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SKU: XJ2304

Silver Ring of St Anthony with Tau Cross, ca 16th century or earlier

Sale price1,250 USD

This object qualifies for free USA shipping and a flat rate fee of $60 if shipping internationally.

The Tau cross, enameled to the bezel of this silver ring, was associated with Saint Anthony.  It was believed to provide protection from "Saint Anthony’s fire," or ergot poisoning, caused by the consumption of spoiled rye. Anthony Abbot, was an early Egyptian hermit and swineherd of the third century CE. The Tau cross is said to represent the crutch that he used to control his herd.

St Anthony was the patron saint of the poor and sick and of knights, butchers, and brushmakers. A ring bearing the symbol of St Anthony would confer the protection of the saint on the wearer. It may also have been used by members of religious orders dedicated to St Anthony, for example the military order of the Knights of St Anthony, founded by Albert II of Bavaria in 1382 before his proposed campaign against the Turks. It is also possible that some rings bearing this emblem may commemorate a pilgrimage to the church of St Antoine de Viennois, Dauphiné, France where the saint's relics were placed after their transfer from Constantinople in the eleventh century.

Condition:  Intact and in very good condition overall.

Dimensions: US ring size: 8 (UK=Q, FR=56 3/4, DL=18, JP=18)

Provenance:  Private Virginian collection acquired from the European trade.

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Silver Ring of St Anthony with Tau Cross, ca 16th century or earlier
Silver Ring of St Anthony with Tau Cross, ca 16th century or earlier Sale price1,250 USD