Oval gem with head of Medusa

Imperial Period
2nd or 3rd century A.D.

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


Jewelry, The Ancient World



Red jasper. Intaglio. The head of Medusa with small wings growing over the forehead; two snakes entwine around them and are interlaced above, with confronted heads (as in some forms of the cadeceus of Hermes). Four other snakes dangled about the face. Inscribed in Greek on the reverse with a binding curse designed to silence an enemy or rival, “Gorgon. Achilles, son of Alius, son of Taurus; Ioulis: if they talk, let them not be believed by Alexios! Chnoubis!”


By date unknown: Mr. and Mrs. Charles P. Gorely, Jr. Collection; by 1997: with Skinner, Inc., Boston; purchased on behalf of MFA by Yvonne Markovitz at Skinner Inc. auction 1803, Boston, September 23, 1997, lot 15; October 1997: repayment to Yvonne Markovitz by MFA; accessioned by MFA, October 22, 1997

Credit Line

Benjamin and Lucy Rowland Fund