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Phomidan Art had previously been left almost entirely without 
representatives, from the want of specimens within my reach, but 
the recent discoveries made by General Cesnola in Cyprus have 
amply filled up that deficiency, and now give me many remarkable 
types that serve admirably to illustrate the remarks made in the 
text upon the rise and diffusion of the Glyptic Art upon the shores 
of the Mediterranean. The selected examples are full of instruc- 
tion; their types clearly demonstrate the mingled influences of 
Assyria and Egypt upon the thought of those who wore these gems ; 
of whom the practical genius is put in the strongest light by the 
immense improvement so conspicuous in the technical part of these 
embodiments of borrowed ideas. To the Christian and Gnostic 
classes Fortune has supplied me with many valuable additions 
which, as regards the first, have considerably increased the list of 
these monuments of the early ages of the Church — monuments 
full of interest, but yet so strangely overlooked by all previous 
writers upon gems, until five and twenty years ago when I first 
called attention to them by publishing the very few specimens that 
were at the time accessible to me. Although more than ever con- 
vinced by lengthened experience that the specious fabric of ** Artists' 
Signatures " had its foundation laid in error and was built up to its 
present towering height by Fraud and Credulity going hand in 
hand, yet I have retained my translation of Dr. Brunn's * Catalogue 
of Artists,* for the benefit of the multitude naturally unwilling to 
part with so plecusing a delusion ; as well as of the knowing few 
who have the best of all reasons to shout with Demetrius the 
silversmith, *' Great is Diana of the Ephesians ! " 

*'For sure the pleasure is as great 
In being cheated as to cheat^ 

Trinity College. ^* W* K^ING- 

August 5, 1885. 



Frontispiece, — ^The Marlborough Cameo, long known as " Didius Julian and 
Hanlia Scantilla," but now to be restored to the true originals, Commodus 
and Marcia, for reasons set forth at length in my * Early Christian Numis- 
matics,' p. 363. A recent explanation of the subject, as representing Julian 
the philosopher and Isis, evinces such complete ignorance of the necessary 
conditions of history, and of the Glyptic Art, that it may be passed by with a 
smile. (This drawing is made to the exact size of the cameo.) 

TiUepage. — Victory , advancing, holding out the laurel crown, and in her 
left the palm-branch. Sard, set in a solid gold ring of truly republican 
simplicity. Few relics of the kind possess deeper historic interest than this, 
for it was found in the coffin of a Scipio, and given by Pope Clement XIII. to 
M. Dutens, tutor to Lord Beverley, on their visit to Rome, shortly after 
^e discovery of the burialplace of the Cornelia family. (Alnwick Castle.) 

Page liL— Oladiator's Helmet, with palm-branch on each side instead of 
plume. It has a mzor of novel construction, being in two pieces, the hutUm 
on each showing that they were intended to be slid laterally together so as to 
cover the whole face, leaving only a horizontal aperture for the sight. Car- 
buncle. (S. S. Lewis.) 

Pctge vL — ^Horse feeding, vrith the name of his owner, '' Heraclides." 
Small sard, set in a sUver ring, found at Dover. 

Page ix. — ^Clepsydra : the Dolphin serves for index to a revolving dial. 

Page 3. — A very remarkable type, being the Grecian Hermes in Asiatic 
costume. He wears the Persian gown (candys), and on his head the 
leathern helmet (cidariB) ; were it not for the caduceus and the lotus in his 
hands, and the little wings attached to his ankles, the figure might well pass 
for an Achaemenian Satrap. Before him stands an eagle instead of Hermes' 
regular attribute, the cock. Engraved with great minuteness on the base of 
an octangular cone of sappharine calcedony.' (New York.) 

Pa^e 8. — ^I'he Drunken Hercules steadying himself with one hand placed 
upon his club. Greco-Bactrian work, a most instructive specimen of the 
transition of the bold Hellenic style into Puranic softness. The legend in 
Bactrian Pali (not yet read) doubtless gives the owner's name. Intaglio in 
a very fine sard, the history of which illustrates a curious phase in the 
progress of forgery. A cast from the intaglio came into the hands of the 
clever (no longer " mild ") Hindoo now so busily at work in supplying the 


demandB of Indian archasologists. He has used it for the type of a solid gold 
ring ; but unaware that the irregularity at the foot was due to the fracture 
of the sard, he has represented the swelling in the wax by a corresponding 
indentation of the gold beasiL I have already seen two such rings, exact 
counterparts of each other, and which have imposed upon collectors of much 
experience Let the rest take warning. (General Pearse.) 

Page 11« — ^The most ancient example of a genuine Hebrew inscription to 
be found on a gem ; being probably as old as the 6lh century of our era. 
The type is the LtUcib, the bunch of palm, olive, and willow, and the 
Esthropp, citron, which are carried by the Jews at the Feast of Tabernacles, 
and therefore are assumed as the national emblem. Of the various readings 
proposed for the rudely cut legend, I prefer that of the celebrated Hebrewist, 
Dr. Ginsberg, who makes it to be " Hillel Rabbi, bar Mosheh," t. 0., the Rabbi 
Hillel, son of Moses. Brown garnet. (Hertz, now British Museum.) 

Page 19. — ^The Five Heroes in council. See pp. 17, 29. 

Page 30. — Frog : the seal-device of '^lecsBnas. If Isaac Taylor be right in 
interpreting his Etruscan name, M/ JiCNE, as Frog-man (analogous to the 
Italian "Ranuccio"), the great statesman had put in his seal a rebus on 
his name, after the so common fashion of his contemporaries. Galcedony 
scarabaBUS. (Praim.) 

Page 33. — ^Lion, pulling down a Bull. The national Phoenician device 
typifying the power of the sun upon the earth. Sard scarabeus. (Praun.) 

Page 37. — Head of Hercules encircled with a wreath of his own tree, 
the poplar. A work in the bold, heavy manner of the Greco-Egyptian 
school. Sard, from the collection of Giovanni di Dimitrio. (New York.) 

Page 70. — A Christian intaglio, of very early date, apparently representing 
the Gall of an Apostle. Christ, whose character is distinctly made known 
by the letters placed in the field above him, is seen, by his gesture, 
summoning a man, who seemingly holds back, whilst another, on the other 
side, appears to be hastening away to do his Master's bidding. 

The mystic meaning of the legend IXeYC will be found explained at p. 74 ; 
but it may be added here, that according to the great authority of Rashi 
(dec. 1105) the "Fish" does not stand for the Messiah himself, but for 
Leviathan, whose flesh is to be served up at the grand feast to be held at his 
coming. Red jasper. (S. S. Lewis.) 

Page 122. — ^Head of the Chinuera : being that of a lion armed with the 
horns of a goat : a condensed expression of the composite figure in that 
monster. The two letters in the field are the begimiing of the owner's name, 
cut short as was the early rule for Grecian signatures. A beautiful example 
of the Asiatic-Greek style. Yellow sard, from the Beckford Cabinet. 

Page 133. — Psyche, stealthily opening the Box of Beauty, intrusted to her 
by Proserpine to carry to Venus. On her so doing, a poisonous vapour issues 
from it which throws her into a death-like swoon. There is extreme 
diversity in the merit of the Poniatowsky Gems ; many being weak in design, 
and vile in execution : others, again, perfect in both respects, as this specimen 
shows, but in conception and treatment totally di£fering from the antique. 
Amethyst. (New York.) 

Page 156. — Elephant, emerging from a snail-shell : one of the cleverest of 


theae fanciful unions of the moBt inconsistent elements : the object of which 
was to surprise. The letters in the field are no more than the owner's 
initials. Sard. (New York.) 

Pttge 100. — ^Antique intaglio of a lion, set in a private seal of the 13th 
century, as may be deduced from the Lombardic lettering of the legend. The 
words " Ira Regia, &c^ refer to a verse of Solomon's : ** The wrath of a king 
is as the roaring of a lion ; " hence we may suppose the jewel to have served for 
talisman to a courtier. Drawn to the actual size. 

P<ige 179. — GKrl, with dishevelled hair, advancing on tip-toe, amidst a 
profusion of floating drapery. This figure has hitherto passed for a Msnad in 
Bacchic £renzy — ^but as she carries none of the indispensable symbols of 
Dionysiac worship, neither the thyrsus nor the ivy-wreath, she can be no 
other than a dancing-girl, Juvenal's "choro (Hditana canoro:" clothed, or 
rather, unclothed, in the transparent loose gauze, which this representation 
shows to have really merited its name of '* Ventus textilis." Plasma of the 
finest quality, and unconmion size. (Praun.) 

Page 200. — Bust of Vahrahran Rei uianshah : upon his tiara is emblazoned 
the symbol known as the Standard of the Empire. Drawn to double the 
size from the masterpiece of Sassanian art, the Devonshire Amethyst. 

Page 282.— The Philoctetes of Bbethus. (Beverley.) 

Page 287.— Head of the Etruscan Jupiter. (Blacas.) 




(Pram Duruy'a ' Hittoire Roiiuiihe.' vii. p. 27.) 





The prophet Enoch has recorded (yiii. 1) that it was Azazyel, the 
chief of the angels who took nnto themselves wives from among 
the daughters of men, who first tanght " the use of stones of every 
valuable and select kind;" and although the ** seventh from 
Adam " is no longer regarded as a canonical authority, yet history 
and archsaology combine to point out the first cradle of the human 
race as the region where originated the notion of applying stones, 
recommended by their beauty of appearance, to tiie purposes of 
personal decoration, and of serving for signets. It is a remarkable 
fact that, whilst the old Greek mythologists have ascribed to some 
particular divinity, or hero of their race, the authorship of almost 
\^ every other useftil or ornamental art, and of the instruments 

employed therein (as of ship-building and of the loom to Pallas, 
of the saw and the auger to Daadalus, of the working in metal 
with the hi^nmer and anvil to Cinyras the Cyprian, of the lathe to 
Theodorus of Samos, <&c.), they should have left unnoticed the 
inventor of the several processes employed by the glyptic art. 
And this neglect is the more surprising, from the art being, 
according to their habits of thought, of such extreme importance, 
and this infinitely more on account of its subservience, during the 
greater part of its flourishing existence, to the uses of public and 
private life, than to the mere gratification of taste and the love of 
the Beautiful. This silence on the part of the Greek mythographers, 
ever ready as they were to claim for their own countrymen the 
credit of every discovery in science or invention in manufacture 
(even when manifestly due to foreigners, and merely naturalised 
and perfected upon Hellenic soil), sufficiently declares both the 
undeniably exotic origin of the art of engraving upon gems, and 

t^u B 


also its comparatively recent introduction into Greece and Italy. 
The negative testimony, too, of Homer npon this point is jnstly 
adduced by Pliny (xxxiii. 4) in proof of the same thing. He 
observes that no mention whatever of signet rings is to be 
discovered amongst that poet*s minute descriptions of ornamental 
jewels, although he particularly specifies ear-rings, necklaces,. and 
hair-cauls, the work of the Olympic court-jeweller, Vulcan. In 
fact, it is apparent that gems, even in their native state, were 
totally unknown to Homer; amber (and possibly pearh^ in the 
solitary instance of Juno's r/xyXi^va, " triple-eyed " ear-rings) are 
the sole materials, besides gold, that enter into the composition of 
his jewelry; and yet he describes it with great exactness, and 
with an evident appreciation of the artistic skill displayed in its 
workmanship; for example, when he vividly pictures to us the 
brooch of Ulysses chased with the group of a hound pulling down 
a '* sorely-panting fawn," '* which all gazed at with wonder to see 
how the two, though formed in gold, seemed, the one barking as he 
throttled the deer, the other, struggling to get loose, kept beating 
with her fore-feet " (Od. xix. 227). But it is a truth that the real 
precious stones were till long after but little known to the Greeks, 
before, first, Asia was opened up to them by their intercourse, both 
hostile and amicable, with the Persians, and subsequently by the 
conquests of Alexander. 

Again, a still more convincing proof that signets were not in use 
with the Greeks in the Homeric age, is that whenever the poet 
has occasion to speak of the securing of treasures, that end is 
always effected by the means of an artfully-tied knot, the unfastening 
of which is only understood by its maker ; not by the imposition of 
a seal, in after times the regular substitute for a lock amongst both 
Greeks and Bomans. Furthermore, the treacherous letter carried 
by Bellerophon to lobates has no seal upon it that is mentioned, it 
is simply called '* a folded tablet ; " and, again, when the heroes 
cast lots, before the duel with Hector, it is done with marked 
sticks, and not with the signet-ring of each, which became the 
established method after the latter ornament had come into 
general use. 

Later poets, indeed, transfer to the Heroic ages the customs of 
their own times ; the dread of an anachronism being a feeling of 
purely modem growth. Sophocles, for example, makes Electra 
recognise her brother Orestes upon his producing the signet of his 
father Agamemnon : 

•* Art thou then be ? " *< Cast but thino eye on this, 
My father's seat, and learn if I speak trath.*' 


And similarly the Theaeus of Euripides exclaima, on beholding 
Fhsdnt's aoouaing letter, discovered by him upon her corpse, — 

Bnt the Athenian poets, asjnst remarked, never troubled themselves 
abont archteological accnracy. In fact. Leasing, in his dissertation 
upon the famous " Bing of Polycrates," boldly maintains that the 
Greeks did not begin to wear signet-rings at all before the date of 
the Feloponnesian War (b.c. 431). In this he is probably correct, 
if his dictum be restricted, in our sense of the word, to ^e octtial 
riitg, containing the engraved gem, the true signet, a^ipayis. For 
had it been a regular fashion with his countrymen, at the time 
-when Herodotus flourished, to wear the engraved stone set in a 
ring upon Hi.'b finger, that observant traveller would have noticed 
as a striking peculiarity in the Babylonian customs (fond as he 
was of putting down such like contraventions of Grecian manners) 
their mode of wearing the signet, "which every man there 
possessed," by means of a string suspended from the wnat or noci. 
His silence on this point proves that he passed the &shion over 
unnoticed, as a matter of course, and familiar to him at home. 



But if from Greece we turn to Asia, signets appear as far back 
as historic records extend, holding a highly-important place in the 
usages of the most antique amongst civilized nations, the Assyrians 
and the Egyptians. We find the signet of Judah the Syrian 
pledged as a security for a promised payment; that of King 
Pharaoh given to Joseph as a badge of his investiture with 
vicarious authority ; the treasure-chamber of Rhampsinitus secured 
by the impression of his seal (Herod, ii. 121) ; the temple of Belus 
sealed up with the signet of Darius ; the stone closing in the den 
of liouH and their fellow-prisoner Daniel sealed " with the signet 
of the same king, and with the signet of his nobles," &c. All these 
circumstances declare that this contrivance for securing property 
had been known in the East from time immemorial ; in fact, was 
almost coeval with the very institution of the right of property. 
For it must be remembered that in both these centres of primseval 
civilization, the plastic clay of the two parent rivers, the Tigris 
and the Nile, supplied the inhabitants with the material for almost 
all their requirements — their houses, store-vessels, memorandum- 
books, historical monuments, and, lastly, their coffins. The idea, 
therefore, must naturally have suggested itself to the first 
individual who deposited his property in a closed vessel, that it 
might be protected against pilferers by a plaster of clay laid round 
the junction of the lid, and rolled flat with the joint of a reed. 
Hence the first origin of the perforated cylinder^ of which the bit 
of reed was the true prototype, both as to its form and its mode of 
application, and way of carriage. 

Something analogous to this is to be met with even in Grecian 
usage, and as late as the times of Aristophanes, who makes 
Euripides recommend to suspicious husbands similar nature-signets 
(" worm-eaten bits of wood ") as seals proof against all forgery, to 
which the more elaborate productions of the gem-engraver were 
then so much exposed. From the natural markings upon the reed- 
joint, or the fantajstically perforated wood, employed to impress 
the clay, the transition was easy to some definite device scratched 
around the circumference of the former by the owner, and 
appropriated to himself as his own peculiar mark. This instinct 
of possession extending itself to the assumption of exclusive 
ownership in certain configurations of lines, or rude delineations 
of natural objects, is a universal impulse of man's nature, and one 
found existing amongst all savage nations when first discovered, 


wheresoever the faintest traces of social life aud polity have begun 
to develop themselves. Thus the Red Indian has, besides the mark 
of his tribe, that of the individual (his totem) wherewith to identify 
his own property or the game he may kill. The South Sea 
Islander carries the tattooed pattern (amoco) that distinguishes 
his particular family imprinted in his skin, and also draws the 
same upon his credentials, like a regular coat of arms. 

These simple signets, with their artless carvings, preceded by a 
long space the invention of hieroglyphics, or any other arbitrary 
mode of denoting ideas ; for the earlier Assyrian cylinders present 
nothing but rude human and animal figures, or else religious 
symbols engraved upon them, and never exhibit the cuneiform 
legends that so commonly illustrate the design upon those 
belonging to a more advanced stage of civilization. And yet- 
even this later date is anterior by several generations to the first 
appearance of anything like an engraved gem amongst the nations 
of Europe. Again, if we look towards Egypt, the incredible 
abundance of scarabmi^ formed of terra-cotta glazed, or of a soft 
stone, of the same period with the primitive cylinders, still re* 
maining above ground (and how small a tithe these of the millions 
still buried !), strikingly demonstrates the long-established use, and 
the great importance of the purposes for which they were there 
employed. And this was amongst the inhabitants of the land that 
ever boasted itself the true fountain-head of all ancient civilization. 
In fact, the vast quantities in which scarabsei must have been 
manufactured during the entire continuance of Egyptian indepen- 
dence, has been sagaciously accounted for by a theory founded 
upon an expression of Plato's, in his * Eryxias,' ** in Ethiopia they 
tise engraved stones instead of money,*' that they passed amongst the 
natives as representatives of trifiing values, in lieu of small change 
(larger sums being paid in rings of gold and silver), like the 
earthen and leather tokens of early Home recorded by Suidas, or 
the cowries of our own times amongst the natives of Hindostan. 
And speaking of the latter, by a singular coincidence, these cowries 
are actually manufactured in china at our potteries for exportation 
thither, it having been discovered that the artificial shell can be 
supplied in sujfficient quantities more cheaply than the natural 
one ; another point of analogy to the use above suggested as the 
real object of the terra-cotta scarabasi. 



Thus far, however, we have come upon no traces, in these 
earliest of signets, of the (rue process of gem-engraving, for all the 
designs they bear have been incised by means of some cutting- 
instrument, whether flint or bronze, capable of operating upon a 
comparatively soft material. Herodotus (vii. 69) describes the 
Ethiopian contingent, in the host of Xerxes, as equipped with 
reed-arrows tipped with the stone, sharpened to a point, "by 
means of which they engrave their seals." Arrows, flint-headed, 
found in the mummy-pits certify us of what kind this stone was. 
The first Assyrian cylinders were made of serpentine, green or red ; 
a material recommended by its pleasing colour, susceptibility of 
fine polish, and facility of carving ; the first Egyptian scarab»i are 
in steaschist, a cognate material, and prized for the same qualities, 
or else in glazed terra-cotta. The actual invention of the true art 
of gem-engraving (the incising a gem by means of a drill charged 
with the powder of a harder mineral) is undoubtedly due to the 
seal-cutters of Nineveh, and that at a date shortly preceding the 
times of Urukh; that is as early as the year b.c. 2000. This is 
the era at which cylinders begin to make their appearance in the 
so-called "Hard Stones" (better termed by the French Pierres 
Fines) — onyx, agate, calcedony, crystal — covered with engravings 
executed in precisely the same style with the Archaic Greek 
intagli, and marked by the same minuteness of detail and 
elaborateness of finish. 

The delicate execution of the best engravings referable to this 
period manifests that their authors had already invented the use of 
the diamond-point applied in the manner described by Pliny: 
" These minute splinters [of the crushed diamond] gem-engravers 
greatly value, and mount them in an iron tool ; there being nothing 
so hard that they will not hollow out with facility." And the 
same instrument is distinctly referred to in the most venerable of 
all historical records : " The sin of Israel is written with a pen of 
iron, and with the point of a diamond ; it is graven on the table of 
their hearts " ( Jer. xvii. 1). The passage (evidently allusive to the 
stones of the High Priest's breastplate) is more correctly rendered 
by Jerome : " Stylo ferreo in nngue adamantine : " the adamas of 
those primitive times being beyond all question the corundum, the 
great agent of the Hindoo lapidary to the present day. Amongst 
their works, the signet of Sennacherib (now preserved in the 
British Museum) may be quoted as an example fully justifying 


this iLssertion, for it is made oat of one of the finest substances 
known to the lapidary, the Oriental Amazon-stone; and never- 
theless presents an intaglio that, by the extreme precision and 
complicated detail of its drawing, strikingly declares the perfection 
to which the art had thns early attained: a perfection, too, 
indicative of the long practice of the school capable of such a 
performance. Cylinders of a merit nearly commensurate with this, 
besides a large number of others inferior but still praiseworthy for 
execution, done in the same style and by the same perfected 
process, continued to be produced during the whole succeeding 
period down to the close of the first Persian Empire. The collection 
just cited also possesses the very royal signet of some Darius (it 
may be the identical one that secured the prophet's dungeon), 
engraved in a greenish calcedony, and having for its type the king 
in his car, with the legend, '* I Darius the king," thrice repeated in 
the principal dialects current in his dominions. 


As regards the nuUeriali appropriated to itself by the Glyptic 
Art amongst the Assyrians, it is apparent, from the numerous 
specimens of their jewelry still preserved, that neither this nation 
nor the Egyptians were as yet acquainted with the true " precious 
stones," the exclusive productions of India. The first rank with 
them for rarity as well as for beauty was assigned to the lapis- 
lazuli and the common amethyst; gems supplied to them by the 
veins of their own mountains, or by the beds of the torrents issuing 
therefrom. But of the Tyrian merchant the jewel-casket was far 
more richly furnished, and that, too, at a period anterior to 
Nebuchadnezzar's invasion of his country. The prophet Ezekiel 
calls up before our minds how the merchants of Saba (South 
Arabia) and of Eaema brought to the marts of *'the renowned 
city that was strong in the sea " all manner of spices, of preeioua 
stones^ and of gold." These caravans from South Arabia had 
doubtless brought with them the choicest exports of their Indian 
neighbours; and that these included every species of the true 
precious stones we are assured on the testimony of the evidently 
well-informed Dionysius Feriegetes, writing some eight centuries 
after the times of the prophet. All of them, even including the 
diamond, are named by him as gleaned by the Ariani of Paropamisus 
from the beds of their moimtain streams. The Hebrew poet, in his 


goTgeons piotnre of the Fiinoe of Tynia : " The anointed cherub 
that oovereth — thon that sealest up the som, fall of wisdom, perfect 
in beauty," set him before us as blazing in jewels ; " Thou hast 
been in Eden, the garden of Qod, every precious etone was thy 
DOTering," proceeding to enumerate the sard, topaz, and jasper; 
the oh^solite, onyx, and beryl; the sapphire, carbuncle, and 
emerald. Or as Jerome more truly renders the passage, the Prince 
is termed " signaoulum similitudinis," " the impression (or seal) of 
the Divine image;" he also gives " chrysolithua " (Orietital topaz) 
where oar version has "diamond;" and his authority as to the 
Latin equivalents to the Hebrew terms of the sort is deserving, 
&om the cironmstanoes of his period and opportunities, of the verv 
greatest respect. 

Before quitting the subject of material it may be appropriately 
added here, that in the age of Alexander, the Qreeks already 
possessed (as the descriptive list omnpiled by Tbeophrastas puts 
beyond question) all the true precious stones (except the diamond), 
incloding the rral Indian ruby. Even without his authority the 
inspection of the Etruscan and Greet jewelry, brought to light of 
late years, would tell us as much, for these relics exhibit unmistak- 
able, though minute, specimens of the native ruby, sapphire, and 



The affinity between the Assyrian style of Design and that of 
Archaic Greek Art, as exhibited in all its remains, cannot but 
strike every one who examines each with intelligence. The 
subjects, for example, that decorate the earliest Greek vases, the 
sole existing specimens of the painting of their times, are purely 
Assyrian both in nature and in treatment. They consist entirely 
of sphinxes, gryphons, harpies, and similar composite monsters 
such as were being contemporaneously depicted upon the walls, 
" portrayed in vermilion," of Susa and Persepolis. 

In this branch, therefore, of art, the parentage of the Grecian is 
sufficiently obvious: that of the special subject of this inquiry 
shall be indicated in its proper place. Neither must it be overlooked 
that Pliny, going upon ancient tradition, asserts that Grecian 
«ctt2p/«ra in marble (in contradistinction to the more ancient 
skUuaria in bronze) was invented by Scyllis and Dercyllides, in 
Crete, whilst that island still belonged to the Persian dominions. 
There is therefore nothing to surprise us in the Persepolitan air of 
the Metopes of Selinus, or even in much of the Eginetan marbles. 

It only- remains to be noticed here that the Greek art of vase- 
painting became known to the Etruscans at an early period of 
their establishment in Italy as a distinct, nationality, a fact 
shadowed forth in the legend concerning the two companions of 
Demaratus upon his emigration from Corinth to Tarquinii; they 
were the painter Eugrammos, and the potter Eucheir. Nevertheless 
the Etruscans found it more convenient in general to make use of 
the Grecian manufacture, which may either have been imported as 
an article of commerce through Tarquinii, Ardea, and other 
maritime towns ; or else (a theory serving better to explain certain 
existing facts) the ware was made in the country by a colony of 
Greek potters there domiciled, particularly in the district about 
Vulci. Proportionally few vases, and those in artistic value far 
below the rest, are inscribed with legends in the Etmsian 
language. Such examples, when they do occur, supply a trust- 
worthy criterion for distinguishing between the Greek and the 
Etruscan fabrique. Out of the innumerable vases found at Vulci, 
not more than three (according to E. 0. Miiller) present indubitably 
Etruscan inscriptions; and the total number of such known to 
exist, says Millingen, amounts only to seven. A singular contrast 
this to the lesson taught us by the bronze mhrors, that specially 
national manufacture, whore a true Greek inscription amongst the 


hundreds of Etruscan now collected, would form, if ever discovered, 
a most interesting exception. The Etruscans were the great 
metal-workers of the ancient world, favoured as they were with 
the possession of the inexhaustible copper-mines of Monte Catino. 
Even in the age of Socrates they maintained their pre-eminence 
for the making of gold plate and '* of all bronze vessels required 
either for domestic use or ornament," as his disciple Critias informs 
us in a fragment of a poem preserved by Athenieus. In the latter 
manufacture they continued to compete with Greece long after art 
had been folly perfected there, for Horace alludes to the *' Tyrrhena 
sigilla," or bronze $UUueUe8, as being held in as high estimation by 
the dilettanti of the Augustan age as now by those of our own. 
These, too, were the " Signa Tuscanica " of Pliny, mentioned by 
him as then diffused all over the civilized world. Besides, the 
Etruscan statuaries were capable of the boldest flights ; the same 
author cites their colossus of Apollo, fifty feet high, standing then 
in the Palatine Library ; and is at a loss which most to admire, the 
excellence of the wor^anship or the beauty of the metal. 


But to return to gem-engraving. The Egyptians did not 
generally adopt the improved but more laborious process by that 
time established in the ateliers of Nineveh or Babylon, but 
continued the practice of carving or chiselling out their rude 
hieroglyphics upon the softer materials until the times of the 
Ptolemies. The signets of their kings and great men were 
engraved in gold, those of the commonalty upon the easily-worked 
substances, a fine limestone and steaschists of various colours, and 
in the manner already described. The circumstance that even in 
the age of Theophrastus the best material (okovoi) used in engraving 
gems was still brought all the way from Armenia^ points of itself to 
that quarter as the locality where the use of that agent was first 
discovered and generally adopted by the practitioners of the art. 

This new method of rendering available for signets even the 
" hard stones," although neglected by the Egyptians, was speedily 
taken up by the ingenious Phcenieians^ the allies or tributaries of 
the Assyrian and the Persian kings. In attestation of this, many 
seals are found, Egyptian indeed, in form, being regular scarabeei, 
but purely Phoenician in style and subjects, though of a very early 
date, and bearing also inscriptions in the Semitic character, of 


which that people were the first inventors. There are even some 
cylinders known that, from similar reasons, must be assigned to the 
Phoenician school. Their traders may have diffused the knowledge 
of this as well as of other decorative arts amongst the European 
and insular Greeks. Homer alludes to the Tyrian merchant-ships 
voyaging about amongst the islands of the iBgean sea, and 
trafficking in ornaments and jewelry with their inhabitants. His 
Tyrian captain offers for sale to the Queen of Syra a necklace of 
gold with pendwats in amber; the latter probably carved into 
scarabsai, or such like symbolical figures, as they so frequently 
occur in similar ornaments of the Etruscan ladies (Od. xv. 460). 

The Asiatic Greeks, however, who seem to have flourished as 
independent communities previous to the reign of Croesus (noted 
by Herodotus as the first subjugator of the lonians) learnt this art, 
simultaneously with the Phoenicians, &om their Assyrian neigh- 
bours, to whom they were indebted as pointed out above, for all 
the other arts of design. Like the vase-paintings, the first intagli 
produced amongst the inhabitants of the sea-board of Asia Minor, 
bear the unmistakable impress of a Ninevitish or Babylonian 
origin in their stiffly-drawn, carefully-executed figures of animals ; 
lions or bulls, for the most part, supplying the device for the 
signet of the newly-planted .^Solian or Ionian colonist. And such 
a restriction was to be looked for in this class, for it will be 
observed that the designs upon the scarabsei of the Phoenicians also 
deviate but little from the strict rules of the Assyrian code of art ; 
a point which of late years has been remarkably illustrated by the 
numerous engraved gems brought to light in the cemeteries of 
their most ancient European colony, Tharros in Sardinia. But 
the Phoenicians were an imitative, not an inventive race: thus 
they fabricated jewelry and porcelain ornaments in the Egyptian 
style for the Etruscan trade, copying the hieroglyphics of their 
patterns with precisely the same degree of intelligence as a 
Birmingham manufacturer evinces in his now so fashionable 
carieaJiureB of antique medals. 



From Asia Minor to Oreece Proper the transition of fashion was 
expeditions, and the signet, now for the first time worn mounted 
as 9^ finger-ring^ came into universal favour amongst all the Hellenic 
population. This was a new method for securing the engraved 
stone ; for the original inventors of se€d-engraving had worn and 
continued to wear, down to the very close of their history (even to 
the date of the Arabian conquest), the cylinder or the conical seal 
as the ornament of the bracelet or the necklace. In fact, the 
curious necklace regularly borne by gods and royal personages in 
Assyrian sculptures appears to be entirely made up of cylinders 
separated by round beads. This explanation is supported by the 
practice^ doubtless traditionary, of the Arab women of thus 
utilising, as an adjunct to other beads, all the antique cylinders 
picked up by them in the ruins of Hilleh, EJiorsabad, <fec. ; a 
fashion which, until lately, was the only source supplying 
archaeologists with these interesting relics. This primitive mode 
of carrying about one's signet seems, as the negative testimony of 
Herodotus above quoted shows, to have been in the first instance 
the usual one with the Asiatic Greeks; they had, however, 
modified the shape of the gem into the Bccarabaeid^ an elliptical 
disc convex at the back and perforated through its axis ; a con- 
venient pattern, the mean between the Persian cone and the 
Egyptian scarabsBus. This fashion appears to have been first 
devised and made popular by that practical people the Phoenicians, 
to judge from its general use for signets, whose devices are in their 
national style. Its general adoption by the lonians is established 
by one conclusive example upon a painted vase (figured by 
Yisconti). Jupiter himself appears with his imperial signet thus 
shaped and tied round his wrist with a fine string. 

Mythologists told an ingenious fable to account for the origin 

of the finger-ring. Jove, upon loosing the Titan Prometheus from 

the bonds to which he had been condemned to eternity, obliged 

him €U9 a perpetual penance, as an equivalent to his original 

sentence, to wear for ever upon his finger a link of the chain 

enchased with a fragment of l^e Caucasian rock of torture. Thus 

ornamented, Catullus introduces him at the Wedding of Peleus 

(1. 295). 

" Came wise Prometheus ; on his hand he wore 
The slender symbol of his doom of yore, 
When fettered fast with adamantine chain 
Hong from the craggy steep, he groaned in endless pain/' 


That this invention should be ascribed to Prometheus, a Grecian 
hero, and its designation 8ajcTvX(09« a word of native origin (unlike 
those of many other personal ornaments evidently of a foreign 
root, fjMvidicrfi ^cXXtov, for example), are considerations going far to 
prove that this latest and most permanent fashion was purely an 
innovation of the Greeks. Besides this, we have the express 
statement of Pliny (xxxiii. 4), that the use of the finger-ring was 
introduced amongst the Bomans from Greece. ''E Grecia fuit 
origo unde hie annulorum usus venit." The comparative lateness 
of the fashion is also indicated by the fact that all Greek intagli in 
the Archaic manner are found upon gems shaped as scarabaeids. 
Even actual scarabesi have been discovered in the Greek islands ; 
and although many of these may have been imported by Phoenician 
or Etruscan traders and colonists, yet a few are known of indis- 
putably Hellenic origin. The strange corruption of the commonest 
Greek names to be seen on the most finished works of the Etrtucan 
engraver betrays the efforts of an Oriental tongue to express sounds 
entirely new to it in a novel alphabet, whereas the very rare 
scarabeei in question exhibit the names of their proprietors, written 
according to the correct though antiquated spelling, intended to read 
from right to left on the impresnon — a convincing proof of their very 
early date. Of these, the finest examples are the one with the type 
of a beetle with expanded wings, reading in boldly-cut characters 
AAITN03S>I, discovered by Finlay the historian in a tomb in 
Egina ; and another from the plain of Troy, finely engraved with 
a girl kneeling at a fountain, with the name ZONOMEZ. 

But whatever their nature, signets of some sort or other must 
have been in general use amongst the Greeks 600 years before our 
era ; for, shortly after that date, we find Solon enacting, amongst 
his other laws, that the gem-^ngravera (already, therefore, constitu- 
ting a distinct profession) should not keep by them the copy of 
any signet once sold. The object of this regulation was to prevent 
the fradulent use of another person's seal through the obtaining a 
counterpart of the same from its engraver. About this date also 
Herodotus mentions the famous emerald signet of Polycrates, and the 
celebrity of the man who engraved it, Theodorus the Samian, as a 
jeweller and a worker in metal. It may be remarked here that this 
island, Samos, was the focus of the glyptic art, as far as Greece was 
concerned. According to the records, now lost, to which Apuleius 
had access (Florid, ii. 15), Mnesarchus, the father of Pythagoras 
(b.c. 570), *' amongst the sedentary artists working there, sought 
rather for fame than for riches by engraving gems in the most 
skilful manner." 



The Etruscans, or, as they called themselves, the l{a«efUB, were 
of a race very distinct from the Hellenic, as their language proves, 
which has more analogy to the Armenian than to any other, 
although there is no doubt that Lydia was their latest seat, and 
their ruling family of Ass3nian stock, for the kings styled them- 
selves Sandonidm as the descendants of Sandon^ the Herctdes of the 
Babylonians. Nevertheless, they speedily adopted Hellenic culture 
and art, and that to an extent infinitely greater than any other 
foreign race in those remote times. The cause was due apparently 
to the colony of Felasgic Tyrrhenes, driven out of Southern Lydia 
(Torrhebis), and which settled in Italy around the cities of Ceere 
and Tarquinii. The latter place long maintained its rank as the 
metropolis of the Etruscan confederation, and ever remained the 
principal channel through which Greek civilization flowed into the 
rest of the country, chiefly from Corinth, the city of potters and 
metal-chasers. Besides, the Etruscans acquired much that was 
Hellenic through their intercourse with the Dorian colonies in 
Lower Italy, especially after they had themselves gotten a settle- 
ment at Yultumum and Nola ; as well as, still later, by their direct 
trade with Corinth and Phocaea. 

This wealthy and luxurious nation (infamous on both accounts 
amongst the poor and ever-envious Greeks, as the stories Timasus 
retails about their licentious manners sufficiently indicate) were 
eager to decorate their persons by every means imaginable, and 
consequently were passionate lovers of jeweliy. Froni the earliest 
period of their national existence they gave employment to a 
multitude of engravers in "fine stones." The majority of the 
subjects upon their gems, and particularly those the most archaic 
in. style, are proved by the localities where they are discovered so 
plentifully now, and still more by the strangely-distorted spelling 
of the Greek names in the legends occurring upon some of their 
number, to be beyond all question Etruscan works, and not old 
Greek imported from abroad, as some archsBologists have. endea- 
voured to establish. 

These intagli display the steps by which the art advanced, from 
the production of figures composed entirely by the juxtaposition 
of drill-holes up to those executed in the most elaborate and highly 
finished manner, and which exhibit marked vestiges of the extensive 
employment of the diamond-point. In the highest style attained 
to by the Etruscans, their gem- work combines a wonderful delicacy 


of executjion with a love for violent action and an exaggerated 
drawing of the mnscular parts of the figures introduced — consider- 
ations that often seem to have dictated the choice of the subjects. 

The distinctive character of art amongst the early Greeks and 
the Etruscans cannot be better described than by quoting the 
masterly definition of Winckelmann's when treating of the famous 
Tydeus of Stosch's cabinet (Fierrea OravSes^ p. 348) : — " Camelian. 
Tydeus, one of the seven heroes of the Argive League against 
Thebes, who, having received a wound, is plucking the dart out of 
his right leg; with his name in Etruscan characters 3TVT. If 
the intaglio of the Five Heroes be, as I have stated, the most 
ancient monument of the art in general, this gem is assuredly one 
displa3ring the highest perfection of the same art amongst the 
Etruscans. It is executed with a precision and delicacy which 
yield in no point to the finest Greek engravings. Here we are 
enabled to do more than merely form conjectures as to the state in 
which the art was at that period ; nay, can decide upon it, as it 
were, without risk of error, and by combining the lights furnished 
to us by the other Etruscan monuments, we can determine by the 
means of this figure of Tydeus the character and the peculiarities 
of design among the Etruscans. 

'* The proportions of ihe figure in general are here already estab- 
lished upon the rules of harmony deduced by them from the study 
of Nature in her finest forms ; and the figure is finished and easy 
to quite the same degree as the most beautiful Grecian statues. 
The engraver's profound knowledge of anatomy is everywhere con- 
spicuous, each part is in its own place and is marked out with sure- 
ness; and in truth the subject chosen by the artist was of a 
character to display the entire extent of the study he had pursued 
of Nature. The acute pain felt by Tydeus and the efforts that he 
makes to pull the dart out of his leg demanded an attitude full of 
violence, with all the muscles in motion and under irritation. And 
this was precisely the limit of the skill of the master, who had not 
advanced as yet as far as the notion of Ideal Beauty. In fact, the 
head of Tydeus presents neither nobleness nor elevation of feeling, 
the idea of it is borrowed from ordinary nature. Another defect is 
that by the effort of the artist to show off so ostentatiously the 
whole of his anatomical knowledge, he has become exaggerated 
and stiff; all the parts are too strongly marked ; and though the 
pain by which Tydeus was agitated demanded that the muscles 
should be swollen, yet the bones are too distinctly shovm and the 
joints too loose and strained. To give an idea of all this to such as 
may not have the opportunity of seeing the gem or even the 


impression, I yenture to compare this figure with the drawing of 
M. Angelo : there is the same relation between the manner of onr 
figure with the Greek as between the drawing of M. Angelo and 

fifaele*s. The drawing, however, in this work must not be 
regarded as a personal peculiarity of the artist individually; 
the stif&iess of the outline and the exaggerated rendering of the 
parts was the character of Etruscan art in general. 

*'The arts make their way towards perfection by means of 
exactitude and precision ; but these two qualities are liable to go 
astray wherever they are coupled with the defects I have just 
particularised, and the eagerness of the artist to display his 
knowledge does not always confine itself within the bounds of 
simplicity. The exaggerated style of M. Angelo depends upon these 
causes ; and (not to refer it to the national genius) it was these 
very causes that formed the characteristics of the Etruscan artists. 
Although it be true that amongst the Greeks design only attained 
to its sublime elevation by passing through the same gradations, it 
must be remarked that the circumstances were very different ; by 
the time that the arts were in their fullest perfection in Greece, 
the Etruscans were worn out by continual wars, and at last 
remained subjugated by the Bomans. It is therefore probable 
that even had the manners and form of government among the 
Etruscans been as well adapted to favour the progress of the arts 
as they were among the Greeks, yet the complete perfection of art 
amongst the former people was rendered impracticable, inasmuch 
as its accomplishment was cut short by the fall of their common- 
wealth. Such is the judgment which the examination of this 
intaglio induces us to pass." 

A summary of the remarks of the same great critic upon the 
more complicated design of *• The Five Heroes before Thebes,' will 
render this portion of our subject complete : — " The reader must 
be apprized at starting that this stone is not only the most ancient 
monument of the art of the Etruscans, but also of art in general. 
For the shapes of the characters and the spelling of the words 
differ much from the ordinary Etruscan usage, and approximate 
more to the Pelasgic language, which is regarded by the learned 
as the mother as well of the Etruscan as of the Greek. 

'*In the next place, the engraving is executed with extra- 
ordinary carefulness, and exhibits a degree of finish far beyond 
one's preconceived idea of the productions of so remote a period. 
It is in this respect that it authorises us to judge, on sure grounds, 
of the 'First Manner' of the art of design. In fact, this gem, 
with the Tydeus, comprehends, so to speak, the complete system 


of Etmscan art ; aad the knowledge to be derived from them is 
much more to be relied upon than that famished by the urns 
and painted Taaes which are only the productions of artists. of an 
inferior rank. 

" We discover in the Five Heroes the drawing of a master who 
belonged to a period when the Beautiful was not the primary object 
of art, as neither was it with the Greeks at the date of the earliest 
medals of Syracuse, Messina, Crotona, Athens, and other states, 
which subsequently all distinguished themselves by their inimitable 
coinage. The expression in the heads, which is very commonplace 
and without any individuality, justifies us in forming this judgment. 

** Similarly the due proportions of the bodies were not as yet 
established : we perceive that the heads of our heroes are certainly 
larger than the seventh part of the entire figure. Consequently 
this period was the same one wherein architecture had not attained 
to those elegant proportions in columns that constitute all the 
beauty of them : witness the temples of Pesto, or Girgenti, and 
one of the temples in Attica. Lastly, there did not at that time 
exist any idea of beautiful variety in the grouping : Tydeus and 
Polynices are placed the one next to the other in the same attitude ; 
and the latter, being opposite to Amphiaraus, is seated exactly like 
him without the least variation in the pose. The folds in the 
draperies of Parthenopaeus and Polynices are parallel to one another, 
and of the same thickness — an indubitable characteristic of the 
most ancient style. 

"Nevertheless the artists belonging to that primitive age of 
art very well understood the nuUerial of the human figure ; and 
at least they knew how to draw those portions thereof in which 
nothing is left to the imagination. The feet here are dravm 
with elegance, and the ankle, notwithstanding the minuteness of 
the figures, is indicated upon them without harshness, nay, with 
grace; we even can discern the veins in the arm of Polynices. 
Amphiaraus has his breast protuberant exactly as we see him 
represented in statues in the finest style. 

''The extreme finish of the engraving is likewise a proof that 
skill in the mechanical part of the art reached its perfection long 
before artists had attained to beauty in the drawing — an ob- 
servation applicable to the works of the painters preceding Raffaele, 
for their pictures are very highly finished. This gem, therefore, 
holds the same place amongst other engraved gems that Homer 
does amongst the poets; no collection can boast of possessing 
another monument, in the way of engraving, equally valuable. 
"This gem would supply many illustrations of the science 



of archaeology, but which would overpass the limits which our 
plan obliges us to observe. For instance, the shield of Amphiaraus 
has two grooves in the sides, after the pattern of the shields seen 
upon the medals of Argos, and of the one carved in relief upon the 
ruins of the Temple of Apollo at AmyclsB." 


Bings formed entirely of gold have also been brought to light 
in considerable numbers by recent excavations, having their 
faces engraved or punched out in arabesque figures (^graffiti) of 
an unmistakably Oriental character. In all such there manifests 
itself an aiming at monstrous combinations which clearly points 
to the true scarce whence the artist drew his inspiration — the 
Babylonian or Phoenician works of the same description. Compare 
the Etruscan arabesques, the border-patterns (for example, the 
so-called honeysuckle), the winged deities, and the symbolical 
animals, the harpies, sphinxes, gryphons, — in short, every design 
of the incised ornamentation decorating the Ass3nian bronze 
jpaierm lately discovered, — compare all these with the graffiti on 
either the rings or the mirrors of the Etruscans, and the im- 
mediate derivation of the latter style from Assyria becomes 
incontrovertibly obvious. Through the study of these relics, 
joined to the recognition of Oriental workmanship in all Etruscan 
jewelry, the crowns, bracelets (chiefly discovered about Vuld), &a, 
has the traditional Asiatic origin of the nation, as well as their 
love for personal decoration, so often noticed by ancient writers, 
received in our times the most conspicuous verification. 

Again : if we proceed to consider their acarahsBij more especially 
those whose style betokens an earlier date, these, equally in 
material, form, and taste, point to Asia as the genuine land of 
their nativity. Their favourite stone, the Oriental sard, bears 
testimony, by its very name (from the Persian «ered,) equally 
as decisive as to the country that supplied it. Together with 
the gem, came into Italy the art of engraving upon it ; nay, more, 
the engravers themselves by a continuous immigration. There is 
a striking analogy in the mode of producing the designs upon the 
8carab»i in question by means of unassisted drill-holes, and the 
technique characterising the agate and calcedony cylinders be- 
longing to the Second Period of Assyrian Art. 


These signets, like the Phcenician, retain the form of the Beetle. 
Why both nations should have conceived so peraiatent a partiality 
for that Egyptian fashion can only be a matter for conjecture. 
Bnt it may be that, as the received symbol of the aun, this insect- 
form had recommended itself to the Phcenicians — those exclttsive 
worshippers of that luminary, under the name of Baal : the beetle 
having acquired this honourable distinction amongst the Egyptians 
ftom its habit of forming globes, types of the world, as receptacles 
for its eggs, thus symbolising the creation and its Author 
{Plin. XXX. 30). ^ian, moreover, states that the warrior-caste 
amongst the Egyptians wore heetles in their rings as a badge of 
thoir profession, because the insect typified maidiness, being, 
accnrding to the popular belief, exclusively of the male sex. 
From this notice of .Mian's, Eiihler ingeniously conjectures that 
amongst the Etruscans also this was at first the distinction of the 
military class (as the gold ring was of the Boman Irnighl*) ; and 
upon this hypothesis he proceeds to account for the exclusively 
nmrtial character of the devices — heroes and combats — to be found 
upon the scorabe! that he refers to the most ancient of his three 
classes. If this explanation be the correct one, the shape, in the 
sense of a talisman, survived the fall of Etruria, and even of Bome 
herself; for one, engraved with Hercules at the fountain, had been 
deposited along with his other jewels in the sepulchre of the 
Franlcish king Ghilderic at Toomay, evidently from a lingering 
belief in its prophylactic virtue (Chiflet's ' Anastasis '). 




As for the whjects constituting the signet itself, the majority 
of the scarabffii that come to light (more particularly those whose 
elaborate gold monntings indicate a period of extreme opulence in 
the first owners) hear only the delineations of animals domestic or 
wild, or else the single figures of deities and men. It would seem 
that it was not until after their intercourse with the Greeks had 
been long established, that they began to attempt embodying 
upon the field of the signet the personages and the scenes 
derived immediately from the mythology and poetry of that 
people. This circumstance was the necessary consequence of 
their national origin (which has been already established from 
other considerations) concerning which the ancients were unani- 
mously agreed; that the Basense or ruling caste amongst the 
Etrurians were a civilizing colony from Lydia, who planted 
amongst the rude aborigines of Central Italy arts of luxury 
already flourishing in their former home. Their predecessors, the 
PeUugiy of the same stock, had already founded cities, like Caare, 
there, and speedily became amalgamated with the new comers. 

The colonists of Doric race in the southern parts of the 
peninsula, the flourishing states of Magna Qrecia, seem to have 
adopted from the Etruscans the peculiar form of the sc^urabesus- 
signet, and in all likelihood actually to have first learnt from 
them the art of engraving gems. For Castellani informed me 
that in the innumerable tombs of the earliest Greek colonists 
(notably at Cumae founded a thousand years before our era) 
opened by him in the search for painted vases, he had never 
been able to discover a single engraved gem; nothing else but 
rings, cut as signets, rudely formed in silver. These Dorians, 
in their turn, communicated a tincture of their ovm mythological 
and poetical learning, together with, it is natural to suppose, 
the improvement in design that now becomes conspicuous in 
Etruscan works, the result of their own greater advancement 
in modelling, vase-painting, and sculpture. 

This secondary process of education may possibly explain the 
circumstance, at first sight so puzzling, the apparent contem- 
poraneous production of two classes of scarabeei ; the one extremely 
barbarous, the other most exquisitely finished as regards the intagli 
upon them. This latter restriction is necessary ; for it is indeed a 
remarkable fact that we often meet with large scarabeci of the 


finest sard, in which the beetle itself is modelled with perfect skill, 
and mounted in elaborate and costly settings, whilst their devices 
in intaglio appear to betoken the very infancy of the art. 

The first gem-engraver on record, Mnesarchus^ the father of 
Pythagoras, we have already found practising his art at Samos, 
close to the Lydian coast, before the year b.c. 570 ; and he is said 
by Aristotle (as quoted by Diogenes Laertius) to have been by 
birth a Tyrrhene belonging to one of the islands seized upon by the 
Athenians. This event may be connected with the expulsion of 
the Felasgi from Lemnos (detailed by Herodotus), which took 
place about this period. Mnesarchus, thus driven from home, takes 
refuge in Samos, probably still in the possession of a kindred race. 
In this brief notice of Aristotle's, two important facts for our pur- 
pose are involved : it records a Tyrrhene exercising the profession 
of a gem-engraver, and likewise the causes that dispersed such 
artists, with the rest of their brethren, far and wide over the coasts 
of the Mediterranean ; for his illustrious son, doubtless, according 
to ancient rule, trained up in the paternal trade, subsequently 
establishes himself and philosophy at Metapontum. 


The point next to be considered, namely, the motive dictating 
the choice of the signet-types, may possibly derive some elucidation 
from certain historical conditions already alluded to. The royal 
line of the Asiatic Tyrrhenes called themselves Sandonidae^ which 
patronymic the Greeks rendered by the equivalent fferaclidae, sub- 
stituting, with close accuracy, the Hellenic Heracles for the 
Assyrian Sandon, This tradition is alone enough to account for 
the continual appearance in Etruscan art of that demigod, in a 
semi-Grecised shape, it is true, but retaining his national Assyrian 
weapons, the metal mace (not the more picturesque club assigned 
him by later art) and the bow ; for so he figures more especially 
upon the gems of the earlier times. The Florentines, the 

....** popolo maligno 

Che disceso da Fieaole ab anttquo/* 

preserving the ancestral tradition, still retain Hercules for one of 
the supporters of the City Arms, the other being his lion under 
his strange-sounding, perhaps original, name of Marzocco ; figures 


certainly oontinually repeated, and in much the same relation to 
each other, upon the cylinders of their Assyrian progenitors. 

The origin of the royal line solves the mystery, wherefore the 
lion should have been as great an Etruscan as ho is now a British 
inatituiion^ from the time when Meles, their ancient king, carried 
him — ^the monster-birth of his concubine — around the walls of his 
new-built capital, Sardis, at the bidding of the oracle, so to render 
it impregnable ; why his figure should have crowned the tumulus 
of every Liicumo : should have been the favourite impress for his 
signe^-the finest Etruscan ring known, the Canino (British 
Museum), is modelled into the forms of two lions supporting a 
frame containing a scarabeeus engraved in its turn with a lion re- 
gardant — and finally why " Ewiva Marzocoo I " was the Floren- 
tine war-cry down to the very extinction of the Bepublic. 

