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Elaborate Engraved Roman Legion Bronze Ring AD300 Sz 8 3/4 $219.99


For Customers outside of USA

Size 8 3/4 Genuine Ancient Engraved Roman (Legionary?) Bronze Ring Third/Fourth Century A.D.

CLASSIFICATION: Ancient Roman Bronze Ring with Intricately Engraved Bezel.

ATTRIBUTION: Eastern Roman Empire (Thracia), third or Fourth Century A.D.

SIZE/MEASUREMENTS: Fits ring size 8 3/4 (U.S.).

Bezel: 13mm (diameter).

Tapered Width Band: 7mm (at bezel) * 5mm (at sides) * 4mm (at back).

Diameter: 22mm (outer diameter); 19mm * 18mm (inner diameter).

Weight: 4.68 grams.

CONDITION: Exceptionally nice! Completely intact, moderate wear consistent with extended (ancient) usage. Moderately light porosity (surface pitting caused by contact with earth while buried). Professionally conserved.

DETAIL: A well preserved bronze ring circa third or fourth century A.D. The ring shows a fair amount of wear, but the state of preservation is really exceptional. The ring is entirely intact and wearable. As you can clearly see, the more-or-less round bezel bears a very intricately engraved pattern which quite frankly, we have not been able to discern to our complete satisfaction. However the depiction seems to be the standard rectangular Roman Legionary shield (scutum) of the Imperial Period. There appears to be either a horizontal accent mid-shield, or perhaps it is a sword which is depicted laid across the shield. It brings to mind the Roman tactic of creating a din just prior to advancing in battle by beating their swords against their shields (as described by the ancient historian Josephus in "Jewish Wars"). The depiction of the shield also seems to try to create a depth in the field, as if there were one shield behind another shield behind yet another, by using multiple outlines. What you might expect to see if you were confronted by an advancing Roman army - a forest of shields (and swords).

Inasmuch as the shield (?) is rectangular and the bezel round, there are perimeter areas "left over" with what appears to be palm fronds - a symbol associated with victorious legionary armies and the Roman Goddess of Victory, "Nike". The greatest difficulty with the interpretation of the engraved design is the extent of the wear. Although the engraving is still quite pronounced and well preserved, it is worn just enough to cause some uncertainty. For instance the "palm fronds" seem to most assuredly be palm fronds to one side of the shield, but on the other side of the shield where more wear is evidenced, one is a little less certain. Of course even if the engravings were absolutely unworn, there is still the uncertainty of trying to intuit the meaning of an engraving 2,000 years later. In any event, the style of the ring is much that that one would expect to be worn by a Roman Legionary soldier, and the area of the fund suggests as well it was owned by a Roman Soldier.

All in all this is a relatively elaborate piece of ancient jewelry, and considering its age, the engraved design remains relatively distinct and sharp. With respect to the moderate level of wear evidenced, one must understand that the ring was produced with the intent that some ancient citizen of the Roman Empire wear and enjoy the ring. And that they certainly did! The ring was produced using the more archaic process of producing the bezel and bands separate from one another, and then attaching them to form a completed ring. More modern techniques involved producing both bands and bezel in one integral piece, the same technique used today, and were used by the ancient Romans. However rings were still produced using the more archaic, traditional techniques, as in the case of this specimen. Nonetheless it has a modern and stylish appearance despite the fact it is sixteen or seventeen centuries in age. It possesses a rich, dark chocolate color with gold undertones, very characteristic of ancient bronze, the metal surfaces glowing and still with good polish.

This is an exceptional piece of Roman jewelry, a very handsome artifact, eminently wearable, and even under a jeweler's loop or magnifying glass. Most small artifacts such as this suffer extensive degradation from porosity, which is fine surface pitting caused by prolonged burial in caustic soil. This specimen evidences little discernable degradation due to corrosion, oxidation, porosity - you have to look very closely to see any of the telltale signs indicating the ring was buried for millennia. Under magnification, if you scrutinize it closely - such as in these photo enlargements - there is a little porosity evident - a little pitting indicative of burial for millennia. However the ring is not disfigured as is so often (unfortunately) the case with small ancient metal artifacts. This ring spent somewhere around 17600 years buried, yet by good fortune there is very little porosity evidenced. It happened to come to rest in very gentle soil conditions. So the surface condition of the metal is simply remarkable.

The Romans were of course very fond of jewelry, oftentimes wearing a ring on each finger - and sometimes even on both the second and third joint of each finger and on the thumb as well. They also had a fondness for many other forms of personal jewelry including bracelets worn both on the forearm and upper arm, belt buckles, chains, pendants, earrings, hair pins, and brooches. This ring could easily be worn and enjoyed on a daily basis, an evocative authentic "souvenir" of the Roman Empire, the greatest military power, and one of the most advanced civilizations of the ancient world. Almost two thousand years after it was originally produced, it could still bring its next owner many decades of wearing enjoyment.

