Oval gem with head of Medusa

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


Accession Number

1997.174

Medium or Technique

Jasper

Not On View

Collections

Jewelry, The Ancient World

Classifications

Gems

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!”

Provenance

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