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Roman Silver Denarius Coin Empress Otacilia Severa + Chastity Goddess Pudicitia $119.99


For Customers outside of USA

Silver Roman Denarius of Empress Marcia Otacilia Severa, Struck During the Reign of her Husband, Roman Emper “Philip the Arab”, with a Reverse Depicting the Goddess (of Chastity and Modesty) “Pudicitia” (Greek “Aidos”); 244-246 A.D.

OBVERSE INSCRIPTION: MARCIA OTACIL SEVERA AVG.

OBVERSE DEPICTION: The bust of Empress Otacilia, right, draped, diademed.

REVERSE INSCRIPTION: PVDICITIA AVG.

REVERSE DEPICTION: The Goddess Pudicitia seated left, in a Curule throne, a scepter in one hand, lifting a veil off of her shoulder with the other hand.

ATTRIBUTION: City of Rome Mint between 244 and 246 A.D.

SIZE/MEASUREMENTS:

Diameter: 23 x 21 millimeters.

Weight: 1.64 grams.

NOTE: Coin is mounted free of charge into your choice of pendant settings (shown in sterling silver pendant), and includes a sterling silver chain in your choice of 16", 18", or 20" length, (details below or click here). For a more authentic touch, we also have available handcrafted Greek black leather cords. We can reverse coin in mounting if you prefer opposite side showing front.

DETAIL: This is silver antoninianus (successor to the Roman denarius) produced in the city of Rome itself sometime between 244 and 246 A.D. and it possesses a very handsome portrait of a Roman Empress. It is in reasonably good condition (especially considering it is almost 2,000 years old), evidencing moderate light wear from circulation in ancient Rome. It also evidences light porosity, which is fine surface pitting consequence of being buried for millennia, which is evidenced as slight “fuzziness” to the features of the coin. However the legends and themes remain discernible. It was well struck both front and back the result a little oblong. Nonetheless since the overall size of the planchet (blank) is very generous, albeit thin, the entirety of both the thematic elements as well as the Latin legends were captured. On the whole it is a nice strike, characteristic of the coins of the era in that the coin is a bit misshapen (oblong), but much better than the norm with respect to the fact that it is well centered, and possesses the entirety of both themes and legends. And even though the definition is a little fuzzy, the obverse strike is very handsome. Also quite characteristic of the era, the backside is not quite as well struck inasmuch as the die was fairly worn (generally the reverse dies were used three to four times as long as the obverse dies, and worn dies resulted in coins of lower relief).

The obverse of the coin depicts bust of the Empress Marcia Otacilia Severa, the wife of Roman Emperor Marcus Julius Philippus (“Philip the Arab”). Otacilia is depicted draped; and wearing a diadem. The diadem, or "diadema", was a white fillet or band which bound the temples of kings in antiquity. The head of Bacchus (who in myth invented the diadem), Neptune, Hercules, Victory, and many other divinities appear on coins depicted wearing a diadem. From antiquity the ornament was considered a badge of royalty. However due to it's association with gods, and absolute kingship, the diadem was considered abhorrent during the Roman Republic, and the early emperors of Rome did not wear and were not depicted wearing a diadem. It was not until Constantine the Great that an emperor was depicted wearing a diadem. A depiction (taken from an ancient coin) of Constantine wearing a diadem can be seen here.

The obverse of this specimen bears the legend “MARCIA OTACIL SEVERA AVG”. The legend is a little difficult to read due to the fuzziness caused by the light porosity, but also because the die with which the coin was struck was a bit worn, and the engraved letters of the die would slowly become clogged with little bits of metal detritus, and would eventually require cleaning and/or re-cutting. As the die got closer and closer to the point where the letters were clogged up with detritus, the coins struck would bear legends of diminished definition. The legend of course refers to the Empress’s name, “Marcia Otacil Severa”, “Otacil” being the name of the family to which she was born, the “a” in Otacilia indicating that she was a daughter of the Otacil familia. The suffix “AVG” is an abbreviation for “AVGVSTA”, which translates to “Augusta”. Roman Latin had no “U”; the “V” corresponding to an English “U”. The term “Augusta” is the female version of “Augustus”; Latin for “majestic” (thus the honorific salutation “your majesty”). However the term “Augustus” in the common vernacular of the Roman Empire became synonymous with the Emperor (or Empress).

The first "Augustus" (and first man counted as a Roman Emperor) was Octavius, Julis Caesar’s nephew and heir. Octavian was given the title of Augustus by the Senate in 27 B.C. Over the next forty years, Caesar Augustus literally set the standard by which subsequent Emperors would be recognized, accumulating various offices and powers and making his own name ("Augustus") identifiable with the consolidation of these powers under a single person. Although the name signified nothing in constitutional theory, it was recognized as representing all the powers that Caesar Augustus eventually accumulated. Caesar Augustus also set the standard by which Roman Emperors were named.