One peculiarity difficult to account for, 'although hitherto un- 
noticed by any who have treated of Etruscan art, has arrested 
my attention whilst examining the numerous casts from scarabsei 
which I have had occasion to study whilst investigating this very 
interesting division of my subject. This peculiarity is, the narrow 
limits within which the gem-artists of Etruria have confined their 
choice of things and personages to be engraved upon the scarabaeus, 
and which they never seemed to have overstepped so long as this 
form of the signet continued in fashion. The principal divisions 
under which their subjects fall have therefore been briefly marked 
out in the following attempt at their classification in the order of 
antiquity. I'he question seems one of a certain ulterior importance ; 
for it is not improbable that, by directing the attention of archaeo- 
logists to this point, some valuable results may accrue, bearing 
upon the first colonisation of Italy and the introduction of the arts 
of design into that country. 

The first and by far the largest class of scarabaai with the rude 
designs in drill-work already noticed (and which may safely be 
assumed as the productions of the first ages of the Etruscan 
commonwealth), present the collector with subjects rarely having 
any mythological import, nor attempting representation of an 
event in fable or action requiring the introduction of two figures. 
Fantastic animals, like those on the graffiti^ the gryphons, winged 
lions, <S^., clearly indicate the Eastern origin of tiie notions em- 
bodied on the gems : Fauns busied about some Bacchic ceremony 
(Fauns and Nymphs are spoken of by Evander as the aboriginal 
population of Latium) ; or else Hercules, who figures in works of 
this style, to the almost entire exclusion of other deities and 
heroes — sometimes in the posture of defence, resting on one knee 


and brandishing his club, or letting fly an arrow; sometimes 
rushing forward to the attack, or engaged in the chase, and 
holding aloft some huge beast, the trophy of his success ; or lastly 
(what his worshipper must have thought a favourite amusement of 
the demigod's, to judge from its frequent repetition), floating along 
upon a raft borne up by AmphorBO^ now steering it with his dub 
and holding up an empty wine-skin or bowl to serve for a sail, 
now extended hopelessly drunk upon his back. This last notion 
is a curious one, for it seems to have been imported from the Nile 
(along with the little idols found about Yulci), on whose flood 
rafts thus buoyed up are even now commonly to be seen. Juvenal 
also notices the Tentyrites as accustomed 

** Oq boats of pottery ware to spread the sail 
And push with oars their varnished vessels frail." 

Dionysius, "the Brazen," seems to have had in Tiew these 
bacchanalian voyages of Hercules, in the lines quoted by Atheneus 

*' Some carrying wine, the Bacchic crew increased, 
HowerB of cups, and sat2or« of the feast." 

And the famous voyage of the same hero in the borrowed Cup of 
the Sun, the mystery involved in which tradition was the fertile 
source of discussion with the later mythologists, may perhaps have 
had its origin in the commonplace expedient depicted by the archaic 
engraver. Other scarabeai bear the emblems of his different laboui*R, 
the Nemean lion, and the tripleheaded giant G^ryon; and again 
allusions to his imitator Theseus in the figure of the Minotaur, a 
man with the head only of a bull. 

The rings with hollow faces made out of thin gold-plate, and 
evidently intended as mere ornaments for the finger, not for signets 
(for which their slightness renders them unsuitable), exhibit de* 
vices of a yet more marked Asiatic character, in their fantastic 
monsters and sacred trees, so strongly suggestive of Assyria. As 
none of the graffiti manifest in their designs any influence of Greek 
ideas, they may justly be put down to the account of the original 
Lydian colonists, or their fellow-settlers, the Asiatic Pelasgi. 

But in that other class of scarab»i characterised by the extreme 
finish and minuteness of detail already pointed out as its distinctive 
marks, we meet with pictures of events taken from mythic history 
and represented icb a style that forcibly recalls Pausanias's descrip- 
tion of the same scenes in the ivory bas-reliefs panelling the Coffer 
of Cypselus (Eliac. i. 7). Now if Cypseliis did actually dedicate 


this Coffer (his hiding-place in infancy), and there is little reason to 
doubt the truth of the old tradition, these carvings must have been 
done sometime before b.g. 660, the date of his usurping the supreme 
power at Corinth. He belonged to the indigenous iElolic stock 
(*' being a Lapith and descendant of Cssneus," says Herodotus), and 
the Bacchiad» whose rule he overthrew were the Doric conquerors 
who had changed the original name of the city, Ephyre into 

Amongst the personages upon these gems we remark three as 
principally figuring : Minerva, usually represented with wings and 
occasionally with four (an attribute speaking plainly of an Asiatic 
origin, and always drawn in the stiff manner of the archaic bronzes) ; 
Hermes with his wand, and usually in his character of conductor of 
souls to Hades ; and Hercules, who again supplies nearly as many 
illustrations to the graver as in the foregoing category. But in 
all Etruscan art the demigod does not combat clad in the lion's hide, 
and having for weapon the knotted wild-olive trunk assigned him 
by the Greeks ; he is either nude or wears the customary heroic 
panoply, whilst his armn are purely Asiatic, being the strangely- 
shaped angular bow, and the slender-handled metal mace ending 
in a knob, such as his prototype Sandon wields in his encounters 
with the lion or Minotaur in the Babylonian sculptures. But now 
Hercules figures as the actor in some mythical scene ; in combat 
with Cycnus, or with the Scythian gryphons, or carrying in 
triumph the vulture of Prometheus transfixed by his arrows. 

There seems reason to conjecture that he is so great a favourite 
at this particular period of Etruscan art in consequence of his con- 
nection with Thebes, a city whose primeval history was the in- 
exhaustible source whence the Pelasgian artists drew their ideas. 
A singular confirmation of this is supplied by Virgil (-^n. viii.), 
where he depicts Hercules as the patron god of the first occupants 
of the site of Rome, Evander and his Arcadians : a race who to 
the latest times of Greece boasted of their pure Fclasgic blood. 
And farther, Boeotia is named as the first seat of the Felasgi, who 
were afterwards driven out from thence into the islands of the 
northern ^gean. Besides this, Thebes — sumamed Ogygiae, to mark 
its antiquity — was the earliest centre of civilization in prehistoric 
Greece; and its legends, therefore, had become interwoven. with 
the creed of all the colonists issuing therefrom. Thus upon 
our gems we find Cadmus, her traditional founder, approaching 
the dragon-guarded fount, or sowing in the earth the serpent's 
teeth fated to bring forth his new citizens replacing his de- 
voured Phoenicians. Then succeed in regular series all the events 


of the memorable siege : the chiefs in council ; the brothera in deadly 
conflict ; Tydeus waylaid, wounded ; severing the head of Melan- 
ippus ; Capaneus struck by lightning ; and so forth. 

To the list of the long-celebrated Etruscan masterpieces described 
by Winckelmann (which were the Five Heroes in Council, Theseus 
in the shades, Tydeus purifying himself, Peleus returning from 
the Nereid's cave, and wringing out the brine from his flowing 
locks) may now be added others recently discovered and of fully 
equal excellence, namely: — ^the Hercules striking down Cycnus; 
the seated and pensive Hercules; the same hero opening the 
amphora of Pholus ; the Capaneus, and some others found in the 
environs of Vulci and Chiusi. A very complete collection of these 
later discoveries, both in the perfected and in the more primitive 
styles, and also of the graffiti^ will be found in the ^Impronte 
Gemmarie,' Cent. I., Nos. 1 to 50, and Cent. III., Nos. 1 to 65. 

The classical reader will remark that the above-named subjects 
constitute likewise the main repertory of the early tragedians, 
** Thebes or Pelops' line " supplying them with infinitely a larger 
number of themes than does "the tale of Troy divine." For 
Argos, another centre of civilization which disputed with Thebes 
the priority of date, claiming an Egyptian as the other did a 
Phcenician planter, furnishes, in the story of Bellerophon and the 
Chimera, matter for many of these admirable engravings. Fre- 
quently, too, do we meet with Philoctetes, the companion, and, 
though more rarely, Theseus, the successor of Hercules in the 
task of clearing the earth of monsters and tyrants. Although 
other gods than the three above-mentioned are seldom brought 
upon the scene, yet one of the most perfect compositions in 
this style, commemorating another legend of Thebes, displays 
Jupiter, an aged venerable figure, long robed and with mighty 
wings, descending amidst a shower of lightnings upon the dying 
Semele; whilst a second exhibits Neptune, here a youthful 
beardless divinity (but recognised by his name annexed), tearing 
asunder the rocks which barred the course of the Peneus ; for 
which service the Thessalians worshipped him under the epithet 
of Petmeos. 

All these scenes come out of legends belonging to Greece Proper, 
and of which the date is laid long before the Dorian invasion, when 
these rude restless hordes expelled or enslaved the peaceful indus- 
trious Pelasgi, — ^traditions of whose superiority in the arts of peace, 
particularly in architecture, were long prevalent amongst the 
successors to their territories. And the exiled artisan-people (like 
the Dwar/i amongst the Teutons) equally preserved the memory 


of their birthplace, notices of which perpetually tnm up in the 
early historians. Thus Herodotus (viL 95) describes the JEolians 
of Asia Minor as armed after the Grecian fashion, and named in 
ancient times Pelasgi, according to the tradition of the Greeks. 
Furthermore, he records that the Asiatic lonians had been formerly 
called " the Pelasgi of the Coast," when they occupied the part of 
the Peloponnesus afterwards named Achaia. 

Again, these stories are all of them pre-Homeric : the poems of 
Homer (an Asiatic Greek) were unknown to the primitive inhabi- 
tants of the mainland — perhaps, indeed, not composed when these 
intagli were executed, certainly not before the expulsion of their 
engravers. Moreover, the language of his verse was to them a 
foreign idiom in the times when they wandered forth to occupy 
the coasts of the Mediterranean, 

Traditions of descent from the heroes of the Theban War were 
long kept up in the more ancient Latin towns. The natives of 
Tibur, even in Pliny's age, boasted of their founder Tiburtus as 
being the son of Amphiaraus, the wisest of the Seven Chiefs at the 
memorable Siege (xvi. 87). And Virgil (viii. 600) describes a 
grove near Caere dedicated to Sylvanus by the Pelasgi, "the 
ancient occupants of the Latin soil." 

The frequent repetition of the same incidents, coupled with their 
limited number, affords some grounds for the supposition that such 
were purposely selected as conveying some moral lesson or wartllng 
to the wefirer of the gem embodying them. According to this 
view he would have set before him in the Hercules an example of 
patient endurance ; a moral, indeed, expressly pointed out upon a 
work of later date, " The Bepose of Hercules," by the inscription 
foundation of glorious repose ; " or, again, in his helpless drunk- 
enness a hint against the resistless power of wine that could thus 
overthrow the conqueror of every other force, — an idea elegantly 
turned in the lines inscribed under the statue of the ' Drunken 
Hercules : ' — 

" The all-0ubdaing hero, theme of soDg 
For I^boura Twelve, for might of hody strong, 
Bnrthened with wine as from the feast he reels, 
Soft Bacchos, victor in each memher feels 1 " 

The Philoctetes, serpent-stung in the act of betraying the 
deposit of Hercules, gave a warning how divine vengeance ever 
follows upon the violation of a promise; the Tydeus, wounded 
but unconquored, a pattern of invincible courage disdaining to 
yield to any odds; the Capaneus, struck by Jove's bolt, and 


tumbliug headlong firom the towers he had sworn to scale even 
in despite of heaven, taught a striking lesson against presumption 
and impiety, which again is repeated by the figure of the 
despairing Theseus, fixed eternally upon his iron chair at the 
gates of Hell, thus to atone for his audacious attempt upon the 
consort of Aidoneus. 

Thus far the scarabsei. On the ring-stones, however, the abun- 
dance and extreme refinement of which convincingly proclaim, 
beyond all their other remains, the opulence and the taste of the 
Chreek colonisers of Italy, we find, in addition to these earliest 
portions of the Epic Cycle, scenes unmistakably drawn from Homer, 
and where the meaning is placed beyond all doubt by the inser- 
tion of the names of the actors. Such intagli give us Achilles and 
Ulysses in conference ; the parting of the former from Peleus ; the 
episode of Dolon ; and Hector dragged behind the victor's chariot. 
The Odyssey, however, is the repertory for incidents far more 
largely drawn upon by this class than the Iliad ; the nature of its 
story necessanly rendering it the more popidar of the two with an 
adventurous and maritime people, upon whose coast also the scene 
of many of its incidents is laid. On such intagli, therefore, Ulysses 
perpetually comes in as busied in building his ship on Calypso's 
island and cutting out with his adze the aplusire — the ornament for 
the stem-post — or carrying the bag of ^olus swollen with the 
imprisoned winds, or presenting the bowl of wine to Polyphemus ; 
the Syrens also frequently adorn the works of this same period 
with their graceful figures. 

Now, too, the Argonautic expedition begins to make its events 
visible in the labours of the gem-engraver, few subjects being so 
popular with the Greco-Italians of the time as Argus shaping the 
timbers of the Heroes' bark, or Jason consulting the Pythian 
Oracle, typified by a serpent-encircled column, concerning the 
giuccess of his projected expedition. The legend of Perseus stUl 
continues to inspire many admirable works; and the Gorgon 
appears in all her traditional horrors, as upon the coinage of the 
same date, edways in full face with protruded tongue ; the beauti- 
ful profile of the same monster being the later birth of the more 
refined taste of Greece, that excluded from the domains of art 
everything grotesque or hideous. 

The inscriptions supply strong grounds for the belief that the 
primitive language of the Pelasgi was the earliest form of the iEolic, 
which, mixed with the aboriginal Oscan, became the base of the 
Latin. In the age of Herodotus it had become a tongue whose 
affinity to his own no Greek could recognise : Herodotus expressly 


describing it as *' barbarian," meaning thereby quite foreign. In 
the times of Alexander, the Macedonian language (probably the old 
unchanged Felasgic) could only be understood by the Greeks 
through the medium of an interpreter: a very remarkable but 
hitherto unnoticed fact. This appears from what occurred on the 
trial of Fhilotas, Parmenio's son (Quint. Curt. vi. 9), where Alex- 
ander asks him whether he prefers making his defence in his native 
tongue or in Greek ; and his reply, that, since the king had made 
the accusation in the latter for all the army to hear it, so would he 
defend himself in the same against his charges. And this decision 
the king spitefully construes into a contempt for the national 
language, akin to that he had previously displayed for tKe 
national simplicity of manners. 

The alphabet used upon these gems is very limited, although the 
letters are universally formed with the utmost neatness, and 
microscopic delicacy, often not discernible to the ordinary sight 
without the aid of a magnifying lens. To specify the most obvious 
peculiarities of this alphabet : it possesses but three vowels. A, E, 
V, the last standing for O, O, and Y ; H is merely the sign of aspi- 
ration. D is written for P, and P for n ; A is always inverted, but 
somewhat obliquely, thus V; the vertical stroke of the K is dropped, 
and the angular part becomes the parent of the hard Boman C ; S 
is written 8 reversed. For T, is frequently substituted, always 
so for A, which last character is also replaced by T ; for X a form 
like ^ is invariably used. Here we see at once the source of the 
Latin alphabet, and of its variations from the Ionic Greek which 
became afterwards the universal character, as belonging to the 
language of literature, " adopted by the universal consent of man- 
kind," to use Pliny's words. He remarks (VII. 68) the almost 
exact identity of the ancient Greek alphabet with the modem Latin, 
and quotes in illustration a bronze tablet then in the Imperial 
Palace, in the Library of Minerva, dedicated by " Nausicrates, an 
Athenian," and consequently of Pelasgic race. The scantiness 
of this alphabet is explained by the tradition that only sixteen 
letters were brought by Cadmus into Greece (VII. 57) — a tradition 
that, whether true or false, points to Thebes as the place where 
written characters first came into general use. Another proof of 
the claim of the Ogygian city to her old renown for primeval 
wealth and power is to be found in the fact, that of Thebes alone, 
in Europe, are gold coins of the true archaic character known to 

The legends themselves for the most part read from right to left 
upon the impression, and in this peculiarity corroborate the universal 


tradition as to their Phoenician origin. Occasionally, and upon the 
same stone as in the famous ** Five Heroes," some read in the other di- 
rection ; and Pausanias remarked npon the Coffer of Cypselus (made 
early in the 7th century b.g.), that the descriptive distichs were 
written pavarpoiftrfiov^ i,e. each line running in an opposite direction. 
Thus, upon the above-named celebrated intaglio (the base of a scarab 
found at Perugia), "holding the same place amongst engraved 
gems that Homer does amongst the poets," these peculiarities 
strike us in the spelling of the Heroes' names, and exemplify 
the foregoing remarks upon their alphabet. Amphiaraus is 
written 3aAIT<t>MA; Adrastus, ATDES0E; Parthenopaeus, PAD0A- 
NAPES; Tydeus, BTVT; Polynioes, 30IN4V<t>. As a general rule, 
the final 2 is omitted, and E is used for the O of the last 
syllable ; whilst the limited employment of the vowels, of which 
the short ones are usually dropped, bears another testimony 
to the Semitic origin of this method of writing. Such a distortion 
of names so famous, and so closely interwoven with all the 
historical associations of the people who have thus immortalised 
their ancient bearers by choosing them for the devices of their 
signets, goes far to support the assertion of Herodotus, that the 
few Pelasgians yet existing in his day spoke a barbarian tongue, 
t.e. one not a current dialect of the Greek then in use. But again 
he proves undesignedly that their tongue was not the Etruscan, by 
taking one of his examples from a community dwelling among the 
Tyrrheni; otherwise, what distinction could he have observed 
between the two races of Tyrrhene and Pelasgian settlers? It 
is no wonder that this ancient speech sounded so foreign to the 
ears of Herodotus, that he could not detect in it the parent of his 
own expanded and flowing Ionic : the distortion of classic names, 
the abbreviations, and the substitution of harsh aspirates like 
the O for T would seem to betoken a strong affinity between this 
primeval tongue and the Celtic. 

Another circumstance has struck me connected with these 
inscriptions, that they solely occur upon scarabeei of the very finest 
work, and belonging to the perfected style of Etruscan art : hence 
their rarity, and the vast increase of value added by them to the 
gems BO inscribed. They are never found upon that infinitely 
more numerous class where the rude designs, entirely drill- 
wrought, bespeak the workmanship of a far less civilized race, 
apparently as yet unacquainted with the use of letters, the 
introduction of which into Italy had by constant tradition been 
ascribed to the Pelasgi (Plin. YII. 57). These legended gems, 
therefore (to be distinguished as the Archaic Italiote), present 


us with both Greek art and Greek letters in their primitive form, 
thus illustrating a period in the history of both, preceding by 
some ages the appearance of any coins bearing inscriptions; 
though, in truth, the meagreness of the legends upon the 
Greek mintage, even in its full glory, must often have pro- 
voked every numismatist. As monuments, therefore, of palaeo- 
graphy, they are perhaps of yet more importance than as 
illustrations of the state of art in the age that produced them. 

These considerations will elucidate another anomaly, so un- 
accountable at first sight, and which must have puzzled many a 
classical student, and that is, the strange alteration the names of 
the Greek gods and heroes exhibit in their Latin form— Diana for 
Artemis, Hercules for Heracles, Ulysses for Odysseus, Pollux for 
Polydeuces, but the mode of spelling them (Hercle, Thana, TanatI, 
Ulxe, Polluce) — on these gems, the very ornaments of the Tuscan 
teachers to whom the Roman youths were, in the early times of 
the Bepublic, sent for their education, as in after ages to Greece, 
will explain in a most satisfactory manner the cause of this 
singular transformation.* 

* The analogy between thia language and Latin finds, to me, a convincing 
teatimony in the title V3V LEO, placed over a lion attacked by a hound, an 
excellent work of this kind (Impronte, iii. 58). I have never seen upon these 
gems the purely Etruscan names of the deities, so Celtic in sound, which are 
affixed to their representations on the metal mirrors. This is a natural con- 
sequence of the fact that the Etruscans had gained distinction as workers in 
metals long before the Greeks, and therefore these minors were produced by 
native artists, and adorned with the same designs in outline that had been used for 
their cnriginal and Asiatic gold tablets, though Greek £able now supplied the 
subjecta The Etruscan Vulcan was Sethlans ; Venus, Turan ; Juno, Thalna : 
Bacchus, Pupluns; Jupiter, Tinia, the fire-god (ftom Tan, fire^ Celtic). 
Hermes is written Mercnrius ; Athena, Minerva ; Selene, Losna ; and Artemis, 
Thana. In Losna we see the early form of Luna, the medial S being a character- 
istic of ancient Latin forms; and in the times of Nigidius (Sat i 9), the rustic 
still called the moon lana, to which the D was prefixed for the sake of euphony. 



Gem-engraving, like the cognate art of die-sinking, attained 
to its liighest perfection first in Sicily and Magna Grsecia. 
Greece itself was ever a poor country and distracted by perpetual 
wars and revolutions, whereas the colonies she had sent forth 
were on all sides advancing through commerce or agriculture to 
a degree of opulence now hardly credible. What city of Greece 
Proper, Athens excepted, could vie in wealth and population 
with Syracuse, Velia, Sybaris, or Tarentum? And what bears 
directly upon our subject, in one Dorian colony and that the 
most remote of all, Gyrene, -ZElian particularly notices the 
wonderful multitude and skill of the gem-engravers, and to 
express the ostentation of the inhabitants in this article of 
luxury, adds that the very poorest of them possessed rings 
worth ten minsa (30Z.). Cyprus again is named by Pliny as 
the locality from whence the fame of an engraved emerald had 
reached the ears of the conceited, purse-proud musician Ismenias at 

Many of the finest gems that grace our cabinets manifest, 
by the identity of their style, that they proceed from the same 
hands that cut the dies for the beautiful coinages of the cities 
just mentioned. The graceful "Etruscan border" incloses the 
type upon several mintages of Magna Grsecia, as it does the 
designs upon the contemporaneous signets of the coinless Tyr-- 
rhenes of Upper Italy. After this period the establishment of 
Greek kingdoms in Asia, and the enjoyment of boundless wealth 
in the long accumulated hoards of the Persian kings, conduced 
greatly to the encouragement of this art, pre-eminently the 
handmaid of tasteful opulence. In the generation following 
Alexander, the advance of luxury displaying itself amongst the 
rest in the decoration of the fingers with rings, brought the 
glyptic everywhere to the highest perfection attainable by it in 
its relation to the other branches of creative art. History, how- 
ever, has preserved no name of the celebrities of this period besides 
that of Pyrgoteles, engraver of the Macedonian conqueror's signet. 

It is the opinion of E. O. MtiUer, that although we may 
occasionally trace in gem-works a treatment of form and a 
composition of groups corresponding to those of the sculptures 
of Phidias, yet vastly more numerous are the works of the class 
in which the spirit of the school of Praxiteles manifests itself 


in both these particulars. The observation of Nature, coupled 
with the study of the early masters, which Lysippus intimately 
combined in his practice, led the artists who followed after him to 
many refinements in details (argutim operutn). Thus it is noticed 
that Lysippus arranged the hair more naturally, meaning, it would 
seem, with greater regard to artistic effect. In addition to this, 
the succeeding school of Polycletus devoted their most earnest 
study to the proportions of the human body, in pursuing which 
they were seduced, by their endeavours to exalt Nature (especially 
in the case of portrait statues) beyond human measurement, 
into an exaggerated slendemess of forms, and this was carried to 
a new, totally artificial, system of more attenuated proportions 
in the figure. This system, inaugurated by Euphranor in 
sculpture, by Zeuxis in painting, was first carried out in its 
full harmony by Lysippus, and thenceforward became the dominant 
one in Greek Art. 

Lysippus is said ** to have greatly advanced the art of statuary by 
making the heads of his figures smaller than had been the rule with 
the artists preceding him." " Euphranor," observes Pliny, •• though 
the first to pay any attention to symmetry, was too attenuated in 
his bodies, too big in his heads and joints." Lysippus, on the 
contrary, made the limbs more slender and somewhat less fleshy, 
in order to exaggerate the apparent height of the whole figure 
(Flin. xxxiv. 19, 6). It must, however, be observed that this 
system originated less in a vivid and intimate comprehension of 
Nature (which, in Qreece especially, displays itself with more of 
beauty in such forms as are of a slender make) than out of the 
ambition to elevate the production of Art above the beauty of 
Nature herself. Moreover, in the works of this Alexandrian sdiool 
there already betrays itself that prevailing inclination towards the 
colossal which in the next period of the history of Grecian sculpture 
shows itself as the predominant feeling. 

Pliny's acute criticism upon the style of these statuaries affords 
us the soundest data for determining the periods which produced 
the Greek gem-works that may come under our examination. In 
how many of them belonging to the Archaic period, corresx)onding 
to the flourishing times of Etruria, are we struck by the exaggera- 
tion in the size of the heads and the undue prominence given to 
the joints, and the skeleton-like attenuation of the bodies, that 
betray the epoch of Euphranor ; whilst in the grander and freer 
works of the mature art, with their general slendemess of propor- 
tions, and aiming at loftiness in the figure, the innovations of 
Lysippus are equally conspicuous. 


The Glyptic art indeed was, by its very nature, ancillary to 
Sculpture, and its productions, in order to be effective, are strictly 
tied down by the same rules as a bas-relief in stone or metal. To 
go beyond these limits, and ambitiously to invade the proper pro- 
vince, of Painting, always results in egregious failure, as the over- 
refined works of the Cinque Cento school painfully attest, despite 
the immense practical skill and ingenuity they brought to the 
impossible undertaking. Tet, if we bear in mind that the painting 
of the Greeks was as simple in the rules for composition as was 
Sculpture itself, many gems may be supposed, with the best 
reasons, to preserve to us copies of celebrated pictures, and in the 
same proportion as they confessedly do of world-famous pieces of 
sculpture. In the fine intaglio by Nisus (Orleans) we have trans- 
mitted to us a faithful reduction in miniature of that masterpiece of 
Apelles for which he received the fabulous remuneration of twenty 
talents (nearly one Urn weight) of gold pieces. We recognise in 
the gem all the particulars given by Fliny of his picture in the 
temple at Ephesus, '* Alexander holcUng the thunder-bolt of Jove,*' 
where his fingers seemed to project and the thunder-bolt to stand 
out of the painting. And to return to Sculpture — that greatly 
admired work of the very early statuary Canachus, an Apollo holding 
up a stag by the forefeet, which stood when Fliny described it in 
the DidymsBum at Miletus, has left behind it no other vestige of 
its existence save the tiny sard formerly discovered by me amongst 
the Praun gems. Another intaglio of the same cabinet enables us 
to appreciate the justice of the same critic's' encomium upon that 
piece by Leochares, " the eagle sensible of uihat he is carrying off 
in Ganymede, and to %Dhom he is carrying it, and using his talons 
gently not to hurt the boy through his garments." And in reading 
the poetical Catalogue composed by the ingenious Byzantine 
Chrifftodorus of the sixty-eight masterpieces of Greek statuary in 
bronze, then standing in the Gymnasium of Zeuxippus (shortly 
afterwards destroyed by fire), how many, both groups and single 
figures, upon gems are we enabled to identify firom his accurate 
delineation of their prototypes ! 




** Painting amongst the Greeks was at first divided into two 
schools — the Asiatic and the Helladic." This is an important 
record for the history of our special subject. The existence of the 
former school sufficiently explains the appearance upon vases, 
chasings, and gems, of the strange monsters and fanciful arabesques 
already adverted to as full of the taste of Babylon and Persepolis. 
The Helladic, on the other hand, has left us the stiff drawings — 
eternised in the contemporary gems — of gods and heroes, and scenes 
drawn from mythology and the Epic Cycle, all framed within the 
elaborately engrailed borders popularly known as Etruscan. 

Subsequently the high reputation of Eupompus of Sicyon 
occasioned the subdivision of the Helladic school into three — ^the 
Ionic, Sicyonic, and Attic. The most distinguished pupil of 
Eupompus, Pamphilus, a Macedonian by birth, was also a proficient 
in every branch of learning, especially in arithmetic and geometry, 
without which two sciences he declared that excellence in painting 
was not to be attained. By his influence he brought it about, at 
Sicyon first, and afterwards all over Greece, that the children at 
the public schools should be taught before anything else the art of 
drawing (ffraphicey t. e, sketching in outline) upon a boxwood panel, 
and that this art should be reckoned the first step amongst those 
termed the ^' liberal arts." Indeed such respect had always been 
paid in Greece to painting, that it was exclusively practised by 
persons of free, and afterwards even of noble birth — ^there being a 
standing prohibition against teaching it to slaves ; and this is the 
reason, says Pliny (xxxv. 36, 9), why no works of note exist, either 
in painting or sculpture, executed by one of servile condition. 

Even the severe Romans of the Primitive Republic held this art 
in the highest reverence. The head of the patrician clan, the Fabii, 
gloried in the surname of Ptctor, conferred upon him for having 
decorated with his own hands the Temple of Concord. And later 
Augustus recommended that a deaf and dumb boy, a relative of his, 
Q. Pedius, should be brought up to this profession ; in which the 
youth made great progress, but was cut off at an early age. M. 
Aurelius studied painting under Diognetus ; Alexander Severus, 
that model of a perfect prince, ^' pinxit mire," to use the expression 
of his biographer Lampridius. Even Yalentinian, distinguished 
as he was for his military abilities, added to his other merits in 
the estimation of the honest old soldier Ammian that *' of writing 
a beautiful hand, and modelling in wax and painting with much 


elegance." No wonder that, with such a training, the Bomans so 
well appreciated the artistic value of engraved gems. 

But to return to Greece in its best times. Hippias, the sophist, 
the contemporary of Socrates, is described by Apuleius (Flor, p. 
112, ed. Bipont.) as coming to the Olympic games and boasting 
that everything he wore was manufactured by himself, and at the 
same time perfect in its kind, including his gold ring, which he 
had wrought with his own hands, and the gem in it, which he had 
engraved most artistically and set : " Et annulum in IsBva aureum 
faberrimo signaculo quem ostendebat ipse, ejus annuli et orbiculam 
circulaverat, et palam olauserat, et gemmam insculpserat.*' 


Proceeding now to the epoch of the fall development of the 
Glyptic Art^ under Alexander and his immediate successors : this 
period presents us for the first time with contemporary portraits of 
princes, whose heads begin to replace the national deities upon the 
stone of the signet, as they were doing at the same date upon the 
obverse of the coin. 

From several allusions of classic writers (to be quoted under 
'* Signets") it appears that the official seal of every person of 
importance was, as a rule, the likeness of himself. This fact, to 
give an example, seems implied in Cicero's warning to his brother 
Qnintus, concerning the cautious use of his official seal during his 
government of the province assigned him. "Look upon your 
signet, not as a mere instrument, but as your own 9elf; not as the 
agent of another person's will, but as the attestation of your own." 
The example of this substitution was probably set by Alexander ; 
and the exchange of the god for the king was connected with his 
own assumption of divinity : certain it is, that the first authentic 
portraits of him are those partially deified by the assumption of 
the horn of Ammon. This consideration likewise serves to explain 
the motive for restricting the privilege of engraving the sacred 
features to Pyrgoteles, the first master in the art. This indeed 
is the reason actually assigned by Apuleius (Z. c, p. 118), who 
subjoins, after mentioning the restriction, — " Threatening that if 
any other artist should be discovered to have put his hand to the 
most taered image of the Sovereign, the same punishment should 
be inflicted upon him as was appointed for sacrilege." In fact, it is 
obvious, from their style, that tiie numerous gem-portraits of the hefo 

D 2 


now to be seen are mostly long posterior to his times, and belong 
to the school of the Boman Empire when snch heads were in high 
repute as amulets. And this virtue extended to his likeness 
impressed upon his medals ; as Trebellius, writing in Constantine's 
days, incidentally informs us. 

With this period, also, a new branch of the art — cameo-engraving 
— is first inaugurated. The term signifies work in relief upon 
stones of two or more diflferently-ooloured layers, affording a back- 
ground and a contrast. The word, which first appears in the 
thirteenth century as camdhutumj is usually derived from the 
Syriao chemeia^ "a charm," from the light in which such relics 
were universally considered in those ages by both Orientals and 
Europeans. There may, however, be some truth in Von Hammer's 
conjecture, who makes it the same with camaut^ '*the camel's 
hump," applied metaphorically to anything prominent, and 
therefore to gems in relief, as distinguished from signet-stones. 

The Etruscans had, indeed, made some small attempts in that 
style by carving the backs of scarabaei into figures in relief, but 
these instances are of such extreme rarity, that they may be put out 
of the question. The earliest indubitable example of a true cameo 
possessing the necessary quality of a distinction of colours, the 
date of which can be certainly fixed, is that presenting the heads 
conjoined of Demetrius Soter and his wife Laodice (b.c. 162-150). 
This precious monument of the first days of the invention, though 
inconsiderable in point of magnitude, if compared with similar 
works of Roman date, being only lixl inch in measurement, is 
executed with admirable skill, and the sardonyx of three layers is 
of surpassing beauty. It originally decorated a cabinet made for 
Cardinal Grimani in the sixteenth century, which long stood in 
the 9ala of the Ducal Palace, Venice. The gem was extracted in 
1797, and presented by the municipality to M. Lallemand, the 
French Commissary, who, later, ceded it to the gem-loving 
Empress Josephine. 

Previously to the establishment of Macedonian kingdoms in 
Persia and Bactria, we may infer, from the confused expressions 
of Theophrastus, in speaking of the use of fire in making the 
artificial stones *' which are brought out of Asia," that the special 
material for the cameo, the sardonyx, was but little known to the 
Greeks, and was mistaken by them for an artificial composition of 
the Indian jeweller. 

Thus the art advanced with rapid strides towards its culmina- 
ting point, its practitioners ranking high amongst the artists of 
their times, and their performances deemed not unworthy of being 


Bung by the conrt poets, nay, by kings themselves. Tryphon'B 
Qalene is immortalised hy Addeens, Satyreiua's Artinoe by Diodorus, 
whilst king Polemo bestows an ingenious conceit upon a group of 
seM» eotet which seem alive and browsing, on a green jasper. 
They enjoyed the patronage of the most powerfol monarohB. 
AntiochuB Epiphanea delighted to spend his leiaore hours in the 
aldiert of his artist-goldAmitha and jewellers, greatly to tho 
scand&l of that stiff pedant, Polybins. Uithridates is recorded as 
the founder of the first royal cabinet of gems ; and a treatise upon 
stones (unfortunately no longer extant) was dedicated to bim by 
Zachalias of Babylon. The very nature of the destination of their 
works, to serve the important office of public signets, has, un- 
happily for DB, precluded the engravers from marking them with 
their MTO names, the rule then prevailing in all the other 
departments of creative art. Hence it is that, before the age of 
Augustus, the sole masters belonging to this era of perfection, of 
whom any historical notice is preserved, are, in addition to 
Fyrgoteles, Cronius, and Apollonides, the two already mentioned 
88 enshrined in the Anthology, and the most ancient in the list 
(after Theodorus), Nausias the Athenian, incidentally vilified by 
the orator Lysias, 



It is but natural to suppose that the JBomarw, in the beginning, 
took the Etruscans for their masters in the Glyptic as they are 
known to have done in all the other arts of peace, such as their 
coinage (the «s grave cast, not struck as was the invariable plan 
with the Greeks), their bronze statuary fictile works, and archi- 
tecture. '* Before the building of this temple (of Ceres, embellished 
with paintings and terra-cottas by two renowned Greek masters, 
Demophilus and Gorgasus) both the temples and all their 
ornaments were of Etru9can work, as Yarro states" (Plin. 
XXXV. 45). 

The primitive senator or knight must consequently have adopted 
the searahwfiB for his signet whenever he aspired to the luxury of an 
engraved gem. For the old tradition quoted by Maccrobius from 
the eminent antiquary Ateius Capito, related that, consistently 
with pristine simplicity, their signet-devices were merely cut in 
the metal of their iron rings. In fact, scarabaei often occur in 
which the more recent treatment of the subjects would lead one to 
believe that they date from the later times of the Hepublic. 
Signet-rings, however, seem from the beginning to have occupied 
the place of this primitive form of the seal with the Komans as 
with the first Greek colonists of Southern Italy. Pliny notices, 
that amongst the statues of the kings of Rome, two only — Numa 
and Servius TuUius — were represented as wearing rings. Now 
these statues must have been the work of Etruscan artists and 
contemporary with their originals, it being contrary to all 
probability that the succeeding Hepublic should thus have 
commemorated a detested order. And further, the authorship of 
these regal statues is placed beyond all doubt by the portraits 
(which could only have been derived from them) placed long after 
upon the mintage of the families claiming descent from the most 
venerated of the ancient line. Thus the gens Pomponia assumes 
the head of Numa, the Marcia of Ancus Martins, the Tituria of 
Tatius ; and these heads are in the exact style of the most archaic 
Etruscan statuettes. 

These rings, however, were not set with engraved gems, b.ut had 
the devices cut in the solid metal, whether that were iron or gold. 
But after the use of gold rings as common ornaments had been 
introduced amongst them by the Qreeks^ to follow Pliny's authority 
(those of Sicily, other circumstances would lead us to infer), en- 
graved gems immediately began to be admired and sought after 


for their own sake. This change of taste, which came in towards 
the later ages of the Commonwealth, produced that class of intagli 
so abundantly turned up in the vicinity of Bome, which distinguish 
themselves equally from the Greek as from the Imperial Boman 
by their deeply-cut figures retaining much of the old Etruscsin 
manner, and in other points exhibiting their relationship to their 
predecessors, the scaraba&i of that nation. The most valuable relio 
in this style known to me — for it commemorates an important 
event which, in its turn, furnishes us with the exact date of the 
work — ^is the signet of Q. Cornelius Lupus (Waterton) referring to 
the victory of his kinsman Cornelius Cethegus over the confederate 
Insubres and Caenomani upon the Mincio (b.c. 197). 

Of such intagli many bear traces of having originally been set 
in rings of iron, and liius, as well as by their style, indicate the 
period when engraved gems began to grow popular amongst the 

The taste for these objects of luxury was hardly introduced into 
the Bepublic, than — ^like that for other works of art a little later 
— ^it grew into an ungovernable passion, and was pushed by its 
uoble votaries to the last degree of extravagance. Fliny seriously 
attributes to nothing else the ultimate downfall of the Bepublic ; 
for it was in a quarrel about a ring at a certain auction that the 
feud originated between the famous demagogue Drusus and the 
chiefHBenator CsBpio, which led to the breaking out of the Social 
War, fimd to all its fatal consequences. A jewel this, if I may be 
allowed an expression quite in Fliny*s style, that ought to have 
been dedicated thereafter in some conspicuous place in the temple 
of Nemesis. Julius Caesar, again, was an enthusiastic collector of 
works of art, and of this sort more particularly, for Suetonius (47) 
in describing his tastes, heads the list with them: "G^ms, 
chasings, statues, paintings by the old masters, he always collected 
with the utmost avidity." Seneca relates a singular anecdote of 
this mania of the Dictator. When he gave Pompeius Fennus his 
life — " if not taking away may be called giving " — ^he held out his 
foot for him to kiss in returning thanks, an action that scandalised 
all the beholders, but for which his friends made the excuse that 
it was not done out of arrogance, but merely to show off the fine 
gems with which his boots were studded. He further testified his 
judgment of their importance by dedicating six cabinets of gems 
(dactyliothecaB) in the temple of his patron-goddess Yenus Yictrix 
(Flin. xxxvii. 6) as his great rival had, some years before, done 
with that of Mithridates to the Capitoline Jupiter. 



These. favoTiriteB of the First CsBsar were, it may be inferred 
from the qualification, " antiqui operis/' works due to the eminent 
masters of bygone times who had flourished in Greeoe and Asia ; 
they were in great measure the spoils of Mithridates and the 
Ptolemies. But under Augustus the art was more zealously culti- 
vated than ever, and for the first time found a domicile in Rome. 
It again reached a very high degree of excellence, more particularly 
in the department of portraits, in which indeed lies the great 
strength of the imperial school. Under the enlightened patronage 
of Maecenas, a man as passionately fond of gems as any of his Etrus- 
can ancestry, flourished Diosoorides and a host of others, his 
scholars or his rivals ; all the best hands of Greece in this line 
were now drawn together in the metropolis of the world ; either 
attracted thither as the place offering the most promising field for 
the exercise of their talents, or else conveyed there in the first 
instance as the slaves of those nobles whose family names they 
a43sumed, according to the Boman custom, upon their manumission. 
Augustus himself had inherited the taste of his adoptive father in 
this particular, for an inscription yet extant commemorates one 
Julius Philargyrus by the title of " Keeper of his Cabinet of Gems " 
(libertus a dactyliotheca CsBsaris). Now for the first time (accord- 
ing to the received opinion of archaeologists) was the gem-artist 
permitted to place his name upon his best works, a convincing 
proof of the estimation in which his genius was held, his thus 
being allowed to commemorate himself upon the ornaments of the 
highest personages ! The Greek engravers of the best times had 
contented themselves with the easily-worked though beautiful 
gems of the quartz species — the scml, banded agate, and amethyst 
— as the materials for their art. The Boman, from a false am- 
bition, chose to heighten art by the value of the medium displaying 
it, '^ ut alibi ars, alibi materia esset in pretio," as Fliny hath it, and 
therefore attacked the most precious stones, in spite of their hard- 
ness, — ^the ruby, the sapphire, and the emerald. The Marlborough 
Cabinet boasts of a head of Caracalla in a large and fine sapphire ; 
but nothing in this class approximates in splendour to the signet 
of Constantius (to be particularly described hereafter), also in a 
sapphire, but of the extraordinary weight of fifty-three carats. 
And that masterpiece of Roman portraiture, the Julia of Evodus, 
is engraved in an immense aquamarine, long regarded from its fine 
quality as a priceless emerald. 


'* Valuable data for the history of Boman art, and of equal im- 
portanoe with those derived from the portrait-statues, are supplied," 
observes Muller, '* by these gems. Though Dioscorides was the 
most distinguished engraver in intaglio of that period, still more 
important than the gems now extant under his name is the series 
of oamei that represent the Julian and Claudian families at different 
epochs, and which besides the beauty of the material and its 
skilful employment, deserve admiration upon many other grounds. 
In all the principal works of this kind the same system prevails : 
the representation of these princes as lords of the universe and 
dispensers of its blessings, as present impersonations of the higher 
gods. The drawing is expressive and accurate, although the same 
spirit in the treatment of the forms as in the Ptolemaic camei is 
no longer to be found. On the contrary, in these works as in the 
bas-reliefs upon the triumphal arches, and in many statues of the 
Ceesars, the eye is struck by a peculiar Boman build in the bodies 
that is markedly distinguished from the Greek manner by a 
peculiar hardness of the forms. For example, the body is too long 
in proportion to the extremities, a natural peculiarity still obser- 
vable in the modern Bomans." Now, indeed, commences the 
golden age of camei, whether heads, single figures, or groups, for 
works in this style that can be attributed with certainty to the 
pure Greek period are of the utmost possible rarity. The regular 
commercial intercourse by this time established with the interior 
of Asia, and with the emporia on the coast of India, Baroche, 
Barcellore, and Pultaneh, supplied the special material of the art, 
the sardonyxj in masses of dimensions and of a perfection totally 
unattainable in modem times. Down to Severus inclusive, the 
most meritorious productions of the Boman school consist in the 
cameo-portraits of the emperors and their immediate relations. By 
Pliny's strange and exaggerated parlance, ** the Emperor Claudius 
used to clothe himself (induebat) with emeralds and sardonyx- 
stones,*' the use of such gems as decorations for the dress, and not 
as mere small ring-stones, is plainly intimated. This predilection 
of the pedantic Caesar is a sufficient reason for the existence of so 
large a number of cameo-portraits of himself and his connections. 

Boman art reached its culminating point in this as in all its 
other branches under the zealous and judicious patronage of 
Hadrian, himself an accomplished sculptor, as his contemporary 
Florus records, a proficient too in painting, adds the later 
Spartianus. His taste as regards engraved gems is immortalised 
by the numerous portraits of Antinous which have come down 
to us (amongst which the Marlborough sard takes the lead). 


works that, like the busts in maxble of the same deified beauty, are 
the very first of their kind. It needed not the express testimony 
of Capitolinus to tell us of his private gem-cabinet, the contents 
whereof (^'gemmas e repositorio sanctiore Hadriani") were sold 
by auction, together with all the other valuables of the palace by 
the philosopher M. Aurelius, in order to raise funds for carrying 
on the Marcomannio war. 

Even after the Glyptic art, as far as regards the production of 
fine or even of mediocre tfito^2u>-work, was utterly extinct, the 
branch of cameo-engraving still lingered, and actually revived, 
together with the reviving prosperity of the empire, under 
Constantino's encouragement, so as to give birth to certain very 
important monuments. They are somewhat spiritless, it is true, 
but display unabated mechanical skill in their execution, and 
amongst them the cUiter Triumph of Constantius in the Biehler 
Cabinet may be quoted as the finest example. 


Some notion of the magnifioence of the gem-works in relief 
executed under the first Caesars, and the immense amount of 
talent and of labour expended upon them, may be derived from a 
fuller account of the two chief camei now extant : the " Agathe de 
la Sainte Chapelle," Paris, and the "Gemma Augustea" of the 
Imperial Museum, Vienna. 

The former was included amongst those treasures of real or 
imaginary value — the Crown of Thorns, the swaddling clothes 
of the infant Saviour, &o. — pawned by Baldwin, the last Frankish 
emperor of Constantinople, to St. Louis, for various large sums, 
vainly expended in the defence of his tottering throne. 

Its exact valuation then has not been stated ; but it is believed 
to have been included in the list of the reliquaries of the imperial 
chapel of Byzantium, for which, as seciirity, Baldwin obtained an 
advance of 10,000 marks of silver (6666| pounds troy), or 20,0001., 
a sum equivalent to twenty times that amount in the currency of our 
times. But the pious monarch paid thus high for the sanctity 
of the relics, not for the intrinsic value of their casings : he had 
previously acquired the Crown of Thorns from the royal supplicant, 
singly, for a similar consideration. The cameo was regarded as 
a loan, not as a gift from Louis, to the treasury of the Sainte 
Chapelle, as the term *' bailla," used in the inscription, shows. 


For the oomparison of prioes, it may here be noted that four 
oenturies later, Budolf IL, that truly imperial virtuoso, is reported 
to have acquired the Vienna Cameo at the almost incredible price 
of 12,000 gold ducats (6,0002.) at a time when the artistic and 
mineralogical value of the monument was alone taken into the 

In the year 1343, Philippe YI. sent to Bome to gratify the 
curiosity of the reigning Pope, all the other relics, and " sp^ciale- 
ment un joel appell6 *Le Camahieu,*" in the, charge of the 
treasurer of the Chapelle. 

A replica of this cameo (omitting the lowermost group) exists 
on a fine sardonyx, 3^ by 2^ inches in dimension. It is judged 
by J. C. Eobinson to be a contemporary work, and in the same 
style : a most interesting coincidence, if his judgment be correct, 
for it is much more probable that such a piece is a copy executed 
for Fran9ois I. by some of the skilful Italians in his employ. So 
famous a monument would be amongst the first to excite their 
wonted emulation of the antique. (Now in the possession of 
Heywood Hawkins, of Bignor.) 

The original is described in the ancient inventories as ''Le 
grand Camahieu ; " later as " Le grand Cam6e de la Ste. Chapelle ; " 
or " Agathe de Tib^re." During the whole course of the Middle 
Ages it was understood as representing " the Triumph of Josepli in 
Egypt,*' and was therefore venerated as a most holy relic. It was 
not until 1619 that the learned Peiresc presumed to restore to its 
subject its proper designation, *' the Apotheosis of Augustus." 

In dimensions it far exceeds all other works of the kind (the 
Carpegna excepted), being 30 c. high by 26 c. wide (about 13 x 
11 inches) ; whereas the Gemma Augustea, its superior in point of 
art, is but 21 c. by 18 c. (9 x 8 inches). The former, too, is a 
sardonyx of five layers, the latter of only two, a pure white on a 
transparent ground. 

It is evident, from the arrangement of the design, that the 
artist allowed the stone to retain its native outline, that its 
extraordinary volume might not in the least degree be diminished 
by its reduction to a regular shape. On its deposition in the Ste. 
Chapelle, it served, set in a silver frame, for a cover to a copy of 
the Gospels : the date of which has not been noticed. 

The design is highly allegorical, and therefore susceptible of 
diverse explanation, in what follows, therefore Millin's inter- 
pretation of the groups has been condensed and adopted; with 
occasional modifications, however, in some points where he- has 
obviously mistaken the intention of the designer. 


Oermanicus, the principal erect figure, upon his return from his 
glorious German campaign, is received and adopted by Tiberius 
and Livia, both seated upon the same throne. The emperor holds 
in one hand the sceptre, in the other the lituus, badges of the 
supreme ruler and Pontifex Maximus ; the aegis spread upon his 
lap betokens a time of peace, being no longer required as armour 
for the breast; and he wears a laurel wreath in honour of the 
recent victories. A similar wreath encircles the head of his 
mother Livia, who, depicted in her favourite character of Ceres, 
holds forth a bunch of wheat-ears and poppy-heads, symbol of 
fecundity. Before them stands Germanicus fully armed, as about 
to start upon his second expedition into Asia : he therefore sets 
firmly upon his head the helmet which his mother Antonia 
appears attempting to remove. Behind him stands his wife, 
Agrippina, holding a scroll and leaning upon his shield ; his son 
Caligula, also in full armour, is shown hastening eagerly away to 
the scene of new triumphs. At the back of the throne of Tiberius 
is seen an armed warrior engaged in erecting a trophy, supposed 
by Millin to be Drusus, the emperor's only son. The seated lady 
on a throne, supported by sphinxes, is his wife Livilla, sister to 
Germanicus. A seated and mourning figure, in Asiatic attire, 
typifies Armenia soliciting the Boman aid against her Parthian 

The entire space, or exergue, below the central group is filled up 
with barbarian captives seated in attitudes of grief amidst their 
scattered armour and weapons. 

Now we come to the third group filling the upper portion of the 
tableau, the actual Apotheosis of Augustus, that gives its name to 
the whole work. Here, the principal figure, his head veiled and 
radiated, the established symbols of deification, and holding a 
sceptre, floats in the air upborne by another in Persian costume 
bearing a globe in his hand. Millin takes the pair for Bomulus 
and ^neas, but, as it seems to me, erroneously. From the analogy 
of the bas-relief figured by him (Gal. Myth, clxxx.), representing 
the Apotheosis of Antoninus Pius and Faustina, where they 
appear carried heavenwards upon the back of a gigantic genius 
in the same action as this Oriental personage, and like him bearing 
the orb, and whom Millin there understands as the genius of the 
world, Aictfv ; or else, as Eternity personified, it seems more natural 
to infer that this Persian-clad deity is meant for the Solar genius, 
Mithras; whilst the person enthroned upon him is Augustus 
himself. Bomulus he certainly is not, for the founder of Bome is 
always sculptured with a beard after the fashion of his own 


primitive times. This central group is flanked by two supporters ; 
one a warrior holding up a shield, like a mirror, perhaps Mars or 
Julius hastening to greet his adopted son ; the other coming from 
the opposite direction, mounted upon Pegasus, whom Cupid leads 
by the bridle, may represent Drusus the Elder, father of Ger- 
manicus, and deceased several years before the death of Augustus. 
According to Millin, however, this last is the figure that actually 
expresses the idea of the ascending up to heaven of the deified 
emperor. But such an arrangement would be at variance with all 
the rules of these compositions; for he is evidently introduced 
here as a character subordinate to the principal personage who is 
deified (as Augustus is supposed to be by the express design of 
the complete tableau), and whose figure is, for that reason, made 
the principal one in the foreground. 

