Rare Roman Gold Intaglio Ring With Leda And The Swan Myth


C. 100-200 AD. Roman imperial period. A rare gold ring with a circular hoop featuring an elliptical deep green jasper intaglio setting. The intaglio depicts the myth of Leda and the Swan, an important motif in classical art. Leda, a princess from Aetolia, who would later become the queen of Sparta, was carried off by Zeus, king of the gods, in the form of swan. According to a later mythological tradition, their sexual union would lead to the birth of Helen and Polydeuces, two major figures in Greek mythology. This myth therefore encapsulates the origin of the most important myths from the ancient world, for it is the rape of Helen which directly leads to the Trojan War, and the first work of literature in the western world: Homer’s Iliad. This beautiful item may therefore have belonged to an ancient individual, whether a senator or an aristocratic woman, who aimed to make a subtle statement about their sophistication and education.

Excellent condition; wearable.

Size: UK: C US: 1.5

Provenance: Property of a W. L. G.; previously in a collection formed on the UK/International art market in the 1980s.

Back to shop