The three titles used by the majority of Roman Emperors; “Imperator”, “Caesar”, and “Augustus” were all used personally by Caesar Augustus (he officially styled himself "Imperator Caesar Augustus"). However of the name "Augustus" was unique to the Emperor himself (though the Emperor's mother or wife could bear the name "Augusta"). But others could and did bear the titles "Imperator" and "Caesar". Later usage saw the Emperor adding the additional titles “Pius Felix (“pious and blessed”) and “Invictus” (“unconquered”) in addition to the title “Augustus”). In this usage, by signifying the complete assumption of all Imperial powers, "Augustus" became roughly synonymous with “Emperor” in modern language. As the Roman Empire began splintering, Augustus came to be the title applied to the senior Emperor, while the title “Caesar” came to refer to his “junior” sub-Emperors.

Marcia Otacilia Severa was born into a Patrician family of Senatorial and Consular rank. She was the daughter of “Otacilia Severus”, who had served as the Governor of Pannonia, Moesia, and Macedonia. Her brother Severianus served as the Governor of Lower Pannonia. Otacilia ultimately became the wife of Emperor Philip I “the Arab” (reigned 244-249 A.D.) Philip gained the throne after serving in the Praetorian Guard under Emperor Severus Alexander, and subsequently being appointed to the post of Praetorian Praefect by Severus Alexander’s successor, the young emperor Gordian III.

Within two years after his appointment as Praetorian Praefect, the treacherous Philip engineered the murder of Gordian III, aged 19, while in Mesopotamia on campaign. Philip intimidated the Senate into acknowledging him as Augustus, and then appointed his own son, Philip II as Caesar. In 247 A.D. Philip I elevated his son to the rank of co-Augustus, and moved north to campaign against barbarian tribes on the Danube River. His absence from Rome encouraged a number of usurpers, and in 249 A.D. he was finally forced to engage the rebellious legions of Trajan Decius in battle. The two armies met near Verona, and in the battle Philip was killed, and subsequently his son was killed when Decius and his troops entered Rome.

Otacilia had married Philip about 234 A.D., while he was still merely serving as a member of the Praetorian Guard under the Emperor Severus Alexander. She gave birth to their son Philip II about seven years before Philip I usurped the throne from Gordian III, and is said to have had a daughter as well. An engaging person, and in private her conduct above reproach, she was ambitious, and participated with Philip in the murder of Emperor Gordian III. Despite her complicity in that conspiracy, she presented herself as a Christian, and according to history, was granted a penance by the Bishop of Antioch, Saint Babylas, for her criminal share in the death of the young emperor Gordian III. It was however, by Otacilia's protection that the Christians breathed in peace during the reign of her husband, and by her instruction that her son, a youth of great promise, was brought up and educated as a Christian.

But the death of her husband Philip in the conflict with Trajan Decius, and the horror of having her son slain in her arms by the Praetorian Guard, in whose camp they jointly sought a refuge on the approach of the victorious Trajan Dacius to Rome, caused her to withdraw into private life and into historical obscurity. According to the scant historical accounts which survive of her life after the death of her husband and son, Otacilia passed the remainder of her days in retirement. An ancient portrait of Otacilia may be seen here.

The reverse of this coin features the Goddess “Pudicitia” (known to the ancient Greeks as “Aidos”). The reverse of the coin portrays the Goddess Pudicitia, the mythical personification of the "Roman" virtue of modesty, reverence, respect, and chastity. Her Greek equivalent was Aidos who was a companion of the goddess Nemesis. There are references to her in various early Greek plays, such as Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus, Iphigenia at Aulis by Euripides, and Oedipus Rex by Sophocles. Aidos, as a value, ethos, or quality, was that feeling of reverence or shame which restrains men from wrong. A personification isn’t really a deity or goddess, it is rather a symbol much like the Statue of Liberty symbolizes both America and the abstract concept of freedom and liberty. In Roman context, these are the values at the heart of the Via Romana, “the Roman Way”, and are thought to be those qualities which gave the Roman Republic the moral strength to conquer and civilize the world.

The reverse legend on the coin is “PVDICITIA AVG” (again, the “V” in “Pvdicitia” being the Roman Latin equivalent to our “U”). The “AVG” suffix of the legend would again refer to the Augusta, Otacilia. Together “Pvdicitia AVG” would be an attestation or proclamation of the chastity (or faithfulness) and modesty of the Empress. Romans, both men and women, were expected to uphold the virtue of pudicitia, a complex ideal that was explored by many ancient writers, including Livy, Valerius Maximus, Cicero and Tacitus. Livy describes the legendary figure of Lucretia as the epitome of pudicitia. She is loyal to her husband and is modest, despite her incredible beauty. The story of Lucretia shows that the more virtuous a woman was, the more appealing she was to potential adulterers. Pudicitia was not only a mental attribute but also physical; a person’s appearance was seen as an indicator of their morality. The way a man or woman presented him or herself in public, and the persons they interacted with caused others to pass judgment on their pudicitia.

