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AD200 Genuine Ancient Roman Provincial Moesia (Bulgaria) Engrave Silver Ring Size 5 $459.99


For Customers outside of USA

Genuine Ancient Engraved Silver Roman Ring Second Century A.D.

CLASSIFICATION: Ancient Roman Moesia Silver Ring with Engraved Design.

ATTRIBUTION: Eastern Roman Empire (Moesia), Second Century A.D.

SIZE/MEASUREMENTS: Fits ring size 5 (U.S.).

Bezel: 17 1/2mm * 16mm (diameter) * 3mm (thickness).

Tapered Width Band: 3mm (at bezel) * 2 1/2mm (at sides) * 2mm (at back).

Diameter: 21mm * 19mm (outer diameter); 16mm * 15mmmm (inner diameter).

Weight: 5.02 grams.

CONDITION: Good! Completely intact, moderate wear consistent with moderate usage in the ancient world, relatively light porosity (surface pitting caused by contact with earth while buried). Professionally conserved.

DETAIL: A remarkably well preserved silver ring circa second century A.D. As you can see, the ring is very bold, handsome, and elegant in design. The "bezel" or face of the ring is roughly round, with a punch dot periphery. It’s impossible to be absolutely certain, however photographic enhancement of the bezel seems to suggest that it once bore the image of a male figure striding right, probably the depiction of a Roman God such as Sol (the Roman God of the Sun). Unfortunately the ring does evidence some wear (though it was built so heavily that it remains in excellent condition), and as you can see, the surface of the ring is somewhat “pebbled” due to the fact that it was buried in the soil for almost two thousand years.

It is preserved in remarkably good overall condition. Again, there is a little wear evidenced in the ring. But you must keep in mind that the ring was produced by an artisan and sold to a patron or consumer with the idea that the ring would be enjoyed and worn by the purchased. And without any regard to twenty-first century posterity, that precisely what happened! The original Roman owner of this ring wore it, enjoyed it, and probably never could have in his most delusional moment ever dreamed that almost 100 generations later the ring would still exist. Similarly it should come as no surprise that upon close inspection are detected the telltale signs that the ring spent thousands of years in the soil. Porosity is fine surface pitting (oxidation, corrosion) caused by extended burial in caustic soil. Many small ancient metal artifacts such as this are extensively disfigured and suffer substantial degradation as a consequence of the ordeal of being buried for millennia.

It is not at all unusual to find metal artifacts decomposed to the point where they are not much more substantial than discolored patterns in the soil. Actually most smaller ancient artifacts such as this are so badly oxidized that oftentimes all that is left is a green (bronze) or red (iron) stain in the soil, or an artifact which crumbles in your hand. However this specimen is not so afflicted, and certainly has not been disfigured. To the casual inspection of the casual admirer, it simply looks like an ancient ring, nicely surfaced, no immediately discernible blemishes. You have to look fairly closely to detect the telltale signs indicating the ring was buried for millennia. No denying, there is oxidation, the ring entire ring shows modest signs of porosity, though it is principally the bezel which shows the greatest extend, appearing lightly pebbled. The rest of the ring evidences only very light porosity. Overall the extent of the porosity is very modest. This ring spent almost 2,000 years buried, yet by good fortune it happened to come to rest in reasonably gentle soil conditions.

The band is tapered, from 3mm in thickness at the bezel, down to 2mm at the back of the bands, and is of round stoclk. The band is entirely intact, and like the remainder of the ring, very robust in construction and heavy. The entire ring is very sturdy and masculine in appearance. The ring is quite handsome, very elaborate, and the defects we point out are really only noticeable under intent scrutiny. The construction is of the more archaic style where the bezel is constructed separately, and then the bands (or shank) attached later – as opposed to the more modern style of construction prevalent in the following centuries whereby the bands and bezel are integrated (fashioned from a single piece of metal).