Equal to this in archaeological importance, but far above it in the 
gracefulness of design and in its character of a perfect work of art, 
as a composition displaying every excellence required in a bas- 
relief, is the Cameo of Vienna, the " Coronation of Augustus." 
This prize, wrested by Philippe le Bel from the Knights of 
Jerusalem, and presented by him to the Abbaye de Poissy, was 
stolen thence in the civil wars of the sixteenth century, and ulti- 
mately found its way into the collection of that Coryphasus of 
royal amateurs, the Emperor Eudolf II., himself a zealous student 
of mineralogy as well as of the occult sciences, and who paid the 
enormous sum already specified, probably more for the rarity of the 
material than for the merit or historical interest of the relief upon 
it. The form of this sardonyx is nearly elliptical (9x8 inches), 
and the principal group occupies about two-thirds of the height, 
arranged on a line parallel with the longest axis. Augustus, in 
the character of Jupiter, is seated on a throne, holding the lituus, 
and leaning on a long sceptre ; a shield serves for his footstool, 
emblem of profound peace ; the eagle stands beneath. Above his 
head ib Capricorn, his horoscope, surrounded with rays like a sun. 
Behind the throne stands Neptune, easily recognisable by his 
dripping locks, thick beard and stem aspect ; and Cybele, veiled 
and crowned with towers. She is placing a civic crown upon the 
head of Augustus, in allusion to the peace he had restored to the 
commonwealth, thus indicating him as the saviour of the state. 
The two deities cure introduced to proclaim his sovereignty over 
land and sea. By the side of the emperor, and upon his throne, is 
seated Livia, as the goddess Boma; she wears a triple-crested 
helmet, her right hand supports her lance, her left is laid on the 
hilt of the sword hanging from the belt, a shield rests against her 


knee, and a pile of annour serves for a footstool. The next fignre 
is Dmsns (her son) in full armour, but bareheaded, with his hand 
also upon his sword-hilt ; behind him Tiberius in a toga with his 
head laureated, a sceptre in one hand, a scroll in the other, is descend- 
ing from a triumphal car guided by a Victory — an allusion to his 
Fannonian triumph. On the left of Augustus is seated Antonia, 
wife of Drusus, in the character of Abundantia, crowned with 
ivy, and bearing a cornucopia; at her knees stand her two 
infant sons, Germanicus and Claudius, one of whom holds out 
a bunch of wheat-ears, a symbol again relating to the character 
sustained by his mother. Millin indeed sees, in this family, 
Germanicus, Agrippina and their children, which could not have 
been intended by the artist, as his design was evidently to com- 
memorate the victories of Tiberius and his brother Drusus over 
the Ithaeti and Yindelici, B.a 17, when Germanicus was but three 
years old. 

In the exergue, on one side Roman soldiers are erecting a trophy, 
under which, seated on the earth, are a barbarian man with hands 
tied behind him, and a woman weeping. On. the other, two warriors 
in Greek costume, one equipped as ApelUutes with two javelins, the 
other, wearing the Macedonian catma, are dragging along an aged 
barbarian, who kneels in supplication, and a female in thickly- 
folded drapery. 

In the first-mentioned group, attached to the trophy, will be 
observed an Amazonian shield, device a scorpion (Scorpio being the 
horoscopical sign of Tiberius, whose birthday fell in November). 
The classical scholar will recollect that Horace, in his magnificent 
ode upon this very victory of Drusus, expresses his wonder how 
the " Ehffiti should carry for arms the Amazonian battle-axe," with 
the use of which such a shape of buckler was always united. The 
second group refers to the contemporaneous successes of Tiberius 
over the Pannonians ; one division of whom had invaded Macedonia, 
whilst the other moved upon Italy. For these the Senate had 
decreed him the honour of a triumph, as we have seen denoted by 
his appearance in the car above. 

Nothing can be conceived more satisfactory, in every point of view, 
as a work of art, than the whole of this composition ; the grouping of 
the main design displays the most consummate skill, and is, in that 
respect, the finest ancient picture preserved to us ; the accessory 
figures tell their own story, without any far-fetched allegory, and by 
certifying the design of the whole, add infinitely to the historical value 
of the monument. In the grace and easy movement of the figures 
it shows more of the Greek taste than does the Apotheosis ; the 


latter already manifesting, in the attitudes of the terrestrial actors, 
Bome of the sti&ess that marks the Boman hand. The events 
recorded on the two camei, themselves indicate a lapse of thirty- 
four years (if my explanation be correct) between the execution of 
each ; that is, the space between the Pannonian triumph of Tiberius 
and the German of hU nephew Oermanicus. 

Tet a third cameo is illustrated by Millin (PL ccxxvii.) possess- 
ing (in addition to its great elegance in drawing) a higher interest 
to the English archaeologist, as commemorating the Conquest of 
Britain by the Emperor Claudius. The idea of the piece is 
borrowed from that favourite subject of antiquity, the triumphal 
march of Bacchus and Ariadne after his Indian victory ; doubtless 
a covert compliment of the designer comparing the equal remoteness 
of the two scenes of glory, of the god and of the imperial hero. 
This idea is made more obvious by the vast goblet thrown beneath 
the wheels of the Ceesar's car, which, drawn by centaurs, the usual 
equipage of Bacchus, points again to his resemblance to the first- 
recorded conqueror of distant and barbaric regions. On the car 
reclines, in the post of honour, Messalina, with the attributes of Ceres ; 
her uxorious lord is seated next, with his arm thrown round her 
neck, and grasping a thunderbolt as the terrestrial Jupiter. In 
front stands the little Britannicus in complete armour, his name 
being derived from this victory; and behind, his elder sister 
Octavia, all with their heads laureated. One of the Centaurs 
bears on his shoulder a trophy, a coat of scale armour (the usual 
defence of the barbarian cavalry, the Sarmatians for example), 
and the pointed oval shield with which the Briton appears 
equipped on certain Consular denarii. They trample upon two 
prostrate enemies, one holding a quiver, the other a buckler, and 
dressed in tunics of many folds. Over all soars a Victory, about 
to place a laurel wreath upon the brows of the triumphant 

This most important monument (even as regards size, being 10 
inches square) was, when Millin described it ( 1 8 1 1 ), in the possession 
of a Dutch family.* 

The " Apotheosis of Oermanicus " is a piece that, for the excel- 
lence of its work as well as for the beauty of the stone — a sardonyx, 
4 inches (10 c.) in diameter — has always held the next place in the 
French Cabinet to " Le Grand Cam^." Upon this gem the ill- 
fated hero appears armed in the segis, the lituus and cornucopia in 
his hands, and soaring heavenwards upon the wings of a mighty 
eagle, which bears in its talons a crown of laurel and a palm-branch. 

* According to MuUer, it has since passed into the Oabinet of the Hagne. 


Victory, hoTering above, places upon his brow the triumphal 

For six centuries this cameo passed for the authentic likeness of 
St. John the Evangelist, on the strength of the eagle, which forms 
so prominent a feature in the composition, and was therefore 
treasured up with the utmost veneration by the monks of St. Evre 
de Toul, to which cathedral Bishop Humbert had presented it 
upon his return from Constantinople, whither he had been sent as 
his envoy by Pope Leo IX., in 1049. Louis XIV., upon founding 
the CiMnei d^antiquiUs at Versailles, begged this invaluable work 
from the fraternity of St. Evre, and compensated their house for 
the sacrifice by the princely donation of 7000 crowns. 

The idea of that magnificent piece of adulation, " The Triumph 
of Claudius," above described, seems to have been taken from the 
vast cameo of the Vatican, formerly belonging to Cardinal Carpegna. 
It is well described by Buonarotti, who gives a fine plate of it, the 
actual size, in his ' Medaglioni,' published in 1698. This is by far 
the largest cameo remaining, being sixteen inches long by twelve 
deep, thus greatly surpassing in extent the *' Great Cameo of 
France '' usually quoted as the first in this respect. The stone is a 
sardonyx of five strata, in which the figures are worked in very 
flat relief, so as to preserve for each a distinct colour, and every 
detail made out with the most scrupulous fidelity. A certain grand 
simplicity in the design, joined to the beauty of the composition, 
places it (besides its extraordinary magnitude) at the head of all 
such works. The subject is the '* Pompa di Bacco," or Bacchus and 
Ceres, Virgil's *'duo clarissima mundi lumina" as symbolising the 
sun and moon, standing up in a magnificent car ; the god holding a 
vase and a thyrsus, the goddess her bunch of wheat-ears. On his 
right stands a youthful winged figure, Comus. The car is drawn 
by four centaurs, two male, two female ; the first bears a rhyton 
and a thyrsus, the second a torch, whilst he snaps the fingers of his 
right hand ; one centauress plays the double flute, the other a tam- 
bourine. On the ground lie the mystic basket and two huge vases. 
The whole composition is given in a front view, and this difficult 
arrangement is carried out with admirable art, so that nothing can 
surpass the gracefulness of the effect. The purity and force of the 
outlines seem to indicate a Grecian rather than an imperial epoch ; 
it may well be ascribed to some of the munificent patrons of art 
amongst the Syrian princes. The top and sides are framed in a 
simple bead-cornice worked out of the stone, an elegant border of 
the acanthus-leaf finishes the bottom, a novel feature, forming an 
appropriate exergue to the picture. 



The better-known ^'Odescalchi Cameo" first appeared to the 
world in the Gonzaga Cabinet, Mantua. After the dispersion of the 
collection at the sacking of that city, in 1629, we next find it in 
the possession of Queen Christina, then of Prince Odescalchi, and 
lastly (at the date of Visoonti's * Icon Graeca ') of the Empress 
Josephine. What was its fate on the breaking up of her collection 
is unknown to me. The male head has a nascent beard and mous- 
tache, and wears a Boman helmet adorned with a winged serpent 
and a star upon the side ; the lady*s hair is bound by an olive- 
wreath, in the character of Peace, as her consort figures in that of 
Mars. His breast is covered with the sBgis adorned with the 
Gk)rgon's head, and a large mask, full-faced, of Jupiter. The faces 
are in white, on a black ground, the helmet and segis in light brown, 
the work in high relief. The stone is a perfect oval of 6 by 5 

Nothing except the inveterate prejudice of his day that every 
fine work must belong to purely Grecian times, could have induced 
Yisoonti to discover in these heads portraits of Ptolemies, to whose 
strongly-marked type of face the profile bears not the slightest 
resemblance. Besides, the regal portraits of that date are iJways 
beardless, leaving out of the question the established fact that all 
important camei commence with the Augustan age. The costume 
of the male is the regular Imperial Boman, tbere being a close 
resemblance between the ornamentation of the eegis and that worn 
by the Strozzi Augustus. The winged serpent on the helm may 
allude to the tale concerning Nero's guardian genius, preserved by 
Suetonius. The lady is unmistakably Agrippina ; and Nero's beard 
shows that the cameo was done before her murder, and his twentieth 
year, after which he, as the other Caesars, appears close shaven. 
To judge from Visconti's beautiful engraving, there may even be 
grounds for supposing this grand work to be no more than the 
production of some great Eenaissance artist ; there is a freedom 
and lightness in its treatment superior to the style of Nero's 

Although almost unknown to the world, in consequence of its 
seclusion in the all but inaccessible Cabinet at Blenheim, the 
Marlborough " Didius Julian," in point of mineralogical interest, 
surpasses, and in dimensions (8 inches wide by 6 deep) falls little 
short of, the world-famed examples already passed in review. It 
presents the confronted busts of a Horn an emperor and empress ; 
the former invested with the horn of Ammon and the oak-wreath 
of DodonsBan Jove ; the latter crowned with a similar wreath, but 
in which are interwoven the wheat-ears and poppies of Ceres. The 


faces are certainly not those of the sexagenarian nsnrper * and his 
wife, Manila Scantilla, to whom they are given by the inscription 
upon the setting, being of much too youthful a cast. In fact, the 
male portrait very much resembles that of Commodus upon his 
earlier medals ; whilst the lady, though not his wife Crispina 
(unless her hard features have been largely flattered by the en- 
graver) may very likely be his more beloved concubine Marcia. 

The sardonyx exhibits four distinct strata, one being a lich 
purple, altogether unique in this stone ; of which contrasted colours 
an intelligent use has been made by the artist in rendering the 
different tints of the flesh, drapery, and decorations. The slab, an 
irregular eUipse in shape, has been broken across, but skilfully 
reunited and mounted in a chased frame of silver gilt, with a 
backing. On the latter is the inscription : " Ingens anaglyphicnm 
opus, olim Sannesiorum ducum, nunc vero pretio acquisitum in 
Fontesiano cimelio asservatum." As to the former of these, its 
owners, 1 have been able to discover nothing ; but it is more than 
conjectural that the latter name refers to the Marquis de FuenteSy 
Portuguese Ambassador at the Papal Court in the year 1720, men- 
tioned by Mariette as a well-known amateur in this branch of art, 
and the first patron of Dom Landi. 

Amongst the relics of the expiring taste and opulence of the 
Lower Empire, few are so valuable historically as the piece acquired 
by the Biblioth^ue Imp6riale in 1851, and explained, on good 
grounds, by ChabouUlet as commemorating the triumph of Licinius, 
Constantino's early colleague in the empire. In form it is an oval, 
of 4 by 2^ inches, and exhibits, in flat relief, the emperor erect upon 
his triumphal quadriga, seen in front face. Over his head on either 
side float Sol and Luna, each bearing a long flambeau to indicate 
their character, and each presenting to him a globe, to typify the 
East and the West obedient to his power. Two Victories lead the 
off-horses ; one bears a trophy, the other the Icibarum^ emblazoned 
with the portraits of ivoo emperors ; an important circumstance, 
upon which the attribution of the subject to Licinius is principally 
founded. On the foreground are strewn the corpses of the van- 
quished foe, artistically grouped in various attitudes of prostration. 
The design has considerable merit in point of composition, although 
the figures themselves betray the sti&ess mcurking the period, and 

* The BbortnesB of whose reign^-only sixty-fiyo days — quite suffioes to over- 
tliTow the usual attribution of the portraits. A work of this magnitude 
requires several mouths of unremitting labour to complete. Guay expended two 
yeai-8 of continuous toil upon his bust of Ijouis XY., a piece of considerably 
smaller dimensions. 


bear much analogy in execution to the earliest productions of the 
regular Byzantine school. 

Last in order of time comes the magnificent cameo (once belonging 
to Charles I.) of Her Majesty's collection. The form is a perfect 
oval, 7^ by 5^ inches in measurement, and the relief is enclosed 
within an elegant " egg-and-tongue " moulding, instead of the 
customary simple reserved rim. It presents the profile bust of 
Constantius 11.^ in mezzo-relievo, represented according to tradi- 
tional usage (notwithstanding his Christian profession) as a Jupiter, 
the eegis on his breast, the sceptre resting on his shoulder, and the 
laurel-wreath encircling his brows. Upon the aagis the Gorgon in 
white, the eagle's plumes in brown, are worked out with marvellous 
skilL The portrait, however, as was to be expected in so late a 
monument, is tame and destitute of individuality, and, indeed, 
would serve equally well for that of any of the three imperial 
brothers. The sardonyx has four well-defined layers, employed by 
the artist with much effect to render the laurel-wreath in brown, 
the fiesh in pearly white, and the aegis in a darker brown, which 
heightens the effect of the Gorgoneion set upon it. The stone has 
unfortunately been much fractured, a piece of mischief attributed 
by Vanderdort (keeper of Charles's antiquities) to the notorious 
Countess of Somerset. 

Beger (*Thes. Palat.' p. 92) figures a bust of Canatana with 
laureated head, a well-executed cameo, 2 by 1^ inches in size. On 
the reverse is cut the head of a negress in three-quarters face, 
which Beger understands as symbolising the province of Africa, 
which fell to the share of Constans upon the partition of the 
empire. The grotesque treatment, however, of the subject manifests 
it to be the work of some Cinque-cento hand availing himself of 
the black base of the sardonyx for producing in its natural colour 
a figure wonderfully popular with the amateurs of that period. 

From the small number of such works preserved, it is worth 

while noticing here another cameo of the same epoch of the 

Decline, which I discovered amongst the Boyal G«ms. It is a 

remarkably beautiful sardonyx, in shape a long oval, and bears, 

in very low relief, the heads of two boys facing each other, each 

wearing the close helmet of the Lower Empire. This adjunct, 

together with the peculiar cutting of the relief, renders it certain 

that we have here portraits of the two elder sons of Constantino. 

Both quality of gem and manner of execution of the heads exactly 

correspond with those distinguishing a magnificent cameo of that 

* It id really Claudius, and the likeness cannot be disputed. It was mended 
anew, and framed by Spilling, and deposited in the British Museum (1874). 

E 2 


emperor in the Marlborough Cabinet. This cameo is curious on 
another account ; upon the reverse is rudely engraved the Abraxas 
god, surrounded by an illegible inscription, the addition of a later 
age, with the view of augmenting the value of this fine gem by 
endowing it with talismanic virtues. 

But of all these monuments of the last days of Homan Art, there 
is none so interesting historically, or more precious artistically 
(if Gori's attribution of it be correct) than the immense cameo of 
the same family, representing the Emperor Julian and his wife 
Helena ; the one as Mars, wearing a dragon-crested helmet, the 
other as Isis, bearing a star-tipped sceptre, standing at each side of 
a low altar, upon which a Cupid is throwing incense. The execu- 
tion, indeed, seems far above the epoch of this prince; but the 
examples already quoted point to a revival of taste, about this 
time, that renders such a mode of judgment fallacious, whilst the 
profile of the chief personage certainly bears a stronger resemblance 
to the last imperial philosopher than to any other prince in the 
later series (Florence). 

Millin cites as a Byzantine work the cameo (then Lord Carlisle's) 
figured by Gori as the frontispiece to his * Thesaurus Diptychorum.* 
It is a sardonyx of large dimensions, being an oval of 3 by 2^ 
inches ; the subject, Noah and his Family about to enter into the 
Ark, the foreground filled with the various animals that ac- 
companied them. Noah in full robes, an angel hovering above his 
head, holds open one of the folding-doors of the ark, which is 
represented on a diminutive scale, and its model evidently taken 
from the Ark of the Covenant, as conventionally depicted on Jewish 
monuments. Noah's sons and the four wives are artistically 
grouped upon the other side. It is, however, quite impossible 
to consider this fine work as a production of the Byzantine school, 
even in its best days, for many reasons. The first is the classical 
treatment of the figures of the sons, and the studied display of the 
nude in their attitudes, — a thing utterly repugnant to Byzantine 
taste, but quite in accordance with that of the latter part of the 
Quattro-oento period; and, indeed, this group might very well 
have come from Pollaiulo of his scholars. Again, the doors of the 
Ark terminate in double ogee-curves, savouring mightily of the 
lingering reminiscences or the Flamboyant Gothic, but the very 
last pattern to be found in a Greek design. Upon these doors is 
engraved LAY MED, not as in the case of Lorenzo's undoubted 

antique camei, in large lettering upon the field merely to mark 
ownership, but here, from the peculiar position, seeming to me 


to indicate a piece of work actually executed to his order. The 
subject is one quite in accordance with the taste of his times, so 
is the attempt to treat it classically ; and certainly both the attempt 
and the success with which it has been carried out involve con- 
ditions of thought that never existed amongst the Greek cameo- 
cutters of Constantinople. 


With the empire opens the grand era of portraits upon gems, the 
countless offspring of adulation, love, affection, and friendship. 
The purely Greek period had produced nothing but ideal heads, 
with the exception of those rare cases where his own image was 
required for the personal seal of the sovereign or his representative. 
But with the Romans the love for perpetuating the memory of 
their ancestors, by means of collections of family portraits, had 
from the earliest times shown itself a ruling passion : their atria 
were lined with heads of their predecessors, modelled in wax after 
the life, for many generations back, ensconced each one in its own 
little shrine (armarium) — monuments, in virtue of their com- 
position, that set decay at defiance. In the later Republican times, 
after gem-engraving had come into fashion, these wax-casts 
furnished authentic originals for the family-portraits embellishing 
signets of the kind to be more particularly described in their due 
place. But as soon as the despotic power of the Csssars was 
established, it became a mark of loyalty to adorn either one's 
house or one*s hand with the visible presence of the sovereign. 
Capitolinus notices that the individual was looked upon as an 
impious wretch who, having the means, did not set up at home 
a statue of M. Aurelius ; and, a century later, the Senate obliged 
by an edict every householder to keep a picture of the restorer 
of the empire, Aurelian. That ofiScials wore such portraits in 
their rings as an indispensable mark of distinction may be deduced 
from the regulation of Claudius (preserved by Pliny), confining 
the entree at court to such as had received from him a gold ring 
having the imperial bust carved upon it. There was, however, 
another and a deeper motive for the wide prevalence of the fashion. 
Certain passages from writers of the time* (first pointed out by 

* Firmicos the astrologer (ii. 33), and Ammian the historian. The latter*a 
words are (xrii. 12) ^Opinantur quidam Fatnm yiuci principum fortuna, vel 


Buonarotti, Z.c, p. 413) give evidence of the general existence of a 
belief that the Genius of the Emperor (accounted of higher power 
than Fortune herself) was propitiated to extend his patronage 
over the individual who, by assuming this badge of subservience, 
put himself under his protection. 

Numerous gem-portraits of Augustus, including the very finest 
specimens of the Roman school, are to be admired in every large 
cabinet ; and he, we know, was even in life regarded as a " prsssens 
dous." The Augustus^ it must be borne in mind, united in one 
person the most sacred offices of religion as well as of the state ; 
he was Pontifex Maximus and Tfibunus Plebis at once ; his person 
was therefore eticrosancia^ and all offences committed against it 
became of the nature of sacrilege. Still more abundant (and 
where now they would be least expected) are they of the last of 
his line, the present synonym for all that is detestable — Nero. 
But the anomaly is explained by the youthful age of all his 
portraits; the nascent beard to be remarked upon all of them 
proves them to date from the first four years of his reign ; for it 
was in his twentieth year that he first shaved, instituting — to 
commemorate that important epoch in his life — ^the festival 
Juvenalia, These same four years were a season of the brightest 
promise to the Roman world, that had for nearly half a century 
lain groaning under the tyranny of the malignant Tiberius, the 
maniac Caligula, and the dotard Claudius. The same cause 
explains the almost equal frequency of the youthful Caracalla, 
depicted usually as Mercury, the "Very-bountiful," to use the 
Homeric epithet best descriptive of his godship, or else of the 
equally auspicious Bonius Eventus. This prince also had in his 
youth been as conspicuous for the clemency and amiability of his 
temper as he afterwards became infamous, during his short tenure 
of empire, for cruelty and moroseness. 

The educated classes, who so greatly affected the study of 
philosophy, esteemed their claims to the honourable title estab- 
lished in Juvenal's days — 

** Si quia Aristotelem Bimilem vel Pittacon emit 
Et jubet architypos plufceuin servare Cleaathid." 

Cicero also laughs at the fondness of his friends belonging to the 
Epicurean sect for carrying about their master's likeness i^ their 
rings. And the innumerable heads of Socrates, all of Roman 
workmanship, speak to the wide spread of the theosophy (the sole 
vital religion of the times) elaborated by his successor Plato. 
Living men of letters, the popular authors of the day, received 


from all admirers a similar homage. To this practice Ovid, writing 
from his far-distant place of banishment, pathetically alludes : — 

" Hoo tibi dissimulaa sentis tameD, optime, dici 
In dlglto qui me feraque refersqae tuo ; 
Effigiemque meom folyo complexiis in aoro 
Oara relegati qua potes ora vides." 

One of the most tantalising things in this study is, in fact, the 
continually meeting with faces upon our gems full of genius and 
of energy, unmistakably belonging to the bright spirits of the 
first two centuries, but which rest to us voiceless and lifeless from 
the loss of all means of identifying them with their originals, 
still eternised by history. The matter-of-fact Etruscans, when 
they drew a god or hero, were careful to add his name '' for the 
benefit of country gentlemen:'' it is infinitely to be regretted 
their successors thought scorn of the good old rule of their 
ancient preceptors in the arts — even a few initials would in many 
cases have imparted a transcendent interest to these, now silent, 

NameSf indeed, are often to be discovered accompanying portraits 
upon gems ; but it so happens that they are invariably the names 
of nobodies, for they are only found annexed to the heads of the 
bride and bridegroom engraved upon the stone that decorated the 
wedding-ring (under the Later Empire), and replaced the more 
ancient cUuped-hands or Fides^ which likewise, as a rule, commemo- 
rated the names of the pair. 

After these mementos of the nuptial ceremony succeed others, 
still placing before our indifferent eyes its natural consequences — 
chubby hahy-faces, whose sight, some eighteen centuries ago, 
called up many a smile upon those just alluded to — ^little bubbles 
rising up and breaking unnoticed upon the ocean of eternity, of 
whom nought is left save these tiny but imperishable records. 
These full-faced, laughter-stirring visages had also a further object : 
like the other masks thus represented, they had vii*tue as amulets. 
Cut in relief, and perhaps then allusive to Horus (the vernal 
Sun-god), they, with the Gorgon's, embellished the phaleras of the 
knight, becoming thus — 

'* Deoua et tatamon in armis." 

Lastly, as large a class as any of the foregoing owes its birth to 
the " love free as air," who — 

" at' Bight of human ties. 

Shakes his light wings, and in a moment flies." 


These fair faces once gave a soul to rings intended- either for 
mutual exchange or to be worn for the sake of the constant 
enjoyment, in some sort, of the company of the beloved original. 
The preacher of the new and rigid code of morals, Clemens Alex- 
andrinus, fails not to inveigh against the fashion ^' of the licentious 
world of keeping in their rings the likenesses of their naked 
mistresses or other favourites, so that they are never left for a 
moment free from the torments of desire.** 


During the first two centuries of the empire, the art of making 
Pastes was cultivated to an incredible extent, in order to meet the 
requirements of the poorer classes (Pliny terming them " Gemma) 
vitreaB ex vulgi annulis"), persons who were unable either to 
dispense with the use of so necessary aji appendage as a signet, or 
to afford the cost of an engraved gem of sufficient merit to satisfy 
their innate love of perfection in form. Through these ingenious 
multiplications which afforded them almost the full enjoyment of 
all the artistic merit of the originals, the poorest were enabled to 
gratify both taate and vanity at a very trifling outlay. Under 
so powerful an impulse this branch of the glass-maker's art throve 
prodigiously, and has bequeathed to us many extraordinary 
specimens of skill in the chemical composition of the material, and 
of ingenuity and dexterity in its manipulation. These reproduc- 
tions of glyptic works appear to have come to an end in the third 
century, simultaneously with the extinction (as far as high art is 
concerned) of the production of their prototypes in real stones. 
Nevertheless the making of imitative precious stones und also of 
ornamental glass for the table, continued a flourishing manufacture 
at Constantinople until late in the Middle Ages, when Venice 
succeeded to the inheritance of its secrets and of its prosecution. 

In the better days of the Roman practice, camei of large size 
were counterfeited with wonderful fidelity in pastes of many strata, 
and in a close imitation (sometimes even surpassing Nature) of the 
colours of the original ; to be distinguished with difficulty from the 
true, in those examples where the cast has been gone over and 
polished by the same technique as was employed for the actual gem. 
Equally successful were the old vitriarii in reproducing the then 
very rare and highly-esteemed lapis-lazuli (sapphirvs) the " royal 
stone," as the Greeks designated it. The Bonus Eventus, or 


Caracalla, thus deified (Townley) in half-relief upon a plaque eight 
inches square, is a superb monument of the proficiency of his age 
in this curious manufacture. 


W hen the times of the Decline had lost all power of producing 
anything of merit in this branch of art, it is evident, from various 
allusions in the later historians, that fine works were (perhaps the 
more so on that very account) still held in the highest estimation. 
Though the power of imitation was lost, the faculty of admiration 
of the Beautiful long survived. Lampridius (Hel. 23) expresses 
this sentiment by the way in which he puts down amongst the 
most wanton extravagances of Heliogabalus, " his wearing upon 
his shoes gems, and those, too, engraved ; a caprice that set every- 
body laughing, as if the engravings of celebrated artists could be 
seen in gems that were fastened upon the foot." Again, the 
detailed and elegant description of the signet of King Hydaspes — 
an amethyst with a shepherd-boy piping to his flock — upon which 
the tasteful Bishop of Tricca, Heliodorus, has lavished all his 
eloquence, abundantly manifests his admiration for excellence in 
this line. So does the spirited epigram of the still later Marcus 
ArgentariuB, upon the gem presenting Cupid mounted on the 

It now remains for us to trace the sad and precipitous course 
of the decadence of this Art; pointing out the causes that oc- 
casioned it, and briefly describing the very remarkable monu- 
ments that the same causes generated with fantastic prodigality. 
It must be premised that the most important amongst the 
camei preserved to us may, from the circumstances of their 
history (related in the preceding description), be supposed to 
have ever been the foremost in their class, for, as far back as 
they can be traced, they have without interruption figured as 
the choicest ornaments of regal or sacerdotal treasuries. Al- 
though the grandest examples, as my foregoing list of them has 
shown, all belong to the early part of the first century, yet camei 
in sardonyx and lapis-lazuli, important both for workmanship and 
material, continued to be executed in profusion throughout the 
whole of the succeeding century. This latter period indeed, was 
that when the sister-art of die-sinking was in its most flourishing 
condition in the Roman mint ; the age of magnificent and numerous 


medallions may be said to oommenoe with Trajan and to end with 
Commodns; Several camei bear the artist's signature in reliefs and 
such signatures are almost the only memorials of the great masters 
in this line that are placed beyond the suspicion of modem forgery, 
or of misapplication. 

Although, as already observed, the best period of Boman art 
terminates with the luxurious reign of the tasteful tyrant Commo- 
dus ; nevertheless, very creditable performances in this particular 
department are due to the patronage of the learned African Severus 
and perpetuate the faces of all the members of his family. Of his 
successor Caracalla, who, ferocious soldier as he is represented by 
history, nevertheless fostered the art of gem-engraving with much 
liberality, the cameo-portraits are far from uncommon and are done 
with singular (and unflattering) fidelity of expression, and neatness 
of technique. 

After his times, however, gem-engraving, already on the decline 
as far as the intaglio-hrasich thereof was concerned, degenerated, 
and became, so to speak, extinct, with a rapidity at first sight in- 
comprehensible. But sundry powerful causes worked simultaneously 
together for its overthrow. The ruling spirit of the empire was 
the military, and that now more than half barbarian ; the greatest 
of the later emperors being by birth Illyrians, their highest officers, 
their own countrymen, then Franks, and last of all Goths. In 
personal decorations, therefore, intrinsic value came to be the only 
thing regarded by the possessor ; precious stones, as a natural conse- 
quence, in their native state, speedily drove engraved gems out of 
fashion. Vast gold medallions for the wealthy, the current aurei 
for the commonalty, now superseded the cameo-head of the 
reigning prince in the pendant (atellatura), and in the ring. Add 
to this that the spread of Christianity precluded a large class from 
patronising the representation of the forms emanating from the 
elegant mythology of the preceding times, whilst with those who 
still adhered to Paganism the only subjects in favour were those 
suggested by the revolution, which had imperceptibly, though 
completely, metamorphosed their own religious ideas. Oriental 
mysticism had by this time respectfully dethroned the proper gods 
of Greece and Italy. Its votaries demanded nothing more from 
the engraver than the barbarous symbolical monsters engendered 
by the prevailing syncretism of old Egytian, Zoroastrian, and newly 
imported Buddhistic ideas. 

In fact, even under the Middle Empire, and before the Glyptic 
Art had begun to betray any marked symptoms of decay, its finest 
productions are connected with the worship of Serapis and of 


Mithras, and thus are tinged with the spirit of Egypt and of 
Persia; or else they are Qrylli^ those fantastic combinations, 
talismanic and astrological in their hidden import, which, never- 
theless, exhibit much ingenuity and taste in their invention, and 
equal skill in their execution. Such designs, all impregnated with 
a profound, practical feeling of mystic superstition, already oust 
from the gem the graceful forms of the deities created by the 
ancient Hellenic and Hesperian nature-worship. 


By the name Orylli are understood those grotesque figures of 
which the Romans were so fond, to judge from the immense 
number of them in existence. They are formed out of portions of 
various animals, of the most diverse species, combined into the 
outline of a single monster, that generally takes the form of a bird, 
a horse, an eagle's head, or a helmet. They have been called 
Chtmsenej because that fabulous monster was similarly multiform, 
being a goat, a lion, and a dragon united into one ; Symplegmaiay 
in the sense of the embr<icing or copulation of the discordant 
components; OryUi^ from the Italian grillo^ signifying a cricket 
and a caprice or fancy. For the last designation a classical origin 
has been sought in the " Gryllus " of Pliny, who states (xxv. 37) 
**Antiphilus jocosis (tabulis) nomine Gryllum deridiculi habitus 
pinxit, undo id genus picturae grylli vocantur." But it is evident 
that Pliny here employs the word in the exact sense of our 
'* caricature," implying a style that got its name from one Oryllus, 
a person of grotesque appearance, who had been taken off by 
Antiphilus (the inventor of caricature and (/enre-painting), who 
first degraded thus the dignity of the art, which before had been 
sacred and heroic in its essential nature. 

These caprices are often wrongly called BaMlidan Figures^ and 
classed amongst Gnostic remains, to which category, however, 
they are very far from belonging : for besides never exhibiting the 
symbols, or the siglaB, or the legends that characterise the entire 
Gnostic family — all more or less betraying an Egyptian origin — 
the style of work exhibited upon them sufficiently proclaims to the 
least experienced eye that the Grylli belong to a much earlier date, 
the flourishing period of Konian Art. 

Nevertheless, in one {)oint are they cognate to the Basilidan 


stones. liike them, they were designed for talismans and amulets,* 
but the notions they embody are purely astrological or else spring- 
ing out of the ancient religion of Greece and Rome, and are never 
tinctured with the exotic doctrines of the Alexandrine Kabala. 
Although the period which produced them in the greatest abun- 
dance was the first two centuries of the Empire, after which they 
entirely vanish, driven from the field by the countless barbaric 
swarms of the offspring of the Alexandrine Gnosis, yet some of 
these composite heads, human and bestial in one, are to be found 
on much more ancient relics: for example, upon the Phcenician 
scarabsei of Tharros. One of these (Brett Collection) would seem to 
refer to the Orphic cosmogony (as preserved by Athenagoras), 
" Water and mud \ were the first principles of creation ; from their 
union proceeded a being having the body of a serpent, with the 
heads of a bull and a lion, and a man's in the middle. This being 
was named Hercules, or Chronos, and laid an egg, out of which 
came forth the god Phanes : of the two halves of the shell were 
formed heaven and earth." 

Of all such compositions that in which a mystic meaning is the 
most immediately obvious to the sense is the symplegma, com- 
bining the fore-quarters of two beasts, as the lion and the bull, the 
bull and the goat, which are clearly Zodiacal in their origin. 
Frequently we have three in one — the bull, sheep, swine ; the 
combination borne up upon wings, like the bust of a Magian 
divinity. The explanation of the latter configuration as referring 
to the sacrifice Suovetaurilia is by no means satisfactory ; for what 
had such an idea to do with the choice of the signet-devioe, — a 
thing ever regarded as in some sort a talisman and securing to the 
bearer the protection of the deity thereby indicated either ex- 
pressly or by a symbol ? Such pairs of combined heads are seen 
on the primitive coins of Samos; Miiller thinks they were 

* ** But especially in all combinations of various animal forms which had 
indeed been partly originated by an Oriental influence, but were periiected in a 
pure Hellenic feeling, does a spirit manifest itself which grasps the life of Nature 
in her creative omnipotence ¥rith equal truth and boldness. Hence such figures 
meet us as real and actually existing objects. A far different spirit from this 
simple feeling for Nature speaks to us out of the grylli of a later period, on 
gems ; humour displayed in the putting together of the most incongruous ideas : 
where also often an allegorically expressed meaning lies at the bottom of the 

In this opinion of the great archsBologist I cannot acquiesca The very intro- 
duction of the symbols of various deities, so frequent in them, is in itself a proof 
that they were designed for talismans. 

t Eva and Adam. Eca is water in the ancient Celtic (still preserved in the 
Piedmontesc dialect), whence comes the French eau. 


suggested by Asiatic forms derived from Pcrsepolis, and originally 
Assyrian. The grave, severe character of this early religion 
necessitates our believing that some deep mystery was couched in 
this union of different beasts ; perhaps pairs or triplets of divinities 
expressed by the animal attributes of each. The beings (Izeds) 
seen by Ezekiel on the Chebar had conjoined heads of a man, lion, 
ox, and eagle. 

And descending to later times, the symbolism of our symplegmata 
becomes an admitted fact, if we accept Quatrem^re de Quincy's 
explanation of the passage in Pliny, describing how Parrhasius 
embodied in painting his conception of the Athenian Democracy, 
*' wishing to represent it as feeble, passionate, unjust, inconsistent, 
yet at the same time placable, merciful, tender-hearted, haughty, 
vain-glorious, abject, bold, and timorous, all at one and the same 
time." De Qaincy supposes that all these conflicting qualities 
thus united in one were typified by the figure of an owl (the 
national emblem), furnished with the heads of the various animals 
the recognised emblems for these different qualities. More 
probably they were all combined into the general outline of the 
Athenian fowl, else there would have been but little cleverness in 
the invention lauded by Pliny as " ingenioso argumento." The 
prosaic Mtiller rejects as fanciful the hypothesis of the ingenious 
Frenchman, but it appears to me as correct as it is acute. When 
Horace styles the Roman Public ''a beast with many heads," 
some such picture as this Parrhasian Demos must have floated 
before his mind's eye, and not the Hydra, as the passage is 
commonly understood. The poet is alluding to the diversity of 
tastes amongst his readers, not to their cruelty^ the sole quality 
for which the many-he€ided Lemaean foe of Hercules was no- 

That the intention of an amulet lay at the bottom of such 
fantastic compositions in general is nowhere so clearly perceptible 
as in the class now to be considered. 

** The objects that are fastened up as means to keep off witch- 
craft," says Plutarch, in a remarkable passage (* Sympos.,' v. 7), 
where he is attempting to explain everything by natural causes, 
"derive their efficacy from the fact that they act through the 
strangeness and ridiculousness of their forms, which fix the 
mischief-working evil eye upon themselves." Exactly such is the 
case with the grotesque distorted nMsks^ which seem to have 
derived their name of Osdlla from the grimace of the wide-open 
mouth. People thought, by the suspension of such caricature 
masks, which threatened to swallow up everything in their gaping 


jaws, to oonntoract the pernicious influenoe of envy and of witch- 
craft. Thus superstition knew how to derive comfort out of the 
most hideous shapes. The workers in metal, clay, and wax were 
ready to make their profit out of the demand for such protective 
bugbears ; but with the progress of art they softened down that 
ugliness so repugnant to their feeling, for the Beautiful, and left 
but so much of their original form as was absolutely necessary for 
the expression of the primitive idea. Thus the Gorgon's head, with 
flaring snaky hair, protuded tongue, and hideous death contortions 
(Hecate's ** facies Erebi "), a mere amulet at first on the warrior's 
breast and shield, grew by gradual refinement into the ideal of 
female beauty, the Sti-ozad Medusa. 

" This leads us to the true derivation of the word Mask^ which 
is not, as Orientalists will have it, the Arabic, Mmharay 'a 
juggler,' nor Mahelung^ * to besmut the face,' as in the primitive 
theatre, but the corruption of a Greek term, preserved by 
Hesychius, Paa-Ka = 8cuccXa, moBki; PatrKaviOj fascina, amulets. 
Hence by the common commutation of the initials we get Mcuika, 
This derivation is due to Salmasius. In Low Latin (Ducange) 
McL8ca and Talamasca signified a goblin, witch, or monster — whence 
also the French grimace. From this custom of regarding hideous 
masks as amulets can be explained a circumstance otherwise a 
problem to every archseologist — ^the vast number of such subjects 
we meet with in antique gems. More than two thousand of them 
have been already published. As they evidently came from the 
best artists of the time, there must have been some more potent 
reason for the demand than the mere love of the ancients for 
dramatic matters or their connection with the Bacchic mysteries." 
(Bottiger, * Ueber das Wort " Maske." ') 

The importance attached by the Romans to this class of subjects 
is manifested not only by the vast numbers in which they have 
come down to us, but by the circumstance that the highest skill 
of the artist under the Ceesars and the *' Five good Emperors " 
was lavished upon the engraving of Masks, whether single or 

In the latter the designer ever sought to produce the strongest 
possible contrasts by putting together visages the most incon- 
gruous in expression, as a satyr's and a beautiful nymph's 
side by side, or back to back Janus-like, a stem tragic with a 
laughing wide-mouthed comic; and an infinity of similar ill- 
paired couples, for the most part brought together with singular 
skill. The special stone for all such subjects is the red jasper : 
its colour caused it to be almost exclusively dedicated to the 

MASKS. 63 

purpose, being that sacred to Bacchus, the ** rosy god," * whose 
statues were* regularly painted with vermilion, as Fausanias 
inform us. 

One of the most ingenious of these combinations, and, as its 
outline bespeaks, especially devised in his honour, represents a 
noble bunch of grapes, with stalk and tendril, the separate berries 
being five masks, the two upper satyric, the three lower comic, the 
outline filled up with a few more : an idea perhaps unique, and 
carried out in this instance with the utmost skill. 

The conjunction of the three masks expressing the ancient 
division of the Drama into tragic, comic, satyric, has given birth 
to the finest examples we have of Boman gem-engraving : witness 
the bcautifal sard in the Marlborough Cabinet, and another, 
equally admirable, lately in the Fould. Another and a very 
favourite arrangement was to make a charming youthful profile 
covered with a congeries of several grotesque visages, all amalga- 
mated into the form of a helmet. Again, we are presented with a 
tragic mask in full face, every feature distorted and horrific, coupled 
with a comic profile full of a mild and cheerful serenity, f In fact, 
every collection will supply new proofs of the old engravers' skill 
in producing an endless variety of such fantastic unions. 

Similar antique combinations of grotesque masks may have 
suggested to Dante his description of Lucifer, according to the 
usual transmutation of the antique comic into the medieeval 
horrible : — 

" Oh f qnonto parve a me gran maraviglia 

Qiumdo Tidi Trefacee alia sua testa : 

L' una dinanzi, e qiiella era venniglia ; 
Le altre eran due che si agginng^n a questa, 

Sovresso il mezzo di ciascana spalla, 

E si giung<5no al loco della crosta : 
E la destra parea tra bianoa e gialla, 

La siuistra a vedere era tal quale 

Vengon di \h ove 11 Nile s' av valla." 

* Before masks came into use, the Greek actors stained their faces with wine- 

** DicituT, et plaustris Texisse poemsta Thespis, 

Quaa canerent ager entque peruncti faecibus ora. 

The engravers evidently aimed at selecting gems analogous to the subjects they 
were to present ; thus Venus will generally be found on the sea-green plasma, 
Jnpiter on the cerulean Jasper, Berapes the *' blood-drinker "on the sanguine kiud. 
t A religions notion may possibly be hidden here: the secret teaching of 
the Phrygian mysteries represented the Supreme One Deity ns at once male and 


In the uext phase, the human wizard was coupled with the head 
of some beast, which latter, if viewed in one direction, forms a 
head-covering for it : an idea evidently borrowed from the ancient 
Heroic heads enveloped in the hide of the fore-part of a lion, a bull, 
or a goat. In this way an old man's (Socrates) face, backed by the 
head of a boar, a ram, or an elephant, are amongst the most 
common in the series. 

By adding to this compound the head and neck of a horse or of 
a bird, and then mounting it upon the legs of the latter, a complete 
animal nui generis was the result, often serving for a steed to a 
little Genius, — ^a parody upon that favourite type the God of Love 
bestriding the lion. Another ** strange fowl" was created by 
giving a peacock's head and neck to a body built up out of satyric 
masks, or rather the repeated head of Silenus (itself a potent 
amulet), a ram's and a cornucopia, with wheat-ears doing duty for 
the tail. This creature usually stands upon a dolphin or a lizard, 
and the first idea of it seems suggested by the Ibis destroying 
reptiles, — a frequent picture on the Roman walls when the Egyptian 
was the fashionable superstition of the day. 

There seems good reason to susx>ect that India — the true source 
of the various new Theosophies, however externally differing, that 
in the same ages were overflooding the Roman Empire — ^was 
likewise the original parent of these fantastic multiform creations. 
Chriihna^ the chief avatar of Vishnu, seems to have been in many 
points the prototype of Apollo. He appears as Pythius slaying the 
serpent Kalya, and as Nomios piping to the flocks of the shepherd 
his foster-father, and accompanied by the Nine "Gupta" or 
milkmaids, who dance to his music. These maidens interweave 
themselves into the forms of different animals (precisely as the 
Indian jugglers perform the same feat in our day), an elephant^ a 
horsey a jpea^cock^ or a palkyj and carry about their beloved playmate 
mounted upon this extemporised vehicle. Such composite creatures 
are in their nature identical with the grylli, built up out of 
numerous heads and serving for a steed to Cupid. The astrologi- 
cal character of these devices affords another argument in support 
of their Oriental origin. Chares, an eye-witness, mentions Indian 
jugglers as exhibiting at the festivities of Alexander's wedding at 
Ecbatana. Such is the unchangeableness of everj'thing Hindoo 
that we may bo sure this very combination of themselves into the 
form of a single animal was one of the tricks that astonished the 
Macedonian and Persian feasters upon that occasion. And that 
these living patterns were actually introduced in the shows of the 
Romans we have the express testimony of Martial. In an elegant 


epigram (Spect. 26) Ho describes a chorus of Nereids disporting 
upon the lake brought in to fill the arena, and forming themselves 
into a trident, an anchor, an oar, a ship, the twin stars of the 
Dioscuri, and a sail swollen by the wind. Fantastic alliances like 
these must have been in Horace's view when he laughs at the 
painter who should *' fasten a horse's neck to a human head, and 
clothe wiih motley feathers the miscellaneous members of the 
whole, got together from all parts of creation." 

It will be found on examination that these monsters, however 
diverse in outline — ^whether that be a cock, a horse, or a headpiece 
— admit of very little variety in their component parts; the Silenus 
mask, ram*s head, dolphin, mouse, and cornucopia evidently 
having been deemed essential elements iii their creation. It may 
henoe safely be concluded that these objects — emblems of the sun, 
earth, air, and ocean — ^were employed in a definite relation to each 
other, and the resulting figures conveyed a deep and mystic virtue, 
like the famed Ephesian spell, which was no other than the names 
of the sun and the elements in some forgotten primaaval tongue. 
That all were in their nature astrological appears from the solar 
and lunar symbols with the caduoeus and the thunderbolt so 
frequently introduoed. In some, indeed, the astrological character 
is unmistakable, as in one of my own, which gives a Janus^head of 
Neptune and Bacchus (here the solar god), with the trident and 
thyrsus in the field, crowned by the eagle of Jove, that most propi- 
tious horoscope, and accompanied by Cancer and the letters AIH, 
antique name for the earth. 

There is another consideration that comes in support of this 
view ; it is hardly probable that devices of this nature should have 
risen into such general favour for signets, and all at a time when 
good taste still reigned in Italy, if they had been mere caprices of 
the artist. In the latter case, moreover, we should now perceive 
an endless variety in the component elements selected, instead of 
that marked restriction to the narrow limits above enumerated. 

This hypothesis — which I originally deduced for myself from 
the careful study of this interesting class — I subsequently was 
gratified to discover had long ago received the sanction of that 
very acute and experienced archaaologist BOttiger, who says (' Eleine 
Schriften,' iii. 9) : — ** The htrd-chimsBra is, through its constituent 
parts, the cock, the ram, and the mask, an unmistakable amulet. 
The cock was in all antiquity, on account of his fiery nature, the 
symbol of the sun,* as tlie principle of light and of all good. For 
this reason we find upon Egyptian amulets a peculiar genius 

* Which makes him the favourite decoration of the Rhodian pottery. 



haying the head of a cock (Abraxas). The ram is the emblem of 
fecundity,* and therefore the cornucopia is placed upon his head. 
The Silenus-mark set upon the cock's breast in front is the so-called 
oaeiUum^ or amulet-mask, which used to be hung up on trees, 
house-doors, and fixed on shields, for the purpose of scaring away 
evil spirits and for the promotion of fruitfulness. The ram holds 
the hare (rabbit) by the tail, and the cock bestrides the dolphin. 
The hare stands here as the representative of the beasts of the 
land, as the dolphin for those of the sea. The meaning of the 
whole allegory may therefore be read : — * Sunshine, abundance, and 
protection against all evil both by sea and land be unto thee that 
wearest this ring I * " 

That Bdttiger is right in assigning a protective virtue to these 
talismans in their securing for the wearer the patronage of the 
four elements, is, in my opinion, clearly established by another 
shape into which the same components are frequently worked up. 
This is the type where the owner's head is portrayed covered with 
the chimera-helmet, or where, as frequently, the latter is represented 
alone. Of this the finest example known to me is most ingeniously 
put together.! A boar's head forms the frontlet, a ram's the 
neckpiece, a wolf couohant the crown, whose bushy tail hanging 
down finishes the crest ; the chinstrap is a lizard. Here are united 
the attributes of Hercules, of Mercury, and of Mars; whilst the 
lizard, Egyptian emblem of the Logos, is a frequent attribute of 
Minerva. Its aspect also was considered beneficial to the sight, 
probably on account of its agreeable emerald hue. On another 
gem, the wolfs head becomes the neckpiece of a casque in which 
the body is completed by two doves (bringing in the influence of 
Venus), pecking together at a fig which stands for the ear of the 
helmeted personage. 

There is yet another and a frequent type of the head of an elephani 
made up out of several masks, in which the Silenus is ever the 
main feature, and holding in its trunk a caducous. This is 
usually explained as an amulet against the disease called elephanti- 
asis, but this is mere conjecture. Orpheus, indeed (though in his 
extant verses he does not keep his promise) declares that — 

** The wretch dashed to the ground in that dread honr 
When reels his brain beneath Ml Lnna's power, 
ru teaoh his cnre ; and how the pest to tame 
That ftxnn the dephant derives its name." 

* Besides being the special attribute of Mereniy, the patron of shepherds, 
t I cannot help thinking the first idea of these figures was suggested hy the 
helmets of the Gauls, which, according to Diodorus Biculus, were carried up into 


But the whole tenor of his work manifests that these remedies 
were to be sought for in the specifio virtues of oertain stones, and 
not in the sigils or formulaa to be inscribed npon them.* 

Another most convincing proof of the importance attached to 
these symbolical figures is that they were admitted amongst the 
types of the national coinage. Thus we have that very ancient 
gryllus on the silver of Halicamassus, known as *' the Winged Sow," 
apparently compounded of that beast and the cock ; and the yet 
more singular composite put upon their denarii by the family 
Valeria, a long-legged crane furnished with a helmeted female 
head, a serpent encircling the neck, a bearded mask on the breast, 
armed with a buckler and two javelins and trampling upon a 
lizard. Miiller can discern in this nothing more than all Minerva's 
attributes combined into the outline of her own bird: but this 
interpretation will not stand the test of examination, for the bird's 
figure is manifestly not an owVa ; neither does Pallas carry a pair 
of javelins, but the long Homeric spear. More probably it repre- 
sents one of the '* Birds of Mars," inhabiting the isle Aretias in the 
Euxine, which shot forth their feathers like arrows in their flight 
upon the approach of the Argo, and wounded Oileus in the shoulder 
(Ap. Bhod. ii. 1060). The device was evidently chosen as a rebus 
on the name Valeria^ being to the eye the personification of strengik 
and vdUmr^ and is one amongst many of what heralds call the 
" canting arms" in which the consular Bomans so much delighted ; 
examples whereof are the hwming sun of Aburius, the eiephaiU of 
Caasar (so-called in Punic), the butting hull of Thorius, &c. Haver- 
camp, indeed, thinks it may be one of the Stymphalian Birds, 
which, as the story goes, were invulnerable themselves, but could 
pierce through the strongest armour with their beaks — a power 
typified by the darts. They consequently set Hercules and his 
arrows at defiance, until Pallas coming to his aid gave him a bronze 
rattle wherewith to scare them away to the shores of the Bed Sea. 
There their progeny still flourish, for the officers employed in the 
late nautical survey of that coast discovered upon the sandhills the 
deserted nests of a gigantic crane infinitely exceeding in measure- 
ment anything before known to belong to that species. Inter- 
woven into the structure of one of them were discovered the bones 
and tattered clothing of some poor shipwrecked mariner, still 

the shape of the heads of beasts or birds, all forged out of the same metal. They 
must have resembled the towering tlltiug-helmets thus adorned, that came into 
fashion in 1450. 

