Round gem with lion-headed deity holding a whip and a globe
mid 2nd–3rd century
Length x width: 35.5 x 25 mm (1 3/8 x 1 in.)
Medium or Technique
Anne and Blake Ireland Gallery (Gallery 210A)
Intaglio. A male solar deity with a human body and a lion’s head. Seven rays project from the lion head. He holds a globe in his left hand, and a whip in his right. A cloak (chlamys) is fastened on his right shoulder. The figure is similar to other deities with animal heads that appear on magical gems. The gem is inscribed in Greek on the reverse. The text begins ZETH APHOBE, “Fearless Zeth.” The second and third lines (TWRTHROPS MEWMI TORONPHAWXI) are unintelligible or may be the names of unknown deities. The final lines conclude, “Be gracious to me and my children.” The golden-colored mineral inside the gem, call rutile, is a natural inclusion that looks like thin wires.
By date unknown: with Edward Perry Warren (according to Warren's records: Bought in Smyrna.); December 1901: purchased by MFA from Edward Perry Warren
Museum purchase with funds donated by contribution