The ring is quite sturdy and substantial, its integrity is relatively undiminished by the passage of time, and it has been professionally conserved. It is a very handsome artifact, eminently wearable, and a very exceptional piece of ancient jewelry, a memento of that ancient world which was Rome. The Romans were of course very fond of ornate personal jewelry including bracelets worn both on the forearm and upper arm, brooches, pendants, hair pins, earrings intricate fibulae and belt buckles, and of course, rings. This ring could easily be worn and enjoyed on a daily basis for many, many years to come.

HISTORY OF ANCIENT ROMAN MOESIA:The Roman Province of Moesia was founded around 44 B.C. in an area which is now Serbia and Bulgaria. Ethnically the Moesians were Thracian and Illyrian tribes who had settled in the country of Moesi. Roman history records little about them until during the reign of Augustus. In 75 BC C. Scribonius Curio, proconsul of Macedonia, had taken an army as far as the Danube and gained a victory over the inhabitants. Under Augustus, Marcus Licinius Crassus was sent to bring the native populations under control. He succeeded in conquering the peoples in 30 B.C. Moesia became a Roman Province in 6 A.D.

The relationship between the Roman Empire and the Moesians was a symbiotic one. Rome stimulated agriculture and commerce, raised the standard of living, and encouraged city life. Roman peace provided for the transmission of Greek culture and art. In exchange, the Moesians provided a supply of grain for the Romans. The native inhabitants also supplied men for the defense of the Roman Empire. In the reign of Domitian (85-86 A.D.) the province was split into Moesia Superior and Moesia Inferior. The River Ciabrus (Tsibritsa) served as the boundary between the two. The east coast of Moesia was on the Black (Euxine) Sea.

The Danube River, along with its tributaries, the Drinus (Drina) and the Margus (Morava) Rivers, ran through the province. Moesia was a Roman military stronghold because it lay on the Black Sea and the Danube ran through the province. Moesia's location was on the edge of the Roman Empire, connecting the Roman Procines of Thrace and Pannonia, which was why there existed a significant roman military presence. The Roman Legions posted to Moesia Superior had the main role defending Macedonia and the trade routes between Thrace and Pannonia. The Roman legions posted to Moesia Inferior had a similar role in defending Thrace and the imperial interests at the intersection of the Black Sea and the Danube River.

The main threat to the Roman Legions defending these provinces were the Goths and Germanic tribes, as well as the Scythians and Sarmatians. Moesia never was fully Romanized because there was constant movement of the native tribes. The objective of the Roman Empire was fully to exploit the natural resources that Moesia had to offer. Those natural resources included gold and other minerals. Along with the precious natural resources, Moesia was rich in farmlands. Ti. Plautius Silvanus Aelianus was the first governor (57-67 A.D.) to add to the grain supply of Rome a great quantity of Moesian wheat. In addition to the farmlands, there was a vast amount of pasture land and orchards.

The chief towns of Upper Moesia were Singidunum (Belgrade), Viminacium (Kostolac), Remesiana (Bela Palanka), Bononia (Vidin) and Ratiaria (Archar). Of Lower Moesia: Ulpia (Gigen), Novae (Svishtov), Nicopolis ad Istrum (near the river Jantra), Odessus (Varna) and Tomi (Constanta). The poet Ovid was banished to Tomis in 9 A.D., and lived there until his death in 17 A.D.. Ovid was not fond of Tomis, or Moesia for that matter. He described the inhabitants as barbarians. Most of the disdain in letters was probably exaggerated but he was unhappy about being exiled so far from Rome.

Ovid complained that the farmers could not plow their fields without bringing their weapons into the fields with them such was the seriousness of the threat from the Goths and the Germanic tribes. The ancient city of Tomis is still exists beneath the modern city of Constanza. Archaeological excavations had recovered include statuary (including the god of the Black Sea “Pontus”, and “Glycon” the sheep-headed snake-god), coins, the "Mosaic Building” (a three-story commercial complex which included warehouses filled with intact amphorae, and a large bath house.

