Antiquities > Ancient and Medieval Finger Rings

Horus/Harpocrates Lead Amuletic Ring from Caesarea Maritima

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Gert:
These lead rings are known for quite some time (primarily in the trade), but most examples don't have their hoops any more, and end up being misdescribed as 'tesserae' etc. Their imagery and inscriptions would place them into the class of object that we would describe as 'magical'. This image of Horus on the lotus flower is also a common theme on magical gems. These lead rings are usually provenanced to Syria-Palestine and Asia Minor, but - just as the magical hardstone gems - they could conceivably have been in use in the entire Greco-Roman world. In fact, a considerable number of lead amulets, including rings, were described as part of the collection RĂ©camier by Dissard. These were found in the river Saone in Lyon, and you can't get much more western than that. I have just finished a catalogue of Roman lead talismans to appear in the next volume of Koinon. I hope to be able to include these types as well, as they were not known to me. I found 23 different types of lead ring, including the IAW type, but more are bound to appear. The most common artifact type is a simple pendant with a suspension loop (look in V-Drome's gallery to see some examples), but there are also rectangular beads known, inscribed with the same type of legend.
Regards
Gert

v-drome:
Thank you Gert, Shawn, and Joe.  Additional entries to this post are encouraged.  Gert you are, of course, welcome to include any items from my gallery in your project.

Best regards, Jimi

Lead artifact gallery: https://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=3998

Joe Sermarini:
These rings look quite unwearable with an uncomfortable casting seam. Perhaps they were only worn by the dead?

SC:
They do look hard to wear.

Could be for the dead.

Could also be offertory - lead objects often were - which might indicate that normal, and more valuable, rings were once offered but were slowly replaced with lead versions.

Could also have been meant to be worn for a short period.  For example incubation was common in the Near East where a supplicant would spend the night in a temple hoping for a holy revelation while they slept. 

Just guessing but I agree with Joe that they don't seem to be something that would be worn for a long time (at least by the living).

SC

Gert:
I have been wondering about this myself. Could a substance have been applied, now lost, meant to smoothen the inside?
I don't think these were made for the dead. These amulets were used to protect against death (among other things), so that does not seem likely to me. These rings, and the related amulets manufactured as pendants and beads, are clearly related somehow to amulets made from precious stones and metals, so it seems to me that their function and use is also similar, to be worn on the body of the living with a magical purpose.
Regards
Gert

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