Round gem with lion-headed deity holding a whip and a globe

Roman
Imperial Period
mid 2nd–3rd century


Dimensions

Length x width: 35.5 x 25 mm (1 3/8 x 1 in.)

Accession Number

01.7556

Medium or Technique

Rock crystal

On View

Anne and Blake Ireland Gallery (Gallery 210A)

Collections

Jewelry, The Ancient World

Classifications

Gems

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.

Provenance

By date unknown: with Edward Perry Warren (according to Warren's records: Bought in Smyrna.); December 1901: purchased by MFA from Edward Perry Warren

Credit Line

Museum purchase with funds donated by contribution