In 378 A.D. an army of Visigoths, Ostrogoths, and some non-Germanic Alans defeated the Roman Emperor Valens in a great battle near Adrianople around 378 A.D. setting the stage for the final collapse of the Western Roman Empire. Eventually Moesia passed out of Roman control around 395 A.D. when Emperor Theodosius died. Rome was no longer able to defend the frontier borders, and frequent attacks by the Goths led to the complete disintegration of the province. In the 7th century Slavs and Bulgars entered the country and founded the kingdoms of Serbia and Bulgaria.

ROMAN HISTORY: One of the greatest civilizations of recorded history was the ancient Roman Empire. The Roman civilization, in relative terms the greatest military power in the history of the world, was founded in the 8th century (B.C.) on seven hills alongside Italy’s Tiber River. By the 4th Century (B.C.) the Romans were the dominant power on the Italian Peninsula, having defeated the Etruscans, Celts, Latins, and Greek Italian colonies. In the 3rd Century (B.C.) the Romans conquered Sicily, and in the following century defeated Carthage, and controlled 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 and much of the Near East and Levant (Holy Land) 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.

At its peak, the Roman Empire stretched from Britain in the West, throughout most of Western, Central, and Eastern Europe, and into Asia Minor. 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. The decline was temporarily halted by third century Emperor Diocletian.

In the 4th Century (A.D.) the Roman Empire was split between East and West. The Great Emperor Constantine again managed to temporarily arrest 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.

In the ancient world valuables such as coins and jewelry were commonly buried for safekeeping, and inevitably the owners 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, thousands of years later (occasionally massive) caches of coins and rings are still commonly uncovered throughout Europe and Asia Minor.

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 thousands of years after they were originally hidden by their past owners. And with the liberalization of post-Soviet Eastern Europe, new sources have opened eager to share in these ancient treasures.

HISTORY OF SILVER: After gold, silver is the metal most widely used in jewelry and the most malleable. The oldest silver artifacts found by archaeologists date from ancient Sumeria about 4,000 B.C. At many points in the ancient world, it was actually more costly than gold, particularly in ancient Egypt. Silver is found in native form (i.e., in nuggets), as an alloy with gold (electrum), and in ores containing sulfur, arsenic, antimony or chlorine. Much of the silver originally found in the ancient world was actually a natural alloy of gold and silver (in nugget form) known as “electrum”. The first large-scale silver mines were in Anatolia (ancient Turkey) and Armenia, where as early as 4,000 B.C. silver was extracted from lead ores by means of a complicated process known as “smelting”.

Even then the process was not perfect, as ancient silver does contain trace elements, typically lead, gold, bismuth and other metals, and as much as a third of the silver was left behind in the slag. However measuring the concentrations of the “impurities” in ancient silver can help the forensic jewelry historian in determining the authenticity of classical items. From Turkey and Armenia silver refining technology spread to the rest of Asia Minor and Europe. By about 2,500 B.C. the Babylonians were one of the major refiners of silver. Silver “treasures” recovered by archaeologists from the second and third millenniums demonstrate the high value the ancient Mediterranean and Near East placed upon silver. Some of the richest burials in history uncovered by archaeologists have been from this time frame, that of Queen Puabi of Ur, Sumeria (26th century B.C.); Tutankhamun (14th century B.C.), and the rich Trojan (25th century B.C.) and Mycenaean (18th century B.C.) treasures uncovered by Heinrich Schliemann.

The ancient Egyptians believed that the skin of their gods was composed of gold, and their bones were thought to be of silver. When silver was introduced into Egypt, it probably was more valuable than gold (silver was rarer and more valuable than gold in many Mesoamerican cultures as well). In surviving inventories of valuables, items of silver were listed above those of gold during the Old Kingdom. Jewelry made of silver was almost always thinner than gold pieces, as indicated by the bracelets of the 4th Dynasty (about 2,500 B.C.) Queen Hetephere I, in marked contrast to the extravagance of her heavy gold jewelry. A silver treasure excavated by archaeologists and attributable to the reign of Amenemhat II who ruled during the 12th Dynasty (about 1900 B.C.), contained fine silver items which were actually produced in Crete, by the ancient Minoans.