* In fact, this specific virtue is assigned by Fsellus, drawing from the same 
sources, to the emerald. 

F 2 


retaining his silver watch, a convincing testimony of the recent 
building of the pile. 

Legends^ when they occur on such intagli (for strangely enough 
a cameo in this style is not known), are always as enigmatical 
as the device itself, and, when they can be read at all, must 
be read from the middle towards each end ; but for the most part 
give no intelligible sense to the uninitiated. More frequently only 
detached letters or mysterious-looking characters are found in- 
scribed ; the latter may be supposed either astrological cyphers, or 
the siglm of the Roman shorthand, and containing, could they be 
interpreted, the key to the enigma. 

On this interesting subject — the stenography of the ancients — a 
few words will not be out of place here, where the compression of 
namerous ideas into one figure is the topic imder consideration. 
The use of shorthand, or the expressing entire words by a single 
arbitrary cypher, ^^fictis notare verba signUy* as Prudentius calls it 
(P., S. Cassiani), was first brought to a regular system by the 
famous Tiro, who invented or adapted 1500 of them. Seneca in 
the following century augmented them to the number of 5000. A 
few of those most commonly required are preserved in the MSS. of 
Cicero.* The principle of their formation was to take the initial 
of the particuhu: word, and then to add a stroke, which, by varying 
its inflections, denotes the remainder of the several words be- 
ginning with the same letter. A contrivance happily and tersely 
described by Manilius in the line — 

*' Hie et Bcriptor erii veloz cut litera verbam est,** 

** The naJtive shall be a rapid scribe to whom one letter stands for the whole 

By constant practice these Notarii attained to extraordinary facility 
in the use of the cyphers, so that Martial says of one — 

'* Ourrant verba lloet manus est velodor illis ; 
Nondum lingua snmn, deztra peregit opus." 

<* Though swift your words, his fingers swifter run ; 
Before your tongue, his pen its task hath done." 

These Noim had all to be learnt by heart, f and the tax upon 
the memory must have been most distressing ; hence the notarii 
were trained from childhood in schools kept expressly for that 
purpose, and a truly distasteful discipline was the study to 

* Kopp, in his ' Taohygraphia Yeterum,' gives a large quarto full of them. A 
very copious list is also appended to Grater's ' Inscriptions.' 
t As in Chinese at present. 


the youthful mind, as Fradentius remarks in the poem above 
quoted; for — 

^ Verba notis brevibnB oomprendere ounota peritus 
Raptimqiie punctis dicta prepetibus sequi" 

** Skilled in brief marks all words soe'er to bind. 
And follow speech in cyphers swifk as wind.** 

Cassianus, the unlucky preceptor, an obstinate Christian , was 
given up by order of the Pagan judge, naked, to his infuriated 
pupils, who pricked him to death with their styli. 

In other capricd^ however, it is apparent that nothing recondite 
lies hid under the design, and that the ludicrous alone is the 
thing aimed at. But even here an important object was kept in 
view for the grotesque, or the unexpected put prominently 
forward was deemed the surest means of baffling the stroke of 
the universally dreaded Evil Eye or Boxtkoviou In this belief we 
have the motive for those combinations of the mightiest with the 
most fragile of things created: such as a lion or an elephant 
emerging from a snailshell in the place of its proper molluscous 
inhabitant ; or that where a Pygmy fisherman, similarly housed, 
is diverting himself by angling with a rod and line. From the 
same motive springs also the predilection for the combat between 
a Pygmy and a crane as a device for the signet ; not to add that 
the warrior ever exhibits in a most exaggerated form that object 
(fascinum), the figure of which was the most ancient and most 
efficient of all amulets. 

It is often impossible to avoid being astonished with what 
ingenuity the designer of these trifles has contrived to work 
elements^ so incongruous into one complete and graceful whole; 
and this, coupled with their usually finished execution, con- 
vincingly demonstrates that the best engravers of the age did not 
look upon such embodied yetia; d^ esprit as beneath their attention. 

The same observation applies to yet another class where insects, 
usually the grillo^ or mole-cricket, figure engaged in all the 
occupations of the human race. Thus on one gem the cricket 
acts as a porter vdth a long pole slung over his shoulders, and 
packages on each end ; on another he marches along with a vast 
cornucopia upon his arm, whence issue Capricorn and a bee ; in a 
third a couple appear equipped as gladiators, one with the trident 

* This insect swarms in the Italian copses during the summer months, and is 
•till (as by the ancients) kept in paper cages by children for the sake of its low 
monotonous note. It seems to have been th^Ajcpis to which Melcager addresses 
a pretty epigram. 


and net of the rHiariut, the other with the shield and f&lchion of the 
Mcutor, as if matched together in the arena. The cricket figured 
BO largely in these half-comic, half-seriooa representations for a 
' very singular reason ; there was current a strange notion sug- 
gested by its withered skeleton form and subterranean habitat, 
that it was the express image of a ghost, and on that account it is 
actually styled " larvalis imago." Hence the humour of making it 
thus oocupied in the daily arooatiuns of this life ; it was the 
giacoful embodiment of the same moral that the gloomy imagi- 
nation of the medieeval artist, "fed full upon horrors," delighted to 
image forth in his ghastly Dance of Death. 

To close the list, a pretty and frequent compoeition may be 
quoted — the lyre of Apollo made out of a mask for sounding-board, 
with the arms formed by two dolphins, creatures supposed to be 
passionately fond of music. It is supported by ravens or hoopooes, 
birds sacred to Apollo, or by the owl of Fallaa; the meaning 
couched in the whole presenting an enigma by no means difGcult 
to be solved. But to pursue this subject fiirther would be an 
endless task, inasmuch as every gem-cabinet presents new ex- 
wnplos of these whimsical yet elegant fancies, bom of the some 
taste that adorned the walls of every Roman saloon, with the 
graceful and ever-varying arabesques which we cannot help 
admiring alihough so strongly oondemned by VitraTins as dero- 
gatory to the dignity of art. 

GN08TICI8M. 71 


GnoBticism was the pretension to the true knowledge of divine 
things, as enveloped in the outward forms of Paganism as well as 
of Christianity. The Ophites, or serpent-worshippers, the most 
ancient of the school, and who exclusively arrogated to themselves 
the title of OnoBiictf were accustomed, says EUppolytus, assiduously 
to attend the celebration of all the heathen Mysteries, and to 
pretend that in their transcendental knowledge they possessed the 
key to all the deep truths symbolically expressed in the rites. 
For the same reason they boldly maintained that they were the 
only real Christians. To express in a visible form their own 
doctrines, they availed themselves of the emblems and iconology 
of two religions principally. The first of these was the Egyptian, 
then (the second century) very fashionable at Bome; besides 
which Alexandria was the fountain-head of Gnosticism, and its 
greatest lights, Basilides and Yalentinus, were inhabitants of that 
city. The second source whence they drew their materials was 
the Mithraic creed, a modification of the Zoroastrian, introduced 
into Bome after the conquest of Fontus, and flourishing there so 
amazingly as, with the first-named, to have nearly superseded 
every other form of religious belief. This Mithraic religion was, 
from its nature, essentially astrological; the sun-god being its 
special object of adoration, and the planetary genii playing im- 
portant parts in the scheme as his subordinate ministers. The 
Jewish Kabala was likevdse the offspring of the union of Zoroas- 
trism with the '* traditions of the Elders.*' The Magi on one side, 
the Jewish astrologers on the other, were the missionaries of the 
new religion, and diffused its notions — 

'' All tbat on Folly Frenzy ooold beKot," 

through the length and breadth of the empire — Mithraicism, 
accepted as cognate to the national Druidical system, being uni- 
versal in Gaul, Germany, and Britain. 

From the Egyptian worship the Gnostics borrowed many types 
to engrave upon the gems, which were to serve them both for 
talismans for the good of their souls and bodies and for means of 
mutual recognition between the illuminati. In special veneration 
with them were the figure of the jackal-headed Anubis, the guide 
of souls to the other world ; the solar serpent with a lion's head 
radiated, originally an amulet for the protection of the chest, but 
now interpreted in a more spiritual sense ; the infant Horus 


(another personification of the sun) seated upon the lotus, the 
emblem of fecundity : the cynocephaJus baboon, the peculiar attribute 
of the moon, and therefore generally represented as adoring the 
triangle, the received symbol of that luminary ;' and, above all, that 
peculiar creation of the Basilidan sect, the Abraxaa-giod lao, Apantheui 
made up out of the symbols of the four elements — the serpent, 
eagle, the human trunk, and the scourge ; or perhaps combining in 
himself so many attributes of the solar divinity alone. His title 
Abraxas, '* The Blessed Name," had the grand virtue of containing 
in the sum of its letters, taken according to Greek numeration, the 
solar period of 365. All these types the Gnostics interpreted as 
shadowing forth the Christ, *' the Sun of Righteousness." From 
Mithraicism they obtained and used with equal profusion the 
Belus mounted on his lion, and the mystic many-winged and 
armed figures of the planetary genii. And lastly the Kabala 
(whose grand school was previously established at Alexandria) 
furnished them with interminable inscriptions in corrupt Hebrew 
or Syriac, and with series of mystic numerals, which cover the 
reverses, and often the fields, of their talismanic stones. Of such 
inscriptions the most frequent are lAGJ, "Jehovah," always 
given to Abraxas himself; AAONAI "The Lord;" C€MeO 
EIAAM, "The Eternal Sun;" ABAANA-0ANAABA, "Thou 
art our Father ; " and last, but not least, the seven Greek vowels, 
symbolising the seven heavens, whose mystic harmony kept the 
whole universe together, and which, if rightly uttered with their 
forty-nine Powers, were of force (teaches Pistis-Sophia) to make 
the great First-Father himself tremble, and to deliver souls out of 
the deepest dungeons of the Dragon of Outer Darkness. The 
other inscriptions, often occupying entire gems, whenever they 
can be made out contain the names of the Jewish angels regarded 
as rulers of their respective planets, or else of equivalent divinities 
holding corresponding places in the theology of the Magians. 

With very few exceptions, all the engravings belonging to this 
numerous and far-extending family are executed in a barbarous 
and careTess style : it was the sigil and the spell of their own 
essence, no matter whether well or ill represented, that gave its 
power to the talisman. Occasionally the Gnostics, practically 
carrying out in this particular the grand principle of their 
theosophy — the discovery of the same one and grand truth in all 
religious systems, however diverse in outward appearance — con- 
verted to their own ends the monuments of a better period that 
presented figures susceptible of the desired interpretation, such as 
Phoebus, Pallas, and their attributes. This adaptation was effected 


by adding in the field, or reverse of the gem, the formulae of their 
own system, of which examples are given above.* Astrological 
intagli again, whence originated the name of talisman (dirorcAccr/ia, 
a planetary influence), are as numerous and in point of art belong 
to the same category as the Gnostic works. 


Primitive Christianity has been as remarkably unproductive in 
glyptic monuments, as its grand rival, the Gnosis, has been 
fruitful. The latter, well described as '* the spirit of the ancient 
religions warring against the Church," had availed itself of all 
their machinery, and notably of the powerful media talismans and 
amulets, to establish its empire over the soul ; whereas the former, 
long tinctured by the Judaical habits of thought of its first 
preachers, regarded with horror every representation of the human 
form, much more any attempt to image forth divine personages. 

The feeling of the Primitive Church upon this point is clearly 
expressed in the directions Clemens Alexandrinus, writing in the 
middle of the second century, gives to his flock concerning what 
signets they ought to use. He restricts the choice of the devices 
to a few simple emblems — the Anchor, the Lyre, the Ship under 
sail, the Dove, and the Fisherman. It will be observed that he 
does not include in the list the figure of the Good Shepherd, which 
in somewhat later times became the established emblem of the 
Faith, and in that acceptation appears upon the signets, tombs, 
churches, and as Tertullian notices, even upon the drinking-glasses 
of the Christians, long before the reign of Constantino. Doubtless 
the Alexandrine teacher and his disciples would, at their early 
date, have regarded such a direct personification of the Saviour 
as verging too closely upon the audacious and idolatrous. The 
types Clemens actually recommends have so much that is curious 
in their origin, and go so far back in the history of symbolism, 
as well to merit a few words of explanation. The anchor had been 
the &mily badge of the Seleucidae (the oflspring as they boasted of 
Apollo), and every legitimate scion of the family was believed to 
bear it naturally impressed upon his thigh. From them, their 

* GnostioiBm, and the yarious soTuoes wfaenoe it was derived, more especially 
with reference to the memorials it has left behind, have been fully treated of by 
me in a separate volnme, illustrated with the largest collection of such remains 
that has ever yet been brought together. 


former slaves the Asmoniean kings of Judea adopted it as the type 
upon their coinage, and thenoe it desoended to the Christians, 
being furthermore recommended by the similarity of its outline 
to the Cix)68. The lyre had been the engraving upon the most 
celebrated signet of all antiquity, the emerald of Polycrates ; and 
also by a very intelligible symbolism taught the lesson of mutual 
harmony and concord. The ship flying before the wind pointed 
out that life is but a voyage across a stormy ocean to a better land. 
But in the dove a deeper abundance of mysteries were involved. 
The bird had ever been, both to Assyrians and Syrians, the special 
emblem of the Godhead, from the time when the Ninevite sculptor 
typified the Supreme Being by an orb, with the tail and wings 
of a dove (the IftV), hovering above the head of his sovereign, and 
fabled that the most illustrious of the line, Semiramis, had assumed 
its shape upon quitting earth, down to the commencement of our 
era when Propertius alludes to 

« ** Alba PalsBstino eancta columba Syro.** 

Again, in sacred history, the Dove is associated with the 
Seqond Founder of the human race, and with the immediate 
manifestation of the Divinity at the Saviour's baptism. But 
what completed the mystic importance of the emblem was the 
discovery made by some Christianised adept in the Eabala, that 
the sum of the numeral letters in its Oreek name, vtpujrtpd, 
amounted to 801, and therefore the value of the word was 
identical with that of A and Q, which the Lord had assumed for 
His own proper title upon His last manifestation in His glory. 
The fiBherman was instructive, as Clemens explains, by his 
occupation reminding the beholder of *' little children drawn 
lip out of the waters," that is, of the story of Moses, whose name 
is so interpreted, and who thus in the outset of his career fore- 
shadowed the doctrine of baptismal regeneration. The grand 
type of all, though not mentioned by Clemens, was the fish 
itself, a figure equally replete with mystic significance as Uiat 
of the dove. The fish consecrated to Atergatis, or Venus, had 
ever been held sacred by the Syrians, to whom the eating thereof 
had consequently been interdicted from the earliest times. The 
Dagon of Philistia and the corresponding deity of the Phosnicians 
wore imaged under this form. It was probably owing to the 
influence of the superstition of their neighbours that the Kabalists, 
although assigning a much more occult reason, gave the name 
of Dcig (the Fish) to their expected Messiah, and taught that the 
" sign of His coming " would bo the conjunction of Jupiter and 


Saturn in the ngn Pisces. And, to crown all, the type of the fish 
had become to ChristianB a hieroglyphical confession of faith on 
account of the certainly singular coincidence that the elements of 
the Greek word form the initials in the sentence 'Ii^oroSs Xpurros 
%€ov Yios 2a>n7p, ''Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Saviour." 
Early Christian remains of all classes often exhibit a simple but 
expressive mark of religious profession in the Chritma^ where 
the letters X P, ingeniously united in a monogram, contain all 
the elements of the name XPICTOC, and are so disposed as to 
present the image of the instrument of salvation. The yet 
lingering gleams of antique taste often introduce this simple 
monogram with much elegance upon the signet, sometimes 
elevated upon the head of a Cupid, christened for the nonce 
into an angel, sometimes forming the shank to the Anchor of 
Hope, from the arms whereof is suspended the sacred fish in pairs, 
and sometimes grasped in the crossed hands, the long-established 
symbol of good faith. 

From the foregoing particulars, and from the very nature of the 
case, one would be led to infer that no attempts at the direct 
portraiture of the Redeemer would be met with before both 
religion and art had entered upon their purely Byzantine phase. 
And such is actually the case ; the earliest heads of Christ that 
are met with upon gems being in cameo upon plasma or jasper, in 
a style whose exact agreement with that of the same represen- 
tations upon the reverse of the bezants immediately indicates the 
date of their execution. How impossible their existence at an 
earlier period of Christianity is sufficiently exemplified by a 
single fact, Epiphanius' winding up his long list of the heresies 
of the Carpocratians (Gnostics admitting more of the Pagan 
element into their theosophy than any of their brethren^L with 
the charge that they had and adored images of Christ which 
they pretended had been made by order of Pilate when He was 
amongst men. There can, therefore, be little hazard of mistake 
in pronouncing the first direct representations of Divine per- 
sonages upon gems to be those works of the Sassanian engravers 
of which some, though rare, examples are known to exist ; such as 
the Head of Christ, beardless (Paris), the Annunciation, the 
Greeting of Mary and Elizabeth, <&c. The cursive form of the 
Pehlevi lettering in the legends apprises the Orientalist that 
these intagli are due to the Nestorians who found an asylum 
in the Persian empire during the century or two before its 

But to conclude this Section, the notoriety given by its recent 


publication to the pretended ''Emerald of the Vatican" neceasi- 
tates a brief notice here of that audacious imposture. According 
to the legend that goes with it this gem had been engraved with 
an intaglio portrait of Christ by Pilate's order, and by him 
presented to Tiberius. Thenceforward it had been treasured up 
by the Roman and Byzantine Caesars and their Ottoman successors 
until paid by the Sultan to Innocent YIII. as a more than equivalent 
ransom for his brother, who had fallen into the Pope's hands. It 
would be mere waste of time to point out all the historical 
absurdities involved in this fable : to view it on the side of art 
is quite sufficient to decide the question. This contemporary 
portrait is treated in neither the antique nor even the Byzantine 
manner, but most unmistakably in that of the Italian Bevival ; in 
fact, is merely a copy of a medal belonging to the times of the 
Pontif, whose name is commemorated in its legend. 


Thus, in the fifth century, the Glyptic Art amongst the Romans 
entirely disappears, its last traces fading away in the swarms of 
ill-cut, worse-drawn, abraxas and Manichean talismans that have 
for their material stones of virtue^ not of beauty ; the coarse jaspers 
and loadstones of the fountain-heads of the doctrines, Egypt and 
Assyria. The Byzantines, indeed, kept up, though very languidly, 
the art of engraving camei, but entirely dropped that of working 
in intaglio upon hard stones. An imperial atelier for the former 
art seems to have been long supported as a necessary appendage to 
the pomp of the Byzantine Caesars : the '' artifices Palatini," in the 
sense of gem-engravers, are mentioned in a law of the Emperor 
Leo's (886-911). Their works in cameo were exclusively designed 
for enriching the vessels intended for the service of the altar; 
their subjects are therefore scriptural only — ^such as the Annun- 
ciation or the Salutation ; or else they are the single figures or 
busts of the Saviour, the Virgin, or the Saints. They are cut in 
bloodstone, plasma, sardonyx, and lapis-lazuli. The Emperor 
Heraclius presented to King Dagoberta magnificent oval plaque 
of the last, which bore on one side the bust of the Saviour, on 
the other that of His Mother. It was dedicated by the king, 
and remained for a thousand years in the Treasury of St. Penys. 

At this time the official signets of the great were made of metal 
entirely, charged with the letters of the cognomen quaintly 


arranged in the form of a cross — ^as that of Glementinus, consul a. d. 
513, appears figured upon his diptych. The few men of taste yet 
surviving treasured up the gems, the legacy of better times, exactly 
as we do now, as precious articles of inrft^, not to be profaned by 
modem use. That they viewed them in this light is apparent from 
their poems upon certain ckef9-d^<xuwe of the class, preserved in the 
Anthology, to which allusion has been made on a former occasion. 

This state of things gave birth to a new class of gems that may 
properly be designated " complimentary," or " motto-camei." They 
present short sentences enclosed within a myrtle wreath, or a plain 
circle, of an import showing that they were designed for orna- 
menting rings and other small jewels intended for new-yeai^s giffcs 
(strense) or birthday presents. The lettering of these inscriptions 
is the peculiar, neat character which came into use under Diocletian, 
and is seen on the gold coinage of his successors down to the fall of 
the Western Empire. The spelling renders the flEust indubitable, 
that the so-called modem-Oreek pronunciation was already estab- 
lished as the fashionable one at Home. The mottoes are for the 
most part appropriate to the occasion for which I have supposed 
them engraved: for example ZHCEC AKAKI — "Long life to 
thee, Acacius ; " MAKPINE ZHCAIC nOAAOIC 6T6CIN— "Mayest 
thou live many years, Macrinus;" 6YTYXI 6YC6BI — ^Prosper, 
Eusebius;" HAAAAAI 6YTYXI META 6I6POKAIHC — "Prosper, 
Falladius, together with Hieroclea." A longer formula, €Y- 
in substance, the same good wish that Propertius sends his beloved 
Cynthia for her natal day — 

^ Transeat hio sine nube dies, stent aBthere Tenti, 
Ponat et in siooo molliter unda minas.** 

A frequent one indicates a keepsake on departure — MNHMON6Y6 
MOY THC KAAHC YYXHC— " Remember me, thy pretty sweet- 
heart ; " accompanying the device of a hand pinching an ear, the 
seat of the memory according to the then popular notion— 

** Cynthiiu aurem^veUit et admonuit" 

Lastly, some preach a moral to the recipient : take this very 
common one for a specimen, and which, Caylus says, should be the 
motto of every philosopher— AErOYCIN A0EAOYCIN AErETWCAN 
OY MEAEI MOI, aptly rendered in the motto inscribed by the old 
Scots baron over the door of his mansion — 

^ Men saye : what Baye they ? 
Wha cares : let them saye.** 


xL2L Y x* 

The simple cruciform arrangement of the letters of the name, of 
which the signet of Clementinns has been quoted as an example, 
and which also was adopted on much of the Byzantine coinage, 
was, somewhat later, superseded by the more complicated form of 
the monogram. The use of the latter, so general throughout 
Bomanesque Europe (following servilely the example of the focujsof 
Christian art) was, strange to say, only the resuscitation, doubtless 
undesigned, of a very ancient fashion. Monograms — or the com- 
pression of an entire word into the outline of a single letter written 
with one stroke of the pen, as the compound term expresses, that 
letter being the initial — ^had been in great favour with the Greeks 
at a very early period. Under such a form do the names of the 
mint-masters appear upon the coinage of the best times of art ; and 
yet it was very long before this convenient form of the signature 
came to be generally adopted upon the seal. Although it had been 
from the first customary with the Bomans to have the person's 
name added to the family device upon his signet, yet it was either 
written in full, or else expressed by the separated initials of the 
prrnnomen^ nomen^ and cognomen. The earliest example of a true 
monogram known to me is the name AnUminua, so disposed on a red 
jasper of Lower-Empire work (Bosanquet Collection). But after 
the sixth century the fashion became universal. Avitus, Bishop of 
Yienne, orders such to be cut for the device of his episcopal signet 
(an iron ring having two dolphins for the shank): " Si quaeras quid 
insculpendum sigillo, signum monogrammatis mei per gyrum scripti 
nominis legatur indicio " (Ep. Vll. Mabillon, De Re Diplom. p. 132). 
Symmachus, writing early in the fifth century, alludes to a seal of 
his own, *' which rather hinted at his name than expressed it openly." 
Eirchmann, in his learned treatise ' De Annulis,' supposes this seal 
was some figure that embodied the idea conveyed in the Greek 
word, which signifies a helper ; but the age was too low down in 
the Decline to admit of similar ingenuity, Symmachus evidently 
meaning nothing more by this circuitous expression than his own 

The names of the etltet, as well as those of the magistrates, often 
occur upon the Greek coinage in very complicated monograms. 
This makes it still more surprising that no one should have adopted 
the same conceit for his seal before the ages of barbarism. But no 
sooner had Byzantium set the fashion than it became universal 
throughout Europe, to which that capital long continued the 


foimtaiii-head of Art. The obyerse of the deniera of the Carlovin- 
gian kings is for the most part oocnpied by the monogram of the 
name — ^in the case of Charlemagne's, very ingeniously oonstructed ; 
and the contemporary Anglo-Saxon pennies clumsily attempt to 
copy the same novelty. 


In the mean time the Glyptic Art, thus rapidly dying out in 
Europe, the scene of its greatest triumphs, had sought a refuge, 
and again grown strong, in the very cradle of its infancy. The 
young and vigorous Sassanian monarchy of Persia had resuscitated, 
together with the ancient royal line, the religion also of the 
AchsBmenidae. Oem-engraving, ever the favourite vehicle for the 
ideas of the Assyrian creeds, for the second time found its produc- 
tions in as great request as in the ages preceding the Macedonian 
conquest, that have bequeathed to us such stores of Ninevitish and 
Babylonian cylinders and seals. During the four centuries of the 
domination of the Farthians (a truly Turkish race) these very 
regions had been singularly non-productive in engraved stones — 
nay, it may be said, entirely barren, so dubious are any intagli that 
may be referred to the Anactdse. Of their long series not a single 
portrait is now known to exist upon a gem, although Pliny the 
Younger, in a letter to Trajan, mentions one engraved witii the 
figure of Pacorus in his royal robes, brought from his court by an 
escaped Soman slave. This peculiarity had, indeed, attracted the 
notice of his learned uncle, who remarks : '* Even in the present 
day the East and Egypt do not use seals, but are satisfied with the 
mere writing (of the name)." Pliny's "East," was the vast 
Parthian Empire — ^that " second world," as Manilius phrases it — 

*' Parthiqae yel alter .... orbis.*' 

But the truth is that many of its subject-races, instead of having 
never leanU the use of signets, as the great naturalist supposes, had 
on the contrary, from some unknown cause, discontinued the very 
practice of which they themselves had been the first inventors. 

But now a complete revolution in taste sets in : the succeeding 
four centuries of the revived native Persian rule (by a strange 
coincidence commensurate in extent with the previous blank) have 
handed down to us innumerable memorials of the sovereigns, and 
of their religion, in works somewhat rude, it must be confessed, yet 


of transcendent merit, if compared with the contemporary produc- 
tions of the effete civilization of Byzantium. Extremely valuable, 
too, is this series in the historical point of view, on account of the 
Fehlevi legends which usually surround the monarch's portrait, 
setting forth his name and high-sounding titles. Barbarous as 
the style of many of these intagli is, and coarsely sunk as are the 
lines into the stone, there is yet a force and an individuality of 
expression about the drawing that declare the engraver's know- 
ledge of the true principles of his art. The masterpiece of this 
school, and one without a rival, is the Devonshire amethyst, dis- 
playing the bust, not of Sapor I., as it long was named, but of the 
illustrious descendant of that conqueror, Vahrdhran Kermanshah. 
His features are full of a stem majesty; his hair falls in long 
curled tresses from beneath his pearl-bordered tiara : his name and 
numerous titles surround the field in two lines of elegantly-cut 
Fehlevi characters. 

These Sassanian works have another interest, and that is their 
mineralogical ; no other series being so rich in point of material^ 
presenting us largely with splendid spinels, jacinths, and alman- 
dines, tributes from their far-extended Indian dominions. The 
supply is continued without abatement in quantity, though with 
a sad falling off in workmanship, down to the very epoch of the 
Mohammedan conquest, in the year 632, when it comes to a sudden 
close, together with the dynasty whose features this last survivor 
of the ancient schools of gem-engraving had so long and sedulously 

Their place is taken by the only forms permitted by the religion 
of the victors, inscriptions in the Cufic or modified Sassanian letter. 
This character took its name from the town of Cufa, where it was 
adopted by the first Arabian transcribers of the Koran. Ouseley 
gives a specimen of a MS. held by the Persians in the highest 
veneration, as being in the handwriting of Ali himself ; the char- 
acters vary but little from those seen on the later Sassanian gems. 

These Cufic seal-inscriptions are wrought tastefully, and with 
perfect technical mastery, in the choicest Oriental gems, and even 
in the hardest precious stones, the sapphire and the ruby. The 
demand throughout the whole Mohammedan world for such signets, 
and the skill required for the effective combination of the flowing 
curves that constitute the chief elements of Arabic calligraphy, 
often into the outline of various objects, a horse, a bird, a balance, 
&o., kept alive all the technical processes of the art down to the 
period when favouring circumstances brought about its revival in 



The Byzantine school during the same interval merely deserves 
a passing notice, the sole evidence of its existence remaining to us 
being a few camei of religious subjects, in which the unskilful 
execution aptly harmonises with the tastelessness of the drawing. 
And both these are kept in countenance by the strange corruption 
of orthography in the legends, exactly corresponding to that of the 
modem Bomaic, of which a single example will suffice : " XEPE 
KAI XAPITOMENE," accompanying the group of the Annuncia- 
tion upon a splendid sardonyx (Brit. Mus.), would puzzle an ety- 
mological (Edipus did he not, by pronouncing the formula aloud, 
recognise therein the precisely equivalent sounds of the angclio 
salutation, *' X"^ icc;(aptro/xcio7." 

But all over the West, during these same ten centuries — that 
millennium of darkness — gem-engraving may be regarded as vir- 
tually extinct, for the few barbarous and perhaps disputable 
evidences of its latent vitality can hardly be said to affect ihe 
question. These instances, curious both from their rarity and on 
several other accounts, will be fully considered in the next chapter 
to which the remainder of this will serve for introduction. Signets 
indeed, were in as much demand and for the same important uses 
throughout mediaeval Europe as they had been in the ancient 
world ; but they were for the most part cut in metal. For personal 
seals all who could procure them employed antique intagli (recom- 
mended to them by their firmly-believed-in mystic virtues), their 
subjects being generally interpreted of the personages of Scripture, 
whence their popular name " pierres d*Israel.*' The official seals, 
however, were large and elaborate designs cut in matrices of metal, 
brass (latUm) or pewter, silver being reserved for royalty; and 
usually, according to the taste of the times, completely architec- 
tural in character. The king and the noble placed their own 
figures on their great seals portrayed in Iheir appropriate charac- 
ters — ^the former seated on his throne administering justice, the 
latter in full armour upon his war-horse, discharging his duty as a 
knight. These designs, though accurate as to costume, make no 
pretensions to be considered portraits. But it is a curious fact that 
ecclesiastics occasionally attempt to give actual likenesses, from the 
life, of their own faces in profile, upon their small personal seals, 
engraved in the metal. And some such portraits have lately been 
brought under my notice (all of them, to judge from the lettering, 
of the Edwardian era), which are executed with a spirit and an 



evident fidelity to nature that could not have been expected at so 
early a date. One such tonsured head — a first-class specimen of 
mediasval portraiture — bears a motto seemingly the most inappro- 
priate of all to the celibate vow of its proprietor, CRESCITE ET 
MVLTIPLICAMINI. But the increase wished for was doubtless 
meant of his coin, not of his olive-branches. 

This resumption of the ancient practice of sealing with one's own 
likeness appears to have been made long before the date above 
given, and indeed may bo said never to have been totally dropped ; 
for St. Bernard, writing to Eugenius III. (1145-53), complains 
that many forged epistles were circulating under his name, and 
that therefore in future none were to be accounted genuine unless 
they bore his seal engraved with his own likeness and superscrip- 
tion. Both were probably rude enough, if we may form an opinion 
from the very remarkable seal, attempting the same thing, ascribed 
by tradition to St. Servatius (d. 389), and preserved in Maestricht 
Cathedral, attached to a porphyry slab, known from the same tra- 
dition as the Saints' portable idtar. This seal, a circular jasper, 
throe inches in diameter, bears on one side the Gorgon's head, with 
a legend seemingly in corrupt phonetic Greek, and intended for 
Moijpa ficAaivo/icn; V9 o^9, a spell to be found on certain Byzantine 
bronze amulets. The other side has a bust in front-face, with an 
attempt at O A (yios) in the field, and a legend, baffling all inter- 
pretation, but possibly a continuation of the formula on the other 
side, running around. The style of the intaglio is certainly not 
that of the saint's own times, but of some six or seven centuries 
later. But with lajrmen tjhe demand for antique intagli to mount 
in their aecreta or personal seals was evidently enormous ; the 
desire for their possession, however, was not inspired by their 
l)eauty as artistic objects, but by the nature of the figures cut 
uj)on them in accordance with the universal belief in the virtues of 
sigils^ as such figures were properly termed. These virtues were 
exactly described and the sigUs possessing them minutely speci- 
fied in the various Lapidaria in which those times were so rife — 
examples of which I purpose adducing for the edification or amuse- 
ment of my reader when I come to treat of the employment of 
antique gems in the Middle Ages. 



All who have written upon our subject assume tnat gem-engrav- 
ing was utterly extinct in Europe during the whole extent of the 
Middle Ages — ^that is, from the coronation of Charlemagne as 
Emperor of the West in the year 800 down to the middle of the 
fifteenth century (1453), when Greek fugitives from Constanti- 
nople re-established its practice in Italy. The continuance of the 
art within the Greek empire during that period does not enter into 
the question, for this, together with all the other arts of antiquity, 
maintained a feeble existence there down to the very last, as 
numerous camei, some in fine sardonyx but the greater part in 
bloodstone, remain to testify. The agreement of these in style 
with the bezants of John Zimisses and the Comneni shows that the 
manufacture of such ecclesiastical decorations (their subjects are 
always Scriptural) was prosecuted with considerable briskness 
between the tenth century and the thirteenth. No Byzantine 
intagli (except a few amulets) were, however, produced during the 
same period, for if such had existed, they would be easily recognis- 
able by the same unmistakable stamp of the epoch impressed upon 
them, both as to subjects and their treatment, that marks the 
Byzantine camei and ivory carvings. The reason for this extinc- 
tion of intaglio-engraving is obvious enough ; signets cut in hard 
stones were no longer in request, the ofiScial seals for stamping the 
leaden bulled authenticating public documents were, like coin-dies, 
sunk in iron ; whilst those for personal use were engraved in the 
precious metals. 

Camei were the ornaments above all others deemed appropriate 
for reliquaries and similar furniture of the altar ; a tradition dating 
from imperial times. In the estimate of art then current, the 
value of the material and the time expended in elaborating it 
counted for much. Another consideration also influenced this 
preference, the greater facility of executing a tolerable work in 
relief than in intaglio ; a fact declared from the first by the nascent 
art producing the perfectly modelled Etruscan scarabeei that serve 
as vehicles for such barbarous intagli upon their bases as we have 
above noticed, and confirmed by this second childhood of the 
Byzantine school. 

It is at first sight apparent, from many considerations, that the 
genuine Gothic artists never attempted engraving upon hard 
stones. The first, and this is an argument of the greatest weight, 
is that no gems are to be met with exhibiting purely Gothic 



evident fidelity to nature that could not have been expected at so 
early a date. One 8uch tonsiired head — a first-class specimen of 
niediaBval portraiture — bears a motto seemingly the most inappro- 
priate of all to the celibate vow of its proprietor, CBESCITE ET 
MVLTIPLICAMINI. But the increase wished for was doubtless 
meant of his coin, not of his olive-branches. 

This resumption of the ancient practice of sealing with one's own 
likeness appears to have been made long before the date above 
given, and indeed may bo said never to have been totally dropped ; 
for St. Bernard, writing to Eugenius III. (1145-53), complains 
that many forged epistles were circulating under his name, and 
that therefore in future none were to be accounted genuine unless 
they bore his seal engraved with his own likeness and superscrip- 
tion. Both were probably rude enough, if we may form an opinion 
from the very remarkable seal, attempting the same thing, ascribed 
by tradition to St. Servatius (d. 389), and preserved in Maastricht 
Cathedral, attached to a porphyry slab, known from the same tra- 
dition as the Saints* portable ditar. This seal, a circular jasper, 
three inches in diameter, bears on one side the Gorgon's head, with 
a legend seemingly in corrupt phonetic Greek, and intended for 
Moipa fjLtXaivofjiitnff v9 o^s, a spell to be found on certain Byzantino 
bronze amulets. The other side has a bust in front-face, with an 
attempt at O A (7109) in the field, and a legend, baffling all inter- 
pretation, but possibly a continuation of the formula on the other 
side, running around. The style of the intaglio is certainly not 
that of the saint's own times, but of some six or seven centuries 
later. But with lajrmen tjhe demand for antique intagli to mount 
in their secreta or personal seals was evidently enormous ; the 
desire for their possession, however, was not inspired by their 
l)eauty as artistic objects, but by the nature of the figures cut 
ui)on them in accordance with the universal belief in the virtues of 
sigth^ as such figures were properly termed. These virtues were 
exactly described and the sigils possessing them minutely speci- 
fied in the various Lapidaria in which those times were so rife — 
examples of which I purpose adducing for the edification or amuse- 
ment of my reader when I come to treat of the employment of 
antique gems in the Middle Ages. 



All wlio have written upon our subject assume tnat gem-engrav- 
ing was utterly extinct in Europe during the whole extent of the 
Middle Ages — ^that is, from the coronation of Charlemagne as 
Emperor of the West in the year 800 down to the middle of the 
fifteenth century (1453), when Greek fugitives from Constanti- 
nople re-established its practice in Italy. The continuance of the 
art within the Greek empire during that period does not enter into 
the question, for this, together with all the other arts of antiquity, 
maintained a feeble existence there down to the very last, as 
numerous camei, some in fine sardonyx but the greater part in 
bloodstone, remain to testify. The agreement of these in style 
with the bezants of John Zimisses and the Comneni shows that the 
manufacture of such ecclesiastical decorations (their subjects are 
always Scriptural) was prosecuted with considerable briskness 
between the tenth century and the thirteenth. No Byzantine 
intagli (except a few amulets) were, however, produced during the 
same period, for if such had existed, they would be easily recognis- 
able by the same unmistakable stamp of the epoch impressed upon 
them, both as to subjects and their treatment, that marks the 
Byzantine camei and ivory carvings. The reason for this extinc- 
tion of intaglio-engraving is obvious enough ; signets cut in hard 
stones were no longer in request, the ofiScial seals for stamping the 
leaden bullsB authenticating public documents were, like coin-dies, 
sunk in iron ; whilst those for personal use were engraved in the 
precious metals. 

Camei were the ornaments above all others deemed appropriate 
for reliquaries and similar furniture of the altar ; a tradition dating 
from imperial times. In the estimate of art then current, the 
value of the material and the time expended in elaborating it 
counted for much. Another consideration also influenced this 
preference, the greater facility of executing a tolerable work in 
relief than in intaglio ; a fact declared from the first by the nascent 
art producing the perfectly modelled Etruscan scarabaei that serve 
as vehicles for such barbarous intagli upon their bases as we have 
above noticed, and confirmed by this second childhood of the 
Byzantine school. 

It is at first sight apparent, from many considerations, that the 
genuine Gothic artists never attempted engraving upon hard 
stones. The first, and this is an argument of the greatest weighty 
is that no gems are to be mot with exhibiting purely Gothic 

o 2 


evident fidelity to nature that could not have been expected at so 
early a date. One such tonsured head — a first-class specimen of 
medioBval portraiture — ^bears a motto seemingly the most inappro- 
priate of all to the celibate vow of its proprietor, CRESCITE ET 
MVLTIPLICAMINL But the increase wished for was doubtless 
meant of his coin, not of his olive-branches. 

This resumption of the ancient practice of sealing with one's own 
likeness appears to have been made long before the date above 
given, and indeed may bo said never to have been totally dropped ; 
for St. Bernard, writing to Eugonius III. (1146-53), complains 
that many forged epistles were circulating under his name, and 
that therefore in future none were to be accounted genuine unless 
they bore his seal engraved with his own likeness and superscript 
tion. Both were probably rude enough, if we may form an opinion 
from the very remarkable seal, attempting the same thing, ascribed 
by tradition to St. Servatius (d. 389), and preserved in Meestricht 
Cathedral, attached to a porphyry slab, known from the same tra- 
dition as the Saints* portable idtar. This seal, a circular jasper, 
three inches in diameter, bears on one side the Gorgon's head, with 
a legend seemingly in corrupt phonetic Greek, and intended for 
Moipa fjL€\aivofuinfj v9 o^s, a spell to be found on certain Byzantine 
bronze amulets. The other side has a bust in front-face, with an 
attempt at O A (yios) in the field, and a legend, baffling all inter- 
pretation, but possibly a continuation of the formula on the other 
side, running around. The style of the intaglio is certainly not 
that of the saint's own times, but of some six or seven centuries 
later. But with laymen l^e demand for antique intagli to mount 
in their aecreta or personal seals was evidently enormous; the 
desire for their possession, however, was not inspired by their 
beauty as artistic objects, but by the nature of the figures cut 
upon them in accordance with the universal belief in the virtues of 
aigils, as such figures were properly termed. These virtues were 
cxaetly described and the sigils possessing them minutely speci- 
fied in the various Lapidaria in which those times were so rife — 
examples of which I pnrpose adducing for the edification or amuse- 
ment of my reader when I come to treat of the employment of 
antique gems in the Middle Ages. 



All who have written upon our subject assume txiat gem-engrav- 
ing was utterly extinct in Europe during the whole extent of the 
Middle Ages — that is, from the coronation of Charlemagne as 
Emperor of the West in the year 800 down to the middle of the 
fifteenth century (1453), when Greek fugitives from Constanti- 
nople re-established its practice in Italy. The continuance of the 
art within the Greek empire during that period does not enter into 
the question, for this, together with all the other arts of antiquity, 
maintained a feeble existence there down to the very last, as 
numerous camei, some in fine sardonyx but the greater part in 
bloodstone, remain to testify. The agreement of these in style 
with the bezants of John Zimisses and the Comneni shows that the 
manufacture of such ecclesiastical decorations (their subjects are 
always Scriptural) was prosecuted with considerable briskness 
between the tenth century and the thirteenth. No Bys^antine 
intagli (except a few amulets) were, however, produced during the 
same period, for if such had existed, they would be easily recognis- 
able by the same unmistakable stamp of the epoch impressed upon 
them, both as to subjects and their treatment, that marks the 
Byzantine camei and ivory carvings. The reason for this extinc- 
tion of intaglio-engraving is obvious enough ; signets cut in hard 
stones were no longer in request, the ofiSciied seals for stamping the 
leaden bullsB authenticating public documents were, like coin-dies, 
sunk in iron ; whilst those for personal use were engraved in the 
precious metals. 

Camei were the ornaments above all others deemed appropriate 
for reliquaries and similar furniture of the altar ; a tradition dating 
from imperial times. In the estimate of art then current, the 
value of the material and the time expended in elaborating it 
counted for much. Another consideration also influenced this 
preference, the greater facility of executing a tolerable work in 
relief than in intaglio ; a fact declared from the first by the nascent 
art producing the perfectly modelled Etruscan scarabeei that serve 
as vehicles for such barbarous intagli upon their bases as we have 
above noticed, and confirmed by this second childhood of the 
Byzantine school. 

It is at first sight apparent, from many considerations, that the 
genuine Gothic artists never attempted engraving upon hard 
stones. The first, and this is an argument of the greatest weight, 
is that no gems are to be met with exhibiting purely Gothic 

G 2 


evident fidelity to nature that could not have been expected at so 
early a date. One such tonsured head — a first-class specimen of 
mediasval portraiture — bears a motto seemingly the most inappro- 
priate of all to the celibate vow of its proprietor, CRESCITE ET 
MVLTIPLICAMINI. But the increase wished for was doubtless 
meant of his coin, not of his olive-branches. 

This resumption of the ancient practice of sealing with one's own 
likeness appears to have been made long before the date above 
given, and indeed may be said never to have been totally dropped ; 
for St. Bernard, writing to Eugenius III. (1145-53), complains 
that many forged epistles were circulating under his name, and 
tliat therefore in future none were to bo accounted genuine unless 
they bore his seal engraved with his own likeness and superscrip- 
tion. Both were probably rude enough, if we may form an opinion 
from the very remarkable seal, attempting the same thing, ascribed 
by tradition to St. Servatius (d. 389), and preserved in Msestricht 
Qathedral, attached to a porphyry slab, known from the same tra- 
dition as the Saints' portable iJtar. This seal, a circular jasper, 
three inches in diameter, bears on one side the Gorgon's head, with 
a legend seemingly in corrupt phonetic Greek, and intended for 
Motpa iLtkaxvofkhnti v^ 0^(9, a spell to be found on certain Byzantine 
bronze amulets. The other side has a bust in front-face, with an 
attempt at O A (ytos) in the field, and a legend, baffling all inter- 
pretation, but possibly a continuation of the formula on the other 
side, running around. The style of the intaglio is certainly not 
that of the saint's own times, but of some six or seven centuries 
later. But with laymen tjhe demand for antique intagli to mount 
in their secreia or personal seals was evidently enormous ; the 
desire for their possession, however, was not inspired by their 
beauty as artistic objects, but by the nature of the figures cut 
upon them in accordance with the universal belief in the virtues of 
sigiUy as such figures were properly termed. These virtues were 
exactly described and the sigils possessing them minutely speci- 
fied in the various Lapidaria in which those times were so rife — 
examples of which I purpose adducing for the edification or amuse- 
ment of my reader when I come to treat of the employment of 
antique gems in the Middle Ages. 



All who have written upon our subject assume tnat gem-engrav- 
ing was utterlj extinct in Europe during the whole extent of the 
Middle Ages — ^that is, from the coronation of Charlemagne as 
Emperor of the West in the year 800 down to the middle of the 
fifteenth century (1453), when Greek fugitives from Constanti- 
nople re-established its practice in Italy. The continuance of the 
art within the Greek empire during that period does not enter into 
the question, for this, together with all the other arts of antiquity, 
maintained a feeble existence there down to the very last, as 
numerous camei, some in fine sardonyx but the greater part in 
bloodstone, remain to testify. The agreement of these in style 
with the bezants of John Zimisses and the Comneni shows that the 
manufacture of such ecclesiastical decorations (their subjects are 
always Scriptural) was prosecuted with considerable briskness 
between the tenth century and the thirteenth. No Byzantine 
intagli (except a few amulets) were, however, produced during the 
same period, for if such had existed, they would be easily recognis- 
able by the same unmistakable stamp of the epoch impressed upon 
them, both as to subjects and their treatment, that marks the 
Byzantine camei and ivory carvings. The reason for this extinc- 
tion of intaglio-engraving is obvious enough ; signets cut in hard 
stones were no longer in request, the official seals for stamping the 
leaden bullsB authenticating public documents were, like coin-dies, 
sunk in iron ; whilst those for personal use were engraved in the 
precious metals. 

Camei were the ornaments above all others deemed appropriate 
for reliquaries and similar furniture of the altar ; a tradition dating 
from imperial times. In the estimate of art then current, the 
value of the material and the time expended in elaborating it 
counted for much. Another consideration also influenced this 
preference, the greater facility of executing a tolerable work in 
relief than in intaglio ; a fact declared from the first by the nascent 
art producing the perfectly modelled Etruscan scarabcei that serve 
as vehicles for such barbarous intagli upon their bases as wq have 
above noticed, and confirmed by this second childhood of the 
Byzantine school. 

It is at first sight apparent, from many considerations, that the 
genuine Gothic artists never attempted engraving upon hard 
stones. The first, and this is an argument of the greatest weighty 
is that no gems are to be met with exhibiting purely Gothic 

a 2 


designs. We know from the innumerable seals preserved, both 
official and personal, many of them most elaborately drawn and 
artistically executed, what would be the designs that gems engraved 
by a worker contemporary with these seals must necessarily have 
exhibited ; for, as the analogy of the two arts requires, the same 
hand would have cut the intagli in stone and the seals in metal. 
Thus at a later time we find that the famous gem-engravers of the 
Revival, such as II Greco, Matteo del Nazzaro, and Yalerio Belli, 
were also die-sinkers. Any gems, therefore, engraved either in 
Italy, Fraiice, or Germany between the years 800 and 1453 would 
necessarily present such subjects as Saints in ecclesiastical or 
monastic costume. Knights arrayed in the eCrmour of their times, 
and, above all, architectural accessories, canopies, niches, and 
diapering, the customary decorations of the mediaeval seals in 

Besides this restriction as to subjects, the drawing of those ages 
has, even in its highest correctness, a peculiar character never to 
be mistaken, and which even pervades the paintings of the Italian 
school down to late in the fifteenth century, and those of the 
German for a century longer. Lastly, a class of subjects distinct 
from any known to antique glyptic art, armorial hearings arranged 
according to the rules of heraldry, would have constituted a large 
portion of an3rthing executed in those times for seals, and yet such 
are wholly deficient. Again, in the choice of the antique intagli 
set in medieeval seals, there is often evident a desire to pick out 
some figure agreeing with the owner's cognisance. On the other 
hand some of the metal seals exhibit in their heraldic animals an 
attempt to copy representations of the like objects upon gems. 
Antiques of the class being so highly esteemed on the score of the 
supposed mystic virtues of both substance and sigil, doubtless, had 
it been within the mediaeval engraver's power, a •* stone of virtue " 
would have been preferred by him for the purpose when about to 
execute the signet of a wealthy patron. 

On this consideration our second argument is founded. The 
great number of antique gems set in mediaeval privy seals 
sufficiently proves how much such works were in request. The 
legends added upon the metal settings enchasing them show how 
the subjects were interpreted to suit the spirit of the times, often 
in a sense so forced as must have tried the faith of even their 
simple-minded owners. Certainly, had it been possible to execute 
in such valued materials designs better assimilated to the notions 
they desired to embody, such would have been attempted in a 
manner more or less successful, but still bearing unmistakably the 


stamp of Gothic Art. This remark applies exactly to the latest 
intagli of antiquity, or rather to the earliest of mediaeval timos^ 
the date of which can be accurately ascertained, the signets of the 
Emperor Lotharius. One is set in the cross which he presented to 
the Cathedral of Aix-la-Chapelle, an oval crystal, 1} X IJ inch in 
dimensions, engraved with his head in profile covered with the 
closely fitting Homan helmet seen upon the contemporary coinage. 
Around runs this legend cut in the stone, in imitation of a favourite 
Byzantine invocation which is found upon the aurei of the same 
epoch — 


— •*Christe adjuva Hlotharium Begem." — Both the style of the 
portrait and the lettering agree with those seen on the Carlovingian 
90U8 cTor, 

Still more curious, because betraying more of a national character, 
is the other seal of Lotharius,* of which an impression only exists 
attached to a document, dated 877, preserved in the archives of the 
department of the Haute-Mame. It shows the Emperor's bust in 
full face, the hair long and parted, with seemingly a nimbus over 
the head, having the hand upon his breast, and in the field some- 
thing like an arrow, perhaps intended for a palm-branch. The 
entire design is replete with the taste of the age, retaining no 
reminiscence of the antique even in its lowest decline.! The 
bevelled edge indicates that the stone was a nicolo about 1^ X 1 
inch in size. On the metal setting is the legend, cut in large 
letters — 


The Byzantine camei themselves supply a further illustration ; 
they exactly agree in character with other bas-reliefs of the same 
origin in whatever materials they may be executed, ivory, box- 
wood, marble, or bronze. 

The British Museum has lately acquired two most interesting 
memorials of this monarch's patronage of the fast dying art. The 
first is the morse which from time immemorial served to fasten the 
robes of the Abbot of Vezor on the Meuse, when in full pontificals. 
It is a circular plaque of crystal 6 inches in diameter, with the 
story of Susanna and the Elders (conveying an apt and humorous 
moral to the wearer) engraved or rather faintly etched in separate 

* Figured in the 'Bevae Arch^logique * for 1858. 

t See the * Tr^r de Conqnes,' quoted further on, fur the strange intaglio of 
the SaTiour in amethyst, of this period. 


