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Lot 12: Roman Gold Ring with Eros

Antiquities: Day 1

by TimeLine Auctions

December 6, 2016

London, United Kingdom

Live Auction
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Description: 1st century AD. A flat-section gold hoop with expanding shoulders and flat plaque; applied beaded wire borders and fillet to the underside extending through pairs of pellets and opposed filigree volute scrolls; the bezel an elliptical beaded wire frame with granule detailing, with a modern facing mask of a youthful male, perhaps Eros. Cf. Ruseva-Slokoska, L. Roman Jewellery, Sofia, 1991, item 232. See Kondoleon, C. Aphrodite and the Gods of Love, Boston, 2011, pp. 107-149 for a discussion on Eros in the Greek and Roman world. 12 grams, 26mm overall, 18 x 20.82mm internal diameter (approximate size British W, USA 11, Europe 25.0, Japan 24) (1"). Property of a London collector, acquired before 1980. Eros, (Roman Cupid), was regarded as the deity who awoke the passions and fostered love in the hearts of both gods and mortals. The poet Hesiod sings his praises as the most beautiful of the gods. His worship seems to be much more ancient than that of the winged boy in popular imagination. At Thespiae, in Boeotia, his cult had ancient origins and the main image at his temple was a block of stone, most likely a meteorite, a common object of worship in many of the more ancient cults of Greece. His power to rouse and move the world was viewed by the Orphic Mystery Cult to regard him as the creator of the world. Although there are many visual images of Eros there are surprisingly few literary references to him from ancient times. The only mythological account of the birth of Eros comes from Plato's Symposium, where we learn that he was conceived by Poros and Penia, plenty and poverty. It was not until the seventh century BC that the poet Sappho describes him as the son of Aphrodite. The worship of Eros was not highly organised and, aside from his temple at Thespiae, his worship seems mainly to have been one confined to the home, or in conjunction with Aphrodite at her temples. By the Roman period his image and worship becomes more recognisable and depictions of him are found on many objects; however there was no formal worship of the god and he seems to have been largely worshipped in the home, as in Greece.

Condition Report: Very fine condition. A large wearable size.

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