When the price of silver finally did fall due to more readily available supplies, for at least another thousand years (through at least the 19th dynasty, about 1,200 B.C.) the price of silver seems to have been fixed at half that of gold. Several royal mummies attributable to about 1,000 B.C. were even entombed in solid silver coffins. Around 1,000 B.C. Greek Athenians began producing silver from the Laurium mines, and would supply much of the ancient Mediterranean world with its silver for almost 1,000 years. This ancient source was eventually supplemented around 800 B.C. (and then eventually supplanted) by the massive silver mines found in Spain by the Phoenicians and their colony (and ultimate successors) the Carthaginians (operated in part by Hannibal’s family).

With the defeat of Carthage by Rome, the Romans gained control of these vast deposits, and mined massive amounts of silver from Spain, stripping entire forests regions for timber to fuel smelting operations. In fact, it was not until the Middle Ages that Spain’s silver mines (and her forests) were finally exhausted. Although known during the Copper Age, silver made only rare appearances in jewelry before the classical age. Despite its infrequent use as jewelry however, silver was widely used as coinage due to its softness, brilliant color, and resistance to oxidation. Silver alloyed with gold in the form of “electrum” was coined to produce money around 700 B.C. by the Lydians of present-day Turkey. Having access to silver deposits and being able to mine them played a big role in the classical world. Actual silver coins were first produced in Lydia about 610 B.C., and subsequently in Athens in about 580 B.C.

Many historians have argued that it was the possession and exploitation of the Laurium mines by the Athenians that allowed them to become the most powerful city state in Greece. The Athenians were well aware of the significance of the mining operations to the prosperity of their city, as every citizen had shares in the mines. Enough silver was mined and refined at Laurium to finance the expansion of Athens as a trading and naval power. One estimate is that Laurium produced 160 million ounces of silver, worth six billion dollars today (when silver is by comparison relatively cheap and abundant). As the production of silver from the Laurium mines ultimately diminished, Greek silver production shifted to mines in Macedonia.

Silver coinage played a significant role in the ancient world. Macedonia’s coinage during the reign of Philip II (359-336 B.C.) circulated widely throughout the Hellenic world. His famous son, Alexander the Great (336-323 B.C.), spread the concept of coinage throughout the lands he conquered. For both Philip II and Alexander silver coins became an essential way of paying their armies and meeting other military expenses. They also used coins to make a realistic portrait of the ruler of the country. The Romans also used silver coins to pay their legions. These coins were used for most daily transactions by administrators and traders throughout the empire. Roman silver coins also served as an important means of political propaganda, extolling the virtues of Rome and her emperors, and continued in the Greek tradition of realistic portraiture.

As well, many public works and architectural achievements were also depicted (among them the Coliseum, the Circus Maximus). In addition many important political events were recorded on the coinage. Roman coins depicted the assassination of Julius Caesar, alliances between cities, between emperors, between armies, etc. And many contenders for the throne of Rome are known only through their coinage. Silver was also widely used as ornamental work and in other metal wares. In ancient cultures, especially in Rome, silver was highly prized for the making of plate ware, household utensils, and ornamental work. The stability of Rome’s economy and currency depended primarily on the output of the silver mines in Spain which they had wrested from the Carthaginians.

In fact many historians would say that it was the control of the wealth of these silver mines which enabled Rome to conquer most of the Mediterranean world. When in 55 B.C. the Romans invaded Britain they were quick to discover and exploit the lead-silver deposits there as well. Only six years later they had established many mines and Britain became another major source of silver for the Roman Empire. It is estimated that by the second century A.D., 10,000 tons of Roman silver coins were in circulation within the empire. That’s about 3½ billion silver coins (at the height of the empire, there were over 400 mints throughout the empire producing coinage). That’s ten times the total amount of silver available to Medieval Europe and the Islamic world combined as of about 800 A.D.