Bcenos depicted in the true Anglo-Saxon taste, each with an 
explanatory inscription below. But what gives the piece the 
greatest value is the circular legend in the centre, LOTHABIUS 
KEX ME FIEBI FECIT. The reversing of the letters proves 
that the engraving was intended to be seen through the crystal, 
being laid upon a coloured backing as was the rule in that age. 
The setting of silver gilt, though ascribed as a matter of course to 
St. Eloi, is in reality of late Gothic workmanship. The second, 
piece, the Crucifixion, cut upon the plane face of an enormous crystal 
cabochouy 8 inches long, is manifestly from its peculiar technique 
due to the same school, probably to the same hand as the first. 

In the treasury of Noyon Cathedral there was preserved down to 
the time of the Bevolution " the small seal (secretum) on crystal, 
mounted in gilt bronze, that had belonged to St. Eloi, dec. 659." 
La Croix, however, says nothing about the engraving upon it; a 
most provoking piece of negligence, inasmuch as the material of 
the signet, crystal, seldom used by the ancients for that purpose, 
makes it more than probable that the intaglio was of the times, 
perhaps actually from the hand of the goldsmith-saint. We are 
certified of his skill in the cognate art of die-sinking, the elegant 
(for the age) solidi of his sovereign Dagobert remaining to attest 
the same. 

Amongst the Transalpine nations, at least during the last two 
centuries of the period above indicated, heraldic devices would 
have been beyond all others the subjects to employ the seal-engraver 
in preference to those of a religious character. In fact, the learned 
Dutchman Agricola writing soon after 1450 mentions the engraving 
of coats of arms upon the German onyx as then in common use, 
without the slightest allusion to that art as having been but 
recently introduced into Holland. And such was the material of 
the signet of Charles the Bold (slain 1477) which Comines 
describes as "Un anneau et y avoit un fusil (spindle heraldic) 
entaillS en un camayieu ou estoient ses armes ; " camayieu at the 
time signifying only the stone onyx or agate, not the work upon it. 
However, as Bruges was then famed for its jewellers (L. de Berquem 
flourished there at that time), no doubt every new invention in the 
lapidaiy's art speedily found its way thither, and was cultivated to 
the utmost. It is on record how munificently similar discoveries 
were remunerated by the wealthy of those ages, as the same 
Duke's liberality to the inventor of diamond-cutting conspicuously 

Briefly to sum up the substance of the preceding arguments. 
For the space of five centuries the Gothic seal-engravers were 


employed in executing an infinite number of signets in metal, to 
which business all their skill was devoted, as the elaborateness and 
occasional merit of the work manifestly proved. The designs on 
these seals are invariably in the taste of their age, being either 
religions or heraldic, and generally accompanied by architectural 
decorations. The style of all these ages has an unmistakable 
character of its own, from which the simplicity of the artists could 
never deviate by an attempt to revert to antique models ; indeed, 
whatsoever Gothic art has bequeathed to us shows the exact date, 
almost the very year of its production. Yet nothing, to speak 
generally, displaying the Gothic style has ever come to light amongst 
the profusion of engraved stones then used, not even amongst those 
set in church plate, which would have admitted as more appropriate 
in its own destination any contemporary work, had such been 
attainable. As a proof of this, immediately upon the Bevival we 
find the most eminent gem-engravers employed almost exclusively 
in executing crystal plaques with intagli of Scriptural subjects for 
the furniture of the altar, by the order of Popes and Cardinals. 

Nor did such an exclusion of contemporary works (had any 
existed) arise from a disregard of the productions of the glyptic 
art. The rudest works of antiquity are to be seen enchased in 
Gothic goldsmiths' work, and honoured there with the same precious 
mountings as the finest and most costly stones. It was enough 
that the subject suited the taste of the goldsmith, the art exhibited 
therein was altogether disregarded. It is very plain besides, that, 
in consequence of the prevident belief in the virtue of sigils, all 
engraved stones were esteemed as more valuable than those not 
engraved, even though* the latter were of a more precious species. 
Again, we must remember it was not its mere antiquity that gave 
the sigil its virtue : that was derived entirely from the planetary 
influence under which it had been made, and therefore the same 
and invariable whatever was the date of its execution. For 
example, we have abundant proof that, as soon as the art was 
revived, the manufacture of astrological talismans flourished quite 
as vigorously as of old under the Later Empire. The case there- 
fore stands thus. We find signets as important as ever, and their 
execution employing the best skill of the ago, but taking for their 
material only metal ; whilst, nevertheless, antique intagli in gems 
wore more prized than before, and were adapted to the prevailing 
notions by the most forced interpretations. We find the supply, 
too, falling so short of the demand that tlio very rudest were 
accepted and highly estiin«ated by persons not destitute of an 
appreciation of the Beautiful, or at least of the highly finished — 


and, neTertheless, in spite of all this love of engraved stones, 
scarcely one production existing of the sort that can be assigned to a 
truly Gothic artist. From these considerations we are forced to 
agree that the general conclusion of archaeologists is well founded, 
and that the art during all the period above specified was totally 
extinct in Europe except within the precincts of Constantinople. 

It is true that a passage or two in the works of medieeval writers 
seem to contravene this conclusion, — for example, where Marbodus, 
writing at the close of the eleventh century, directs how to engrave 
particular sigils on the proper gems: such as a vine entwined 
with ivy on the sard ; a lobster with a raven on the beryl ; Mars 
and Virgo holding a branch on the calcedony, &c. ; directions 
which at first sight would appear to indicate the existence of 
workers capable of executing his directions. But in reality the 
passage proves nothing, being no doubt merely transcribed from 
the same more ancient sources whence he drew the materials for 
his Lapidarium. 

We come now to consider a most interesting class of monuments, 
and which may be pronounced exceptions establishing the rule; 
few indeed in number, and their origin forming the most difficult 
problem to be encountered in the history of this art. These 
exceptional pieces are what Yasari alludes to (Vita di Yalerio Belli), 
where, treating of the engravers of his own age, the Cinque-Cento, 
he has these remarkable words : — '* The art of engraving on hard 
stones and precious stones (jgioie) was lost together with the other 
arts of design after the fall of Greece and Bome. For many and 
many a year it continued lost so that nobody was found to attend 
to it, and although something was still done, yet it was not of the 
kind that one should take account thereof. And, so far as there is 
any record, there is no one to be found who began to work well 
and to get into the good way (dar nel buono), except in the times 
of Martin V. and of Paul II. (1417 and 1464). Thenceforward it 
went on improving until Lorenzo the Magnificent," &c. Yasari's 
'* Imono " always means the classic style ; the expression *^ although 
something was still done," cannot be understood as having reference 
to nothing more than the Byzantine camei that occasionally found 
their way into Italy, or to works done in that country by the 
Greek artists, so much employed before the springing up of a 
native school, as painters and architects, like Buschetus, the builder 
of the Duomo at Pisa, and those who raised S. Marco at Yenice in 
its purely Byzantine style. The mention of the two Popes indicates 
the place of the practice and the improvement of the art as Rome 
itself; in fact, wc know that Paul 11. was a passionate lover of 


gems, and left to his heirs a magnificent collection. A cameo 
portrait of the pontiff amongst them is said by Giulianelli to be a 
fine performance, and to show the hand of an accomplished artist, 
affording the best confirmation of Yasari's statement. 

But to go back to the very earliest times in which any traces of 

the art appear, Scipio Ammirato (Hist. Flor. p. 741) mentions a 

certain Perozzi, '* il quale era singolare intagliatore di pietre," as 

forging the seal of Carlo di Durazzo* This was in the year 1 379. 

Here then is an instance, not to be looked for at so early a period, 

of a prince having for his seal an engraved gem, and that apparently 

not an antique; else the Florentine artist had not been competent 

to imitate it so exactly. Again, Giulianelli (p. 76) quotes Gori's 

Adversaria to the effect that before the year 1300 the Florentine 

Bepublic used two seals — both engraved stones. The first, large, 

for sealing public documents, was a plasma engraved with a 

Hercules (one of the supporters of the city arms), with the legend 

running round it — sigillvm florentinorvm. The other, small, for 

letters, bore the Florentine lily ; legend — sigillvm priorvm. The 

mention of the large size of the former seal, as well as the subject 

in such a stone, suffice to show that this plasma was not an antique 

intaglio fitted into the seal with the legend added upon the metal ; 

whilst the engraving upon the second must necessarily have been 

done expressly, as no such device could have been supplied by the 

relics of antiquity. Giulianelli also remarks, with some plausibility, 

that, in the same way as the art of mosaic-working was kept up at 

Bome during the ages following the fall of the Western Empire, 

there is reason to believe that the art of gem-engraving may in 

like manner have been maintained there.* 

The signet of Jessx sans Peur, Duke of Bnrgundy (d. 1417), is 
preserved. His arms are engraved upon a pale sapphire, which is 
coloured underneath with the proper heraldic tinctures. In the 
Waterton Collection I observed a shield of arms very skilfully cut 
in a fine jacinth, and set in a ring evidently by its fashion 
belonging to the first half of the fifteenth century. • Le Tresor 
Sacre de Sainct Denys * (1646), describes, — "L'anneau du mesme 
glorioux Boy Sainct Louis qui est precieux : H est d*or seme de 
fleurs de lys, gamy d'un grand saphyr quarre sur lequel est gravee 
rimage du mesme sainct avoc les lettres S. L., qui veulent dire 
Sigillum Lodovici, Sur le rond de Tanneau par le dedans sent 
gravez ces mots, Cest le Signet da Boy S. Louis, qui y ont este 

♦ The inventory of the Due d'Anjou contains a sapphire ring engraved with a 
DuZj given him by Phil, de Valoie. Bur. Pichon has lately bought a sapphire 
(i X I inch) ; type, a prince on throne, rude medifeval, which may be the same. 


adjouBtez apr^s sa mort " (p. 107). The wedding-ring of the same 
prince is said to have been set with a sapphire engraved with the 
Crucifixion ; the shank covered with lilies and marguerites, allnsive 
to his own name and his wife's. This attribution of the first is a 
roere custode^s story. Mr. Waterton lately examined the gem, and 
puts it down at a much later age : the king, a full length, has the 
ntm&tM, proof positive that the figure is posterior to his beatifi- 
cation. It probably belongs to Louis XII.'s reign. That the 
Italian lapidaries could at all times shape, facet, and polish the 
softer stones, such as amethysts, garnets, emeralds, is apparent 
from the number of antique gems of those species extant, but recut 
into the then fashionable octagonal form for the purpose of setting 
in medisBval rings. 

Yasari's second date indeed, 1464, might be supposed to have 
some connection with the influx of Greek fugitives after the fall of 
Constantinople eleven years before. But Vasari would certainly 
not have discerned any " improvement " in what they were 
capable of producing, for Italian plastic art was by that time 
fully developed, as we see by Luca della Robbia's terra-cottas, not 
to mention the bas-reliefs of Ghiberti and Donatello. And again, 
in all probability very few of the artist class fled from Constan- 
tinople, the Greeks naturally enough preferring the tolerant 
Mohammedans to their x)ersecuting, more detested rivals of the 
Latin Church. The emigrants were the nobles, special objects 
of jealousy to the conquerors, and the grammarians, whose 
teaching was greatly sought after in Italy and most liberally 
remunerated. Besides this, Byzantium, wlien the empire was 
once more re-established after the expulsion of the Franks, who 
had held the city during the first half of the thirteenth century, 
did nothing more for art, her vitality having been utterly 
exhausted by the grinding tyranny of those barbarians. When 
Vasari specifies two particular periods after 1400, and quotes the 
pontificates of two Popes as manifest epochs of improvement in 
gem-works, he must be refemng to pieces done in Italy and by 
Italians. It is very provoking that Vasari, usually so loquacious, 
should have passed over this most interesting dawn of the art "wdth 
such contemptuous brevity. He mentions no engraver by name 
antecedent to Gio. dello Corniuolc, who worked for Lorenzo dei 
Medici, and had learnt the art from " masters of difierent 
countries" brought to Florence by Lorenzo and Piero his son, 
to repair (raaseitare) the antiques they had collected. These 
expressions prove that gem-engraving was flourishing already in 
other places before it was domiciled in Florence ; and this, very 


probably is the reason why the patriotic Messer Giorgio passes so 
slightingly over these earlier celebrities — " vixere fortes ante 
Agamenona." Milan was long before noted for its jewellers; 
Antellotto Bracciaforte was celebrated in the fourteenth century. 
These lapidaries cut into tables and pyramids the harder precious 
stones, such as spinels and balais rubies, and even polished the 
diamond before L. de Berquem's discovery in 1475 of the mode of 
cttUing that stone ; and therefore, as far as the mechanical process 
¥ras concerned, they were fully competent to engrave intagli. 
The engravers named by Camillo (Spec. iap.)y as flourishing in 1502, 
may have been Vasari*s " foreign masters ; " they will be considered 
when we come to treat of the Revival. 

It was in the year 1488 that Lorenzo founded the Accademia di 
S. Marco, appointing as president the aged Bertaldo, the favourite 
pupil of Donatello, for the cultivation of all the fine arts, including 
the glyptic. But it was long before this, and in his father's 
lifetime, that he had summoned the foreign engravers above 
alluded to. Inasmuch as Oio. delle Comiuole learned the art 
from them it must have before been extinct at Florence. Vasari's 
expression, "diversi paesi," would, in the language of his 
times, apply to the states of northern Italy almost as strongly 
as to Flanders, or to Alexandria, for to the Tuscan even those 
of the next city (like Pistoia) were foreigners and ** natural 

The die-sinkers of Yasari's age being, as a matter of course, the 
most eminent gem-engravers, such was probably the case in the 
century before ; and PoUaiuolo, whose dies for the Papal coinage 
he so highly extols, may be supposed likewise to have tried his 
skill upon gems, and to have inaugurated the improvement that 
dawned in his times at Rome, where he and his brother worked 
till their death in 1498. And since the earliest works quoted by 
Yasari are both portraits in intaglio — that of Savonarola (put to 
death in 1498), by Gio. delle Comiuole, and the head of Ludovico 
Sforza (Duke of Milan from 1494 to 1500), executed in ruby by 
Domenico dei Camei * — we may conclude that the pieces done in 
1417 and 1464, which began to show signs of improvement, were 
similarly portraits, and in intaglio. Such was naturally the first 
method in which the die-sinker would essay his skill upon the 
new and refractory material, and the one in which the result 
would be most serviceable to his patron. No camei of that age 
are to be found that can be imagined to exhibit the improvement 

* Who doubtless exectitod in the same preoious materia] the portrait in relief 
of his conqueror, Louis XII. (now in her M^jesty^s Collection). 


mentioned by Yasari, and the supposed cameo portrait of Paul IT., 
above quoted, I very mnch suspect belongs to a later pontificate.* 

Yasari's hints, coupled with these facts, throw some light upon 
the origin of that rare class of intagli mounted in massy gold rings 
made after the medi»val fashion, which, both by tJie intrinsic 
value of the stone and of the setting, evince they were designed 
for personages of the highest rank. On this very account such 
are the precise objects likely to exhibit the most novel and most 
admired improvements in the art. First amongst these ranks the 
Marlborough spinel engraved with a youthful head in front-face, 
wearing a crown of three fleur-de-lys. The intaglio, in a small 
square stone, is deep-cut and neatly done, but the face is quite the 
conventional Gothic head seen on coins, and exhibits no in- 
dividuality whatever to guide us in attributing it to any particular 
personage. It is set in a massy gold ring ribbed longitudinally, 
and chased with flowers in the style prevailing about the middle 
of the fifteenth century, a date further indicated by the lettering 
of the motto engraved around it on the beasil — tel ii tt-eat — " There 
is no one like him.'* It is evident that both intaglio and ring are 
of the same date, for, besides the Gothic fashion of the crown, the 
work of the intaglio has nothing of the antique character, and, 
though highly polished internally, does not appear to have been 
sunk by the ancient process ; this last remark, indeed, applies to 
the entire class now under consideration. The portrait may be 
intended for some Italian prince of the age. The only circum- 
stance against this explanation is that the motto is in black letter, 
a Tedescan barbarism unknown in Italy, where the round 
Lombardic continued in use until superseded by the revived 
Roman about the date of 1450. The species of the gem at first 
suggests to us the famous portrait of Ludovico Sforza already 
noticed ; but, that being on a ruby the size of a givlio (t. e., an inch 
in diameter), it follows necessarily almost that, like the heads on 
the improved coinage of the times (imitated by Henry YII., and 
by James IV. of Scotland in his bonnet-pieces), the latter would 
have been in profile in somewhat slight intaglio, stiffly drawn, 
yet full of character, like the contemporary relief in ruby of 
Louis XII. 

The Marlborough gem is (it ought to be mentioned) described in 
the old catalogue as the ** Head of a Lombard king ; '* but not only 
does the form of the crown contravene this explanation, for these 
barbarians, as the coins and the contemporary Frankish 8ou» d'or 

* No cameo portrait of certain attribution is known to me of an earlier date 
than that of Loais XII. in agate-onyx (OrleanB)^ 


attest^ aped the diadem of the Byzantine Caesars ; whilst for their 
signets they had their own image and superscription cut on gold 
rings, of which Childerio's is a specimen, or on large gems of the 
softer kinds, as in the two seals of Lotharius above described. 

Mr. Albert Way discovers in this little portrait a resemblance 
to that of our Henry VI. upon his great seal. Of this similarity 
there can be no doubt ; yet, unfortunately, such a coincidence is 
far from deciding the question, such portraits being entirely con 
ventional, and suiting equally well any number of contemporary 
princes. He conjectures that the ring, a lady's from its small 
dimensions, may have belonged to Margaret of Anjou, which is, 
indeed, supported by the loving motto, ** There is no one like 
him." This pleasing and romantic theory has, doubtless, several 
circumstances in its favour. This princess coming from the south 
of France, if we allow that the art in Italy was sufficiently advanced 
to produce such a work, her position would have enabled her to 
procure its best and earliest performances. Her marriage with 
Henry VI. took place in 1445, a sufficient space of time after the 
first epoch (1415), named as that of an improvement in the art in 
Italy. Her father, the " good king Ben6," hsA been dispossessed 
of Naples in 1442, only three years before ; he was himself a painter 
as well as a poet, and introduced many useful arts into Provence, 
glass-making amongst the rest. The last being then chiefly 
cultivated with a reference to art in the production of elegant 
vessels or of painted windows, there is a probability that gem- 
engraving likewise may have shared his patronage. Such an 
attribution of the ring would also explain the appearance of the 
black letter, used till late in the following century by the French, 
for posies ; and the general style of the jewel itself, which certainly 
is not of Italian workmanship. But enough of attributions founded 
upon mere probabilities. In the Uzielli Collection there was a 
somewhat similar work (procured in France by Bddcke), a female 
head in front-face very deeply cut in an octagonal amethyst, but 
quite in the stiff Gothic manner of a metal seal, and certainly not 
antique, nor even to be referred to the Lower Empire. It was set 
in a very heavy gold ring made like a many-stranded cable, a 
fashion much used throughout the fifteenth century, and, indeed, 
extremely tcisteful. Here, also, both gem and ring are apparently 
of the same date, but there is no inscription of any kind to assist 
conjecture. Of such heads given in full face more shall be said 
when we come to another and a particularly interesting specimen 
of the kind. 

A greater affinity to the " Henry VI.," both in material, exe- 


cution, and lettering, is the jacinth intaglio now in the Braybrooke 
Collection, set in a weighty though plain ring, which is said to 
have been found in Warwickshire. The device is a triple face 
combined in one head, seen in front, but differing altogether in 
treatment from the three masks thus united so common in Eoman 
work. Here, indeed, a certain Gothic grimness pervades the 
design, and the hair is done in a manner totally different from the 
ancient, being represented by thick straight strokes, each termi- 
nating in a drill-hole. The intaglio, highly polished, is deeply 
sunk in the stone, and executed with the very greatest precision. 
On the beasil is the motto nxiel twice repeated. This triune face 
is the cognisance of the noble Milanese family, Trivulzi, being the 
rebus on the name, " quasi tres vultus." The style of this intaglio, 
so bold and forcible, yet full of a Gothic quaintness, has no simi- 
larity whatever to the Koman antique. There can be little doubt 
that we have here an actual gem cut at Milan about the year 1450. 
A conjecture that would account for the use of the black letter 
in the motto, will plausibly indicate at the same time the former 
owner of this valuable signet. Gian Giacomo Trivulzio, sumamed 
•* the Great," bom in 1441, having been slighted by Ludovico 
Sforza, became the most active partisan of his mortal enemy, 
Charles YIII., and afterwards of Louis XII. and Fran9ois I. 
What, then, more natural than that he, a general in the French 
service, should inscribe upon his family signet the well-known 
Gallic war-cry, " Noel," •. c. Emanuel, •* God be with us," and 
written in the character still prevailing in his adopted country ? 

Our third example is analogous to the last in many respects. It 
also is cut in a precious material, a large and good sapphire, and is 
a female face in profile, the head covered with a cloth after the 
fashion of a Roman coniadina. It is worked out in a manner 
resembling the preceding, allowance being made for the difference 
necessitated by the superior hardness of the stone, the most difficult 
(after the diamond) that ever taxes the engraver's skill. The 
intaglio has an extraordinary polish, but in technique equally as 
in design it differs totally from the rare antiques extant in this 
stone, and yet more from the numerous examples in it executed 
after the Benaissance. Bound the beasil, in neat Lombard letters, 
runs the warning, tbcta lege lecta teoe, a favourite motto for 
medisBval seals. On the sole ground of this motto the signet has 
been attributed to Matthew Paris, and the head-cloth fancied to be 
a Benedictine hood ; apart from all other considerations, so valuable 
a ring was beyond the station of a monk like that chronicler. The 
Lombard character may appear on works made in the same year as 


others inscribed in the black letter, supposing the former executed 
in Italy, the latter by a French or German jeweller. The subject 
is undoubtedly the very one that we should expect a mediaBval 
engraver to select for so valuable a stone — the Head of the Madonna. 
There is an attempt to represent curls where the hair is disclosed 
beneath the head-^oth, the conventional drapery for such a type ; 
blue is, moreover, the colour appropriated to the Virgin Mary. 
This ring, also massy and intrinsically valuable, was found in 
cleaning out an old well at Hereford. Thus we have, Avithin the 
limited circle of my own experience, three intagli on precious 
stones, and bearing a certain family resemblance to each other. 

Last to be described, but not the least important, is an intaglio on 
an occidental cornelian, not a 8ard. It is a female bust in front 
face; upon the head is a sort of diadem, placed horizontally; 
round the neck is a chain, supporting a small undefined ornament. 
At first sight this bust strongly reminds one of the type upon the 
coins of Licinia Eudoxia in the fifth century ; but there can be no 
doubt, after examination, that it is designed for a Madonna. The 
work indeed is very tolerable, but the face has the usual impudent 
and smirking expression that marks the female heads of the later 
ages of Gothic taste ; certainly such a manner was foreign to the 
Roman hand, even in the lowest stages of the Decline. Imperial 
portraits, even after the execution had become quite barbarous, 
are still successful in preserving a certain rude expression of dignity 
and repose. This stone is not set as a ring, but in an octagonal 
silver seal, in shape far from inelegant. The legend on the setting 
— PRivE svi E POY coNV — " Priv6 suis et peu oonnu," is well cut in 
bold Lombardic letters, like that on the ring last mentioned. This 
seal, found at Childerley, Suffolk, in 1861, was ceded by the late 
Mr. Litchfield of Cambridge to the Prince of Wales. 

All the above described engravings distinguish themselves at 
the very first glance from the innumerable examples of really 
antique intagli adapted to medieeval usages. The latter, whether 
the finest Greek or the rudest colonial Roman, have an air of 
antiquity about them which cannot be mistaken, in addition to the 
characteristic shaping of the stone itself. For all antique gems 
(excepting the sard, the red jasper, and the sardonyx, when cut 
transversely by the older Greeks) have always a surface more or 
less convex, and more especially so in the case of the three precious 
kinds we have been considering — this in all the instances cited is 
perfectly plane. The work also betrays in every line the heavy 
touch of the engraver accustomed to cut seals in metal. 

It is only a matter of wonder why the Italians (at least in the 


great trading cities, Fisa, Yenioe, Genoa) did not sooner turn their 
attention to gem-engraving ; in constant intercourse as they were 
with the natives of Alexandria and of the Syrian ports, to say 
nothing of their artistic relations with the Byzantine Greeks. In 
all these regions the art was at the time extensively practised, the 
more especially amongst the Mohammedans, in the cutting of 
Cufic, and later of Persian calligraphy with the accompanying 
arabesques and floral decorations. This is the more singular as the 
Italians are known to have learnt many arts from the Arabians, 
chiefly those established in Spain, such as the manufacture of 
ornamental glass, enamelled wares or Majolica, and damascening 
metal. Many Italian words relating to the arts betray the source 
whence the latter were derived, being pure Arabic, such as zecca^ 
tazza, gaJa^ perhaps also cameoy &o. It is. not, however, unlikely that 
some amongst the ruder talismans, on which Hebrew letters appear, 
were made in the interval preceding the date of 1417, hinted at by 
Yasari as the space when something continued to be done, although 
it was of no account. Yet, had the Italians, before the year 1400, 
practised gem-engraving even to this limited extent, we should 
expect to find a class of intagli existing, of which no examples 
have yet presented themselves ; namely, the patron saints of the 
respective cities, just as the contemporary Byzantines were doing 
with their St. George, Demetrius, and Nicolas on plasma and 
bloodstone, and their own mintmasters in the typos of their national 
coinages. We should expect often to find on gems the well-known 
figure of St John of Florence and her old lion " Marzocco ; " the 
" Tota Pulchra " of Pisa ; the Santo Yolto of Lucca, and her St. 
Martin ; and above all the Winged Lion of Yenice. The last was 
the device beyond all others the one for a merchant's signet, and 
therefore does it figure on so many counters or Nuremburg 

Sometimes indeed a calcedony or cornelian is found bearing a 
Tegular " merchant's mark," but all known to me seem posterior to 
the year 1500, and may have been engraved as late as Elizabeth's 
reign, which has left abundance of signets of this sort in metal. 

To return to the triple face on the jacinth above described : its 
most weird magical-looking aspect irresistibly suggests an equally 
strange hypothesis to account for it. It strongly resembles the 
heads of certain mysterious statuettes bearing Arabic legends of 
darkly obscene purport, published by Yon Hammer (Mines de 
rOrient, vol. vi.) as the very images of Baphomet which the 
Templars were accused of woi*shipping. It certainly would well 
represent the ** capita quorum aliqua habebant (res facies " specified 


in the articles of accpsation. Hence sprang the but too seductive 
idea that some dignitary of the Order, stationed in the East, had 
possibly employed a native engraver to execute after his instruc- 
tions this image on a precious stone, whilst the same theory would 
account for the other female heads similarly on precious stones, 
whose style is evidently contemporary with this triplet's. In that 
case all such female heads would typify the Female Principle, that 
important element in the Gnostic scheme, their Achamoth, or 
Wisdom. As on the Boman talismans of the sect, a Venus appears 
in her place to the eyes of the uninitiated, so a bust that would do 
duty for a Madonna might have served to baffle the curiosity of 
the profane, when adopted by these latest cultivators of the Gnosis, 
to typify their mystic Metis, 

In snch a sense the enigmatical motto *' I am secret, and little 
loiown," and the injunctions to silence would be highly appro- 
priate, the true meaning of the devices being only understood by 
the ** iree, equal, and admitted brother ; " but such an explanation, 
tempting as it is, will not stand a closer investigation, for it is 
based upon a mere chimera. The figures so laboriously collected, 
so ingeniously interpreted by Von Hammer, manifest in every- 
thing the spirit of the Cinque-Cento and a certain inspiration of 
Boman art, for in some the idea has evidently been borrowed from 
the Hercules wrapped in his lion's skin, whilst the armour in 
others is much too classical in its details to have been of the work 
of the Templar times. The astrological symbols, too, so profusely 
interspersed, are not even as ancient in form as those employed by 
the Gothic architects in their scxdptured decorations, but exactiy 
correspond with those found in printed books of the sixteenth 
century. The Arabic inscriptions also are in the modem Neskhi, 
which had not superseded the Cufic in the ages in question ; and 
this circumstance alone suffices to demolish the whole fabric he has 
so ingeniously reared. All these considerations united show that 
these Teraphim^ if not altogether modem forgeries, were made to 
serve some purpose in the proceedings of the alchemists or 
astrologers in the train of the emperor Budolf II., or perhaps, as 
certain Masonic emblems denote, they had reference to the arcana 
of the Bosicrucians. The latter flourished amazingly in Germany 
about the opening of the seventeenth century, and before they were 
merged into the Freemasons sometime in the succeeding; and, 
seeing that the motives of these statuettes are palpably borrowed 
from Florentine bronzes, the latter explanation is, perhaps, the 
nearest to the truth. At the assigned date the notions of the 
Eabala and mysticism of every kind flourished most vigorously ; 



indeed the astrology and alchemy of the preceding ages were 
simple science conducting its investigations according to the rales 
of common sense, when compared to the extravagant theosophy 
established by Paracelsns and his disciples. 

From all this we are driven back to the conclusion before 
attained from other data, that these mysterious intagli, instead of 
being purely mediaeval works, are specimens of the dawning 
Bevival, and belong to the school of the Quattrooentisti. By the 
very beginning of that age the Italians already sought after 
engraved gems as works of art, as appears from Cyriao of Ancona's 
letter respecting the coins and gems collected by the Venetian 
admiral, Giovanni Delfin, the first possessor of that fieunous 
amethyst, the Pallas of Eutyches. His words describing the latter 
prove that the merit of a fine intaglio was perfectly appreciated in 
the year 1445. 

Mr. Albert Way has favoured me with an impression of a seal 
containing an intaglio, perhaps the most indubitable example of a 
mediaeval engraving of all yet mentioned. It is a female bust, 
with a band around the head, and another under the chin: the 
hair is tied in a large bunch at the back of the head, a fashion 
peculiar to the early part of the fourteenth century. In front is a 
spray with flowers : a Gothic lily in its conventional form. The 
execution of the intaglio, highly polished inside, though far from 
rude, differs entirely from the antique. The subject, I have no 
hesitation in pronouncing ** Santa Maria del fiore," and engraved 
by an early Florentine ; perhaps an actual specimen of the skill of 
Peruszi, that ** singolare intagliatore di pietre." An artist capable 
of such a performance in that age would well merit such a 

The engraved stones set in mediaeval metal works, even in the 
most important pieces remaining, such as the Shrine at Cologne, 
and that of St. Elizabeth at Marburg, to be described hereafter, are 
all of Homan date and of trifling artistic value — ^probably because 
they were extracted out of Eoman jewelry then in existence 
belonging to the latest times of the Empire. The finer works of 
Greek art, ancient even to the Bomans themselves, in the age of 
Julius Caesar, as we have already seen, had, one may well suppose, 
disappeared in the ages following the fall of the Empire, and those 
we now enjoy are the fruit of modem research amongst the 
remains of long-buried Italian and Grecian opulence. Of this 
fact, the scarabaei are a proof, now so abundant, yet unknown to 
the mediaeval jeweller, or to the earlier collectors after the 
'Bevival, almost in the same degree. In fact, the whole domain of 


archaio Greek and Etruscan art may be said to have lain ia 
darkness until a century ago, as that of Assyrian did until our 
own times. 

Not more than two engraved gems, both camei, with designs in 
an unmistakably Gothic style, have come under my notice. Of 
these the first can easily be accounted for, and adds no argument 
to either side of the question ; not so the second, which sets us as 
hard a problem in its class as the ruby forming the first subject of 
this dissertation. 

To begin with the first cameo, formerly in the TJzielli Collection. 
The Madonna, a half-length and seen in front face, holds before 
her the Infant supported on a cushion resting on the balustrade of 
a balcony containing them. They are enshrined under a deep 
canopy sculptured in the latest Gothic or Flamboyant style. But 
since this style lingered on in France and Flanders late into the 
sixteenth century, in a sacred subject like this (especially as it 
may have been the copy of some ancient sculpture of peculiar 
sanctity), the introduction of Gothic ornamentation does not 
necessarily prove that the piece was executed before the yecur 1500. 
It may in fact have been done on this side of the Alps long after 
the classic style had regained its hereditary dominion in Italy. 
The work is very smooth and rounded in its projections, although 
in the flattest possible relief ; and its whole manner reminds one 
strongly of that characterising the cameo portraits of Henry YIII. 
and his family, of which there are several known. In all likeli- 
hood it was the work of some French or Flemish engraver in the 
reign of Francis I. Or indeed the seed-engraver, mentioned by 
Agricola, in Germany and Holland towards the end of the 
preceding century, had they attempted cameo-cutting, would have 
adhered to the Gothic manner and produced something correspond- 
ing with this. The stone is a black and white onyx, the relief in 
the dark layer, 1^ X 1 inch. 

The second is an agate-onyx, 3 in. high by 2 wide. In the 
virhite layer is most rudely carved Christ Ascending, holding a 
long cross; before Him, a kneeling figure, a subject frequently 
seen in sculptures upon tombs. It is not possible to describe the 
rough chipped-out execution of the relief, the stone appearing as if 
oat away with a chisel. Neither work nor design bear the lecust 
resemblajice to Byzantine camei, even the lowest of the class. 
Ths only plausible explanation is to suppose it the first essay of 
some German carver, who had acquired some slight notion of the 
mechanical process from the Italian inventors, and had attempted 
a novelty as to material, following his own national taste in every- 

H 2 


thing «1ae. The atone seems to be a tme agate-onyx, perhaps of 
the German species, not the softer alabaster-onyx often nsed for 
camei at a later date. This cnriouB piece is supposed to have been 
found in Suffolk. The outline of the stone being irregnlar, it is 
difficult to conjecture the purpose it was intended to fulfil ; perhaps 
to be set in a cross, or some object of sacred ose. Eren in this 
case, bearing in mind that a work in the medieeval style would 
have been consistent with the state of art in England long after 
1500 (the Oothio type was for many years retained by Henry YIII. 
in his coinage), this monument does not necessarily cany na back 
to the first period mentioned by Vasari, still lees to the times an- 
terior to the year 1417.* 

After all, upon cxtnsideration of these data, the only concluuon 
that they justify seems to be one not very dissimilar to that gene- 
rally adopted by archeologists — the purely Gothic artists, down to 
the early Revival (meaning thereby until after 1400), never at- 
tempted gem-engraving. Yasari, in his remark that " something 
continued still to be done," may refer to the feeble productions of 
the Byzantine cameo-cutteis ; but his " improvement in 1417 " 
cannot bnt apply to Italy, and be the source of the singular intagli 
in precious stones, whose peculiar character is only to be explained 
upon this supposition ; whilst the Gothic camei may upon internal 
evidence be ascribed to Teutonic apprentices in the new art, and 
so be in reality much posterior to the early period properly the 
subject of our investigation. 

* Chabooillet (Oljptiqne an Hojten Age: Rer. Arch. ISM, p. 550) has 
published three camei in the Freoch cabinot, which be oonsiden not of ByzuitiDB 
origin. The Sntt, Chriat teaching His disciplcB, be ascribee to Uie teoth oeutmy ; 
the ncit, Christ id flowing robes standing aoder a vine, to the thirteenth ; the 
third, the Adoration, an oxquUitel; finiahod plao^ to the cloau of the finecnth. 
He judges them Italian. 





The natural sequel to the chapter on mediadval gem-engraving, 
given in the preceding pages, is a brief notice of the seals and 
other metal work of the Middle Ages to which antique gems were 
80 often adapted, as the inspection of any collection of old docu-' 
ments will show.* The subjects engraved upon such gems were 
interpreted by their new possessors as representing Scriptural or 
legendary personages and events : nor could it be otherwise in the 
times that saw 

. . . . " Peter's keys some christen'd Jove adorn. 
And Pan to Moses lend his pagan horn. 
Saw giaoeleas Venus to a Virgin tamed." 

Thus viewed the triple Bacchic mask of the Boman stage was 
revered as the Trinity in person, and so declared by the added 
legend *^ Hsbc est Trinitatis imago ; " every veiled female head 
passed for a Madonna or a Magdalene, and received an appropriate 
motto ; and Isis nursing Horus could not but serve for the Virgin 
and the Infant Saviour. Nor was this substitution confined to 
gems alone, for the long-famed '' Black Virgins " of Auvergne, 
when at last examined by the critical eye of the antiquary, proved 
to be actual basalt figures of these imported Egyptian divinities, 
which, having merely changed names, continued to attract devotees 
to their shrines, and in greater flocks than before. That frequent 
type, Thalia holding a mask in her hand, by an ingenious inter- 
pretation becomes Herodias carrying the Baptist's head, whilst the 
skipping little Bacchic genius, her usual companion, is her daugh- 
ter, who danced to such ill purpose, and they so appear in a seal of 
the fourteenth century with the allusive motto, " Jesus est amor 
mens." Another remarkable example of the same design and its 
version is supplied by an intaglio recently acquired for the British 
Museum on the dispersion of the Dineley Collection. It is set in a 
silver mounting, in the usual feishion of privy seals or aecreta of 
this class, in the fourteenth century (with a loop at the top, being 
thus conveniently carried about the person, or by a cord around 
the neck) ; the margin bears an inscription common on amatory 
seals of the period — \-iE svi sel de amvr lel — '* I am the seal of 
loyal love." This fine gem is here figured on a scale double of the 
original. Jupiter with his eagle at his side did duty amongst 

* The documents in the mnniment-zoom of Corpus Christi College preserve, 
attached to them, the wax impressions of an amazing number of such adapted 
intagli— the secreta of the grantors. 


Charles Y.'s jewels for the similarly attended Evangelist ; Silenns, 

with his crooked jpedum^ was fittingly transformed into some 

crosiered abbot — 

** Purple as his wines ; " 

whilst Cupids made very orthodox angels. But the unlucky Pan 
and his Satyrs were for ever banished from the finger, and their 
forms now appear recast as devils in pictures of the recdms of 
torment ; and all this in virtue of their caprine extremities, for 
Zemihog, "the Black God," the Evil Principle of the ancient 
Sclavonians, had become Zemebock in Teutonic parlance, and 
therefore was considered as compounded of man and goat. 

Caracalla's head, with its curly locks close cropped, and its surly 
expression, was always taken for that of the irascible chief of the 
Apostles, hence such a gem is known with the name riETPOC 
added, to make all sure : I have myself observed the same head (in 
the Bosanquet Collection) similarly Petri-fied by the insertion of a 
key in the field by some mediaeval hand.* 

The monks of Durham took the head of Jupiter Fulgurator for 
St. Oswald's, and, as such, placed it on their common seal, with the 
title CAPVT SAKcn oswaldi. Serapis passed current for the authen- 
tic portrait of Christ, and in all probability was the real original of 
the conventional likeness adopted by Byzantine art. 

The finest cameo in the world, " the great agate of France," the 
Apotheosis of Augustus, was long venerated in the Sainte Chapelle 
as a contemporary representation of the glory of Joseph in Egypt ; 
whilst another noble work, the " Dispute between Neptune and 
Minerva," where a tree encircled by a vine (easily mistaken for the 
serpent) occupies the centre of the group, was presented to Louis 
XIV. (in 1 685) by the authorities of a church in which, from time 
immemorial, it had been displayed as the picture of Adam and Eve 
in Paradise. But the highest glory ever attained by a work of the 
engraver was that of the cameo of the Abbey of S. Grermain des Pr6s 
which enjoyed for an entire millennium the transcendent (though 
baseless) fame of adorning the espousal ring of the Virgin Mary 
and of preserving the portraits after the life of herself and Joseph. 
But, alas I antiquaries now remorselessly have restored the owner- 
ship of gem and portraits to the two nobodies (probably liberii^ 
judging from their names) whose votive legend, "Alpheus with 
Aretho," is but too plainly legible in our Greek-reading times. 
When the Abbey was destroyed by fire in 1796, this ring, with 

* GifTord, Archbishop of York, seals with a snperb gem, the oonjagated hosts 
of M. Aurelins and Plato ; which doubtless he took for contemporary portraits 
of 6S. Feter and Paul. 


other yaluableSf disappeared ; it subsequently came into the hands 
of General Hydrow, and from him passed into the Imperial Bnssian 

Seffrid, bishop of Chichester (d. 1159), chose for his actual epis- 
copal ring the figure of the serpent-legged Abraxas deity, rudely 
engraved on a jasper. It had evidently been recommended to him 
by its numerous virtues as a sigil, whereof Camellus Leonardi gives 
a long list. The ring was found on the hand of the skeleton upon 
the accidental discovery of his stone cofBn, and is preserved in the 
library of the Cathedial. The earliest seal of the Stuart family 
known, that of Walter Fitz Alan (1170), shows that he had been 
fortunate in obtaining a gem with the knightly subject of a warrior 
leaning on a cippus, his steed prancing at his side. 

Antique intagli set in mediseval seals have in general a Latin 
motto added around the setting. For this the Lombard letter is 
almost invariably employed, seldom the black letter, whence it may 
be inferred, which indeed was likely on other grounds, that such 
seals for the most part came from Italy, where the Lombard alpha- 
bet was the sole one in use until superseded by the revived Boman 
capitals about the jeax 1450. Of such mottoes a few examples will 
serve to give an idea, premising that the stock was not very ex- 
tensive, judging from the frequent repetition of the same legends 
on seals of widely different devices. Thus a very spirited intaglio 
of a lion passant found in Kent, proclaims — ** sum leo quovis eo non 
NISI VERA VEHO ; " another gives the admonition to secrecy — " tecta 
LSQE, LBCTA TEGE ; " a third in the same strain — ** clausa sbcreta 
TBQO." Another lion warns us with nuL regia, ** The wrath of a 
king is as the roaring of a lion :" an apt device for a courtier. Less 
frequently seen are legends in old French, and these are more 
quaint in their style ; for instance, around a female bust — *' pbiv£ 
8UT E PEU OONNU ; " whilst a gryllus of a head covered with a fan- 
tastic helmet made up of masks, gives the advice, in allusion to 
the enigmatical type, — " cbeez ce ke vuus lirbez," for *' Croyez ce 
que vous lirez." 

The young head of M. Aurelius, mounted in a pointed oval setting, 
carries the strange notice, " Credat omnis pii jaspidis " (signo being 
understood). Perhaps it was taken for the portrait of Jasper, or 
Caspar, the first of the Three Kings of Cologne. 

<>ffcen the legend merely expresses the owner's name ; thus an 
intaglio, Pegasus, reads — *^ s. johannis pe bosco," who, from the de- 
vice he has adopted, may be supposed a Templar. An unusally 
large gem of the Lower Empire, a helmed head (of Mars ?) between 
two Victories presenting him with crowrn;, declares itself in Early 


Norman lettering +s. simonis de roppeslei. The most valuable 
example known to me is one (Waterton) set with an intaglio of 
three heads, Julia's between those of her sons Caius and Lucius, 
exactly as the same type appears on a denarius minted by C. 
Marius Trogus (a moneyer of Augustus'), whose signet the gem in 
all likelihood was at the first. The inscription, ** s. aiidrbocti de 
b'ra," proves it to have been reset for some Italian Anditecfito di 
Serra (?), who doubtless thought himself happy in possessing in his 
seal the wrm effigies of the Virgin, the Infant Saviour, and His 
Precursor. Another (in the same collection), a finely engraved 
Persian vizored helmet, a type commonly entitled the " Head of 
Darius," is encircled with the legend s' oonradi de com ite, ** Gorrado 
del Gonte," also an Italian, as appears besides from the pattern of 
the elegant ring enchasing it. 

I cannot, however, help suspecting that the earliest adaptation of 
antique Heads to the purpose of mediaeval signets had another and 
a more rational motive in its origin than the one usually assigned. 
The Frankish successors to the name of the Ceasars also appropriated 
by a similar usurpation their images upon gems, by ^e simple 
expedient of adding their own superscriptions around the setting. 
Carlomau (764) takes for his seal a female bust with the hair tied 
in a knot upon the head: Charlemagne, the laureated head of 
M. Aurelius, adding the legend, +xpe protege garolvh rege frangr.; 
and later, that of Serapis; both profiles, be it observed, being 
almost identical in character. Louis I. (816) seals with that of 
Antoninus Pius,+XPE protege hlodovicvm impeeatore: Pepin le 
Bref with the Indian Bacchus; Pepin duo d'Aquitaine with 
Caligula's portrait. Charles II. (643) adopts an imperial laureated 
head (not identified), with + earolvs di gra rex ; Lothaire, that of 
Caracalla + xpb adiwa rlothartv. It is usual to consider all such 
portraits as having been in those days mistaken for authentic like- 
nesses of divine personages or of saints, and to have been adopted 
merely out of veneration for the supposed prototypes ; but a cir- 
cumstance has lately come under my notice almost canning with 
it the conviction that these princes selected, out of the numerous 
antique gems at their command, such portraits as presented a re- 
semblance either real or fancied to their own features. However 
remote the likeness, it could not but be more faithful to nature 
than aught that the decrepit art of their day could produce, even 
upon metal. Amongst the Anglo-Saxon charters of St Denys, two 
seals of our kings (published by Sir F. Madden in the Archaeological 
Journal, vol. xiii.) have furnished me both with the first idea, and 
also with the strongest support of this explanation of the practice. 


The first seal, that of Offa (a great patron of the art of engraving, 
as his coins, the best executed in the Saxon series, amply demon- 
strate), is a profile of himself crowned, full of an individuality per- 
fiBctly marvellous in a work of that epoch, and evidently cut upon 
a metal seal. But the later Edgar (whose the second. is) could 
command the services of no such skilful hand to supply him with 
his portrait from the life ; he, therefore, has converted into his own 
the diademed head of some youthful Seleucidan prince, a superb 
intaglio in a large eaboekan gem, 1 inch by f inch in measurement. 
A full description has been given above of Lothaire's attempt to 
resuscitate the glyptic art sufficiently to perpetuate his own image 
in a gem ; disappointed, however, in the restdts obtained, he 
appears finally reduced, like the others of his dynasty, to content 
himself with the borrowed face of a Roman predecessor. Our 
John follows the example and places in his privy-seal a Boman's 
head, with secbetvm johannis added. The impression is found 
upon the reverse of his great seal. The oldest instance in this 
series, where a religious motive appears to have dictated the choice 
of the antique subject, does not occur before the date of 1176, when 
Louis YIII. uses for his seal, first the Abraxas-god, and, at a later 
period, a Diana Venatrix — ^legend,-}- lodovicvs rex. 

Ecclesiastical jewels and plate were at the same time profusely 
enriched with engraved stones (mostly brought back &om the 
East by returning pilgrims), a practice, indeed, of which the ex- 
ample had been set long before, even under the Ceesars, for Juvenal 
laughs at the ostentatious patron who transferred hin gems from his 
fingers to the exterior of his goblets. 

** Nam Yirro nt mnlti gemmas in pooula tranafert 
A digitii.' 


And Martial more pithily alludes to the same folly — 

*< Gemmatam Scyihiois nt Incest ignibna aurnm, 
Aspioe quot digitoB exalt iste calix ! " 

'* How many a finger bath that cup left baro, 
That gemmed with Scythian firea its gold might glare 1 ** 

Camei of the minor class were in request as personal decorations : 
they were mounted as the pendent jewels for neck-chains, or, when 
not too large, were set as other gems in finger-rings. The estima- 
tion in which they were held when thus utilized is well exemplified 
by the following extracts, translated from the inventory of the 
jewels of the Due do Berri (1416). 

** Two fine camei, cut, the one with the figure of a man, three 


fingers long : the other, with the face of a woman ; of the size of a 
full inch: both which my Lord Duke bought of Michel de 
Bouldue. ... 24 livrea Toumoia."* 

" A cameo, on which is engraved a goat> and a child riding upon 
it, set in a gold ring. ... 60 sols." 

" A cameo, on which are two horses harnessed, drawing a chariot, 
mounted in gold, and at the back, a small enamel. ... 10 livres." 
" A cameo with a Saracen's head (Negro's ?), set in a wreath with 
precious stones around it of little value ; at the back is a box for 
holding relics. ... 26 livres." 

" A white cameo set in silver-gilt, engraved on the back with 
Greek letters, priced at 40 sols.*' 

" A cameo of a head which has the mouth open (plate) set in 
silver-gilt. ... 4 livres." 

** A flat cameo, somewhat long and roundish in the shape of the 
bottom of a vat (sieve) : whereon is a little naked image upon a 
pillar after the fo^on of an idol, and three other images. Set in 
agold|>or(epaia; (apax?). . . . 100 sols." 

" A gold ring set with a cameo of a child's head with much 
kair. ... 30 sols." 

But the finest and most important were reserved to embellish 
the golden casing of the actual shrine containing the bones of the 
saint that gave all its spiritual virtue to the place. An early 
instance in this country is recorded of this usage. In a great 
dearth, Leofrio, tenth Abbot of St. Alban's, sold all the gold and 
silver vessels of his church, ^'retentis tantummodo quibusdam 
gemmis preciosis ad quas non invenit emptores, et quibusdam 

nobilibus lapidibus insculptis quos cameos vulgariter appellamus 

quorum magna pars ad feretrum (ihe shrine) deoorandum cum 
fabricaretur, est reservata."t The last passage refers to the shrine 
made by the monk Anketil, soon after a.d. 1120. **Et cum de 
aniiquo hujus ecdesieB thesauro prolatas fuissent gemmie ad opus 
feretri decorandum, allati sunt quidam ampli lapides quos sardioa- 
onideas appellamus, et vulgariter cadineos [corruption of cameos] 
nuncupamus." X Of similar works, the most ancient now existing 
is the Paiio of S. Ambrogio, Milan, forming by a series of bas-ieliefe 
in gold and silver-gilt a complete casing for the high altar, and exe- 
cuted before the year 860. In it appear numerous antique gems, 

• The Hvr© = 20 sols, the aol = 12 deniere. Putting the denier as equal in 
value to the contemporary English penny, at least reprewnting one ahilling of 
our money, the amounts in the text may be brought up to the present standard 
with tolerable correotneas : in fact, will rather fall short of than exceed the true 

t Matt. Paris, in Vit. Abbatum, p. 26. j ibid., p. 38. 


but the most interesting is a large yellow stone, irregularly oval, 
engraved in coarse letters (reversed on the gem), votv biade, ex- 
pressing it to be the offering exvoto of some pious Lombard named 
Biada ; by its dedicatory inscription reminding us of the Besborbugh 
nioolo offered by Ammonius to Astarte.* 

In what fashion important gems were introduced into Gothic 
ornamentation may be learned from this example in the Tr6sor de 
S, Denys — 

**IJne grande image repr^nt^ de la ceinture en haut au 
naturel, ayant sur la teste une tr^s pr^cieuse mitre enrichie de 
grande quantity de perles et de pierreries, avec un orfray autour 
du col, le tout en argent dor6 . • . . dans le chef de Timage est 
aussi le chef du mesme Sainct (Hilaire), I'orfray du col est enrichi 
par le devant d'une tr^ belle agathe d'une face d'homme depuis la 
teste jusque aux espaules ; et est Teffigie aupr^ du naturel de 
Tempereur Auguste, environn^ comme est aussi tout Torfray de 
grande quantity de perles et riches pierreries. 

**L'orfray ou collet qui est autour du col (de S. Benoiflt) est 
enrichi de grand nombre de perles et de pierreries, et par le devant 
d'une excellente agathe, repr6sentant la teste d'un homme jusques 
aux espaules, qui est I'efi&gie au naturel de I'empereur TibSre. La 
mitre est admirable, car elle est toute parsem^ de riches agathes 
Bur lesquelles sont representees diverses faces d'anges, d'hommes, 
de femmes, et d'animaux, tr^ bien taill^es et elabour^es : et outre 
oela de plusieurs beaux rubis et saphirs et autres pierres avec plus 
de 300 perles orientales. Ce reliquaire si pr^cieux fut donn6 par 
le bon prince, Jean, Due de Berry, I'an 1393, en reconnaissance des 
reliqnes de S. Hilaire qu'il avoit cues de Tabb^ et des religieux de 
S. Denys."— (P. 106.) 