Typically Pudicitia the goddess was depicted as a matronly figure wearing a veil or heavy clothing, oftentimes seated on a curule throne. In the Roman Republic, and later the Empire, the curule chair (or throne) was the chair upon which senior magistrates or promagistrates were entitled to sit, including dictators, masters of the horse, consuls, praetors, priests of Jupiter, and the curule aediles. In the latter Republic, Caesar the Dictator was entitled to sit upon a curule chair made of gold. The curule chair was traditionally made of ivory; with curved legs forming a wide X; it had no back, and low arms. The chair could be folded, and thus made easily transportable for magisterial and promagesterial commanders in the field. According to the (ancient) Roman Historian Livy the curule chair originated with the Etruscans, though there is evidence that before then it might have originated with Near East potentates.

In coinage the attributes of deified modesty are more closely identified with the person of the Empress. In early Rome, Pudicitia was worshipped in a chapel in Rome exclusively by patrician matrons. In the later imperial epoch, altars in for the worship of Pudicitia were erected in honor of the reigning empress. She was also worshipped in Greece, and at Athens an altar was dedicated to her. At Rome there were also two sanctuaries were dedicated to her. Pudicitia’s cult went out of fashion with the increasing decadence of the Roman Empire.

Your purchase includes, upon request, mounting of this coin in either pendant style “a” or “d” as shown here. Pendant style “a” is a clear, airtight acrylic capsule designed to afford your ancient coin maximum protection from both impact damage and degradation. It is the most “politically correct” mounting. Style “d” is a sterling silver pendant. Either pendant styles include a sterling silver chain (16", 18", or 20"). Upon request, there are also an almost infinite variety of other pendants which might well suit both you and your ancient coin pendant, and include both sterling silver and solid 14kt gold mountings, including those shown here. As well, upon request, we can also make available a huge variety of chains in lengths from 16 to 30 inches, in metals including sterling silver, 14kt gold fill, and solid 14kt gold.

HISTORY: Coins came into being during the seventh century B.C. in Lydia and Ionia, part of the Greek world, and were made from a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver. Each coin blank was heated and struck with a hammer between two engraved dies. Unlike modern coins, they were not uniformly round. Each coin was wonderfully unique. Coinage quickly spread to the island and city states of Western Greece. Alexander the Great (336-323 B.C.) then spread the concept of coinage throughout the lands he conquered. Ancient coins are archaeological treasures from the past. They were buried for safekeeping because of their value and have been slowly uncovered throughout modern history. Oftentimes soldiers the night before battle would bury their coins and jewelry, hoping and believing that they would live long enough to recover them, and to return to their family. Killed in battle, these little treasure hoards remain until today scattered throughout Western and Eastern Europe, even into the Levant and Persia.

As well, everyone from merchants to housewives found the safest place to keep their savings was buried in a pot, or in some other secretive location. If they met an unexpected end, the whereabouts of the merchants trade goods or the household’s sugar jar money might never be known. Recently a commercial excavation for a new building foundation in London unearthed a Roman mosaic floor. When archaeologists removed the floor, they found 7,000 silver denarii secreted beneath the floor. Even the Roman mints buried their produce. There were over 300 mints in the Roman Empire striking coinage. Hoards of as many as 40,000 coins have been found in a single location near these ancient sites. Ancient coins reflect the artistic, political, religious, and economic themes of their times. The acquisition of ancient coins is a unique opportunity to collect art which has been appreciated throughout the centuries.

Coins of the Roman Empire most frequently depicted the Emperor on the front of the coins, and were issued in gold, silver, and bronze. The imperial family was also frequently depicted on the coinage, and, in some cases, coins depicted the progression of an emperor from boyhood through maturity. The reverse side of often served as an important means of political propaganda, frequently extolling the virtues of the emperor or commemorating his victories. Many public works and architectural achievements such as the Coliseum and the Circus Maximus were also depicted. Important political events such as alliances between cities were recorded on coinage. Many usurpers to the throne, otherwise unrecorded in history, are known only through their coins. Interestingly, a visually stunning portrayal of the decline of the Roman Empire is reflected in her coinage. The early Roman bronze coins were the size of a half-dollar. Within 100-150 years those had shrunk to the size of a nickel. And within another 100-150 years, to perhaps half the size of a dime.

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 2,000 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.

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.); Tuankhamun (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. You can Romaan coins which 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 3˝ 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."