HISTORY: One of the greatest civilizations of recorded history was the ancient Roman Empire. In exchange for a very modest amount of contemporary currency, you can possess a small part of that great civilization in the form of a 2,000 year old piece of jewelry. The Roman civilization, in relative terms the greatest military power in the history of the world, was founded in the 8th century (B.C.). In the 4th Century (B.C.) the Romans were the dominant power on the Italian Peninsula, having defeated the Etruscans and Celts. In the 3rd Century (B.C.) the Romans conquered Sicily, and in the following century defeated Carthage, and controlled the Greece. Throughout the remainder of the 2nd Century (B.C.) the Roman Empire continued its gradual conquest of the Hellenistic (Greek Colonial) World by conquering Syria and Macedonia; and finally came to control Egypt in the 1st Century (B.C.).

The pinnacle of Roman power was achieved in the 1st Century (A.D.) as Rome conquered much of Britain and Western Europe. For a brief time, the era of "Pax Romana", a time of peace and consolidation reigned. Civilian emperors were the rule, and the culture flourished with a great deal of liberty enjoyed by the average Roman Citizen. However within 200 years the Roman Empire was in a state of steady decay, attacked by Germans, Goths, and Persians. In the 4th Century (A.D.) the Roman Empire was split between East and West. The Great Emperor Constantine temporarily arrested the decay of the Empire, but within a hundred years after his death the Persians captured Mesopotamia, Vandals infiltrated Gaul and Spain, and the Goths even sacked Rome itself. Most historians date the end of the Western Roman Empire to 476 (A.D.) when Emperor Romulus Augustus was deposed. However the Eastern Roman Empire (The Byzantine Empire) survived until the fall of Constantinople in 1453 A.D.

At its peak, the Roman Empire stretched from Britain in the West, throughout most of Western, Central, and Eastern Europe, and into Asia Minor. Valuables such as coins and jewelry were commonly buried for safekeeping, and inevitably these ancient citizens would succumb to one of the many perils of the ancient world. Oftentimes the survivors of these individuals did not know where the valuables had been buried, and today, two thousand years later caches of coins and rings are still commonly uncovered throughout Europe and Asia Minor. Roman Soldiers oftentimes came to possess large quantities of "booty" from their plunderous conquests, and routinely buried their treasure for safekeeping before they went into battle.

If they met their end in battle, most often the whereabouts of their treasure was likewise, unknown. Throughout history these treasures have been inadvertently discovered by farmers in their fields, uncovered by erosion, and the target of unsystematic searches by treasure seekers. With the introduction of metal detectors and other modern technologies to Eastern Europe in the past three or four decades, an amazing number of new finds are seeing the light of day two thousand years or more after they were originally hidden by their past owners. And with the liberalization of post-Soviet Eastern Europe, new markets have opened eager to share in these treasures of the Roman Empire.

These antiquities come from a number of collections which by and large originated here in Eastern Europe. As well, additional specimens are occasionally acquired from other institutions and dealers, principally in Eastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. All of these artifacts are now in the United States and are available for immediate delivery via U.S. Mail. Proceeds of the sales benefit the Southern Urals State Student Association for Archaeological and Anthropological Studies in Russia; providing both postgraduate and undergraduate students with meaningful part-time employment, notebook computers, and both reference and study materials. It also supports other institutions and organizations within Russia involved in the study of anthropology and archaeology. All purchases are backed by an unlimited guarantee of satisfaction and authenticity. If for any reason you are not entirely satisfied with your purchase, you may return it for a complete and immediate refund of your entire purchase price.

SHIPPING: These antiquities come from a number of collections which by and large originated here in Eastern Europe. As well, additional specimens are occasionally acquired from other institutions and dealers, principally in Eastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. All of these artifacts are now in the United States and are available for immediate delivery via U.S. Mail. All purchases are backed by an unlimited guarantee of satisfaction and authenticity. If for any reason you are not entirely satisfied with your purchase, you may return it for a complete and immediate refund of your entire purchase price. A certificate of authenticity (COA) is available upon request.

Our order fulfillment center near Seattle, Washington will ship your purchase within one business day of receipt of your personal check or money order. If you wish to pay electronically, we accept both PayPal and BidPay. However we ask that you PLEASE WAIT before remitting until we have mutually agreed upon method of shipment and shipping charges and you understand our PayPal limitations and policies (stated here). We will ship within one business day of our receipt of your electronic remittance.

A certificate of authenticity (COA) is available upon request. We prefer your personal check or money order over any other form of payment - and we will ship immediately upon receipt of your check (no "holds"). Please see our "ADDITIONAL TERMS OF SALE."