Caylus figures several antiques, both camei and intagli, selected 
from nearly three hundred, at that time (1760) enchased in the 
sacred vessels and other ornaments belonging to the treasury of 
Troyes cathedral.t The majority, however, remarks Caylus, were 
only small intagli in cornelian, and set in the chftsse, or portable 
shrine, containing a most precious tooth of St. Peter, and the 
entire head of the cheaper St. Philip. This chdsse had been made 
for Bishop Gamier, almoner to the French crusaders at the taking 
of CouBtantinople in 1204, whence he piously «tofe, "conveyed, the 
wise it call," the apostle's skull. 

* OYPANI AHPA AMM&)NIOC ANEBHKEN En' AFAeo). S. Maroo of Venice 
boasts, as I am infurmed on the best authority, an equally rich pcUio stuck fuU 
of precious stones and antiques. 

t Oaylus, * Becueil d'Antiquit^s,* t. t. pi. 52. 


The Bhrine of the Thiee Kings of Ck)logne, a work of the ttirelfth 
centniy, is a rich storehouse of antiques. The two gable-ends are 
adorned with the most important pieces at the goldsmith's disposal, 
large and beautiful camei, and the sides are studded with engraved 
stones of all kinds ; for some subjects among them, Leda and the 
swan for instance, the devotees of that age must have been puzzled 
to find a Scriptural prototype.* Their original number was 226 
when described by Boisser6e, but the best were picked out in the 
he^ira of 1794. This extraordinary specimen of mediaeval metal- 
work was made by order of Philip von Heinsberg, dom-prdbstj or 
dean, in 1170, to contain the three skulls of the "Wise Men," 
brought from Constantinople, and presented by the Emperor 
Frederic I. to the Archbishop of Cologne six years before. In 
1794, out of fear of the advancing iconoclast French army, all the 
treasures of the cathedral were hastily carried off to Amberg, 
whence in 1804 they were solemnly brought back to Cologne. In 
this interval the shrine had been crushed, many parts of it were 
lost, and several gems stolen — others say, " sold for the maintenance 
of the ecclesiastics,'' in which case as it would naturally have been 
only the precious stones, not the antiques, that were the first to be 
converted into money, the original number of the latter may be 
supposed not materially diminished. It was therefore completely 
remade by the Folaeks^ artificers of Cologne, the missing pieces of 
the metcd-work replaced by copies, and many precious stones, as 
well as antiques, were supplied by the devotion of the citizens to 
make up the deficiences. The length of the shrine was at this time 
reduced to 6 ft. 7 in. ; the height and breadth remaining as before. 
The material is silver-gilt. No more than the one gable-end 
exhibiting the skulls, blazing with diamonds (perhaps pastes), can 
be seen from the choir, through a strong grating. To inspect the 
monument, admittance into the chapel is obtained by a fee of one 
thaler, and a small lantern is supplied, the vaulted strong-room 
being in utter darkness. 

Next in importance as a medisBval storehouse of antique gems 
was the shrine at Marburg, constructed about 1250 to contain the 
bones of Elizabeth, Landgravine of ThUringen and Hesse, and 

* Gould ihey haye interpreted the swan into a gigantic dove, and have dis- 
oovered in the group a most materialistic representation of the desoent of the 
Holy Ghost upon the Virgin ? The frequency with which this apparently most 
inappropriate design is introduced into ecclesiastical ornaments, affords but too 
much foundation for this belief; in fact, Justinus, the holdest of the Gnostic 
doctors, in his application of the Greek mythology to the support of his own 
system of Christianity, expands this rery fable, as one of those foreshowing tho 
descent of the Saviour. 


canonized in 1235. This ahrine, in the nsual form of a house, 
ararroiinded by a Byzantine arcade, is 6 ft. long, 2 deep, and 3^ 
high, above which the roof rises 1^ ft. It is constructed of oak 
overlaid with copper thickly gilt. The arcade is filled with seated 
figures of the Apostles, in silver-gilt, of which metal are also made 
the elaborate bas-reliefis covering the roof. Under pediments, one 
in the middle of each side, corresponding in elevation with the 
gable ends of the edifice, are the four principal figures, two feet in 
height, seated on thrones, and projecting beyond the general 
outlines ; they are, Christ seated, Christ crucified, an angel hover- 
ing above Him (stolen in 1810), the Virgin and Child, and Saint 
Elizabeth. The eight bas-reliefs on the roof represented scenes 
in the life of that saint. 

The architectural portions of the metal-work were originally set 
with the enormous number of 824 stones, fifty-nine plates of 
mother-of-pearl, two large, one middle-sized, and many smaller 
pearls. The stones were sapphires, emeralds, amethysts, jacinths, 
crystals, onyxes, almandines, calcedonies, and camelians, thus 
distributed ; 259 in the four principal figures ; 252 in the smaller ; 
in the ornamental portions of the roof and of the frames, 313. Of 
these, sixty-five stones were missing, as their empty settings 
showed. Li November, 1810, it was carried off to Cassel by the 
orders of the Westphalian Government, but was returned to 
Marburg in 1814. During its absence, however, some antiquarian 
thief had extracted every engraved gem but one, and these have 
disappeared for ever. Fortunately, Professor Ullman availed 
himself of its removal from xmder the grating which had preserved 
it for six centuries to take impressions in sealing-wax of thirty- 
four intagli and one cameo. The most famous of all the camei was 
placed above the Madonna, a splendid sardonyx of three layers, the 
heads of Castor and Pollux, regarded during the Middle Ages as a 
most wonderful natural production, and for which a former Elector 
of Mayence is said to have offered in vain the whole village of 
Anemdneburg. Of this, unluckily, no drawing has been preserved. 
Of these wax impressions Cruezer has published accurate fac- 
similes (in his ' Archeeologie,' vol. iii.), with a long and instructive ; 
commentary upon the subject of each. These subjects may be 
briefly enumerated, to exhibit the strange variety of engraved 
gems (valuable then for their occult virtues chiefly) offered by the 
piety of crusaders and pilgrims. The cathedral at Marburg is the 
first pure Gothic building raised in Germany, begun in 1235, and 
finished in forty-eight years, as the church of the Knights of the 
Teutonic Order. 


The species of the stones were not marked by Ullinan ; probably 
the settings, and the hhrry of the commissioners to be off with 
their booty, prevented his doing more than take the impressions, 
which we may conclude were those of the best engraved gems. 

1. Two goats under a tree; good work. 2. Cupid on a lion; 
very archaic. 3. Jove seated; common Boman. 4. Horse lying 
down, the head and neck of a cow appear above him ; good. 5. 
Warrior seated, his helmet on a cippiusi in front. (I have little 
doubt that, in 1854, at the sale of the Webb Gems, by one of those 
extraordinary chances so frequent in this study, this identical gem, 
a nicolo, came into my possession. The exact agreement in sisse, 
and in the singular false perspective of the hero's farther leg, 
renders this opinion almost a certainty.) 6. Warrior advancing ; 
fine. 7. Jove seated; rude. 8. Head of Pallas; fine; a largish 
stone. 9. Baven,* above him the Delphic E; rude. 10. Bonus 
Eventus, standing with cornucopia; fine. 10a. A Cufic legend. 
11. Jove seated; rude. 12. Fox in a car drawn by two cocks; 
fine. 13. Fortuna Nemesis, winged and helmeted; fine and large. 
14. A horseman, with what seems a torch over his shoulder (more 
probably his mantle) ; rude work ; the only gem that has escaped, 
resembling a ruby. 15. Warrior seated, upon his hand a Victory, 
as it seems; fair. 16. A dolphin and two shells; Greek. 17. 
Head, laureated ; rude Boman. 18. Head, perhaps Medasa's ; fine. 
19. Gray-fish ; rude. 20. Arabic, not Cufic, legend, translated by 
Wahl as a Dutch name, " von Frank." 21. Boman seated between 
two Victories ; large stone, in the rudest Boman style. 22. Arabio 
legend* 28. Hercules standing, his hand resting on his club; 
good. 24. Pegasus, or the Sassanian Winged Bull; rude. 25. 
Potter at work ; good. 26. Persian king, slaying a monster ; rude. 
27. Cufic legend; very neat. 29. Fortuna, or Nemesis; good. 
31. Head of Apollo, bay-crowned ; in the field DAIAN behind the 
head, and bay-sprig in front ; fine Greek work ; large .stone. 32. 
Bacchante, standing, with a tray upon her head ; rude. 33. Cupid 
mounted upon a hippocampus; fine. 34. Aquarius pouring an 
amphora into a crater, or perhaps a Faun ; in the field four large 
^ letters, the rest on the reverse, three letters, imperfect ; Cruezer 
proposes the reading TO AMDEAO, "to Ampelus." 35. Circular 
cameo, head of Pallas in the early Greek manner and flat relief. 
This stone, 1^ inch wide, was placed in the centre of the canopy 
over the fifth apostle. 

We find attached to this shrine the same story of a luminous 
gem, as the osculan in the shrine at Egmund, whereof Alardus 
tells so marvellous a tale ; a large egg-shaped stone, placed above 


the grand cameo, was ever believed to give light in the hours of 
darkness; but Cruezer ascertained it to be no more than yellow 
rock-crystal, and only luminous to the eye of faith. It was famous 
in the Middle Ages, as the " Earfunkel " of Marburg. 

The " Tr^r de Conques," a secluded abbey in Auvergne, still 
preserves the most important monuments of Carlovingian art in 
existence anywhere, dedicated there by Charlemagne. Here is the 
statuette of Sainte Foy, Virgin and Martyr, seated on a throne, 
with a Byzantine crown on her head, and large square pendants in 
her ears, richly set with gems, the whole in gold repouwSy 80 o. 
(32 in.) high. Also the A of Charlemagne, only survivor of the 
complete alphabet, one letter of which was presented to each of 
the principal abbeys of his empire, framed of oak overlaid with 
silver-gilt, 45 c. high, in form a triangle, with two verticals upon 
the base inside. In these, in the processional cross, and in the 
enamelled phylacteries of the reliquaries, are set, amongst other 
stones, some sixty engraved gems and three camei, mostly of the 
Lower Empire. The most curious are, a large sard, " a head of 
Caracalla," very coarse work ; a seated Isis, on a large " tourma- 
line," and most singular of all, an amethyst intaglio, a man, his 
head in front-face, in a pleated robe, standing, in each hand a long 
foliated cross, precisely the type of a Carlovingian denier, legend, 
CARN. The Annales Arch^logiques for 1860 give many plates 
of the figures, and all the engraved stones. 

Amongst the ** VesseUe de ChapeUe " of Louis, Due d'Anjou, 
according to the inventory drawn up about 1365, we find some 
instructive instances of this employment of camei. No. 23, " Un 
tableau d'argent dor^, sem6 par dedenz de esmeraudes granz et 
petites, balaiz granz et petiz, camdhieux granz et petiz, et menues 
perles grant quantity. Et ou milieu dudit tableau a un tr^ grant 
eamakieu vermeil ouquel a Nostre Dame gisant Nostre Seigneur en la 
cresche, et les angeles tout entour, et dessouz a Nostre Dame qui 
baigne son enfant, et derriere elle a Saint Josef s^t. Et sieent le 
dit tableau sur un souage qui est sem^ de esmeraudes, de rubis 
d'Alisandre et de petites perles," <fec. This cameo, with its figures 
in red relief, "vermeil," abounds too much in actors, although 
interpreted as angels, and is altogether too elaborate a composition 
for a Byzantine Christian work, as the minute description of the 
subject at first would tempt one to conclude. Doubtless it was 
antique, and represented that favourite theme of the Boman 
artist, the Education of Bacchus. The good monk who drew up 
the inventory for Louis saw in the nymph Leucothea the Virgin 
Mary ; in the attendant genii, so many sportive angels ; and in 


the seated Silenns, that ever-present actor in the hist<H7 of 
Bacchus, the patriarchal-looking Joseph. 

No. 25 is **lTne orois longue et grelle d'argent dor^, et y est 
Nostre Seigneur en la dlcte croiz tout estandu; et est Tarbre 
d*icelle croiz sem6 de perles et de pierrerie. Et a ou bout du 
bras de la croiz par en haut un camahievk ouquel a ij. ohevaux qui 
menent un chariot, et les mene un home. Et es ij. boux des 
travers de la croiz a ij. testes d'omme, et est Tune blanche et 
Tautre vermeille. Et ou bout d*icelle crois a un autre eamdkieu 
ouquel a une femme qui se siet en une chaire." 

The following extract from the Tr^sor de S. Denys is extremely 
valuable, since it describes a most elaborate specimen of Carlo- 
vingian metal-work, as well as the manner in which remarkable 
engiuved stones continued to retain their primary estimation, 
although for reasons totally diverse — for the aqua-marine here 
mentioned is the celebrated Julia Tt/t, the work of Evodus ; the 
'*Gem of King David'* is a lump of antique achmelze paste, of 
which I have seen specimens exhibiting the same odd transition of 
colours on the change of light : — 

'* Un tr^ riche joyau et tr^ precieuz reliquaire nomm6 Tescrain 
de Charlemagne i cause qu'il a jadis servy k la chapelle de ce 
sainct empereur. Cette rare pi^ est en fa^on de tableau, 
compost de trois estages d'or, enrichie de grand nombre de pierres 
precieuses, comme d'aigues marines, saphirs, esmeraudes, cassi- 
doines, rubis, grenats, et de tr^ belles x>erles orientales toutes 
enchass^es en or. Entre ces pierreries il y en a une admirable 
large comme un douzain de France, taill6e en ovale et enchassee 
en or comme les autres, laquelle, estant posfe sur la paulme de la 
main ou sur quelque autre lieu plat, paroist verte, et lev6e au jour 
elle semble estre de couleur de pourpre. Elle a autrefois servy 
au grand Hoy David, comme il appert par les lettres, burinees 
sur Tenchaussure que disent — *Hic lapis fuit Davidis regis et 

'*Sur la faiBse de cet escrain ou buffet d'honneur on voit une 
aigue marine des plus belles, sur laquelle est repr^sentde en demy- 
relief * Teffigie de Cleopatre, Boyne d'Egypte, ou selon aucums de 
la princesse Julia, fille de TEmpereur Tite ; pi^ce tr^ rare et admiree 
de tous ceux qui la voyent. Autour de cette eflSgie sont graves 
ces deux mots Grecs — EYOAOZ EROIEI." f 

* An optical illusion due to the stone being set with the intaglio downwards, 
and its con?ez back upmost, according to the then established fashion of setting 
the vast engraved crystal cabochons of the period. 

t * Tr^r de S. Denys/ p. 102. 


**1J]i ezoellent camahieu d'agathe blanche sur laquelle est 
Telev^e la face d'une femme couronn6e, qui est Teffigie de la Bayne 
de Saba, laquelle se transporta de son royaume en Jerusalem pouF 
y voir le Boy Solomon et ouyr sa sapience, comme diet rEscriture 
Saincte (3 Beg. 10). Cette pi^ est tr^ antique et digne de 
remarque. EUe est encliass6e en argent dor6 et enrichie de 
plusieurs pierres precieuses." 

The Tr6sor also boasted of important examples of imperial 
'*onyohina et murrhina," now dedicated to the service of the 
altar ; e. g. : — 

^* Un calico tres exquis fait d'une tres belle agathe, gauderonn6 
par dehors, admirable pour la beauts et variety des couleurs que s'y 
sont trouY^es naturellement esparses 9a et 1^ en fagon de papier 
marbr6," a comparison aptly, though undesignedly, illustrating 
Pliny's description of the latter, and attesting the fitness of 
Martial's epithet — 

*' ^ . . maeulosK pocula mnrrhiB.'* 

In the cathedral o^^mnswick is still shown a singular adapta- 
tion of antique jewels to the decoration of a reliquary ; it is the 
arm of St. Blaize (brought from Palestine by Henry the Lion in 
the eleventh century), encased in silver on the fingers of which 
are no less than fourteen rings. 

In the Patent Boll 61 Henry III. (a.d. 1266-67) a list has been 
preserved of jewels collected by that king for the enrichment of 
the shrine of Edward the Confessor in Westminster Abbey. Some 
may have been obtained at Bome by the Abbot of Westminster, 
Bichard de Ware, who was sent to Italy at that time, and brought 
over Peter, " civis Bomanus," by whom the basement of the shrine 
was constructed, ornamented with glass mosaic and marbles, and 
upon this was placed the golden jewelled feretory wrought by two 
goldsmiths of London, Fitz-Otho and Edward his son. The entry 
on the Patent Boll, from which the following particulars regarding 
this shrine are derived, enumerates the costly provision made by 
Henry III. — **Lapides pretiosos et jocalia deputata casse sive 
feretro in quo corpus beatissimi Edward! Begis disposuimus 
ooUocari." * 

**Firmaculum cum camauto in medio . . • anidus cum saphiro 
inciso t • • • baculus continens vij. anulos cum chamahutis parvis 
. . . pulchrum chamahutum cum imaginibus filiorum Jaoobi in 
capsa aurea cum rubettis et smaragdinibus in circumferentia , . • 

* Extncted from Oanon Rook's invaliiable repertory of EooleBiaBtical Anti^ 
qnities, the * Chnroh of Oar Fatbers,' vol. iii. part 1, p. 393. 
t Mention is made of a second ring, " cam saphiro inciBO.*' 



chamahutum cum tribns imaginibus in capsa aurea * . . . ohama- 
hutum cum imaginibus Moysis et serpentifl " (iBsouIapiuB?) 
'*. . . chamabutum cum magno capite . • • cbamahutnm cum 
curru et equitibua . . . cbamabutnm cum imagine in medio • . . 
cbamabutum cum imagine regis . . cbamabutum optimum cum 
ij. albis imaginibus . . . cbamabutum cum imagine leonis • . • 
cbamabutum cum duabus imaginibus et arbore . . . cbamabutnm 
cum capite elevate . . . cbamabutum cum ij. capitibus • . . cbama- 
butum cum imagine beate Marie . • . cbamabutum cum capite 
duplicate . . . magna perla ad modum cbamabuti . . • cbamabutum 
cum aquila . . .*' 

Tbe list continues with a furtber enumeration of camei tbos 
described — " cum ij. angelis . • . cum ymagine alba . . • cum 
capite albo . . • cum capite bene crinito . . . cbamabutum album 
cum imagine mulieris cum puero et draoone " (Ceres and Tripto- 
lemus ?) '*. . . cbamabutum cum equo . . • cum capite et leone 
opposite in capsa aurea ad modum crucis . • . cum capite albo 
barbate ... in capsa aurea ad modum crucis cum bove . • • cum 
imagine alba cum magestate ez parte albaf. . . cbamabutum in 
capsa aurea ad modum targie . . • cum ij. capitibus albis • . . cum 
laticibus (lyncibus ?) et curru . . . cum cane . • . cum capite bar- 
bate . • • cbamabutum cristallinum cum capite . . . cum capite 
ru£fo t • • • 0^^ capite bepertito (Janus ?) crinito • . . cum leone 
• . . j. cbamabutum in anido pontificali.'* Tbe number of camei is 
in all not less tban eigbty-five. 

Amongst precious stones tbe following are enumerated ; eacb is 
described as '* in capsa aurea," or " in capsa argenti." — ** Onicleus 
— sapbirus — citrinus — amatista — ^prasina — canis onicleus — pbiola 
oniclea et alia cristallina — ^balesii — ^minute prasine in una cbincbia 
— ^perle in una cbincbia," § &c. " Sapbirus crinitas in capsa aurea " 
may bave been an asteria sappbire. We find also "ij. pancbii 
calcidonii," probably for jpancArt (Pliny), multicoloured; also 
'* decem cokille et unum album capud ; " tiie cokille, cogutOea, were 
possibly disks of motber-o'-pearl, at tbat time accounted very 
precious, and of wbicb numerous examples are to be seen on tbe 

* In each case, in the foUowing items, '^ the camahntam " is deeorihed as ^ in 
capaa aniea," or ** in capea anri." 

t Other oamei are mentioned " cam magestate," t'.0., God the Father (a Serapis 
or Jupiter's bust ?). 

t This description occurs again in other instances. 

§ This term here occurs repeatedly ; it is somewhat obscure ; the glossaries 
give ekindhiiha (whence quineaUUiri^^ or ehinHea, reconditorium, apotheca, Ac 
In old French chinche signifies a piece of cloth, chiffon^ in which possibly the 
jewels may have been wrapped up. 



Gothic crowns found at Gnarrazar, and now preserved at Paris in 
the Musee des Thermos.* They ocour also on the Marburg shrine 
and on the crown of the Lombard Queen Theodelinda at Monza.f 
Theophilus alludes to the use of mother-o'-pearl in goldsmiths* work. J 
The expression "capite elevate," repeatedly occurring in the 
foregoing list of camei clearly signifies work in very high relief, or 
more than mezzo-relievo. The "capita oniclea" I suppose to 
have been heads (jihalersa) carved en ronde bosae. 

The feretrum was farthermore enriched by Henry III. with 
images representing St. Peter trampling upon Nero, St. Edmund, 
and other regal personages, set with precious stones, emeralds, 
sapphires, "balesiis, granatis, rubettis,*' &o. 1 may refer to the 
Patent Koll, as cited by Canon Bock, for more full details. 

The following item claims notice : — '' unum magnum chamahutum 
in capea aurea cum cathena aurea," valued at the enormous price of 
2002., equal to about 4000Z. at the present time. Also, amongst the 
precious stones, a sapphire of the enormous size of 54 dwts., or 324 

This shrine may be supposed to have remained intact down to 
the time of the suppression of the monastery. All the valuable 
portion would then have been confiscated for the king's use, as is 
recorded in the case of the Canterbury shrine, of which the spoils 
in gold and jewels filled two chests, that required six or eight 
strong men, according to Stow, to carry each chest out of the 

Numerous "Lapidaria" are extant, both in MS. and in the 
collection published by Camillus Leonardi in 1502 (ascribed to 
Solomon, Ghael, Bagiel, and Rabanus Maurus), minutely describing 
the virtues of the different figures engraved on gems. Nonsensical 
as are their explanations of the designs and all their deductions 
thence, these doctrines were received with implicit faith during 
the Middle Ages. The mode of expression occasionally used makes 
the reader more than suspect that the compilers of these guides 
mistook (like the Marburghers above mentioned) the engravings 
upon the stones for the actual work of nature I so completely had 
all knowledge of this art perished. The more learned regarded 
them as the works of the children of Israel in the wilderness, hence 
their common name in those times of " Pierres d'Israel " and '* Jews' 

* ' Catalogue des ObjeU d'Art, &c., exposes an Musee dea Thermes,' pp. 355, 
357, edit 1864. 

t * Aroh. Journ.,' vol. xir. p. 14. 

X Theophilus, lib. ill. c 95. ** Secantur chonchs marinao per partes et inde 
liroantuT roargaritie. 

I 2 


stones." A few examples of the supposed virtues of these sigils 
will not be without interest to the reader. 

Thetel Babanus, *' a most ancient doctor," says that the following 
figures are of the greatest potency ; — 

1. Man, on jasper, with shield in his left hand, and in his right 
an idol or some warlike weapon ; with vipers instead of legs, and 
with the head of a cock or of a lion, and clad in a breastplate. 
This figure gives victory in battle and protects against poison (the 

2. Man with a bundle of herbs on his neck, if found on a jasper, 
gives the power of distinguishing diseases, and stops the flow of 
blood from any part. This stone Galen is said always to have 
carried about with him. 

3. Gross, cut on a green jasper, saves from drowning. 

4. Wolf, on jasper, defends from snares, and prevents the uttering 
of foolish words. 

5. Stag, on any stone, cures lunatics and madmen. 

6. Lamb protects against palsy and ague. 

7. Virgin in long robe, with laurel-branch in her hand, cut on 
jasper, secures against drowning and the vexation of demons, and 
gives success in all undertakings. 

8. Man holding a palm-branch in his hand, cut on jasper, renders 
the wearer powerful and acceptable to princes. 

A very ancient book ascribed to Solomon, by Camillo, thus 
begins: '*In the name of the Lord. This is the precious book 
which the Children of Israel made in the Wilderness according to 
thy name, Lord, and according to the course of the stars." 

1. Old man seated on a plough (as in No. 1. of Chael) is thus 
proved: Take clean black wool imdyed and wrap up the stone 
therein, place it amongst wheat straw and lie with thy head upon 
it : thou shalt see in thy sleep all the treasures of the kingdom in 
which thou art, and how to obtain them. Water, in whidi it has 
been steeped, cures all diseases of cattle. 

2. Man, with helmet on his head, shield hung round his neck, 
and sword raised on high, and trampling on a serpent, engraved on 
jasper, hang round thy neck, and thou shall hot fear any foe, yet 
be not thou slothful ; in all things shalt thou be victorious, specially 
in war. It ought to be set in brass. 

3. Horse, with a cockatrice or crocodile on his back, on a jacinth, 
is of power in all conferences and debates ; and wearing it thou 
shalt be loved by all, both men and beasts. It must be set in 

4. Man seated and a woman standing before him with her 


hair hanging down to the thighs, and casting her eyes up- 
wards : this, engraved on camelian, hath the virtue that every 
man and woman touched therewith will immediately become 
obedient to thy will in all things. It must be set in gold weigh- 
ing as much as the stone itself : and under it the herb betony and 

5. Horse, with rider bearing a sceptre, on amethyst, renders all 
princes and nobles obedient to the owner. It ought to be set in 
twice its own weight of gold or silver. 

6. Homed animal, having under him a horse which drags 
behind him half a goat, gives the power of taming all beasts, and 
must be set in lead. 

7. Bird, with olive-leaf in its bill, cut on pyrites and set in a 
silver ring. Having this on thy right hand thou shalt be invited 
to every feast, and those present shall not eat, but shall gasse upon 

8. Scorpion and Sagittary fighting together, on any stone. Bet 
this in an iron ring, and if thou wish to prove its efficacy impress 
it in wax, and whomsoever thou shalt touch therewith ^ey shall 
immediately quarrel. 

• 9. Bam, with the half-figure of an ox, on any stone, set in a 
silver ring, and whomsoever thou shalt touch therewith they shall 
immediately be reconciled to one another. 

10. Woman, one half a fish, holding a mirror and a branch ; cut 
on a marine hyacinth (pale sapphire) ; set in a gold ring and cover 
the signet with wax, and wear on thy finger. And when thou 
wishest to go anywhere and not be seen, hold the gem tight within 
thy palm, and thou shalt have thy desire. 

11. Man ploughing, and over him the hand of the Lord making 
a sign,* and a star. If cut on any stone, and worn in all purity, 
thou shalt never perish by tempest, nor shall thy crops receive 
damage from storms. 

12. Head with neck; cut on green jasper ; set in a brass or iron 
ring engraved with the letters B. B. P. P. N. E. N. A. Wear 
this and thou shalt in no wise perish, but be preserved from many 
diseases, specially fever and dropsy ; it likewise gives good luck in 
fowling. Thou shalt also be reasonable and amiable in all things : 
in battle and in law-suits thou shalt be victor. It aids women in 
conceiving, and in child-birth it gives peace and concord, and 

* That is, a closed hand with the two first flngera stretched issumg from a 
cload, as is often seen on the later Bezants. ** Segnara '^ is the peculiar word for 
"to bless "in Italian. 


many good things to the wearer : but ho must do so in all justice 
and honesty. 

13. Basilisk or Syren, half-woman half-serpent. With this on 
any gem thou shalt be able to touch any venomous creature with- 
out hurt. 

14. Basilisk and Dragon entwined together, or camelian, and 
also a bull's head. Put it round thy neck when thou wishest to 
fight with any beast of the wood or of the sea, and they shall 
quickly be conquered. 

15. Man naked and bloated, crowned and holding a cup and a 
branch : if cut on jet, set in any metal, and any one having a fever 
and wearing this shall forthwith be cured. 

16. Man, with bull's head and eagle's feet, on any stone, make 
an impression thereof in wax, and so long as it is upon thee no 
man shall speak evil of thee. 

17. Man standing, and tall, holding an obolus (patera) in one 
hand and a serpent in the other, with the sun over his head and a 
lion under his feet: if cut on a diaoodius (diadochus), set in a 
leaden ring, and put underneath wormwood and fenugreek. Carry 
it to the bank of a river and call up whatsoever evil spirit thou 
pleasest, and thou shalt have from them answers to all thy questions^ 

18. Aquarius, on a green turquois : the wearer shall have good 
luck in all his buying and selling, so that buyers shall seek after 


19. Youth, having a crown on his head, and seated on a throne 
with four legs, and under each leg a man standing and supporting 
the throne on his neck; round the neck of the seated figure a 
circle, and his hands raised up to heaven; if cut on a white 
hyacinth (pale sapphire), ought to be set in a silver ring of the 
same weight as the stone, and under it put mastic and turpentine. 
Make the seed in wax and give it to any one, and let him carry it 
about on his nock or person, either the wax or the ring, and go 
with pure mind, and chastely, before king, noble, or wise man, and 
he shall obtain from them whatsoever he may desire. 

20. Man, seated on a fish, cut on red jasper, being put upon the 
dress of any one at a feast when eating with his right hand, he 
shall never be satisfied. 

21. Bearded man, holding a flower in his hand, cut on camelian 
and set in a tin ring, the ring being made at the change of the 
moon, on a Friday, the 1st or 8th of the month, whomsoever thou 
shalt touch therewith he shall come to do thy will. 

22. Serpent, with a man on his bock and a raven over hia ^ail, 
engraved on any stone, makes the wearer rich and crafty. 


23. Man, standing on a dragon, holding a sword, must be set in 
a leaden or iron ring : then all the spirits that dwell in darkness 
shall obey the wearer, and shall reveal unto him in a low-toned song 
the place of hidden treasure and the mode of winning the same. 

24. Man riding, and holding in one hand the bridle, in the other 
a bow, and girt with a sword, engraved on pyrites, set in a gold 
ring, it will render thee invincible in all battles. And whoever 
shall steep this ring in oil of mnsk, and anoint his £Btoe with the 
said oil, all that see him shall fear him, and none shall resist. 

25. Man, erect in armour, holding a drawn sword and wearing a 
helmet, if set in an iron ring of the same weight, renders the 
wearer invincible in battle. 

26. Man, bearing in his hand a mulatto (mutandej drawers?), cut 
on Euchilus, makes the wearer to be feared and respected by all 

27. Winged horse, on any stone, is the best for soldiers, and 
gives speed and courage in battle ; it also preserves horses from all 
diseases as long as they have it upon them. 

28. Serpent twined round a bear, on any stone, makes the wearer 
cunning and steady of purpose. 

29. Hercules, holding a club and slaying a lion or other monster, 
engraved on any stone, gives victory in battle. 

30. Tree, vine, or wheat-ear, on any stone, makes one abound in 
food and clothing, and to have the favour of the great. 

31 Mars in armour, or a Virgin in a long robe with a vestment 
wrapped about her, and holding a laurel-branch, cut on jasper, 
makes the wearer successful in all undertakings, defends him from 
violent death, and drowning and all accidents. 

32. Mars, that is a figure holding a lance, on any stone, makes 
the bearer bold, warlike, and invincible. 

33. Jupiter, the figure of a man with a ram's head, on any stone, 
makes the wearer beloved by all creatures, and to obtain whatever 
he may demand. 

34. Capricorn, on camelian, set in a silver ring, and carry 
about with thee, thou shalt never be harmed in purse or person 
by thine enemies, neither shall a judge pass an unjust sentence 
against thee ; thou shalt abound in business and in honour, and 
gain the friendship of many, and all enchantments made against 
thee shall be of none effect, and no foe, however powerful, shall be 
able to resist thee in battle.* 

* A very complete treatise on this subject has been published by G. Demay, 
Paris, 1877, with autotypes of ninety-seven specimens. 



Thus the art 8luml)ered on, seemingly destined never to be 
revived : all but totally extinct in the West ; in the East confined 
to the production of the intricate convolutions of cyphers and 
monograms ; when almost simultaneously with the first dawn of 
the revival of letters in Italy it not only woke up, but within the 
limits of a single lifetime attained to a second maturity, not merely 
rivalling its antique parent in skill and in taste, but in the one 
branch of cameo-engraving far exceeding her in the profusion, and 
frequently in the merit of its performances. Every experienced 
connoisseur has, in truth, perpetual occasion to echo the remark of 
the judicious Baspe, that by far the greater part of the camei one 
sees are works of Uie Cinque-cento school. 

Towards the middle of the fifteenth century Italian art was fast 
growing more classical, having gradually freed itself from the 
trammels of Gothicism, "la secca maniera Tedesca," as Yasari 
aptly terms it, in proportion as the power of the German emperors 
waned away all over the peninsula. Yasari, in his * Lives,' often 
alludes to the struggles going on, before this date, of men of genius 
to regain " U bello," that is, the classical manner, and their blind, 
and mostly wild, attempts to emancipate themselves from a foreign 
style which they felt, not knowing wherefore, to be utterly 
repugnant to their nature. 

The restoration of St. Peter's Chair to a native line of Popes, after 
its long removal and occupation by a Gallican dynasty, the creatures 
and the tools of the kings of France, contributed immensely to the 
bringing about of this complete revolution in the arts. The 
transition from barbarian stiffness, and the " crinkum-crankum " of 
the Gothic, to classical freedom and elegance, is plainly to be 
traced in all the works of the Quattro-cento school; in their 
sepulchres, bas-reliefs, ivory and wood carvings, and nielli. Do- 
natello, who ended his long and industrious career in the year 1466, 
Yasari expressly states took antique gems and medals for his guide, 
''ritratti camei antichi e rovesci di medaglie," in the designing 
the eight bas-reliefs which still adorn the cortile of the Palazzo 
Eiccurdi, executed for his great patron, the elder Cosimo dei Medici. 
It will materially illustrate this part of our subject to specify what 
v.-ere these designs. They come in this order : the Rape of the 
Palladium — Hercides vanquished by Cupid — ^Hercules in the 
Garden of the Hesperides — an Oracle — the Triumph of Cupid — 
Ariadne surrounded by the Satyrs and Bacchantes — a Centaur — a 


Slave kneeling before his Conqueror. All these subjects are 
evidently drawn from gems, most of them are very familiar to the 
oollector — ^for, notwithstanding Yasari's addition (very probably 
made at random), none of them are to be found " on the reverses 
of medals." 

The new-bom passion for the remains of antiquity was 

necessarily compelled in the beginning to seek its gratification in 

the gems so long treasured up by their mediaeval possessors for 

the sake of their intrinsic value or their supposed inherent and 

taUsmanic virtues, but which the newly opened eyes of a more 

cultivated generation had commenced to appreciate on the ground 

of their true merits. Pope Paul 11., a Venetian by birth (whom 

we have already seen quoted by Yasari as inaugurating an era of 

tmprimemeni in the Glyptic i^), had thus early (in 1464-71) 

formed a collection of gems in the spirit of a man of education and 

of taste, for II Papiense records of him, " Eruditoa oculos habens 

ad oemenda quaa prseclari sunt operis, midta conquisivit a Graacia 

atqne Asia atque aliis gentibus." In fact Majolo (Colloq. xvii.) 

makes him out a true martyr to his love for them, ascribing his 

death to a cold caught from the weight and chill of the rings with 

which the aged Pontiff was wont to overload his fingers — ^perhaps 

the most respectable occasion of death of any recorded in papal 

history, where the so frequent cause assigned is a dose of poison or a 

fdrious fit of passion. 

To imitate these legacies of their Etruscan and Boman ancestors 
was the next step, and that far from a difficult one. The 
mechanical processes, themselves of the simplest nature, were 
already known to the Italians from their perpetual intercourse 
with Ihe Mohammedans of the Levant, and the goldsmith who had 
worked from his youth at niellatura was, as far as drawing in 
miniature went, quite on a level with the Diosoorides and the 
Evodus of the Augustan Age. This is the reason why the art 
reached its second full development in so short a time, and with- 
out passing through any of the stages of infancy; for the few 
works that betray any influence of mediaeval taste are, as the 
instances above collected, convincingly manifest, amongst the 
rarest of the rare. 

By the end of the same century we find Camillo (Cesare Borgia's 
physician) praising four gem-engravers — Anichini of Ferrara, Gio, 
Mfiuia of Mantua, Tagliacame of Genoa, and Leonardo of Milan — as 
equal to any of the ancients in their profession ; and furthermore 
stating that their works were diffused throughout all Italy — a 
sufficient proof of the previous length of time over which their 



labours had extended. And again that this art was amongst the 
first to revive in Italy, appears from the curious, though unsatis- 
factory notice, to which attention has been already directed, of the 
proficiency therein of the Florentine Peruzzi as early as the date 
1379. The same inference is also to be legitimately drawn from 
the enigmatical expressions of Yasari, to interpret which an 
attempt has been made in the same section. But to come to 
historical data, they are to be found first in the continuation of the 
same passage of Yasari's, where, after quoting the epoch of Paul 
II., he goes on thus : ** Thenceforward the art went on improving 
until Lorenzo dei Medici, a great amateur and collector of gems of 
all kinds, intagli, &c., and his son Piero, in order to introduce its 
cultivation into their dominions, invited thither a great number of 
masters from different countries, who, besides repairing (rasseUar) 
the (antique) gems for them, brought along with them many fine 
things. From these masters a young man, afterwards sumamed 
from his occupation * Giovanni delle Comiuole,' ^Jokn of ike 
Cameltan»^ leamt the art of engraving in itUaglio through 
Lorenzo's encouragement." These ** engravers from different 
countries" in all probability came from no more remote region 
than the north of Italy, the ultima Thule of a Tuscan's geography. 
It will be noticed that the four masters cited by Camillo as the 
most eminent in their profession are all from that region ; and to 
the last Milan continued the head-quarters of the workers in 

The pupU, this young Florentine, soon surpassed his instructors, 
for many years later, and affcer the Cinque-cento had burst forth in 
its frill glory, the Grand Duke Francesco I. used to point out the 
head of Savonarola by him (a large intaglio in sard still preserved 
in the Galleria) as the finest piece in the whole collection ; and this 
prince, despite his viciousness, was a man of exquisite taste. And 
besides this, his capo d^opera, *^ an infinity of his works both large 
and small," were to be seen when Yasari wrote. 





The next centary, the' fSamouci Cinque-cento, emblazons the 
familiar names of Valerio Belli il Yicentino, whose talents and 
industry were patronised equally by Clement YII. and Charles Y.; 
Alessandro Cesati, sumamed il Oreco^ master of the mint to 
Paul III. ; Matteo del Nazzaro, who served Francois I. in a similar 
capacity at Paris, where he trained up many pupils; Clement 
Birago and Jaoopo da Trezzo, the first who engraved upon the 
diamond, and both enriched in the service of Philip II. ; 
accompanied by an interminable array of others of nearly equal 
merit, whose works, for the most part eamei (now in many cases 
passing for antique), constitute the choicest ornaments of every 
important cabinet. 

The vast number of the practitioners of this art in the single 
city of Bome is clearly indicated by the quaint expression of 
Yasari, where, speaking of the first quarter of the century, he 
observes ** Yalerio was the cause that the profession in his time 
was swollen by so many recruits, that previous to the sack of 
Bome (1527) so vast a number had been drawn together thither 
from Milan and from other places, that it was a wonder to behold." 

The recent application of the wheel and of the magnifying-glass 
to the processes of their art had enabled this newly created class to 
pour forth a flood of camei with a facility evidently not possessed 
by their brethren of antiquity ; whilst the demand for them as 
personal ornaments for the neck-chain, for medallions to be worn 
in the cap, for inlaying in the elaborate pieces of plate, such 
favourites with the nobles of the age, far exceeded that for the 
works in intaglio; thus reversing what had been the rule in 
ancient times. It was the influence of this fashion that stimulated 
cameo-engraving to the remarkable degree which their present 
abundance remains to manifest — an abundance that astonishes all 
who are capable of recogniBing the stamp of the school. It ia one 
sufficiently marked : the protuberance of the relief, often aided by 
under-cttUing, and the perfect evenness of the field are technical 
criteria ; whilst the picture-like grouping of the figures and their 
violent movement are artistic points strongly contrasting with the 
treatment of the antique works of the kind. In the latter the 
raised parts present the appearance of having been chiselled away 
with a cutting-instrument, the strokes of which are still percep- 
tible in places ; the ground is never perfectly levelled, the relief 
is flat, with its edges cut down perpendicularly to the lower stratum, 


whilst tho entire design breathes the classic simplicity of the period 
that produced it. 

To enumerate a few amongst the innumerable fine productions 
of Cinque-cento skill in this branch of art, that possess peculiar 
historical interest. First in the list stands the fatal ring, the 
love-gift of the Virgin Queen to Essex, the retention of which 
token by the treachery of the messenger Lady Nottingham, was 
the deaih-warrant of the supposed contumacious fayourite. From 
Essex's daughter. Lady Frances Devereux, it has descended in an 
unbroken line of heritage from mother to daughter down to the 
present owner Lord John Thynne. It is set with a cameo bust of 
the Queen, most exquisitely cut on a miniature scale in a fine 
sardonyx of three layers : the ring itself is of a very simple but 
elegant form, and enamelled on the back with flowers in blue. 

Lord Fitzhardinge again treasures a family relic of great artistic 
value in the celebrated " Hunsdon onyx." To quote Mr. Beck's 
accurate description, it is " a sardonyx of three strata, the lowest 
being a rich dark brown, representing the story of Perseus and 
Andromeda. The figure of Andromeda chained to the portico of a 
building on an island, the city on the coast at a distance, the animals 
on the trees adjoining the building, and the searmonster in the 
foreground, are all most minutely and exquisitely worked. The 
cameo, which is on a stone of remarkable form and beauty, and 
the enamelled gold frame in which it is set, are works of the 
middle of the sixteenth century. This exquisite jewel was 
bequeathed by George Carey, second Lord Hunsdon, E.G. (who 
died in 1603), to his wife Elizabeth Spencer, and afterwards to his 
only daughter, Elizabeth Lady Berkeley, with strict injunctions to 
transmit the same to her posterity, with other jewels, to be 
preserved ' soo longe as the conscience of my heires shall have 
grace and honestie to perform my wiU ; for that I esteeme them 
right jewels and monumentes worthie to be kept for their beautie, 
rareness, and that for monie they are not to be matched, nor the 
like yet knowen to be foundo in this realme.' Height 3^ inches, 
width the same." 

A third very elaborate work of the same school was discovered 
by myself amongst the gems belonging to S. Bosanquet, Esq., of 
Dingestow House, Monmouth. It is a jewel of St. George, cut in 
high relief in precious sardonyx of several layers, 2 inches long by 
Ij^ wide, in form an oval. The engraver has most skilfully 
availed himself of the numerous shades in his material to give 
effect to the different figures. Tho dragon is represented, the most 
prominent object, in the brown with a greenish reflex ; the 


knight's body in a lighter shade of the same, but his fiEice is 

rendered in an opaque white, as are likewise the forequarters of 

his steed — the trappings of the last are in a light brown. The 

Princess Saba, kneeling in the distance, is formed in the pure 

^v^hite of the stone; the trees have an actual shade of green 

assigned to their foliage. The execution of this cameo is truly 

wonderful — ^tho dragon, St. George, and his horse, being in almost 

full relief, owing to which one fore-leg of the horse has suffered 

fracture. This work may, for its merit, be placed amongst the 

best of the Cinque-cento, and may on the same grounds be 

attributed either to Matteo del Nazzaro, chief-engraver to 

Fran9ois I., or perhaps with more probability to that pupil of 

his (whose name is unknown) who has left us such extraordinary 

portraits, in cameo, of Henry VIII. and his family, two of which 

are in the Boyal and one in the Devonshire cabinet of gems. This 

sardonyx is mounted in a simple gold frame, surrounded with a 

thin cable border, streaked with black enamel. The back presents 

an elegant enrichment, in green enamel, imitating a laurel-wreath. 

Being a piece of such extreme costliness, if we consider the 

estimation in which similar works were held at the period of 

its execution, there seems good reason to suppose it a jewel 

worn either by Henry himself, or by one of his three children 

and successors, as what is properly termed the " Jewel of the 

Garter," — a distinct thing from the " George " itself, which is 

necessarily of gold. This supposition as to its first ownership is 

confirmed by the Tudor rose, engraved upon the lid of the massy 

rudely-made original silver box, which continues to serve for its 


Although its cameo-works constituted the chief glory of this 
school, yet one class of intaglio namely, those cut in square or oval 
plaques of rock-crystal, and upon a gigantic scale, were special 
favourites with its wealthy patrons. Amongst such plaques are to 
be found the choicest remains of Yalerio il Yicentino, and of his 
rival Gio. del Castel Bolognese, By a return, probably undesigned, 
to a fashion already noticed as flourishing in the Carlovingian 
period, these crystals were particularly made for the decoration of 
church-plate, generally being framed in the precious metals for the 
panels of coffers, or for the other furniture of the altar, such .as 
crucifixes and candlesticks. Hence the usually Scriptural character 
of the designs they present. The fewer examples with profane or 
amatory subjects were similarly introduced into the ornamentation 
of the sumptuous works of the goldsmith that loaded the beaufets 
of every nobleman of the times. 


Camei, on the other hand, embellished the dresses, and even the 
armour of the noble and the wealthy, and their employment 
brought about a revolution in fashion, the exact converse of that 
we have noticed as taking place under the Lower Empire. These 
gem-works now replace the broad gold medallions of the preceding 
generation in the bonnet and in the pendent jewel. 


From the middle of this century downwards all the arts of 
design, this included, began to decline with lamentable rapidity. 
They had lost their former patrons, the grand old Popes and 
Cardinals, like Leo X., Clement YIL, Paul III., Comaro, Salviati, 
Ippolito del Medici, Alessandro Famese, true Bomans of the 
Caesarian epoch, in their lives as in their tastes, more than half 
Pagan by their education, magnificent even in their vices, which 
in truth were far less pernicious to society than the sour virtues, 
pushed to excess, of the bigots of the succeeding generation. In 
the place of Charles Y., Francois I., and the Medicean Popes, 
gloomy, scrupulous bigots now rule Church and State; we have 
Pius IV. instead of Leo X. In the place of the old princely, 
ttn-moral ecclesiastics, appear, on the one side, the Jesuits, with 
their soul-crushing system, encountered on the other part by the 
equally degrading tyranny of the Calvinistic creed. In a word, 
the most uncomfortable period of European history is that lying 
between the death of Charles Y. (1558) and the accession of 
Louis XIY., or nearly a complete century. War, pestilence, 
famine, desolated every region in its turn, and gallery after gallery 
of the choicest works of art accumulated in better times, fell a 
prey to the brutal soldiery at the successive captures of the 
different capitals. 

Thus it was that the Seventeenth Century, the unproductive and 
much contemned Seicenio of the Italians, the parent of the Barocco 
in architecture and sculpture, from all these causes combined, 
witnessed, not merely a decline, but even a considerable retrogres- 
sion in all the arts. As a necessary consequence, there is a vast 
falling off perceptible in the quantity, as well as in the quality of 
the glyptic works of this period, that art being the first to suffer 
from the decay of national prosperity. Its remains, such as they 
are, chiefly consist in the heads of deities and philosophers coarsely 


and deeply cut in stones of large size ; or else unskilful copies of 
works belonging to a better period. There is only a single artist 
in this line. Colder^ (Julien de Fontenay), chief engraver to 
Henri IV., who is now remembered from his works as having 
flourished in this age ; and even his education, and much of his 
artistic career, ought rather to be referred to the closing years of 
the Cinqae-oento. He has perpetuated the satyr-like features of 
his illustrious patron over and over again in the most precious 
materialfly the sapphire, the emerald, and the ruby; the most 
noteworthy of his works being the portrait in the last-named stone, 
bearing the date 1598 (Orleans). But in point of real merit, 
nothing comes up to his cameo portraits of our Queen Elizabeth, 
on account of which his master had specially despatched him to her 
Court. The two most important known to me (there are every- 
where to be seen a multitude of repliche in miniature) form, the 
one the chief ornament of Her Majesty's Collection, the other of 
the Orleans. Both are in sardonyx of considerable size, inimitable 
in the treatment of the £Etce, equally so in the rendering of the 
elaborate costume of the splendour-loving Virgin-Queen. 


The next* century, however, the Eighteenth, emphatically the 
age of the dilettanti^ brought with its very opening a sudden and 
most unexpected revival in both branches of our subject. This 
recovery is more especially noticeable in that of intaglio-engraving, 
wHich now, from certain causes, hereafter to be explained, received 
as much attention from practitioners as that of cameo-cutting had 
met with from the most eminent of the Bevival. But there is one 
great distinction to be remarked between the style of the school now 
under our consideration, and that so markedly characterising all 
the productions in the same department of the Cinque-cento. The 
latter (as Visconti has well pointed out) was no servile copyist of 
the antique, but borrowing thence its subjects, treated them in its 
own peculiar style, and this with a spirit and a vivacity which 
brought forth really original works. But the artists of the last 
century, totally disclaiming all attempts at originality, contented 
themselves, as a rule, with making repeated copies of the most 
noted antique gems, and placed the highest aim of their ambition 
in the successful, imposing upon credulous amateurs with their 


own productions as gennine and recently discovered works of 

Amongst the few to be acquitted of this charge stands the one, 
who is also justly regarded as the head of the school, John Pichler, 
who flourished during the second half of the century. He was the 
son of Anton Pichler, a Tyrolese engraver, likewise of some merit, 
established at Naples, and had a younger brother Louis, who 
rivalled him, especially in cameo work. Our monetarius Marchant, 
the elegant competitor of Fichler's, deserves no less praise for his 
honesty. The same also may be awarded to Natter and to Bega, 
the first at the beginning, the second at the close of the century ; 
that is to say, after their own reputation had been established, for 
both of them commenced their career by executing and bringing 
into the market as antique many a fine piece, which still in that 
character embellishes royal and princely collections. Of these 
artists. Natter was a native of Nuremberg, but settled early 
at Borne, where he long worked under the auspices of Baron 
Stosch ; and having emigrated thence to London, he was liberally 
patronised by our nobility, notably by the Dukes of Devonshire 
and Marlborough. Many of his later works may be recognised 
by the snake in the field, the rebus on the German Natter. Bega 
passed the whole of his industrial life at Naples : in my opinion 
he is the first of the modems; his intagli are more than copies, 
they have all the spirit of the Greeks, whose coins he took for his 
models. ^ 

This century may justly be denominated the "Age of Forgery," 
fraud of every kind and degree now flourishing with wondrous 
luxuriance. Besides the making of the most exact facsimiles of 
famous antiques, a thing which at the least required and developed 
great technical skill, other devices infinitely more dishonourable 
were brought into play. The fabrication of doublets (where a glass- 
paste, moulded upon an antique work, and backed with a slice of 
sard carefully attached by a transparent cement, and, lastly, set so 
as to conceal the union, so that the combination has all the 
appearance of a true stone, whilst the work upon it, in point of 
treatment and execution, satisfies the minutest scrutiny) was 
now borrowed from the falsifiers of precious stones, and carried 
to such perfection as firequently to deceive the most practised 
eye ; the retouching of antique works of the ruder class, the surest 
and the most hc^ly detected of all modes of deception ; and, 
finally, the interpolation of imaginary artists' names upon genuine 
antiques, a trick engendered by the uifiversal, though utterly 
baseless belief, that every ancient engraver regularly signed his 


best performances, and by the relnctance, springing from this 
belief, of wealthy bnt ignorant dUetianti to purchase even the 
finest monuments of his skill, unless recommended by such an 
indorsement. The temptation, therefore, to the interpolator was 
irresistible ; Casanova, the painter, mentions the instance of a fine 
antique that, after having had its merit thus certified, readily 
obtained four times the price at which it previously had been 
offered in vain. 

