A Roman Gold and Agate Finger Ring, ca. 2nd century CE
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 (UK=N, DE=17, CH=14, JP=13)
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.
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