sofia, 1991, item 201, Type II, variant 4.
Dimensions: Width: 5/8 inch (1.6 cm), US ring size: 3 1/4 - can be resized
Condition: Set in a modern high karat ring, the intaglio in excellent condition.
Provenance: Private NY collection, acquired in the 1990s.
An Etruscan Terracotta Cremation Urn, Hellenistic Period, ca. 2nd century BCE
RT202-PBRegular price $30,000 USD
A very fine example of a cremation urn, most probably from the Etruscan city of Chiusi. The fourth century BCE saw the agricultural and trading center of Chiusi flourish, allowing more people to afford the luxury of a formal burial, something previously only the wealthy elite had access to. Cremation urns thus came into fashion; the rectangular boxes were decorated with mold-made relief scenes, while the lids depicted three-dimensional figures of the deceased, fully recumbent on a kline (banqueting couch). the name of the deceased was inscribed across the top of the box or along the edge of the lid, written from right to left in the Etruscan script. In this example, the writing partially remains along the top edge of the box.
The relief scenes varied in subject matter, but a few themes seemed to be the most popular and reoccurred on several urns. This example is of one such reoccurring scene, identified as the Greek myth of Echetlos, a hero of the Battle of Marathon (490 BC) who slaughtered Persian enemies with his plow, but it may represent a local Etruscan hero myth. At far left a nude warrior in a cape and crested helmet advances, shield in his left hand and sword in his right. Beneath him a warrior in cuirass and cape kneels on one knee, protecting himself with his shield and preparing to strike a blow with his sword. The aggressor to his right is a nude male seen from behind, a sash around his waist. He wields a large plow and nearly stabs the crouching figure in the head with it. To the far right is another warrior in a cuirass, holding his shield in front of him and raising his arm back.
For a parallel example, see: Metropolitan Museum of Art accession number 96.9.220a, b
Reference: Theresa Huntsman, "Hellenistic Etruscan Cremation Urns from Chiusi," Metropolitan Museum vol. 49, 2014, pgs. 141 - 150.
Dimensions: Base Height: 8 1/2 inches (21.5 cm), Length: 13 1/2 inches (34.3 cm), Width: 7 inches (17.7 cm)
Lid Height: 5 1/2 inches (13.97 cm), Length: 15 3/4 inches (40 cm), Width: 8 inches (20.32 cm)
Condition: With minor surface loss, intact and in good condition overall. With red, yellow, and blue polychrome remaining.
Provenance: Phillip Adams private collection, Sydney Australia acquired from the Museum of Classical Antiquities in 1976, and previously in the museum collection from the early 1950s.
A Roman Miniature Glass Bowl, ca. 1st century BCE/CE
RG2003Regular price $650 USD
A delicate pale glass bowl with wide flaring sides that taper to an indented base, the surface covered with a beautiful blue/green iridescence.
Dimensions: Height: 1 1/8 inches (2.9 cm), Diameter: 2 1/4 inches (5.7 cm)
Condition: Intact and in excellent condition.
Provenance: Private NYC collection, acquired from NY trade in the early 1990s.
A Roman Glass Miniature Juglet, Late Roman Imperial Period, ca. late 4th century CE
RG2004Regular price $350 USD
This lovely little Roman glass vessel belongs to a poorly-understood class of miniature glass objects from the late Roman period. These tiny gems were usually made in blue glass and unlike most glass of the period, they were hand-worked probably by bead makers, rather than blown.
This example has a blue glass handle applied to a clear-molded main body, a knob below the handle and an attached flat blue knob at the base. There are nice traces of iridescence to the body. It would have been worn as an amulet symbolizing cool water for the afterlife.
Background: There is some conjecture that these glass vessels were actually early Christian amulets taken as relics and/or souvenirs from holy areas. In "Roman, Byzantine, and early Medieval Glass, the Ernesto Wolf Collection, 10 BCE-700 CE," Stern argues for this interpretation based on the distribution of these objects from the Holy Land to western Europe, which supports production in the Middle East and distribution to the Christian world. A vessel of solid blue glass is seen in Christie's Antiquities London, April 1998, lot #45, and was described as "Two Byzantine Blue Glass Amulets Representing the Sacred Vessel of Joseph of Arimathea."
