1000-1500 AD, Crusader Period. Beautiful gold ring with a circular hoop and flattened, discoid bezel bearing an incised Maltese cross within a dashed circle. The Cross, the principal symbol of Christianity, recalls the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the redeeming benefits of his Passion and death. The cross is thus a sign both of Christ himself and of the faith of Christians. The cross that the Crusaders wore on their robes was a symbol of martyrdom, and to die in combat was considered a great honour that assured a place in heaven. The Crusades were military expeditions, beginning in the late 11th century, that were organized by western European Christians in response to centuries of Muslim wars of expansion in the Holy Lands. People of all social classes took place in the Crusades, from heavily armed knights to humble peasants using improvised weapons, all in pursuit of salvation in the afterlife. This ring may have belonged to one such crusader, perhaps a knight, as a mark of his status. The elegance of this particular item also means that it may have belonged to a member of the Knights Templar, an elite Catholic military order founded in AD 1119 with the aim of defending the newly reconquered Holy Land.
Excellent condition; wearable.
Size: UK: P, US: 7 1/2
Provenance: Property of L.C. .previously in a collection formed on the UK/International art market in the 1980s.