Gem-collecting had now grown into a perfect mania with the 
noble and the rich : the first great impetus being imparted by the 
arch-charlatan Baron Stosch (a Hanoverian spy over the Pretender's 
motions), by the formation of his enormous cabinet and its illus- 
tration by the labours of the erudite Winckelmann, with its final 
purchase at the enormous price of 30,000 ducats by the reputed 
model of the prince-philosopher, Frederic of Prussia. The Duo 
d'Orl6ans, grandson of the Regent, followed his example ; our own 
Dukes of Devonshire and Marlborough were, concurrently with 
the French prince, zealously at work in forming their present 
magnificent cabinets, paying incredible sums for gems of any 
celebrity. The former acquired from Stosch, for the equivalent of 
10002., the Caw of Apollonides, and from Sevin of Paris, at the 
same rate, the Diamede uii^ the Palltidium ; the latter nobleman, 
says La Chaux, purchased from Zanetti, of Venice (1763), four 
gems for the sum of 1200Z. : they are the Phoeion of Alessandro il 
Greco, the BbrcUiua Codes (a miniature Cinque-cento cameo), the 
AfUinous, and the Matidea; all still adorning the cabinet at 
Blenheim. The large cameo of Vespcuian cost the same amateur 
(according to Baspe) 300 guineas. The same portrait in cameo, 
but restyled a Mmeenat, stood his emulator, Mr. Yorke, in 250. 
The fine intaglio, Hercules and the Dying Amazon, cost its acquirer, 
Mr. Boyd, another 300 ; and to conclude this list of the extravagances 
of the taste, the Hercules and Lion intaglio in sardonyx, in its 
antique silver mounting (found in Aleppo), was considered cheap, 
by Mr. Locke, at the figure of 200 guineas. 

The Empress Catherine II. entered the lists with her accustomed 
energy, and amalgamated several well-known cabinets into a single 
one of imrivalled extensiveness. Such a possession (equally with 
that of a porcelain-fabrique of one's own establishment) was 
deemed an indispensable appendage for ever^^ prince making any 
pretensions to the character of a man of taste ; and how irresistibly 
the tide of fashion set in this direction is exemplified, better than 
by anything else, by the single fact that our bucolical sovereign 
George III. (a man of more liking for cows than for camei) was 



earned away by the torrent, and souglit to establish his reputation 
by making his own the highly-pnffed oollection of Consul Smith. 
He published his new character and his acquisition to the world of 
amateurs by the means of two magnificent folios, the ' Daciyliotheca 
Smithiana,' brought out at Venice (1767), illustrated with the 
finest engraving the period could supply, and with a learned text 
by Gori, whohad then succeeded to the reputation of Winckelmann. 

Last of all came the affected classicism of the Bepublic and the 
First Empire to stimulate the mania to its very highest point, 
(^ems, antique or supposed, graced every piece of jewelry, were 
wrought up into iolitairesj tiaras, and earrings, and even, after the 
precedent of Heliogabalus, decorated the toes of the sandalled feet 
of the Parisian lionnes. 

The Empress Josephine was a passionate gem-collector, the 
choicest treasures of continental museums flowed into her cabinet, 
peace-offerings from their owners now trembling for their thrones. 
She caused a complete suite of ornaments to be made up out of the 
first gems of the old Boyal Collection under the direction of the 
savant Denon. 

It is this period, and its fruits, that have thrown so much 
uncertainty into the study of gems, and have rendered so difficult 
the deciding as to the genuineness of a fine inti^lio if judged of 
by the work alone, irrespective of technical and mineralogical 
considerations. This indeed is one of the most difficult questions 
that can be proposed to the archsBologist, however much attention 
he may have paid to this particular subject. From the very 
opening of the century, Sirletti, famed for his revival of the 
antique use of the diamond-point in engraving (at the suggestion, 
says his contemporary Giulianelli, of the experienced Stosch), 
Costanzi, Anton Pichler, Landi, Bossi, and innumerable others, 
all more or less skilful imitators of the antique manner, were 
indefatigably pursuing this most lucrative of trades, and have 
left a countless swarm of such falsifications to mislead and 
perplex collectors for all time to come. It may be asserted with 
confidence that for every antique gem of note fully a dozen of 
its counterfeits are now in circulation; and often so close is 
the imitation as to throw doubt upon the authenticity of the 
original itself. The larger intagli, more particularly the im- 
perial portraits, have been the most exposed to this fraudulent 

The anxiety of these modems in disguise to make sure of the 
true antique character in their designs is remarkably exemplified 
by a fact communicated formerly to an acquaintance of mine by a 



very aged amateur, Mr. Constable, wlio had known Rome in the 
palmy days of gem-engraving. These artists used to be always 
seeking after, and paying liberally for, antique pastes with 
auhackneyed subjects, which, after minutely copying in their 
ovm gems, they immediately destroyed, thus at one stroke 
securing the antique spirit for their own compositions, and safety 
against the detection of plagiarism. This multitudinousness of 
counterfeits, added to the discredit brought upon the critical 
knowledge of connoisseurs by their admission into the cabinets 
of persons (Payne Eoiight, for instance, so egregiously taken in 
^th Pistrucci*s Flora) pretending to the completest experience 
in this line, may be assigned as one of the main causes of that 
sudden and total decay of the taste for gems which prevails in 
our own times. 


After Coldor6 Prance gave birth to no engraver deserving to be 
remembered, except Quay, who worked for Louis XV., and who 
has left an admirable cameo-portrait of his patron. The goldsmith 
to the same King, Louis Siries, exhausted his ingenuity in 
attempts to achieve microscopic impossibilities, mightily esteemed 
at the time ; even attacking the diamond, in emulation of Gostanzi, 
but with little success. Several of his minute gems are now to be 
seen in English cabinets, they may be recognised by his initials, 
L. S., in the field. 

The few Englishmen who have ever distinguished themselves in 
this walk of art, all (with the exception of T. Simon, CromwelFs 
inimitable medallist) flourished at different periods of the eighteenth 
century and through the first quarter of the present. It will here 
suffice to name Stuart, Seaton, the two Browns, Wray, Deane, 
Harris, Marchant (established at Rome, and especially patronised 
by the Duke of Marlborough and other English noblemen), and 
Burch, R.A., who closes the list in 1814. The Boman Pistrucci, 
on the grounds of his long residence and reputation achieved in 
this country, belongs rather to the category of English than 
Italian masters. At the beginning of his career he enjoyed the 
most exalted patronage, and his merit, though certainly great, was 
more than proportionally recompensed ; receiving as much as 8002. 
for a single cameo. One of his gems, a Greek hero on horso- 

K 2 


back, had ihe lionotir to be selected by his patron. Lord Mary- 
borough, as the type (after slight modification) of the reverse of 
the sovereign when issued for the first time in the great recoinage 
of 1816. The hero transformed thus into a St. Greorge, besides 
the gold, decorates the crown-piece of the same mintage, and 
again on somewhat a larger scale that of Greorge lY . ; the latter, 
beyond all rivalry, the most elegant coin ever issued from a 
modem mint. 

The works of this English school, intagli for the most part, 
though fine and carefully drawn, fall far short of the vigour and 
spirit displayed by the great names of the contemporary Italian. 
With the last representatives of that school, Cerbara and Girometti, 
who survived until within these few years, the Glyptic art may b^ 
said to have a second time expired, but to have expired with 
dignity. By both these its professors it had been carried to a 
perfection hardly ever attained before, and assuredly never 

Far from producing works embodying equal genius and com- 
manding equal remuneration with the masterpieces of painting and 
sculpture, nothing oCthis elegant art now survives even in Home, 
so long its favourite seat, except in the shape of a few miserable 
craftsmen — they cannot be called artists — ^who manufacture the 
small onyx cameoHstuds so much in request with the visitors to 
that city — mere trade-articles turned out by the dozen at the least 
possible expenditure of time and labour — and who also, but in a 
small way, continue to fabricate to order aniiqw intagU of the 
mediocre class, or to retouch such fresh discoveries as the dealers 
consider susceptible of improvement. In a word, the sole repre- 
sentatives of the once national profession who display any 
intelligence of beauty or tasteful workmanship in their labours 
(though surpassed in both by their Parisian rivals) are the cutters 
of camel upon shell; their material being the Indian conch, 
whose diversely-coloured layers cheaply counterfeit the con- 
trasting tints of the Sardonyx. The substance is sufficiently soft 
to admit of being worked with the graver and scraper, by which 
the design in relief is brought out in the same manner as carvings 
in ivory and boxwood. This circumstance, therefore, removes the 
invention from the true province of gem-engraving to that of 

Thus, therefore, by a most remarkable peristrophe, the art of 
cutting designs in the precious and hard stones may be considered 
as having closed its existence of thirty centuries in the same phase 
from which it started at the very daybreak of civilization. When 



the Egyptian fabricated the primal scarabeei out of the yielding 
HteaBchist, his first essay was a work in relief, & religions symbol 
of talismania Tirtue, intended for embellishing the necklace or the 
bracelet ; and bo in our times the Roman shell-camei, formed in an 
equally Talneleaa material, and manniactured for the same parpose, 
are the sole remains that preserve the faintest shadow of the 
departed glories of the Glyptic art. 

( 134 ) 


The most anciont and most wondrous in the long catalogue of 
famous i-ings recorded by the writers of antiquity, is that of 
Gyges, the Lydian. Plato relates in his * Republic * how he, when 
a mere shepherd, espied in a chasm opened by the winter rains a 
monstrous horse of brass, which served for the sepulchre of some 
giant of old, which chamber of death he boldly entering, took off 
the skeleton's finger a ring. Returning to his brother shepherds, 
he found accidentally that by turning the face of this ring inside 
his hand he became invisible ; whereupon, profiting by its mystic 
power, he murdered his master King Candaules, and took possession 
of his queen and kingdom, the most beautiful woman and the 
wealthiest region of all Asia. The crime wais, after the Eastern 
fashion, visited upon the head of his innocent descendant Croesus. 

Next comes the love-inspiring ring of Helen, touching which 
Ptolemy Hephsestion relates (B. VIII.) that there is a certain fish 
of the whale kind, called Pan^ and in appearance resembling that 
rustic deity. In its head is found the stone called Asteritea^ which, 
when placed in the sun, blazes forth like a flame. It is of mighty 
potency as a philtre, and this was the gem Helen wore for her 
signet, having the self-same fish, the Pan^ engraved thereon. 
Suidas gives the same legend on the authority of ^sopus, " reader 
to King Mithridates." A proof this how universal had become the 
faith in the power of talismans, when even Helen's conquests were 
ascribed to the virtue of a philtre. These deep philosophers did 
not agree with the simple-minded Tibullus as to the resistless 
might of beauty, or hold with him that 

" Forma nihil magicis utitur auxiliis.'' 

But to descend from the regions of fable into those of authentic 
history, we come to the strange yet probably true story about the 
ring of Polycrates, the tyrant of Samos, so particularly detailed by 


Herodotns. This too successful tyrant and pirate being himself 
alarmed by bis own vast and unbroken prosperity, took counsel of 
the sage Amasis, the Egyptian, and following his advice, propitiated 
Nemesis by throwing into the sea his signet, which he regarded as 
the most precious of his treasures, thinking by the sacrifice of this 
one object he had amply, as Pliny expresses it, compounded for all 
the favours heaped upon him by capricious Fortune. But the ring 
'was swallowed by a fine fish, which, being caught the same day, 
was brought by the captor as a present to his prince, the ring 
found in its belly, and restored to its astonished owner. But his 
end verified the predictions of the Egyptian king, atoning once for 
all and more than amply (as is Fortune's rule in such cases) for 
his past felicity ; for, betrayed into the hands of the satrap Oroetes, 
he closed his career by impalement : his first sacrifice of atonement 
hairing been rejected and thrown back upon his hands as inadequate 
by the malignant ruler of events. 

Kirchmann, in that wonderful repertory of curious learning, his 
treatise ' De Annulis ' (cap. xxiii.) has collected several anecdotes in 
illustration of this legend of the '* Fish and Ring," of which it will 
not be out of place to copy here the most remarkable. The first, 
from the character of the narrator and the publicity and recent 
date (at the time of its publication) of the circumstances, will 
doubtless be received as authentic by all who possess so much 
knowledge of things as to be able to judge when to believe as well 
as when to disbelieve — for ignorance is incredulous in the wrong 
place as well as credulous. Let us hecu: the story told by St. 
Augustine, bishop of the city where it happened, and who has 
deemed it worthy of insertion in his great work *De Oivitate 
Dei'(xxii. 8);— 

*' There lived an old man, a fellow-townsman of ours at Hippo, 
Florentius by name, by trade a tailor, a religious poor person. 
He had lost his cloak and had not wherewith to buy another. 
Ooing to the church of the Twenty Maxl^rrs, whose memory is 
held in the highest veneration amongst tus, he prayed with a loud 
voice for wherewith to clothe himself! Certain ribald youths who 
happened to be present overheard him, and followed him as he 
went down, mocking at him as though he had demanded of the 
martyrs the sum of fifty folUa (6^ denarii) to clothe himself 
withal. But Floreniius, walking on without replying to them, 
espied a big fish thrown up by the sea and struggling upon the 
beach, and it he secured through the good-natured assistance of 
the same youths, and sold it for 300 folUi (37^ denarii) to a certain 
oook, by name Carthosus, a good Christian, for pickling, telling 


him at the same time all that had taken place — intending to buy 
wool with the money, so that his wife might make therewith, as 
well as she could, something to clothe him. But the cook, in 
cutting up the fish, found in its belly a gold ring, and forthwith 
being moved with compassion as well as influenced by religious 
scruples, restored it to Florentius, saying, * Behold how the 
Twenty Martyrs have clothed thee 1 * " 

Petrus Damianus, too, a very unlikely personage to have ever 
read of Polycrates, relates in his Fifth Epistle a story worth 
translating literally, as a specimen of the style of thought of his 
age ; — " This Amulphus was the father of King Pepin and grand- 
father of Charlemagne, and when inflamed with the fervour of the 
Holy Ghost, he sacriflced the love of wife and children, and 
exchanged the glory and pomps of this world for the glorious 
poverty of Christ, it chanced as he was hastening into the 
wilderness that in his way he had to cross a river which is called 
the Moselle ; but when he reached the middle of the bridge thrown 
over it, where the river's strecun ran deepest, he tossed in there his 
own ring, with this protestation, * When I shall receive back,' said 
he, ' this ring from the foaming waves of this river, then will I 
trust confidently that I am loosed from the bonds of all my sins.* 
Thereupon he made for the wilderness, where he lived no little 
space dead unto himself and the world. Meanwhile the then 
Bishop of Metz having died. Divine Providence raised Amulphus 
to the charge of that see. Continuing in his new office to abstain 
from eating flesh, according to the rule observed by him in the 
wilderness, once upon a time a fish was brought him for a present. 
The cook, in gutting the same, found in its entrails a ring, and 
ran full of joy to present it to his master ; which ring the blessed 
Bishop no sooner cast eyes upon than he knew it again for his own, 
and wondered not so much at the strange mine that had brought 
forth the metal as that by the Divine propitiation he had obtained 
the forgiveness of his sins.'' 

An exact description of this long-famed jewel of the Samean 
tyrant can be obtained by putting together the accounts of the 
event, as related by various authors. Herodotus expressly terms it 
" a signet of emerald, set in gold, the work of Theodoras of Samos " 
(iii. 41). Pausanias has (viii. 14), "a work of Theodorus was also 
the signet in the emerald which Polycrates, tyrant of Samos, was 
accustomed to wear, and on the possession of which he prided 
himself excessively." Clemens Alexandrinus furthermore informs 
us what device was engraven upon it: 'Hhe musical lyre that 
Polycrates had for his seal." By a singular coincidence an emerald 


was, a few years ago, brought to Borne, said to liave been just 

tamod up in a vineyard at Aricia, in whicb enthusiastic antiquaries 

immodiately recognised this legendary signet, from the agreement 

both of stone and type with the ancient tradition. The emerald 

w^as large and of the finest quality befitting so wealthy an owner, 

the intaglio a lyre beautifully executed, above which hovered 

three bees, or more probably cigalcy an insect noted by the poets 

for its musical powers, and which, though of much greater bulk, 

resembles in appearance a large drone. This type of a lyre often 

occurs upon gems : there can be little doubt it was adopted from 

the traditionary account of Polycrates* signet ; it was moreover in 

its nature, as Apollo's attribute, a fitting device for a man of 

letters. Fliny, however, records a curious fact, that in his time 

the pretended signet of Polycrates used to be shown in the shape 

of a sardonyx, not engraved, '^intacta illibata," set in a golden 

cornucopia in the Temple of Concord, and holding there but the 

last place amidst a multitude of other gems, all preferred to it as of 

higher value. It is hard to conceive how this history came to bo 

afiBxed to this particular sardonyx^ in defiance of the express 

testimony of Herodotus, who flourished hardly a century after the 

occurrence. Lessing, indeed, in order to support Pliny's tale, 

quibbles, like a true German critic, at a vast expenditure of 

learning, to prove that the term anf^prfiyk does not necessarily 

signify an engraved stone, and that the expression " the work of 

Theodorus" only refers to the setting itself I because that artist 

was famous for certain ingenious works in metal, executed for 

King Alyattes in the preceding generation. But Herodotus and 

the Greeks of his day would have made little account of the 

goldsmith's work in the mere setting : it was the emerald^ then a 

priceless stone, rendered yet more rare by the intaglio from so 

famous a hand (the artist, too, being in all probability then no 

more), that was deemed a sacrifice of such importance. But, in 

truth, there is no exception to the rule in classic Greek that a 

precious stone, regarded merely as such, is termed 17 XtVo9, or else 

^^os, the lapillus of the Latins, but when engraved it becomes 

(r<^/xKy(9. As a proof, Theophrastus speaks of the XiSoi out of which 

(r<^/97yi8c9 are cut. Herodotus also uses the latter word in describing 

the seals of the Babylonians, who certainly never were acquainted 

with the use of finger rings. But the ancient goldsmith was like 

his Florentine feUow-craftsman in the flourishing days of art, at 

once jeweller, statuary, and gem-engraver, as well as die-sinker. 

And Theodorus of Samos became to the Roman dilettanti what 

Cellini is to those of our day, the reputed author of oveiy work of 


extraordinary unfathered cleverness. Thus Pliny mentions a 
portraitHstatue of the artist himself, then preserved at Borne, 
holding upon his outstretched hand a four-horse car, so minute 
that a fly with outspread wings could cover both car, horses, 
and driver. 

The earliest notice we have of the device upon a Greek's signet 
is connected with a touching anecdote. When Clearchus, Gyrus 
the younger's general, had been treacherously made prisoner by 
Tisaphemes, and was languishing in chains before his execution, 
he begged for a comb (for his long flowing hair, worn after the 
Spartan fashion), which indulgence he at last obtained through 
Ctesias, the royal physician. As a return for the favour, he 
presented the latter with his signet to serve as a means of 
introduction to his family, should the other ever And himself in 
Sparta. Its device was the maidens of Carya dancing. Ctesias 
himself tells the story, quoted by Plutarch in his life of Cyrus. 

Alexander the Great forbade as treasonable his portrait to be 
engraved on gems by any less noted artist than Pyrgoteles ; and 
from Pliny's mode of expressing himself, viz., *' in hac gemma," it 
would appear that the emerald was the only stone accounted worthy 
of so high an honour.* After his conquest of Asia, Alexander used 
the *'ring of Darius" for sealing his edicts addressed to the 
Persians, but his paternal signets for those issued to the Greeks. 
The device upon the latter was a lion passant, with a club in the 
field above in allusion to Hercules, the founder of the Macedonian 
line: such, at least, was the imprint on the signet wherewith 
Philip dreamed he had sealed up tbe womb of his queen Olympias, 
a vision interpreted both as a token of her pregnancy and also of 
the future greatness of the expected infant. In commemoration of 
this presage, Alexander subsequently founded a city, named 
Leontopoli8.t Moreover his only coins, the hemidrachms, that 

* The emeiald oontinned set apart for the royal signet with his saocessors. 
When Ptolemy Lathyms escorted Lncnllus, returning to Borne, to his ship, he 
pressed npon him an emerald '^of the precious sort" set in a ring : which the 
disintearested Roman conld only be induced to accept hy the monarch's showing 
him that it bore his own image, so that to refuse it were a personal afiront 

t One of his generals and successors to his empire, Seleucus, conld boast of a 
signet of divine origin. His mother dreamed that ** she had conceived a son by 
Apollo, and that the god had left behind him his ring in acknowledgment of the 
paternity. On awaking, she actually found a stgnet-ring in her bed, engraved 
with an anchor; and the same mark was discovered impressed upon the thigh of 
the infant when bom in due time after the vision, and continued to appear thus 
stamped on all his posterity for many generations." — Justin, XV, In com- 
memoration of this legend, an anchor is the common reverse of the bronze coinage 
of the ScleuoidflB. 


give 118 his actual portrait with Amnion's horn, bear a lion for 
reverse. Even at this early period every man had a fixed device 
for his signet, as well known and as unchangeable as our armorial 
bearingsi. Quintus Curtius, in his Life of Alexander, mentions a 
conspiracy detected in consequence of a letter being brought to an 
officer of his army, bearing an unknown seal, which on inquiry 
proved to come from an agent of Darius, containing proposals for 
the assassination of the king. 

Unfortunately no author has recorded the device upon the 
signet of his Persian adversary, although we may safely conclude 
it to have been identical with that of a Darius (perhaps the same) 
now preserved in the British Museum, a cylinder in a greenish 
calcedony (the jaspis of the Greeks), representing the king in his 
car, with the cuneiform legend in the field, in three different 
dialects, "I Darius, the king." But we labour under the 
''embarras de richesses" in the varying descriptions left us of 
the signet of his ancestor Xerxes which authenticated his com- 
munications with the Spartan king Fausanias; for the scholiast 
upon Thucydides (i. 1 29) has : ** The signet of the king of the 
Persians bore, according to some, the monarch's own portrait; 
according to others that of Cyrus, the founder of the monarchy ; 
or as others again say, the horse of Darius, in virtue of whose 
neighing he had been elected king." But Folyasnus distinctly 
states that the device was a naked woman, with her hair 
dishevelled, a type, according to him, commemorating the tradition 
that their queen Ehodogune (the same story is told of the more 
ancient Semiramis), rushing in this state out of the bath, had 
quelled a revolt of her subjects — apparently a Greek fiction, 
coined (after their wont, ratJier than to confess ignorance) to 
explain the figure of Anaitis^ the Babylonian Venus, so frequently 
represented in this guise upon the cylinders. 

The frequency of the portraits of the Macedonian hero upon 
gems, the work of widely different ages, arose from such portraits 
being worn as amulets down to a very late period, Chrysostom (at 
the close of the fourth century) noting the custom in his own day 
of wearing Alexander's coins, fastened to the head or feet as 
charms to keep off sickness (Hom. ii.). Trebellius Pollio, speaking 
of the family Macriana, says that the ladies belonging to it wore 
the portraits of Alexander engraved (necessarily, therefore, on 
gems) in their hair-cauls in their bracelets and in their rings; 
adding that it was the common persuasion that persons who carried 
about them the likeness of Alexander in gold or silver prospered in 
everything they undertook. 


To return once more to the poets : Sophocles, as above adduced, 
makes Electra recognise her brother Orestes on his producing his 
father's signet. The scholiast is careful to inform us, perhaps 
following some ancient tradition, that it was engraved '* with the 
ivory shoulder of Pelops," meaning (the only way in which it can 
be understood) the bust of a youth displaying that part in a 
significant manner. The signet of a still older Grecian monarch, 
the Theban Amphitryon, is described by Plautus in the comedy of 
that name, in the dialogue between Mercury and Sosias : — 

*' 8, Where is the bowl now ? 
'* M, Looked up in my trank, 

Sealed with Amphitryon's seal. 
'* 8. Say what's the impression ? 
** Jtf. Sol rising with his car. Why seek to entrap me, 

Thou gallows-bird ?" 

Doubtless Plautus, whose plays are all mere adaptations from 
the Greek, had old authority for putting such a device upon the 
Theban king's signet. 

The Spartan magistrates in the times of the traveller Pausanias, 
the second century, used for their official seal the head of Polydorus, 
one of their ancient kings ; but no reason is assigned why, above 
all the rest, this unknown prince should have been preferred for 
that distinction, in circumstances where one would naturally have 
looked for the image of their far-famed legislator Lycurgus, which, 
in fact, formed the type on the later coinage of Lacedemon. 

We have an interesting notice of the signet of another Spartan 
monarch of the last times of the dynasty in Josephus (xxi. 6)« 
Areius, ** king of the Lacedemonians," as he there is styled, thus 
ends his letter addressed to Onias, the high priest of the newly 
re-established state of Jerusalem : ^' The seal is an eagle grasping 
a serpent in its talons." A ctustomary conclusion to a letter was 
this description of the seid, in order to prevent its being opened 
and resealed with another signet on the way. It is singular that 
this group of the eagle and serpent is described by Nicetas amongst 
the miracles of art standing in the Hippodrome of Constantinople, 
and afterwards melted down for coin by the barbarian Franks on 
their capture of the city in 1204. The vulgar, he adds, then 
regarded it as a talisman delivering the city from all such veno- 
mous reptiles, set up by the most eminent of all magicians, Apol- 
lonius Tyaneus; but it was, in truth, an inheritance from the 
original city of Byzantium. 

Callicrates, a courtier of Ptolemy III., took so great a pride in 
his profession of parasite, says Athenaeus, in his amusing anecdotes 


of that class (vi. 251), that he adopted for his signet the head of 
Ulysses, and named his children Telegonus and Anticlea, after 
those of the Ithacan wanderer, who amongst the later Greeks had 
been put down as the prototype of the genns Parasite, upon the 
strength of his so long quartering himself upon the hospitality 
of King Alcinous. Others, besides CaUicrates, were not ashamed 
of the same profession, for a fine intaglio in the Spilsbury Qems 
(No. 17) represents one carrying what Flautus (Stich. ii. 1, 65) 
calls the '^totam supellectilem,** entire stock-in-trade of the 
fraternity : — 

** Bubiginosmn strigilem, ampullam robldam." 
**• A rusty scraper, a red earthen oil-oruse." 

The sophist Aristion, on his return from his embassy to Mithri- 
dates, is carried in state (in the account preserved by Athenseus) 
into Athens, reclining upon a litter with legs of silver and coverings 
of purple. He takes up his quarters in the house of Dies, the 
richest of the inhabitants ; which is furnished for his reception, at 
the public cost, with grand hangings, pictures, statues, and a vast 
display of plate. Out of this palace ho used to strut, trailing 
behind him a gorgeous mantle, and wearing a gold ring engraved 
with the portrait of Mithridates. Here it may be observed that 
the heads of this prince are rather frequent in gems, for he was 
evidently very popular amongst the Greeks, who hailed him as 
their deliverer from the burdensome yoke of the Bomans, who, like 
ourselves, seem to have had the fatality of making themselves uni- 
versally detested to the nations subject to their supremacy. His 
portrait, particularly in the arrangement of the flowing locks, is 
evidently treated after the Apollo type in allusion to his name, 
which is equivalent to the Grecian Heliodorus, or '^gift of the 
sun." He was, besides, a- prince who appreciated and encouraged 
the arts, for his coins are amongst the most beautiful in the 
whole Greek regal series, a thing hardly to be expected at so 
late an epoch and from a semi-barbarian like the Pontic king. 
Being the first on record to have formed a collection of gems, 
his memory should be held in reverence by all lovers of the 
Glyptic art. 

Wonderful, indeed, as a work of sportive Nature must have been 
the famous agate always worn by King Fyrrhus in his ring, if it 
actually, as Pliny quotes from some old annalist, did " represent, 
by its natural shades, Apollo holding his lyre and standing amidst 
the Muses Nine, each one bearing her proper attribute." The veins 
and colours of the stone must have been amazingly assisted, either 



"by art or by thJB lively imagination of the beholder, to have pic- 
tured so oomplicated a gronp npon the narrow field of tf ring-stone. 
After all, it may have been no more than a cameo, the production 
of a newly-invented art, and passed off by the jocose Greek npon 
the simple-minded Boman envoys as a natural prodigy. We have 
actually an analogous case already brought before us in the great 
sardonyx cameo decorating the shrine of St. Elizabeth at Marburg, 
which, during the whole course of the Middle Ages, used to be 
regarded with veneration by pilgrims as the unassisted workman- 
ship of Nature. Agricola also mentions an agate naturally repre- 
senting two busts with a serpent between, preserved (in the fifteenth 
century) in Cologne Cathedral ; in all likelihood alluding to one of 
the camei set in the shrine of the Three Kings. Nevertheless, 
agates are still found adorned with designs which one feels the 
greatest difficulty in admitting to be the mere fortuitous result of 
the arrangement of their shaded strata, so exactly does that result 
imitate the finished production of art. Amongst the specimens of 
the variety called the " Egyptian Pebble," in the British Museum, 
there is one representing the head of Chaucer covered with the 
hood as in the well-known portrait of him, the resemblance of 
which is most astonishing, and yet this pebble is evidently in its 
original state, not even polished, but merely broken in two. The 
jewel-room of the Florentine Galleria possesses a red and yellow 
agate where the shades accurately depict a Cupid running ; as well 
as some other specimens of such self-created miniatures. Among 
the gems of the Strawberry Hill Collection is catalogued " a rare 
Egyptian Pebble naturally representing Voltaire in his night-gown 
and cap ; set in gold : " also " another representing with the utmost 
exactness the portrait of a woman in profile, a rock behind her and 
sky before, set in gold, and accounted very curious." Some others, 
and yet more singular, are specified in the ' Description of the Hope 
Precious Stones,' drawn up by B. Hertz. The known existence of 
these nature-paintings elucidates an epigram by Claudian, entitled 
'* On a table of sardonyx stone ; " which is somewhat obscure by 
reason of its too flowery style, and at first sight rather suggests the 
notion of a mosaic being intended, although there can be no doubt, 
after a careful consideration, that the poet wishes to describe the 
actual colouring aiid shades of the native stone. 

Ep. XLIV. In Mensam de sardonyche lapide. 

^* Meiisa ooloratis aqniln sinnatur in alia 
Qnem floris diBtingnit honos similuqixe fignra 
Texitur, implumem mentitur gomma volatum.'* 



" The oolonied Teixis that o'er my gntfaoe play 
An eagle's form wiCh dusky wings portray. 
With natiye hues traoed <fB the flowered stone 
A life-like fignie \o perfection shown : 
Formed in the gem, the pietore seems to fly, 
Andy wingleBS, cheats the wondering gazer*s eye." 

Ismeniasy a &mons mnsician, and oontemporary with Alexander, on 
bearing the description of an evMrald engraved with the figure of 
the nymph Amymone, which was for sale somewhere in Cyprus at 
the price of six gold staters (exactly six guineas), took a fancy 
to it, and commissioned a friend to buy it for him. His envoy, by 
Lard bargaining, beat down the price, and brought him back both 
the gem and two staters out of the six sent ; but was rewarded for 
his pains by the complaint of the purse-proud man of music that 
he had done very ill, for that he had lowered by so much the dignity 
of the gem. This is the sole instance known to me of the then 
current value of an engraved gem : and even here, from the stone 
being intrinsically valuable, one cannot pronounce whether the 
emerM or the intaglio formed the chief element in the estimate. 
Ismenias, observes Pliny, set the example to all others of the same 
profession to make a mighty display of such ornaments as an essen- 
tial part of their equipment in public : hence his rival Dionysiodo- 
rus attempted to outshine him in this piece of ostentation,* as did 
also a third artiste named Nicomachus. The collection of the last, 
it is recorded, though extensive, was made without either know- 
ledge or taste, exactly what might have been expected from a 
fiddler dabbling in matters that demand a competent share of both. 
It has been already mentioned how the great Julius is noted by 
Suetonius for a passionate amateur in engraved gems, as in all 
other branches of the antique art: antique being the highest 
recommendation even in those days. His own signet was a Yenus 
Yictrix, a fact which sufficiently explains the popularity of that 
subject under the reigns of his successors in the Empire. ^' CsBsckr 
dedicated himself entirely to Yenus, and wished to persuade the 
world that he had derived from her (his ancestress) a certain 
portion of immortal beauty. For this reason he used to wear in 

* For their foppery, Aristophanes distingnishes them with an epithet of his 
own coining — c^paytBoyvxeipyoKOfirireu — *' lazy, long-haired fellows, with fingers 
covered with rings down to the nails.*' The class were proverbial then, as now, 
for their empty-headedness and self-conceit, which Athennns illostrates by a 
whole section of anecdotes, taking for his text the well-known epigram—** *A»ipl 
fikp a.iXrirript "—which may be thns Englished : 

** To men of music Heaven no brains supplies. 
For with their fiddling forth their reason flies.'' 


His signet an intaglio of the goddess armed at all points, and gave 
her name for the watchword in most, and in the most important of 
his battles " (Dio, xliii. 43). 

The same amusing historian informs ns (xlii. 18) that the 
Boman Senate refused to credit the fatal news of Pompey's death 
until Ceesar produced and showed to them his very signet, which 
bore engraved three trophies, like that used by the dictator Sulla 
before him. The motive for assuming such a device had been the 
same in both cases, — to commemorate the three great victories that 
had crowned the military career of either general : those of the 
first over the generals of Mithridates ; of the latter, over the same 
king in person, the Arabians, and the Cilician pirates. But this 
must have been the signet used by Sulla in his later years, for 
Pliny writes that his favourite seal was the "Surrender of 
Jugurtha," the first of his successes in war. The representation 
of the event on the signet was doubtless identical with that still 
extant on one of his denarii, where the Eoman general appears 
seated aloft on his tribunal, with two men kneeling before him ; 
the one in a military habit with his hands bound behind his 
back, the captive prince ; the other, his betrayer Bocchus, holding 
forth an olive-branch, the established emblem of a suppliant. The 
Mauritanian king, says Plutarch, had dedicated in the Capitol a 
representation of the event modelled in gold, containing no less 
than twenty figures; the principal actors, in all probability, we 
see in this medal — the small group being selected on account of 
the necessary limitation of space. These notices of Pliny's and Dio*s 
prove that Ihe recognised ofiScial signet of the individual was, as a 
matter of course, adopted for the type of the coinage issued by his 
authority ; for another denarius of Sulla's bears for reverse these 
very three trophies between the lituus and prefericulum, accompanied 
by his surname of Fausttta written in a monogram. Similarly, 
other types of consular coins are perpetually to be observed upon 
engraved stones ; some such may be adduced here as examples of 
regular hereditary devices, or as containing a rebus on the family 
name: — Crepereia, head of the nymph Galatea (the Qalene of 
Tryphon, celebrated' in the epigram of Addrous), in the act of 
swimming, and consequently often mistaken for Leander's — a type 
allusive to the crepitating of the ripples on the strand, or to crepido, 
used in the same sense. Manilla, Ulysses recognised by his dog 
Argus. Pansa, a mask of Pan. Scarpus, an open hand, " carpus." 
Trio, the Moon and Seven Stars, the Septem Triones. Acisculus, a 
mandril or small pick-axe. Lariscolus, the sisters of Phaothon 
turned into larches. Pomponius Musa, all the Muses one after the 


other, or else Hercules Musagetes. Valeria^ the Stymphalian 
crane — type of strength and invulnerability. Voconius Vitulus^ a 
calf,* &c., &c. 

Others, again, took for their device some ancestral feat of arms 
in which the dread enemy of old — the Gaul — naturally plays a 
frequent part. Spirited pictures of such duels are to be seen on 
the denarii of the Minucia and Servilia families. But nothing of 
the kind known to me is so soul-stirring a record of some such deed 
of daring as the gem erst the signet of one of their contemporaries 
that fortune has recently brought under my notice. Upon this 
little sard two cavaliers are engaged in mortal combat with two 
Gauls : one has already despatched his *man, who lies prostrate in 
the foreground ; the other aims his spear at the survivor, a naked 
giant, who, one knee bent, is receiving the hit upon his broad 
shield, whilst swinging back his huge claymore, he is about to deal 
the terrific ** swashing blow " of his nation at his adversary. The 
life and vigour put into the scene, despite its blundered perspective 
and inartificial execution, declare the genius of the designer if not 
his skilfulness. 

That the portrait of a distinguished ancestor was often adopted 
for the signet of his representative in the next generation, exactly 
as it was for the type of the denarii issued by the same person (a rule, 
happily for the cause of inconography, generally observed during 
the later ages of the Republic), is a fact established by the remark 
made by Cicero upon the signet of Lentulus, Catiline's accomplice 
(In Cat. iii. 5), where the unfeeling orator thus inpraves the occa- 
sion : — '* I then showed the letter to Lentulus, and asked him if he 
knew the seal. He nodded assent. Yes, said I, 'tis a well-known 
seal, the portrait of your grandfather, that most illustrious man, 
who above all else loved the Republic and his fellow-citizens ; 'tis 
a portrait which though voiceless ought to have dissuaded you from 
so monstrous a piece of wickedness." An objurgation, the more 
pointed, inasmuch as the whole P. Com. Lentulus had in his time 
actually been " Chief of the Senate : " a furious aristocrat, who in 
defending his party had received a wound in an afifray with the 
followers of C. Gracchus, though the revolutionary measures of the 
latter were, it may be observed parenthetically, of an hifinitely 
milder character than those in which his unlucky grandson had 
come to be implicated. Unfortunately, Cicero did not think it 
necessary again to " make a point " by noticing the subjects of 

* Some of these types are so far fetched as to be true pictorial enigmas, for 
example— the ourule c^tr of Ckmndius; and his *' squint-eyed " Venus for his 
cognomen, PoUub, 


other conspirators' seajs, which authenticated their treasonable cor- 
respondence with the Allobroges ; but we find each one of them 
in turn confronted with, and convicted beyond all possibility of 
denial by, the production of his own well-known family bearings. 

A second precious memorial of a ^' tumultus Gallicus " is the 
signet of another member of the gens Cornelia, already alluded to, 
the Q. Cornelius Lupus. The type is the horse's head, the well- 
known national emblem (Oaul^ in German, still means horse)^ and 
two Gallic shields crossed en saltire to express the confederation of 
the Insubres and Caenomani vanquished by C. Cornelius Cethegus, 
Consul B.C. 198. Lupas is a common surname in that family; the 
owner of the seal was probably the consul's son : the style of the 
intaglio would indicate that generation as its own date. 

Valerius Maximus also mentions (iii. 5) that the degenerate son 
of Africanus the Elder *'*' had his hand divested by his own family 
of the ring he wore engraved with his father's portrait : " where- 
upon he exclaims, ^' Di Boni quas tenebras ex quo fidmine nasci 
passi estis I " It must be noticed, en passant, that the " Thunder- 
bolt " was the peculiar epithet of the Scipios, as Barcas *' Light- 
ning " was of their enemy Hamilcar — Whence Virgil's " duo fulmina 
belli ScipiadsB ; " whilst Jupiter Tonans is the type of their 
family-coins, — probably a rebus is intended (far-fetched indeed) 
between the name and o-ki^u} the technical term for the lightning- 

When the great Marcellus fell into the ambuscade of the 
Carthaginians, near Venusium, and was there slain, Hannibal 
having thus got possession of his signet made a treacherous use of 
it, to give the show of authenticity to the forged letters whidi he 
thereupon despatched in the Boman's name to the various towns in 
the hostile interest. Another proof this of the fixed character of 
the subject adopted for his own special device by every person 
of station, and which evidently no more admitted of capricious 
change than a coat of arms in our day. How provoking to 
the archsBologiBt that Livy has not taken the trifling pains to 
add what this well-known device was. A few such particulars 
would now be of infinitely greater value than the long-winded, 
impossible orations wherewith, at a vast expenditure of labour, he 
has encumbered his History. However, from the hint afforded by 
Plautus as to the signet of the soldier Harpax bearing his own 
portrait, we may conjecture that Marcellus had followed the same 
usage, and taken his own likeness for his seal. A denarius issued 
by one of his family, the Claudia, a century after his death, supplies 
us with his antlientic portrait accompanied by the triqueira^ 


8jmlx)li8iiig his conquest of Sicily ; and for reverse himself 
dedicating the 9poUa opima of the Gallic King Yiridomarus to 
Jupiter Feretrius. One of the most interesting gems that has 
ever come under my notice is a head exactly agreeing with that 
upon the medal in question ; with a portion of the circumference 
of a shield introduced into the field — an allusion, it would appear, 
to the spolia opima commemorated upon the reverse of the same 
denarius. The execution of the intaglio is hard but vigorous, and 
in shallow cutting just what we should expect in the age of 
Marcellus, the third century before our era. There is, therefore, 
a possibility — and let the audacious hope be indulged — ^that this 
very sard may have sealed the missives of the two greatest generals 
of antiquity. 

The Spaniard, whose father had been slain in single combat with 
Scipio ^milianus, was so proud of the honour thus conferred on 
his family that he took for his signet a representation of the duel : 
whereupon Stilo wittily observed what would he not have done 
had Scipio fallen by his father's sword ! 

The first seal used by Augustus was a sphinx, for he had found 
amongst the valuables coming to him from his deceased mother 
two intagli of that subject exactly identical ; and one of these he 
left, whenever about to be absent from Bome, in the hands of his 
deputy, for the authentication of such edicts or missives as a sudden 
emergency might require to be issued in his name. But so many 
satirical remarks were made upon his choice of such a device and 
its appropriateness to the enigmatical character of his proclama- 
tions, that he relinquished it, and for the rest of his reign sealed 
with a head of Alexander the Great : in all probability the original 
by Pyrgoteles. His successors, says Dio, used for their state seal 
his portrait by Dioacarides, until Galba substituted for it his own 
family device — a dog * looking forth over a ship's prow. Our office 
of Keeper of the Seal can boast of the highest antiquity, for the 
emperors had a Gustos anntdi: Trogus Pompeius states that his 
father served Julius Caesar in that capacity (Justin, xxiii.). 

Afterwards the custom of sealing with one's own portrait was 
again revived by the emperors : Spartian including amongst the 
omens of Hadrian's coming death the falling off from his finger of 
his ring, " which bore a likeness of himself," as he was taking the 
auspices on New Year's Day, and so obtaining a dim forecast of the 
events of the coming year. Commodus, however, to compliment his 

* All Greek ooasten and fishing-boats carry a dog on the forecastle to give 
warning at night of the approach of yesBcls— the typo therefore was the emblem 
of yigilance. 

L 2 


famouB mistress, Marcia, took for his seal the figure of an Amazon, 
as we learn from a letter of his addressed to Clodius Albinns, 
preserved by Capitolinns, in his life of the latter : '* I have sent a 
letter which you will receive yourself, sealed with the figure of an 
Amazon" And Lampridius relates of the same madman that his 
flatterers used to call him Amazaniua^ after the device upon his 
signet; but that in ideality he had first got the name from his 
extreme devotion to his concubine Marcia, whom he had caused 
to be represented in the character of an Amazon — in which guise 
she actually figures upon some of his medallions. Gorlasus pos- 
sessed in his Dactyliotheca (purchased on his death by our James I.), 
a ring which then passed for the true signet of Nero. The intaglio 
revolved on its axis ; one side bearing the conjugated busts of Nero 
and Agrippina, a star and a lyre in the field, engraved in gold ; the 
other side, a sard intaglio representing Apollo standing triumphant, 
the vanquished Marsyas bound to a tree, and his disciple Olympus 
kneeling at the go4*s feet, vainly soliciting his forgiveness. But 
the entire composition of both ring and signet savours too much of 
the Cinque-cento taste for it to be admitted as an indubitable 
memento of the imperial fiddler. In other respects the subject 
was judiciously selected as embodying an easily understood 
menace against all future rivals of the would-be Apollo. Its 
reality was felt by Lucan, whose fate is ascribed by Suetonius (in 
his life) to his having quoted most disrespectfully, though but too 
appositely, a line of the august poet descriptive of subterranean 
thunder, *' sub terris tonuisse putes," on the occasion of an explosion 
of a very different nature, to the inexpressible consternation of all 
within hearing of his treasonable pleasantry. 

One of the tokens presaging the approaching fall of this *' terrible 
amateur " was the New Year's gift made to him by his favourite 
Sporus, on the same occasion as when Hadrian received from Fate 
a similar warning. This prophetic present was a ring engraved 
with the Rape of Proserpine ; a most ill-omened choice, the subject 
being the accepted symbol of death, and set apart as a decoration 
for tombs alone. Nothing in the eyes of a Eoman could have been 
more inauspicious than such a gift at such a season ; as pregnant 
with coming woe as that legend so unaccountably put upon the 
marriage medal of Mary Queen of Soots and Frangois II., *' Hora 
nona Dominus I.H.S. expiravit, Heli damans." Words these, so 
inappropriate to the occasion that they would seem to have been 
suggested by Atropos herself to the designer in bitter irony of the 
festive day : and speedily to be verified by the event. 

Mfecenas's signet, Pliny tells us, was a /ro<7, the sight of which, 


as announcmg a contribution alx)ut to be levied, nsed to strike 
terror into the minds of the rich. A calcedony scarabsdns in the 
late Praun Cabinet, thus engraved, both the beetle and the intaglio 
in the best style of Etruscan art, may be assigned, without over- 
straining probabilities, to some ancient member of the MAIKNE 
clan, the *' regal ancestry" of Horace's patron; for it has been 
already shown that such devices weie transmitted down through 
a long line of descendants. This memorable protector of literature 
extended his favour, and in a special degree, to this branch of the 
fine arts : a noble testimony to which exists in his portraits from 
the hand of ApoUoniuS, of Solon, of Aulus, and above all, of 
Dioscorides: the last gem holding the second place amongst the 
eight recognised as the authentic works of that engraver. 

How passionately Maecenas loved gems — doubtless not merely 
for their native beauties, but, like the great Julius, for the higher 
value of the genius therein enshrined — appears from his lines 
upon the departure of Horace (preserved by Isidorus), for whose 
loss he declares not even the sight of his darling jewels could 
console him : — 

^ Lugens O mea vita 1 te smaiagdos, 
BerylloB mihi Flaooe nee nitentes, 
Neo percandida margarita quiero ; 
Neo quoB Tbynica lima perpolivit 
AnelloB neo iaspioe lapillos.'* 

*^ WhilEt I thine abeenoe, O my life I deplore, 
Emeralds and lostrous beryU chaim no more; 
No more, my Flaocus, can the brilliant white 
Of orient pearls, as erst, my aoul delight ; 
Nor can my favourite rings my grief beguile. 
Nor jaspers polished by the Thyrian file." 

Augustus also evidently alludes to his passion for gems in a 
passage of a letter, where at the same time he mimics joculcurly 
the a£fected style of his compositions (Macrob. ii. 4). " Vale mel 
gentium, metuelle, ebur ex Hetruria, laser Aretinum, adamas 
supemas, Tiberinum margaritum, Gilniorum smaragde, jaspis 
figiilomm, berylle PorsennsB carbunculum habeas I " ** Farewell, 
my honey of the clans, my marrow, my ivory from Etruria, my 
Aretine spice, my diamond of the upper regions, my pearl of the 
Tiber, my emerald of the Cilnian family, my beryl of King 
Porsenna, may you get the carbuncle ! " (the last a play upon the 
double meaning of the word, equally good in English). Joking 
him at once upon his royal Etruscan descent, his weak point, and 
upon this his particular hobby. 


It were much to be wished that Ovid had told us what tasteful 
device he had chosen for his own, and to which he thus prettily 
alludes in a letter from his place of banishment (ii. 10). 

Ecqaid ab ImpresBaB oognoscls imagine gemmao 

Haeo tlbt Nascmem scribexe rerbii Macer ? 
Auotariaqae sui si non eet ansulua iodez 

Ckjgnitane est noitra litem faota manu ? 
An tibi notitiam mora temporis eripit horum. 

Nee lepetnnt ocnli aigna retnata tui ? 
Sis lioet oblitna poriter gemnuBqne mannaqne 

Exciderit tantom ne tibi cnra met'* 

Chifiet asserts, but in all likelihood upon merely monkish 
authority, that Augustus took for his device the ' Butterfly and 
Tortoise ' of the old fable, to express his favourite maxim — Festina 
lenie — '* No more haste than good speed ; " but the conceit savours 
too strongly of mediseval pedantry to be received as authentic. 

The only Imperial signet preserved, respecting the first owner- 
ship of which no doubts can be entertained, is the celebrated 
sapphire of Constantius (slightly noticed above), now in the 
Binuccini Cabinet, Florence. The stone of uncommon beauty and 
the extraordinary weight of fifty-three carats, is engraved with the 
representation of one of the greatest exploits of the imperial 
Nimrod. The Emperor is spearing a monstrous wild boar, entitled 
£I<I>IAC9 in the plains of Gsesarea, that city being typified by a 
recumbent female, distinguished by the title (in the corrupt 
phonetic orthography already gaming ground) KECAPIA KAFI- 
HAAOKIAC . In the field the Latin legend, CONSTANTIVS AVG, 
makes it manifest that the destination of the intaglio was for the 
Emperor's own use: a fact furthermore confirmed by the very 
careful execution of the work, showing it to have come from the 
hand of the first engraver of the times, as well as by the enormous 
intrinsic value of the material. Another portrait of this prince is 
noticed by Visconti (Gem. Ant. 497) : — " Impression of an intaglio 
head in crystal in the Florentine Museum ; and appearing to 
present in its features the likeness of Constantius, son and successor 
of Constantine the Great. The bust is clothed in the paluda- 
inentum." But that standing next in his list is one of vastly 
greater historical interest: '*A most singular cameZtan,* though 
miserably executed, inscribed ALABICVS BEX GOTH OB VM. 
The bust is shown in froni-faoe, and has upon the shoulder a kind 
of stole, called in those times lorum^ forming part of the habit of 

* Visconti is Diistiken here. Bf ehler informs me the stone is a fine sapphire, as 
indeed the impression would lead one to conclude. Now in the Vienna Cabinet 


ceremony worn by the Emperors and Consuls." Probably this was 
the official seal of the conqueror's secretary; for had it been 
engraved for the royal hand, that disposed of all the accnmnlated 
treasures of the Boman world, one would have expected a gem of 
large intrinsic value — a sapphire or a spinel — ^to have been selected 
for so dignified a service. Unless, indeed, the expiring art of the 
age (a probable solution) had found itself incapable of dealing with 
such refractory materials. The few portraits extant belonging to 
this epoch are in front-&oe and very deeply cut, but in the softer 
gems — crystal and lapis-lassuli being now preferred : the mechanical 
side of the art having declined in the same proportion as the 
knowledge of design. Heads in front-face were, during the same 
period, fast becoming the rule upon the more important issues of 
the Boman and Byzantine mints, and in a short time these entirely 
banished profile portraits from the gold coinage. 

The Mertens-Schaaffhausen Cabinet possessed the most important 
example of this class anywhere extant. It was the great seal of 
MauriciuB, engraved in a large calcedony, 2 by 1^ inches in size; 
his bust in front-face, the orb in his hand, exactly coinciding with 
the type of his solidi. Above runs the legend D. N. MAVBITI VS. 
P. P. AYG. The engraving, though without life, is done in a 
remarkably neat manner. According to the sale-catalogue this 
gem had been dug up at Gr&fin, near Bonn. M. Martigny (Paris) 
has in his collection the signet of the murderer of this virtuous 
prince, Phocas, which in all particulars of style and type coincides 
with the above ; but the material is lapis-laznli, and the dimensions 
oonsiderably smaller. 

