Oval gem with head of Cybele or Tyche
about 200 A.D.
Length: 15 x 10.92 mm (9/16 x 7/16 in.)
Medium or Technique
Not On View
Orange carnelian with a small black spot in the center of the lower third of the gem. Intaglio. Convex front face and flat back face with inward back bezel. The head of a goddess faces in profile to the left. She wears a crown of turreted city walls formed from a series of hatched lines and vertical lines. The goddess’s hair falls in loose curls and is pulled back into a chignon, which is covered by a veil. There is drapery around her thick neck. Her face is full and her features, including her eyelids, are well-defined. She is Cybele, a mother goddess originally from Phrygia whose cult was adopted by the Romans, or Tyche, the goddess of fortune both good and bad. Both were represented wearing a turreted crown. A retrograde Greek inscription runs counterclockwise around the perimeter of the gem, starting at the goddess’s brow, and reading ANTHEOY, “of Antheos.” Antheos was probably the owner of the gem in antiquity. The gem has a relatively large chip on the front face at the bottom which cuts off the goddess’s neck.
By date unknown: with Euripides Sepheriades; purchased by MFA from Euripides Sepheriades, October 17, 1963
Theodora Wilbour Fund in memory of Zoë Wilbour