Pseudo-scarab with Herakles struggling with Nereus or Geras, and Dionysos on the back

Italic, Etruscan
Archaic Period
about 520–500 B.C.

Catalogue Raisonné

Lewes House Gems, no. 035 ter (1920; 2002).


Thickness x Width x length: 0.7 x 1 x 1.3 cm (1/4 x 3/8 x 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


Jewelry, The Ancient World


Scarabs and scaraboids

Translucent, dark red cornelian. Pseudo-scarab with a flat, oval base engraved in intaglio; pierced lengthwise; mounted in a modern gold swivel ring. Herakles, wearing a lion skin and a bow slung over his shoulder, moves to left and graps a bearded, draped man, Nereus or Geras, by the forearm. Behind Herakles stands Athena, wearing a long garment and aegis, holding a spear in her right hand and lifting her other hand with an index finger extended. Behind the older man stands a draped and diademed woman, Doris?, holding a flower bud in her raised left hand. Pellet border stopping at the ground line. Exergue filled with alternately hatched triangles. Back carved as Dionysos, draped in a long chiton with hatched borders and mantle, running to right. He holds a drinking horn (rhyton) in his right hand and in the other a vine branch with grapes and tendrils rising up above his head and falling down his back. Offset plinth. Small chips missing around the plinth.


Purchased in Rome by Arthur Evans (b. 1851 – d. 1941), Oxford; 1919, sold by Evans to Edward Perry Warren (according to J. D. Beazley, The Lewes House Collection of Ancient Gems, no. 35 ter: from the Evans collection; acquired in 1919; originally bought in Rome); April 7, 1921: purchased by MFA from Edward Perry Warren for $ 30,000.00 (this figure is the total purchase price for MFA 21.1193-21.1221)

Credit Line

Francis Bartlett Donation of 1912