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A ROMAN HAEMATITE MAGICAL AMULET
A ROMAN HAEMATITE MAGICAL AMULET

CIRCA 4TH-5TH CENTURY A.D.

Details
A ROMAN HAEMATITE MAGICAL AMULET CIRCA 4TH-5TH CENTURY A.D. The obverse engraved with a horseman wearing a tunic, riding to the right, preparing to trample and spear a prostrate female figure, her legs bent and her arms raised to ward off the blow, a star in front of the horseman's face, a Greek inscription and dashes framing the scene, probably reading "Solomon"; the reverse inscribed in three lines, with the sign for Chnoubis below 1 5/16 in. (3.3 cm.) long
Provenance
London Art Market, 1994.

Lot Essay

For a nearly identical example with the same obverse and reverse see no. 511 in Henig, Classical Gems, Ancient and Modern Intaglios and Cameos in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. Henig informs that the origin of this iconography is complex and obscure. It seems likely that the original source for the horseman was the Thracian rider-god who was later assimilated in Egypt as the cavalier Heron. In the Judaeo-Christian tradition, the rider becomes the magician, King Solomon (and identified as such by inscriptions on the gems), who wields authority over demons, in this case taking the form of a woman, probably the evil Lilith.

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