Description & Technical information

The stirrup-shaped ring with broad hoop semi-circular in section and flat circular bezel is engraved in intaglio with the figure of a draped maiden standing in left profile within a hatched border. Shown wearing a belted chiton, with a ribbon tied around her left wrist, and her hair pulled back in a so-called 'melon-coiffure', she leans against a column whilst offering a wreath in her outstretched right hand.

It is possible that this is a depiction of Nike Apteros, or wingless Nike, whose statue stood in the Temple of Nike on the Acropolis in Athens as a symbol of her permanent presence in the city - and hence also of Athens' continued military prominence. However, although the goddess is typically shown holding a victory wreath, such an identification cannot be certain here. It is just as likely that this is a mortal woman and that the ambiguity of goddess and maiden was deliberate, perhaps referencing victory in love rather than in battle.

Ring size: I

Period:  Antiquity
Origin:  Greece
Medium: gold
Provenance: Collection of the Forbeses of Pitsligo, Scotland

One of the Forbeses brought the ring back to Fettercairn House when he returned from a Grand Tour in the late 18th/early 19th century
Categories: Classical & Egyptian antiquities, Jewellery