The emperor depicted on this gem is likely Pescennius Niger, governor of Syria in A.D. 191 and later proclaimed Emperor by his legions in early 193. His brief reign came to an end when he was defeated and killed by Septimius Severus. Pescennius Niger's likeness is known from coins, and also on a red jasper gem in the Cabinet des Médailles, Paris, (no. 571 in Richter, Engraved Gems of the Romans) where he is identified by an inscription. Our gem displays the same straight short locks at the forehead and the forward curving strands at the end of his beard.