Gustavus Eisen made a similar attribution to a parallel vessel seen in his monumental study, "Glass, Its Origin, History, Chronology, Technic and Classification to the Sixteenth Century, page 520." According to the Christian literary tradition, the vessel of Joseph of Arimathea was used to catch the blood of Christ at the crucifixion. This story provided the basis for the Medieval romance cycles that gave us the legend of the Holy Grail.
For related example see: Birgit Schlick-Nolte "Reflections on Ancient Glass from the Borowski Collection" (2002) pl. V-33, p. 78.
Dimensions: Length: 3/4 inch (1.9 cm)
Condition: With minor losses to the surface, overall intact and in good condition.
Provenance: Private Maryland collection, acquired from the trade in the early 1990s.
A Roman Bronze Vessel Sherd, Roman Imperial Period, ca. 2nd - 3rd century CE
RB2003Regular price $120 USD
This great thin-walled study piece is from the side of a vessel and features a horizontal shoulder rib. Presented in one of our display boxes.
Dimensions: Length: 1 5/8 inches (4.1 cm), Width: 1 1/8 inches (2.85 cm)
Condition: Fragmentary as described.
Provenance: Alex Malloy collection, acquired 1980s -1990s. Ex. Villa Guilia collection.
A Roman Amethyst Hermes Intaglio, Roman Imperial Period, ca. 1st- 2nd century CE
RA1602Regular price $1,950 USD
The oval amethyst intaglio engraved with the figure of Hermes (or Mercury, the messenger of the gods) shown standing contrapposto, and naked aside from the chlamys (traveling garment) draped over his right arm and shoulder. He holds his messenger staff (caduceus) in his right hand and a money pouch outstretched in his left.
Dimensions: Length: 5/8 inch (1.5 cm)
Condition: Intact and in excellent condition overall.
Provenance: Ex. private Washington, DC collection, acquired in the 1980s
A Roman Silver Ring with Carnelian Intaglio, Roman Imperial Period, ca. 2nd - 3rd century CE
RJ2004Regular price $1,950 USD
The fiery orange intaglio masterfully inscribed with a horse and rider standing on a groundline facing proper left, the intaglio set in the original wide silver ring.
Dimensions: US ring size 6.5, Bezel length: 2.4 cm (0.94 inches), Intaglio length: 1.5 cm (0.59 inches)
Condition: The shank repaired, with minor surface wear, but otherwise intact and in very good condition.
Provenance: Alex Malloy collection, acquired in the 1980s.
A large Roman Green Glass Bead, ca. 1st - 2nd century CE - ex museum.
RG2001Regular price $395 USD
Of translucent green glass, the rounded form with a large central hole used for stringing.
Exhibited: Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., 1916 - 1921 with Smithsonian accession number 316015 applied in black pigment to one side.
Dimensions: 3/4 inch (19 mm)
Condition: With very minor surface wear and pitting, intact and in good condition overall.
Provenance: Forming part of the Lenman/Stohlman collection assembled by the Washington D.C. socialite Miss Isobel H. Lenman (1845 - 1931), in the early 1900’s. Loaned and accessioned by the Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., between 1916 and 1921 where it was exhibited until her death in 1931. Thereafter, the collection was returned to her heirs and sold around 1937 to Dr. Martin Stohlman, remaining with the Stohlman family until 2011.
A Roman Clay Juglet, Roman Imperial Period, ca. 1st - 3rd century CE
RP1906Regular price $450 USD
A charming little juglet standing on a small round foot with an ovoid ribbed body, flared flat rim, small round mouth, and small handle applied at the rim and shoulder.
Dimensions: Height: 3 inches (7.5 cm)
Condition: Intact and in good condition.
Provenance: Private Maryland collection, acquired in the 1970s.