Oval gem with Venus Victrix

Imperial Period
1st–2nd century A.D.


Length: 12 mm (1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


Jewelry, The Ancient World



Brownish-orange carnelian (also called sard). Intaglio. Flat front, slightly convex back with deep inward back bezel. Venus stands in three-quarter view facing right, her back to the viewer and her face in profile. Her right leg is drawn behind her, and her left elbow rests on a pillar. She is draped around the hips with exposed buttocks; the drapery sweeps up under her elbow and hangs from a knot . A crested helmet is held outstretched in her right hand, and a lance is cradled in her left arm. A shield rests on the floor behind her feet where, in the field, an ant holds a kernel of grain in its jaws. In front of Venus sits an unidentified object, perhaps a low stand or tripod supporting a vessel. There is a groundline. The gem is chipped at the back of the goddess’s head.


By date unknown: Alexander Cochrane Collection; gift of Alexander Cochrane to MFA, August 1, 1918

Credit Line

Gift of Alexander Cochrane