Scarab with Hercle/Herakles and Atlas

Italic, Etruscan
Classical Period
460–400 B.C.


Length: 19 mm (3/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


Jewelry, The Ancient World


Scarabs and scaraboids

Deep, almost opaque, brownish red carnelian. Scarab with a flat, oval base engraved in intaglio; pierced lengthwise. On the left, Hercle/Herakles, frontal except for head in profile, holds up the heavens. He wears a lion skin over his shoulder and a club in his right hand. On the right, a nude Atlas in profile to right harvests apples from a tree around which a three-headed serpent is coiled. An Etruscan inscription “Aril” between Atlas’s leg and the tree. Back carved as a detailed beetle. A hatched line separates the thorax from the elytra. Two joined circles decorate the top of the thorax. Three lines divide the elytra. Winglets represented as chevrons. Detailed legs with spined front legs. Plinth decorated with a tongue pattern. Small chip is missing from the beetle head.


By date unknown: with Edward Perry Warren (according to Warren's records this piece was originally purchased by A. J. Evans in Naples, but its provenience is unknown); 1898: purchased by MFA from Edward Perry Warren for $ 69,618.13 (this figure is the total price for MFA 98.641-98.940).

Credit Line

Henry Lillie Pierce Fund