Silver later lost its position of dominance to gold, particularly in the chaos following the fall of Rome. Large-scale mining in Spain petered out, and when large-scale silver mining finally resumed four centuries after the fall of Rome, most of the mining activity was in Central Europe. By the time of the European High Middle Ages, silver once again became the principal material used for metal artwork. Huge quantities of silver from the New World also encouraged eager buyers in Europe, and enabled the Spanish to become major players in the late Medieval and Renaissance periods. Unlike the ores in Europe which required laborious extraction and refining methods to result in pure silver, solid silver was frequently found as placer deposits in stream beds in Spain’s “New World” colonies, reportedly in some instances solid slabs weighing as much as 2,500 pounds.

Prior to the discovery of massive silver deposits in the New World, silver had been valued during the Middle Ages at about 10%-15% of the value of gold. In 15th century the price of silver is estimated to have been around $1200 per ounce, based on 2010 dollars. The discovery of massive silver deposits in the New World during the succeeding centuries has caused the price to diminish greatly, falling to only 1-2% of the value of gold. The art of silver work flourished in the Renaissance, finding expression in virtually every imaginable form. Silver was often plated with gold and other decorative materials. Although silver sheets had been used to overlay wood and other metals since ancient Greece, an 18th-century technique of fusing thin silver sheets to copper brought silver goods called Sheffield plate within the reach of most people.

At the same time the use of silver in jewelry making had also started gaining popularity in the 17th century. It was often as support in settings for diamonds and other transparent precious stones, in order to encourage the reflection of light. Silver continued to gain in popularity throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, and by the 20th century competed with gold as the principal metal used in the manufacture of jewelry. Silver has the highest thermal and electrical conductivity of any metal, and one of the highest optical reflectivity values. It has a brilliant metallic luster, is very ductile and malleable, only slightly harder than gold, and is easily worked and polished.

When used in jewelry, silver is commonly alloyed to include 7.5% copper, known as “Sterling Silver”, to increase the hardness and reduce the melting temperature. Silver jewelry may be plated with 99.9% pure ‘Fine Silver’ to increase the shine when polished. It may also be plated with rhodium to prevent tarnish. Virtually all gold, with the exception of 24 carat gold, includes silver. Most gold alloys are primarily composed of only gold and silver. Throughout the history of the ancient world, gemstones were believed capable of curing illness, possessed of valuable metaphysical properties, and to provide protection. Found in Egypt dated 1500 B. C., the "Papyrus Ebers" offered one of most complete therapeutic manuscripts containing prescriptions using gemstones and minerals.

Gemstones were not only valued for their medicinal and protective properties, but also for educational and spiritual enhancement. Precious minerals were likewise considered to have medicinal and “magical” properties in the ancient world. In its pure form silver is non toxic, and when mixed with other elements is used in a wide variety of medicines. Silver ions and silver compounds show a toxic effect on some bacteria, viruses, algae and fungi. Silver was widely used before the advent of antibiotics to prevent and treat infections, silver nitrate being the prevalent form. Silver Iodide was used in babies' eyes upon birth to prevent blinding as the result of bacterial contamination. Silver is still widely used in topical gels and impregnated into bandages because of its wide-spectrum antimicrobial activity.

The recorded use of silver to prevent infection dates to ancient Greece and Rome. Hippocrates, the ancient (5th century B.C.) Greek "father of medicine" wrote that silver had beneficial healing and anti-disease properties. The ancient Phoenicians stored water, wine, and vinegar in silver bottles to prevent spoiling. These uses were “rediscovered” in the Middle Ages, when silver was used for several purposes; such as to disinfect water and food during storage, and also for the treatment of burns and wounds as a wound dressing. The ingestion of colloidal silver was also believed to help restore the body's “electromagnetic balance” to a state of equilibrium, and it was believed to detoxify the liver and spleen. In the 19th century sailors on long ocean voyages would put silver coins in barrels of water and wine to keep the liquid potable. Silver (and gold) foil is also used through the world as a food decoration. Traditional Indian dishes sometimes include the use of decorative silver foil, and in various cultures silver dragée (silver coated sugar balls) are used to decorate cakes, cookies, and other dessert items.

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."