Intaglio with a crab

Greek or Roman
Roman Imperial
100–300 AD


Length: 7 mm (1/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Burnt carnelian

Not On View


Jewelry, The Ancient World



Crab, seen from above. Ancient texts and magical inscriptions show that the crab was used to protect against and heal the sting or bite of venomous animals such as scorpions and serpents; the symbol can also refer to the astrological sign. Such amulets are extremely common and found all over the Mediterranean.

Small chip on lower edge. Reddish brown carnelian (burnt?), sub-oval intaglio with convex front and beveled edge.


By date unknown: Burton Y. Berry Collection; gift of Burton Y. Berry to MFA, November 8, 1972

Credit Line

Gift of Burton Y. Berry