In the De la Turbie Cabinet, No. 49 is a camelian adorned with 
arabesques, encircling the legend KOMNHNOC TOY C6BAGTOY, 
** Comnenus, son of the Emperor," and therefore the indubitable 
signet of a prince of the hotise of Comneni, some time in the 
twelfth century, throughout which extent of time that family 
revived the faded lustre of the Byzantine purple. This is the 
latest example of an engraved stone, belonging to the Imperial 
series, the date of which can be approximately fixed ; and is, as fietr 
as I have been able to discover, the unique instance of an intaglio 
produced by the palace engravers, who still continued to supply 
many eamei of a religious nature. But the arabesques filling the 
field betray an imitation of the owner's Mohammedan rivals ; for, 
chauging into Cufic the characters in which the legend is written, 
the signet becomes identical in treatment with that of an Arabian 

An agreeable conclusion to this lengthy dissertation will be 


supplied by an extract from the flowery pages of the tasteful 
Bishop of Trioca, Heliodorus, who, though writing amidst the fast- 
gathering clouds of the fourth century, still retedned a tinge of 
early culture, and could not extinguish a sinful admiration for 
artistic beauty. Like other educated men of his and still lower 
times, he was still able to appreciate the productions of an art even 
then nearly extinct; for with what enthusiasm does he enlarge 
upon the description of the ring worn by his heroine, Chariclea 
(-^thiop. V. 13) ! — possibly a word, the beauty of which he had 
himself admired in reality, or perhaps^ actually possessed : — ** Such 
is the appearance of all amethysts coming from India and Ethiopia, 
but that which Calasiris now presented to Nausicles was far above 
them in value, for it was enriched with an engraving, and worked 
out into an imitation of the figures of Nature. The subject was a 
boy tending his flocks, himself standing up on a low rock for the 
sake of looking about him, and guiding his sheep to their pasture 
by the music of his Pandean pipe. The flock seemed obedient to 
the signal, and submitted themselves readily to be conducted by 
the guidance of his notes. One would say they were themselves 
laden with fleeces of gold, and those not of the artist's giving, but 
due to the amethyst itself, which painted their backs with a blush 
of its own. Pictured also were the tender skippings of the lambs ; 
while some running up against the rock in troops, others turning 
in frolicsome circles around the shepherd, converted the rising 
ground into the appearance of a pastoral theatre. Others again 
revelling in the blaze of the amethyst, as if in the beams of jthe 
sun, were pawing and scraping the rock with the points of their 
hoofs as they bounded up against it. Such amongst them as were 
the first bom and the more audacious seemed as if they were wish- 
ing to leap over the round of the gem, but were kept in by the 
artist, who had drawn a border like a golden fold around them and 
the rock. Now this fold was in reality a stone, and not imitative, 
for the engraver having circumscribed a portion of the gem's 
edge for this purpose, had depicted what he required in the actual 
substance, deeming it a clever stroke to contrive a stone wall 
upon a «tone." The latter part seems to express that the whole com- 
position was enclosed within an " Etruscan border," the markings 
in which gave the idea of a stone-built fence.* The * iEthiopica,' a 
romance, the model for the voluminous productions so fashionable in 
the seventeenth century, although suflficiently absurd in the nature 
of its most artfully complicated plot, abounds with valuable details 

* A remark proving tliat our author ia deacribiug a real intaglio— not drawing 
upon hia fancy merely. 


respecting manners and things in Greece and Egypt in the times 
of the ingenious prelate-novelist : who long refused a rich bishopric 
rather than abjure the authorship of this very work. 

We come now to the barbarian usurpers of the Eoman sove- 
reignty, the Frankish kings and the self-constituted Emperors of 
the West. ChUderic's signet — found with other regalia in his 
tomb at Toumay, when accidentally opened in 1654 — is not set 
with a gem, but has an oval beasil in the gold of the ring engraved 
with his bust in front-face, holding a spear, as in the type of the 
contemporary Byzantine aurei. He conspicuously wears the long 
hair of the Merovingian line. Traces remain of the legend CHIL- 
DERICl REGIS. This intaglio is very neatly cut, infinitely 
superior to the execution of the Merovingian coin-dies ; and in 
fact so much in the style of Leo*s aurei, that it may reasonably be 
supposed a present, sent with other offerings, from Constantinople. 
Amongst the other relics in his tomb was a cornelian Etruscan scarab, 
doubtless deposited therein as an amulet of wondrous virtue ; also 
a crystal divining-ball, 2 inches in dieoneter. Most unfortunately 
this invaluable signet has disappeared with the jewels stolen from 
the Bibliotheque in 1831 (vide Chiflet's ' Anastasis : llies. rep. 
Tornaci Noviorum effossa. 1654 '). 

The old map-makers were accustomed to fill in the outlines of 
the terra incognita (which in their times occupied so large a propor- 
tion of the earth's surface), in default of ascertained towns and 
peoples, with the creations of fancy, 

*' men whose heads 
Do grow btfoeath their Bhoulders,^ 

Sciapodes, Martichoras, unicorns, and gryphons. The same cause 
induces me to follow their example, and, having been unable to 
discover any facts of interest connected with the signets of the 
worthies of the Middle Ages, I shall devote this period to the ' Tale 
of a King,' extracted from William of Malmesbury, one most 
truly mediaeval in its wildness, and in its manner of regarding the 
then still existing monuments of a better time : — 

" But to return to Home : a young man of that city, wealthy 
and of noble family, having newly married a wife, gave a grand 
banquet to his friends and acquaintances. After dinner, when they 
had made themselves merry by repeated potations, they sallied out 
into the fields in order to promote digestion — being gorged with 
food — ^by leaping or quoit-throwing, or other kind of exercise. 
The giver of the feast and leader in the sports proposed a game at 
ball, and, taking off his finger his betrothal-ring, put it ujx)n 


that of a brazen statue which chanced to be standing near. But as 
all the rest set upon him alone, he» out of breath and overheated, 
was the first to give up the game ; and, looking for his ring, he 
found the finger of the statue bent round into the palm of the 
hand. After long and fruitless efforts, for he was neither able to 
pull away his ring nor yet to break off the statue's finger, he went 
home without saying anything, concealing the matter from his 
friends from fear lost they should either laugh at him before his 
face, or else steal away his ring as soon as his back was turned. 
80 returning late at night with his servants, he found to his 
amazement the finger straightened again and his ring gone. He 
dissembled the loss, and consoled himself with the caresses of his 
new-made bride. When bedtime was come, and he had laid down 
by his wife's side, he felt something like a dense cloud tumbling 
about between him and her; something that could be felt, but 
could not be seen. By this obstacle he was prevented from 
embracing his wife ; also he heard a voice that said, ' Lie with 
me, for thou hast espoused me this day I I am Venus, on whose 
finger thou didst put thy ring: I have* got it, and will not 
give it back ! ' He being astounded at this prodigy neither dared 
nor, indeed, had the power to reply : he spent a sleepless night, 
silently pondering over the matter. 

'* In this way a long time passed, that, whenever he wished to 
embrace his bride, he felt and heard the same thing ; though, in 
all other respects, he was perfectly well and fit for all business at 
home and abroad. At last he was urged by his wife's complaints 
at his neglect of her, to communicate this strange affair to his 
relations. They, after some debate, seek counsel of one Palumbus, 
a priest in the suburbs. He was a person proficient in the science 
of necromancy, could construct magical figures, strike awe into the 
devils, and constrain them to do all his bidding. Having, there- 
fore, agreed for a large reward that on the condition of his bringing 
the loving pair together, he should have his purse stuffed with 
coin, he strained his genius to new devices ; and drew up a letter, 
which he gave to the young man, saying : * Gk> at such an hour to 
the road where four ways meet, and stand silently and look out. 
There will pass by the shapes of people of both sexes, every 
age and all ranks, and of every condition ; some on horseback, 
some on foot, some with their faces bent on the ground, some 
erecting their heads triumphantly; in a word, all the signs 
of both grief and joy shaJt thou discover in their looks and 
gestures. Thou must answer none of them in case they speak 
to thee. Behind this train will cocio one more lofty in stature. 


more bulky in size than the rest, seated in a chariot. Without 
uttering a word, hand him the epistle to read; and forthwith, 
that which thou desirest shall be accomplished. Only take care 
thou lose not courage.' 

** The youth goes as he is bid, and, standing there under the 
canopy of night, at the dead hour, verifies with his own eyes the 
truth of the priest's information. Not one particular was wanting 
of his description. Amongst the others that passed along before 
him, he remarked a woman in the attire of a harlot riding on a 
mule; her hair flowed dishevelled over her shoulders, and was 
bound with a fillet of gold. In her hand was a golden wand, 
wherewith she directed her palfrey ; the thinness of her vesture was 
such, that she showed through it almost as naked, and she kept 
making lascivious gestures. To be brief: that One who came 
last, and seemed the lord of them all, fixing his terrible looks upon 
the youth from his proud car overlaid with emeralds and pearls, 
demanded the reason of his coming. Without making reply, the 
youth stretched up his hand and delivered unto him the epistle. 
The demon, daring not to slight the well-known seal, reads the 
letter ; and then, lifting up his arms unto heaven, cries aloud, * O 
God Almighty, in whose sight all sin is a foul savour, how long 
dost Thou put up with the wickedness of Palumbus the priest ? ' 
And forthwith he sent certain of his guards from beside him to 
take away the ring from Venus, and she after a long dispute at 
last surrendered it, but with great difficulty. Thereupon the 
young man, having gained his object, encountered for the future 
no obstacle to the consummation of his desires. But Palumbus, 
when he had heard of the cry of the demon unto God against 
himself, perceived that the end of his life was thereby announced. 
For which cause, having severed his limbs with his own hands, he 
died by this awful manner of penance, after making confession to 
the Pope, in the hearing of all the people of Borne, of his unheard- 
of enormities. This came to pass in the days of Pope Gregory YI." 
(a.d. 1044-7). 

Of signets known in modem times, none has enjoyed so lasting 
and so high a reputation as the so-called " Seal of Michael Angelo," 
preserved for the last two centuries in the French Cabinet, into 
which' it passed with the other antiquities of Lauthier.* Then and 
for many years it was received for the undoubted work of Pyrgoteles, 
and the design as commemorating the birth of Alexander the 
Great. Its value consequently was estimated at 20001.; for, in 
addition to these high recommendations, its interest was enhanced 
* A distiDguishod antiquary of Aix, in Provence, under Heuri IV. 


by the fact tliat it had been the favourite ring of Michael Angelo 
himself. More aocuiate criticism has, unfortunately, now stripped 
it of its anliqw glories and prononnoed it to be merely a work of 
the ItaUau School, as its whole character unmistakably betrays. 
It is a sard engraved with a composition of many figures : in the 
exergue is a boy lishiug, doubtless a rebus on the name of its 
author, P. M. da Peseta, especially celebrated in' his time for his 
excellence in such miniature works, and, what is equally \a the 
purpose, the intimate friend of M. Angelo. That the ring once 
actually belonged to the great Florentine alone seems to be a 
matter beyond dispute. Of this relic the following cnrious story is 
told by the witty President, Des Brosses, in his ' Lettres sur I'ltalie ' 
(ii. 27) : — " Early in the century as the academician J. Hardion 
was exhibiting the treasures of the Biblioth^ue to that celebrated 
amateur the Baron de Stosch, he all at once missed this very ring; 
whereupon, without expressing his BUspicionB, he privately des- 
patched a servant for a strong emetic, which, when brought, he 
insisted upon the Baron's swallowing then and there, and in a few 
minutes he had the satisfaction of hearing the ring tinkle into the 
basin held before the unlucky and unscrupulous gem-collector," 
Such a mode of enriching his cabinet is certainly by no means 
inconsistent with Stosch's well-known character — Pope's 

*' Adiuui, ctaftjr seei, tritb ebon vand 
And well-dusembled emenld on his hand, 
False u his genu, aod cankered sa hisooina" — 

by profession a Hanoverian spy on the Pretender's movements, and 
in practice a zealous fabricator of antiques, more especially in the 
class of artists' signatures wherewith to enrich the oollectione of 
noble (iU-styled) cogwMcenti. 

Of this intaglio there are a larger number of paste-oopies — many 
admirable imitations of the sard — than of any other celebrated 
gem, not so much on account of the merit of the work, although 
that is considerable, as from its long-established reputation and 
the great names with which its true or legendary histoiy is 



In the foregoing remarks it has been stated that the devices on 
the signets of the ancients were both hereditary and unalterable, 
like our armorial bearings. A singular confirmation of this state- 
ment is afforded 1)7 the conclusion of the Heraclean inscription, 
which specifies the respective seals of the magistrates therein 
concerned; one bearing in his signet a winno wing-fan (a noted 
Bacchic symbol), another a dolphin, another a bunch of grapes, &c. 

Bearings, in a literal sense armorial, appear on the shields of the 
Grecian heroes in the most ancient pictures extant, the vase- 
paintings ; but these seem to have been assumed at the caprice of 
the individual, like the knights' cognizances at tournaments in the 
days of chivalry, and not to have been hereditary. It may be 
supposed that ^schylus was not without some traditional authority 
for assigning their devices to his Seven Chiefs at the Siege of 
Thebes. Parthenopaeus bears on his shield the sphinx devouring 
a prostrate Theban; ilippomedon, Typhon belching forth flames 
and smoke ; Eteocles, a warrior scaling the city walls, <&c. 

So exactly did these bearings correspond to the cognizances of 
chivalry, that we find the traditions concerning the mythic heroes 
making them use engraved on their signets the same devices that 
decorated their shields. Thus Plutarch relates (De Solert. Anim.) 
that Ulysses adopted and bore on shield and signet a dolphin, to 
commemorate the preservation of Telemachus by its agency when 
in his childhood he had' accidentally fallen into the sea. As his 
authority he quotes that early poet Stesichorus ; and on the same 
grounds the enigma-loving Lycophron indicates Ulysses by the 
epithet ScX^vooi/fU)^ alone. Hence in gems the portrait of the 
wily Ithacan is to be recognised by his shield, displaying a dolphin 
for its device. 

Under the Roman Empire, when all the usages of war had 
become fixed and regulated by invariable and minute laws, 
military cognizances were also subjected to the strictest pre- 
scription. The distinguishing of the several legions by the 
devices painted on their shields is alluded to by Tacitus and by 
Ammian ; and, what is more, that invaluable picture of the Lower 
Empire in the fifth century, the Notitia Imperii, preserves the 
actual designs (many of them perfectly heraldic) which dis- 
tinguished not merely the legions but their component cohorts 
or companies from each other. Curiously enough, the figures on 
the shields of William the Norman's knights, as depicted in the 



Bayeux tapestry, are simple and single, — birds, dragons, or circles, 
variously disposed, — presenting a very marked analogy in their 
nature to the cohort-shields : indeed it was no more than probable 
that such distinctions should have survived amongst the Franks 
and Gauls, who from Constantino's age downwards had constituted 
almost exclusively the material of the Homan armies, and who 
naturally, on founding nationalities for themselves, preserved 
many of the institutions of the school in which they had been 
trained. And what corroborates this theory is the remark of 
Ftocopius that the Armoricans, long after the establishment of 
the Merovingian dynasty in Oaul, continued to be distinguished 
from their neighbours by their Roman arms and military 
discipline. They, therefore, may be supposed to have maintained 
all the minor regulations of the old Imperial system. Now, every 
cohort in the service was distinguished by a special device paitU^ 
upon the shields of its men. The invaluable MS. of the " Notitia 
Imperii" (Biblioth^ue Nationale) preserves the whole set of 
these devices. In them we find everything that still exists in 
Heraldic usage — the Tresaure, the Bend, the Pale, the Chevron — 
besides fantastic animals of all descriptions. Nay, what is more, 
where the forma of the device are the same for different cohorts, 
the necessary difference is obtained by giving their different 
tinctures, as strongly diversified as possible, quite after the modem 
rules. I give below, that of the *' oonstantiniane," a most interest- 
ing example, for it was adopted by our Edward the Confessor for 
his arms, no doubt for some mystic virtue that still lingered in 
the acceptation of its sense. 


( 159 ) 



The Antique Gems, those hidden treaanres of onr interminable 
national collection, a portion of its contents so highly interesting 
and yet so little known, shall on that very account receive the 
first notice in the following sketch of the principal Dactyliotheca 
of Europe. Besides, they reckon in their number some extremely 
interesting works; although the particular pieces that hold the 
first rank there, in virtue of the artists' signatures they are 
supposed to bear, are either copies, or else antiques wilJi the 
names interpolated: fictions due to the mania prevalent at the 
time these collections were forming, when a work, however 
excellent, was thought but little of unless seemingly authenticated 
by such an attestation. The whole number, in rings and loose 
large gems, amounts to about five hundred ; the former are set in 
gold with a few in silver, and are arranged in five cases. They 
come from the bequests of Townley, Payne Enight, and Crache- 
rode. Of the last-named antiquary, the gatherings cannot indeed 
boast of any work of special importance, yet they are characterized 
throughout by his usual exquisite taste, which has admitted 
nothing amongst them but what is to be admired either for the 
elegance of the design, the fineness of the execution, or lastly, the 
beauty of the material itself. To take a single example from this 
casket — ^an emerald engraved with a Cupid teasing a goose with a 
bunch of grapes, is in every one of these respects the most 
charming intaglio that could be desired; and the same three 
qualities are combined in the Cupid bestriding a dolphin on a 
lovely aquamarine. 

The Townley Gems however, number in their ranks some pieces 
not to be surpassed by the most princely cabinets. First amongst 

I these is the Julius Caesar of Dioscorxdes^ a bust in front-face on 



sard, his brows encircled with a laurel wreath (the leaves iiii- 
usually large), the face full of energy, but hard-featured, haggard, 
and represented with all the unflattering fidelity of a photograph : 
a portrait taken, it would appear, but shortly before the close of 
his life. The name of Diosoorides is engraved at the side in the 
most minute characters, which certainly have the appearance of 
being of the same date as the rest of the work, with however 
suspicious an eye so pretentious a signature is regarded by the 
experienced examiner. As far superior to this in beauty, as 
falling short of it in historical interest, is the bust, in front- 
face, of an empress, perhaps Livia, in the character of Ahundantia^ 
with veiled head, and holding the cornucopia; the stone a fine 
dark amethyst. It presents the letters Em, and has therefore 
been assigned to EpitynchanuSj the engraver of the famous head of 
G^rmanicus. Another conspicuous for its excellence is the Perseus 
with the severed Gk>rgon's head in one hand, the harpi in the 
other; an exquisitely-finished engraving. Then come several 
excellent copies of celebrated gems, doubtless purchased for the 
originals by the wealthy and not too discriminating collector ; a 
bust, in front-face, of the Indian Bacchus, a magnificent intaglio 
on red jasper; and Theseus, or Achilles, supporting the dying 
Amazon, a design full of grace, upon amethyst. Both pieces 
ostentatiously display the pretended signature of Aspasina. Next 
we come upon a copy, on sard, of the Tiberius, in front-face, by 
JSliua ; the intaglio, indeed, may claim to be antique, though the 
name is certainly a modem insertion. The lovely gem for both 
subject and material, a ruby sard, Cupid advancing to rescue 
Psyche, whose foot is caught in a trap, though it is signed 
Pamphilus, betrays too much of the modem taste in its design 
for us to suppose it an ancient reproduction of some picture by 
that immortal artist.* He'iua also has been made to give his name 
in recent times to an intaglio, a Diana, of antique work : no doubt 
because Yisconti had pronounced him the most ancient of all 
engravers to whom any gem can be ascribed. The Ijaughing 
Faun of Ammontus^ a face beaming with mirth and mischief (a 
complete John Wilkes), is here repeated upon a dark jacinth of the 
finest quality that has over come in my way. 

The uninacrihed stones are, as usual, of a more satisfactory 
character, and richly repay close examination. Worthy of special 
notice is the Sacred Hawk, in the Greco-Egyptian style, on sard ; 

* The composition as well as the peculiar execution bespeak the hand of a 
certain great master of the early Cinque-cento scliool, observed by mo in some 
other reputed antiques of the Iiigliest order. 


which, though of smaller size, is fully equal to the famous stone 
with the same subject, at Berlin, always quoted as the finest thing 
known in this particular period of the art. An interesting ex- 
ample of the style, belonging to very early date, is the intaglio 
of the fore part of the human-headed bull, with the legend FEAAZ 
in the field, and exactly agreeing with the type of the archaic 
coins of that city. A Medusa's Head, in profile, is of uncommon 
merit. Amongst curious subjects stands foremost that of a 
female sacrificing to Priapus, and placing the peculiar symbol 
of that deity upon a burning altar: a large sard of the finest 
antique work. 

This part of the collection also possesses several fragments belong- 
ing to gems of extraordinary volume, and which retcdn portions of 
their engravings whose incomparable beauty makes one only the 
more feel the irreparable loss of the entire design. 1 may single 
out for special admiration the lower part of a female face backed 
by a head of Ammon, the latter having apparently formed the 
neckpiece to the helmet covering the head of a Minerva: an 
intaglio of slight depth, and belonging to the best Greek period, 
on brown sard. Another fragment preserves sufficient of a profile, 
on the largest scale, to enable us to identify the truculent 
physiognomy of Caracalla. 

The Townley Cabinet is also very rich in Gnostic stones, many 
of them so well executed as to be unrivalled in their class ; amongst 
them 1 recognised several of those published by Chiflet two 
centuries and a half ago — ^they having found their way through 
various channels into this haven of unbroken rest. Of these, and 
of that most rare class accompanying them, the earliest memorials 
of the orthodox faith, a detailed notice has been given under the 
proper heading in my ' Gnostics.' 

The scarabsei are also numerous * and important : many of them 
will be found noticed in Kohler's essay. One attracted my notice 
particularly by the rare beauty of its material, an Indian garnet, 
hardly distinguishable from a spinel-ruby, and of considerable 

As for gems still preserving their antique settings, this col- 
lection presents a rich display; and, to my great surprise, far 
surpaasing, in this interesting particular, the cabinets of Florence 
and Naples. But here, as ever, the artistic value of the gem is in 

* The nnmber of Bcarabni, I am informed, is about two thooBand of all kinds, 
including many of the greatest merit. These come from the cabinets of Sir W. 
Hamilton, Gastellani, and above all from the lately acquired Blacas, containing 
the most important of recent discoveries. 



the inverse ratio to the cx)stlineB8 and singularity of the moxinting. 
Yet one magnificent exception encountered my eye amongst their 
ranks, a Hercules slaying the Hydra, deeply cut in a rich sard, and 
mounted in a heavy gold ring of the fashion prevalent under the 
Lower Empire. Another intaglio of very fine work is to be seen 
forming the centre of a broad-bordered oval fibula, the surface of 
which is ornamented with filigree patterns in the purest Oreek 
style. This unique example of the employment of an intaglio in 
the decoration of a fibula comes from Sicily : both the intaglio and 
the setting are evidently coeval, and date from the most flourishing 
period of Syracusan art. The wonderful Canino lion-ring, that 
masterpiece of the Etruscan goldsmith, has lately been added to 
the number of these unique remains. There is also a large and 
massy gold signet, having its device, three legionary standards, cut 
on the metal ; an example, undoubtedly authentic, of this class of 
antiques, at present the favourite field for the Neapolitan forgers. 
Here also is preserved the most tasteful adaptation of an antique 
gem to mediaeval fashion that has ever come before me — a pretty 
bust in high relief on sard, set in an elegant ring of the fourteenth 
century, as appears from the Lombardic legend surrounding the 
boasil and covering the shank. Some astrological symbols, con- 
spicuously marked upon the shoulders, indicate an Italian origin 
for the jewel. 

The Camd here, though comprising none of great importance as 
regards their dimensions, are several of them noteworthy for their 
beauty and genuineness. Conspicuous for merit amongst them are 
a head of Serapis, in front-face, and in high relief ; profile heads 
of Domitian and Julia, side by side, upon a nioolo of some 
magnitude; and a fragment, Europa on the bull. This last, as 
well as the two horses, which probably once belonged to a Victory's 
car, certainly equal, in drawing and in careful finish, any antique 
camei known to me. Another, a lion passant, in low relief in the 
red layer of a sardonyx, exquisitely finished, has its value greatly 
enhanced by the LAYR. MED. cut in the field, attesting that it 
once belonged to the original cabinet of Lorenzo dei Medici. This 
stone, set in a ring, has its face protected by a glass ; a proof of the 
estimation in which its former possessor held it. Yet more 
interesting, historically, is the gold snuff-box presented by 
Pius YII. to Napoleon upon the occasion of the Tr^ty of Tolentino, 
the lid set with an excellent antique cameo on a sardonyx of many 
strata ; the subject, in flat relief, is a young Faun riding upon a 
goat, well drawn and minutely finished. This precious antique 
was doubtless chosen by the tasteful Pontiff to grace his offering, 


as really surpassing in value the diamonds that usually adorn such 
testimonials of re^urd. The fallen emperor left it as a mark of 
gratitude to Lady Holland, who in her turn bequeathed it to the 

There remains to be noticed a class of engraved stones in which 
this institution, as a matter of course, stands unrivalled,, the 
Assyrian and Persian Cylinders and Cones : their abundance here 
bespeaks the nation par Sminence of Eastern travellers ; and amongst 
them are the most precious monuments of the sort yet discovered, 
for example, the signets of Sennacherib and of Darius, above de- 
scribed. The series, also, of the Sassanian seals is very extensive. 
All have been lately arranged in glazed cases in one of the Assyrian 
galleries, and can now be conveniently studied. 

Amongst the miscellanea I examined with great interest, not 
unmixed with amusement, the notorious Flora^ the cameo which 
first brought Pistrucci into notice : it having been passed off upon 
Payne Knight, the " Magnus Apollo " of the cognoscenti of his 
day, as one of the choicest productions of Greek art. It speaks 
little for the practical knowledge of his set (notwithstanding the 
price at which they had been for many years buying experience), 
that they should have been thus imposed upon, for the very first 
aspect of the gem were sufficient, one would think, to make 
anyone possessing the least experience in cameo-work pronounce 
it, at the earliest, a piece from the Cinque-cento school, of which 
it betrays all the peculiarities. The head is very much under-cut, 
and in three-quarters relief, the hair encircled with a garland of 
red roses in execrable taste, and quite inconsistent with the classic 
period it claimed. It is broken off at the neck, the trick then in 
vogue for giving the colour of antiquity to a recent production ; and 
upon this section of the neck (which the setting covers) Pistrucci 
is said to have cut his name, so as to be able at pleasure to vindicate 
the authorship of the work. In other respects the execution is fair 
enough, but not comparable to hundreds of other camei of the 
later Italian school, and falling immeasurably short of my pre- 
conceived ideas of so highly lauded a performance. 

It gives me great pleasure to be able to add, that the rulers of 
the Museum have at last been awakened to the necessity of raising 
thisy from its former feeble atatusy to a level with the high character 
of the other classes of antique art-tre€U9ures under their manage- 
ment. A spirited beginning has been made (July, 1865) by the 
acquisition of the small but highly-select collection, the result of 
the long-continued researches (aided by his exquisite taste and 
practical skill) of Sig. Castellani. Amongst its chief glories may 

M 2 


be particularised a sapphirine BcarcUbeoid of unuBual size, with a 
Victory erecting a trophy in the style of the fine medals of 
Agathocles; a scarabaBiis of the rarest class, Etruscan work in 
relief, having its back carved into the figure of a Syren ; another 
scaraba3us with the Death of Gap^eus ; Hercules scaring away the 
Harpies from the table of Fhineus ; a Drunken Silenus,* archaic 
Greek, upon a grand agate soarabeeus; the Wild Boai' of Diosoorides; 
a Herd of Swine, a homely subject, but ennobled by Grecian treat- 
ment ; a Head of Severus on an immense plasma, a masterpiece of 
Boman iconography ; and, to conclude, three curious examples of a 
very uncommon but most interesting character, signets of the early 
Christians. With these came some unrivalled Etruscan and Greek 
rings; amongst the latter the most superb intaglio in gold ever 
discovered, the bust of some Berenice or Arsinoe side by side with 
that of Serapis; the ring itself plain and very massive; a truly 
royal signet. 

Those here mentioned are merely such as made the deepest 
impression on the memory during a hurried glance over the wholo, 
but it may be safely asserted that this choice of the choicest 
flowers of many a once-famous cabinet contains no one piece not 
recommended either by the interest of the subject or the fineness 
of its execution. 

After this, what remains but to apostrophise the presiding Gonius 
of the place in Yirgillian phrase with 

'* Macte nova virtate senex ! " 

There exist in this country an infinity of inestimable gems, locked 
up from the public and buried in small private collections, that 
either by means of purchase, or through patriotic bequest (if 
judiciou^y enticed), might be made to flow into and elevate the 
Dactyliotheca of our National repository to the rank (as regards 
intagli) of the first in the world. 

These treasures were more than doubled in the year 1866 by 
Disraeli's spirited purchase of the celebrated Blacas Cabinet, 
comprising 951 camei and intagli. Of these, the most 'important 
pieces are the grand AuguBtuSy camio, converted into a Gonstantine, 
as already mentioned ; the Tityus^ crystal plaque, of Castel Bolo- 
gnese, so highly eulogised by Yasari ; and another, a Sacrifice^ in 
the same material, with the signature of U Yicentino. In the 
same style, and apparently from the same hand, are the Hercules 
and Aniseus, and the Triumphs of Neptune, both works of extra- 

* Coining, with a few others, out of the ancient Prann Cabinet — Terily Numa*B 
Bibylline Books ^ let him that readeth understand." 


ordinary merit. The Cabinet, it is needless to say, considering the 
epoch of its formation, is rich in '* artists' signatures,'' truly, in 
this case, the " substance of things hoped for." A full notice of 
the principal gems in this collection was published by me in the 
•Archaeological Joum^il,' of the year following its purchase. A 
finishing stroke has been given to the good work by the exhibi- 
tion of our unrivalled series of Mediaeval Glyptics in the room 
recently appropriated to that period of the Arts (1884). No other 
Museum can display so numerous, or so well-classified a set of 
seals (many literally ** Great," in silver matrices) in which the 
Gothic artist has expended his utmost ingenuity in the devising 
and labour in the executing their complicated types. The secreta 
or Personal Signets in all metals are of great interest ; and many 
of them present examples of the adaptation of antique intagli to 
the taste of their owner's times, and serve admirably to illustrate 
my remarks upon their use, to be found in the foregoing chapter 
upon that subject. 

The Townley Pastes, also, must not pass without a word of 
commendation, for among them are some of the largest and finest 
of their kind. There is one inscribed with the engraver's name, 
and again the magnificent Bonus Evemtus^ which has no rival for 
its volume, its perfect imitation of true lapis-lazuli, and the finish 
of the workmanship. They have been lately brought out and 
arranged for public view along with the rest of the 'antique glass, 
affording an additional argument why their prototypes in real gems 
should be drawn from the obscurity to which they have been too 
long consigned. This seclusion has lasted ever since the removal 
of the last portion of Montague House, up to which time the cases 
were to be inspected under glass in the room at the top of the 
back stairs of that mansion. It is very much to be desired that 
all the more important gems should be made accessible in the same 
way, and placed (with their casts by each) under glass and close to 
it; according to the arrangement followed in the Biblioth^ue 
Imp^riale.* This mode suffices for the exhibition of camei and 
opaque stones, but the transparent cannot be satisfactorily studied 
unless the light be allowed to pass through them. This object is 
ingeniously effected, by a contrivance to be described in my notice 
of that collection, with the gems in the Museo Borbonico. But if 
this be impracticable here from the want of a side light, we 
amateurs should be well content to see the intagli of both kinds 

* This suggeetion has since boen carried out ; hut in a manner susceptible of 
some improvements, and tlie gems are now made accessible to the public, in the 
Jewel Room. 


simply set out in horizontal cases, provided they were aooompanied 
by their impressions. 


This collection, commenced by Lorenzo, grew up nnder the 
patronage of the succeeding princes of the House of Medici 
(especially of Cosmo III.) until it has attained to the extent, 
according to Maffei, of three thousand pieces. Besides many 
camei of rare beauty, it possesses fourteen heads or busts in full 
relief in agate, turquois, sardonyx, and lapis-lazuli. The names 
(supposed) of their authors occur on twenty-three intagli and 
two camei. 

To give a few particulars, full of interest, concerning the growth 
and vicissitudes of this the oldest cabinet in the world. Lorenzo 
had inherited many valuable antiques from his father Piero; to 
them he added the entire series accumulated by that passionate 
lover of gems. Pope Paul II. Of his son, Leo X., Paulus Jovius 
writes: — " Conspiciebatur ofi&cina nobilium artificum quoniam 
nullibi libentius pictores statuarii scalptoreaque gemmarum atque 
antiquitatis studiosi monumenta artis deponerent quam apud 
Mediceos." Lelio Torelli, also, in his funeral oration upon 
Alessandro dei Medici (1536), notices his love for and patronage 
of this art. In the Uzielli Collection was a portrait of this 
unlucky prince, a profile cut out of plasma and appliguS upon a 
gold ground, admirably done. 

Baspe thinks that the greater part of the gems inscribed LAVB. 
MED. are the works of Oio delle Comiole and his scholars, who 
flourished under Lorenzo's patronage. But there is no foundation 
for this surmise, the same inscription being found on pieces, 
especially the important camei, of the most varied styles and 
periods. It was merely used to assert the ownership in them, and 
prevent robbery, being the most effectual precaution that could be 
devised. In ^e same &shion the medab belonging to the old 
Este cabinet of Modena (now dispersed) may yet be recognised by 
the tiny silver imperial eagle let into their field. The ladies of the 
Medici family who married into the house of France appear to 
have carried away with them, amongst the other jewels of their 
troueseaux, many of Lorenzo's original pieces, and this will account 
for the wide dispersion of camei, with his name still marking 
them. In this way Margarita, widow of Alessandro dei Medici, 

* Gori in liis * Museum Florentinum ' has described 1010 intagli, and 181 oamei 
of this collection, amongst the most valuable for either design or workmanship. 



bronght with her on her second marriage (to Ottavio Famese) 
many fine gems out of the original cabinet into that of Parma, 
which, accompanying the Farnese dynasty, passed thence into 
the Museo Borbonico. Many more changed owners at the pil- 
lage of the Medici palace on Piero's expulsion, and were never 

Of the latter event a brief notice is indispensable for completing 
the history of this collection. Soon after the entrance of Charles 
VIII. into Italy, Piero (Lorenzo's son), who had put into his 
hands the fortresses of Sarzana and Livomo, became, in con- 
sequence of this act of cowardice, so odious to the Florentines, 
that, fearing for his life, he made his escape to Venice, whence he 
never returned home. Having followed his patron to the campaign 
of Naples, he was drowned by the upsetting of a ferry-boat on the 
Oarigliano, after the great battle of that name in the year 1505. 
Immediately upon his flight from Florence his own allies, the 
French, entered the city, and being joined by the populace, with 
the utmost deliberation set to work to plunder the Medici palace 
(now the Ricardi), and dispersed or destroyed the whole of the 
statues, ancient MSS., and gems, long-accumulated treasures of 
art and literature, therein deposited. How it came to pass that so 
many of the latter were recovered, and the collection to so great 
an extent set upon its old footing, is hard to say, but is never- 
theless a happy fact. Perhaps the founder's precaution of putting 
his name upon all the important pieces had made their retention a 
dangerous matter after his family were restored to power and 
Leo X. was labouring to rehabilitate the lost glories of his 
inheritance. The plunderers were (it may naturally be supposed) 
content with stripping the stones of their valuable mountings, 
more safely convertible into cash ; — for at present they are mostly 
unmounted — a thing quite out of character with the prevailing 
taste in Lorenzo's times. 

Giulianelli often quotes a MS. ^htoria deUe Pietre,^ written 
about the year 1597 by Frate Agostino del Riccio, a Dominican, 
and a special favourite of Francesco I. In the course of the work 
he names many then famous engravers, both Florentines and 
foreigners, and quotes many of their most noted performances 
Of the latter he gives drawings done by Vicenzio Doni. The MS. 
was then (1753) in the possession of the family Eoselli. It is a 
pity no one has published it, for being composed under such 
favourable circumstances, it would form a valuable supplement to 
Vasari's ' Ragionamento.' 

In my notices of the Modem Engravers ('Antique Gems'), 


many particulars will be found as to the special patronage 
succeeding princes of the house of Medici extended to this par- 
ticular art — the last of the race, Qian Gastone, worthily closing 
his career by adding to the cabinet the rare and singular gems of 
the Prior Vaini, which included several works by Costanzi upon 
the diamond and ruby (now unhappily lost through the great 
robbery of 1860). 

In our times (1862) the collection has received an important 
accession by Mr. Currie's (of Como) bequest of his large and most 
choice series of gems, which, having an interest of their own as 
being for the greatest part recent discoveries and unpublished, fill 
Centurie V. and VI. of the Imprante Oemmarie. Amongst them 
is the celebrated lo of Dioscorides, the chief ornament of the 
(original) Poniatowsky Cabinet. 

Of the gems bearing the attestation of Lorenzo's ownership, the 
finest are the Ariadne on a lion, led by Cupid ; the Triumph of 
in Bacchus, car drawn by twin Psyches, and guided by Cupid — a 
both in cameo ; and a Triton carrying off a Nymph, intaglio. 
Unique in point of material is the head of Tiberius, carved in full 
relief out of a turquois as large as a walnut. As historical monu- 
ments few camei surpass in value the Augustus and Livia, and the 
Julian with Helena Sacrificing, described under Historical Camei. 

Of gems with artists' signatures, the Cupid with lyre on the 
lion, by Protarchus, stands pre-eminent. Other well-known pieces 
are the cameo-fragment, by Alexa Quintus; the Jupiter of 
Aspasius; the Apollo of Allien; the Horseman of Aulus; the 
Hercules and lole of Carpus; the Yulcan forging a helmet, of 
Nicephorus; the Warrior Disarmed, of Nympheros; the Muse 
Erato, of Onesas ; the Hercules of Philippus ; the Diomede with 
the Palladium, of Polycletus ; the Dancing Faun of Pygmon; the 
Hercules and Hebe of Teucer. 

All these works will be found described and criticised in 
Dr. Brann's catalogue of ancient gem-engravers. 

The sweeping-away of the respectable Grand-ducal Grovemment, 
and the substitution of the blessings of *' constitutional liberty " 
(and quadruple taxation), were appropriately followed by the mys- 
terious disappearance of these legacies of the Medici. They were, 
however, soon recovered through the miraculous intervention of 
the very " Bird of Mercury," for a cock attracted the attention 
of a farmer by strutting about the barton with an antique cameo 
dangling from his spur, caught in his raking amongst the straw, 
where the thieves had concealed their booty, in waiting for the 
opportunity of smuggling it over to Paris. 



That of the Vatican Library, though accuinulated rather by 
means of ohance acquisitions than by judicious selection, included 
many of excessive rarity and of extraordinary dimensions; for 
example, the Gai:pegna cameo, the largest in existence. The 
catalogue prepared by Yisconti, but unfortunately lost, filled two 
folio yolumes, which will give some notion of the extent of its 
treasures, to which access is now so difficult to be obtcdned that few 
visitors to Borne are aware that they still repose in the Library. 

The STBOZZI Cabinet possessed, says Yisconti, a larger pro- 
portion of first-rate works than any other of its kind. Amongst 
them were the Hercules of Gnaaus, the Medusas of Solon and of 
Sosthenes, the Esculapius of Aulus, the G^rmanicus of Epityn- 
chanus, the Muse of AUion, the Satyr of Scylax; with many 
others, unsigned, but of the highest merit. By the founder's will 
it was attached to the Palazzo Strozzi, in Florence, from which it 
could not be removed under penalty of forfeiture. It has since 
been divided between the Bussian Imperial Cabinet and the Blaoas 
(lately acquired by the British Museum). 

The LVDOVISI, belonging to the Prince di Piombino, includes 
many valuable gems, both antique and Cinque-cento ; its chief orna- 
ments being the Demosthenes of Dioscorides, the Augustus, a cameo 
by the same artist, and the Maacenas of Solon (the replica). Casts 
of sixty-eight of the finest in the number are procurable in Bome. 

The Cav. AZABA, minister of Spain, possessed (1790) a collec- 
tion, formed by himself at a great cost and with much intelligence, 
and rich in both caraei and intagli, valuable either for instruction 
or for art. 


Of the finest gems in the Cabinet dea ArUigues many have been 
in France from time immemorial, or at least the dates at which 
they were brought in and the names of the persons to whom they 
are due are still matters of dispute.f The greatest portion of 

^ This historical notioe is translated from Clarac's catalogae. For a desoription 
of its coQtentB see Chabomllet's * Cat des Cam^ de la Bib. Imp^ale,' 1858, a 
work deflerring the highest praise for its lucid descriptions of, and copiousness of 
information connected with, the most remarkable items. 

t A yast amount of precious stones were brought into Aquitaine, after the sack 
of Rome, by the troops of Alaric, and deposited in the Gothic capital, Narbonne. 
Tliese fell into the hands of the Franks, and subsequently being consecrated by 
the piety of the Carlovingians to embellish ecclesiastical furniture, have come 
down safely to our times. 


them proceed from the munificence of the various kings of France, 
and from the travels undertaken at their command ; others were 
presents made to themselves and given by them to the public. 
Many again are the fruits of conquest — S. Louis, as well as others 
of the Crusading princes, brought back from the East some of 
their number. 

The covers of the royal missals and of their choice MSS. were 
adorned with these gems, as we see from a few examples still 
remaining.* Charles V. and his brother the Diic de Berri were 
passionately fond of jewels, and their treasures were extremely 
rich both in engraved gems and in precious stones, as may be 
seen from the curious inventory of the jewels of the former prince, 
preserved in the Biblioth^que. Fran9ois I., to whom France owes 
so many masterpieces of antique sculpture (procured in Italy 
through his agents Frimaticcio and Cellini), and who, as Yasari 
phrases it, had made another Bome of Fontainebleau, drew also 
out of Italy and other countries a vast number of engraved gems, 
for which he paid enormous prices. Thus the taste for them was 
diffused amongst his courtiers : they adorned the armour, the gold 
chains, the hats, the doublets of these warriors, and also served 
for the decoration of the dresses of the ladies of the court and of 
the nobility. Henri II. and Catherine de Medicis followed his 
example : the latter queen had also brought with her from 
Florence a large quantity of fine gems. 

The first who brought them together into one cabinet was 
Charles IX., who formed in the Louvre the Cabinet des Antiquit^s, 
which, however, was plundered and dispersed shortly afterwards 
during the civil wars. It was not in existence on the accession to 
the throne of Henri IV. ; but this great prince re-established it. 
He summoned from Provence a learned antiquary, Bascas de 
Bagarris, with the intention of purchasing the large collection of 
medals and gems formed by this amateur, in order to unite it with 
what was left of the old royal collection still at Fontainebleau, 
where the Boyal library was kept at the time. This scheme was 
prevented by the king's death, and was not resumed tmtil the 
time of Louis XIV., whose uncle, Gkston d'Orl^ns, had bequeathed 
to him a considerable collection of various antiquities, includ- 
ing amongst the rest a large number of gems, derived partly 
from that of the President De M^mes, which had been formed 
out of a selection from the 2000 engraved stones got together by 

* And the camei more especially served for the doooration of their fanciful and 
elaborate pieces of plate, of which many examples will he found in the inventory of 
the plate of the Due d'Anjou (1360-8), published by Laborde. 


Louis Ghaduo in Italy. THis cabinet was at first deposited 
in the Louvre; but Colbert, in 1664, replaced it in the Biblio- 

Louis XIY. purchased antique gems from all quarters, including 
the collections of Gualdi and that formed in the East by De 
Monoeaux. Louvois in 1684 removed the medals and gems to 
Versailles, and appointed Carcavy keeper of them. The king 
often amused himself with examining these treasures, and 
augmented them by the addition of those of Harlai, Oursel, and 
Thomas le Comte. Towards the close of the seventeenth century 
Louis had purchased the splendid collection of Lauthier of Aix, 
Provence, formed with great judgment, and under the direction of 
the learned Feiresc, whose own gems had been purchased by 
Lauthier. Thus at last the king became master of the cabinet of 
Bagarris, which Henri lY., as already noticed, had been in treaty 
for, and which, on the founder's death, had come into Lautbier's 
hands and been incorporated with his own. To this belonged the 
famous " signet of M. Angelo." * 

The various travels undertaken in the interests of science by 
Nointel, Lucas, De la Croix, and Vaillant, all carried on at this 
monarch's charge and at a vast cost, greatly contributed to enrich 
the Cabinet of Antiquities. It was still further augmented by 
the purchase in 1775 of the medals of Pellerin, by the bequest of 
Caylus, by the purchase of Foucault's collections, and by the 
incorporation of the Tr6sor de Sainte Genevieve in 1796. The 
total number of the gems was 1388 in 1848, when Clarac wrote. 
In 1858 Chabouillet gives the total as 2536 of camei and intagli, 
antique, and modem. The camei are 699 ; the Oriental, cylinders, 
cones, &c., 708; intagli, antique, 760; Onostio, 187; Arabic, 29; 
the rest Renaissance and modem. 

In this series are to be found the supposed names of the 
engravers, Aulus, Dioscorides, Evodus, Glycon, Onsaus, Hyllus, 
Midias, Pamphilus, Panaeus. The intagli are distinguished 
as much for the beauty of the material as for the variety 
of their subjects, f And as regards camei, nothing can be 

* Yalned at the time at 50,000 tr. (2000L); Lanthier himself had paid 200 
pistoles (abont 160Z.) for it, an enonnoiis smn for his times. 

t This is Glarao's assertion, bnt must be regarded as the fanfaronnade of a 
Frenchman speaking of things French. The assemblage of intagli is, in traih, as a 
whole, rather poor— not comparable to that at Florence, Naples, Berlin, or even 
in oar country to the Marlborough. The real glory of the French cabinet are 
the camei, the traditionary spoils of the last Roman and Byzantine desars, or the 
magnificent works due to the patronage of the Valois dynasty. 


cited as snrpassing in the volume of the stone and the beauty of 
the work the following pieces ; the Apotheosis of Angustus, better 
known as the Agate of the Sainte Chapelle, bronght to Paris by 
Baldwin II. in 1244 ; the Apotheosis of Qermanicus, also coming 
from Constantinople; the Augustus; the Annius Yerus; the 
Jupiter, from Chartres Cathedral ; and the sardonyx vase, desig- 
nated the " Cup of the Ptolemies," or " Vase of S. Denys," the 
grandest specimen remaining of the ancient onychina. 

This Collection, so " rich with the spoils of Time," has in our 
day received an important accession in that of the Due de Luynes 
(unparalleled for its Oriental series) ; and which he, like a true 
representative of the anden rigime^ presented to the nation in his 


The original Cabinet formed part of the magnificent collection 
of antique and modem works of art accumulated by the princes of 
the Famese family, in their celebrated palace, during the century 
and a half succeeding the papacy of Paul III., the founder of the 
line of the Dakes of Parma, and augmented by many rarities from 
the Medicean, brought into the family by Margarita, Alessandro's 
widow. When the family became extinct in the person of Elisa- 
betta Famese, wife of the first Bourbon King of Spain, early in 
the eighteenth century, her eldest son, Carlos lY., on his 
appointment to the throne of Naples, received in right of his 
mother the property of the ancestral palace at Home, and lost no 
time in transferring all its treasures of art to decorate his newly 
created capital. Thus was laid the foundation of the noble Museo 
Borbonico, to which in despite of the oscitancy of his successors, 
from the constant favours of accident, notably in the discoveries of 
Pompeii and Herculaneum/accessions of the greatest importance 
were frequently made, almost without an efibrt on the part of the 
government to procure them. 

The gems, to confine my description to my special subject, fall 
far short in point of number (337 intagli, 263 camei) of those at 
Florence, but yet rank as the second Cabinet in Italy, and perhaps 
equal the Paris, if not in extent, at least in value. Amongst the 
most important pieces may be particularised the cameo of Jupiter 
overthrowing the Titans, by Athenion, a work better known to 
the public from its perpetual reproduction than any other glyptic 
monument ; the dispute of Neptune and Pallas about giving a 
name to Athens, signed with the monogram IIY, and hence sup- ^ 


poeed to be tlie sole authentio work of Pyrgoteles now in existence ; 
another (if genuine) by that early artist .Tryphon, a replica i^ 
intaglio of the Marlborough " Marriage of Cnpid and Psyche ; " 
and a most glorious specimen of engraving in relief, the £Eimous 
Faruese Vase (found ^in Hadrian's mausoleum), of one enormous 
sardonyx, for which 10,000 ducats were paid. Amongst the 
intagli are numbered some of the highest importance in the list 
of signed gems, such as the Perseus of Dioscorides ; the Seahorse 
of Phamaoes, and the Muse of Apollonius. 

Those engraved upon transparent stones are arranged according 
to an ingenious plaa».calculated to afford a minute inspection of 
the work and yet defending the gems from the risk of being 
handled by amateurs. They are placed in perforated trays glazed 
on both sides, working upon a hinge and capable of being raised 
by turning a screw to any angle most convenient for allowing the 
light to pass through their body, and thus bring out all the delicate 
minutice of the figures. 


The Imperial Cabinet at Vienna contains 949 intagli, and 262 
camei. As far as the latter are concerned, it nearly equals the 
French in point of numbers, and surpasses it in one thing, the 
possession of the finest work of the^ kind now in existence, 
the Triumph of Qermanicus — ^better known as the **Gremma 
Augustea ; " besides this, the Eagle, the family of Claudius, the 
Ptolemy and Arsinoe, the Tiberius, the Cybele rank amongst the 
largest and most beautiful camei in existence — already described 
at length. The possession of nearly the whole of Italy for two 
centuries by the Spanish branch of the Hapsburg line, the suc- 
cessive pillage of its richest capitals at various peiiods by the 
Imperial troops^ (Bome, Milan, Mantua, Genoa, <&c.), furnished the 
finest opportunities for irregular acquisitions ; which, backed by 
the good taste of a few of the first emperors of the race, as 
Rodolf II. and Matthias, have led to the accumulation of this 
large number of gems. It must, however, be admitted that but 
little critical discrimination has been exercised in the selection 
of a large proportion of the number, those of the Benaissance period 
greatly preponderating. Eckhel has published forty of the most 
important camei in a quarto volume illustrated with very correct 
engravings of them ; and in this century Ameth has made known 
twelve more of considerable interest. 



The Cabinet of The Hague is of ^considerable extent, but enjoys 
the unenviable reputation of being rioh in forgeries. It may well 
be supposed that the Dutch taste in this line of antiquities is not 
of the most correct, and would delight more in the luxuriant and 
vast creations of the Cinque-cento in camei, and of Sirletti and the 
Pichlers in intagli, than in the minute and rigid correctness of 
the true antique. The collection appears to have been formed at 
three distinct periods, the original of small extent having been 
augmented by the purchase of that got together by Hemsterhuis, 
under the guidance of Natter, which consists as might be expected 
of nothing but copies more or less successful. To these was 
superadded the very much more numerous De Thorns Collection, 
abounding in pieces formerly esteemed invaluable from the artist's 
signature upon them, none of which, alas ! have been able to bear 
the test of modern criticism, so that the credit of the whole stands 
but little higher than that of the notorious Foniato*wsky. 


This Collection, kept in the palace of Zarskoje-selo, was formed 
by the Empress Catharine II. : *' the Genius of the Arts," says 
Kohler, '* has to thank Eussia's exalted empress for this, as for so 
many other monuments of her taste, which manifests itself in its 
full magnificence in her veneration for and fine appreciation of 
these fairest fruits of antiquity." It was formed by the purchase 
of the famous Orleans Cabinet, those of Natter, Casanova, Maurice, 
Lord Algernon Percy (the Beverley), and many subsequent 
additions : making *' it by &r the most extensive in existence, as 
it numbers more than 10,000 gems," of which the camei constitute 
much the largest portion. Kohler specifies as the most important 
in their respective classes — Egyptian: several scarabsdi in green 
stone, of unusual size, covered with hieroglyphics. Isis, a head in 
very high relief in malachite, worked out with a decision, delicacy, 
and finish not to be exceeded. The head is covered with the skin 
of a phosnicopterus, the wings of which fall on each side the face. 
Another Head of Isis, cameo in agate-onyx in the same attire, 
a sard with same bust intaglio, and another Isis suckling Horus 
with her finger — are in the Greco-Egyptian manner. So is a full- 
length figure of Osiris in cameo, distinguished for correct drawing 
and careful execution. A seated Harpocrates, is a cameo in a pure 
Greek stylo, showing no imitation of the Egyptian manner. 


Etruscan. — Ajax carrying oflf the slain Achilles, inscribed with 
their names ; the back of the scarabaaus cut into the shape of a 
Syren tearing her robe (emblem of the departing soul). Theseus 
seated in Hades, with the name ®ESE ; a stone too large to have 
been sawn off a scarab : formerly Baron Beidesel's. The Horses 
of Diomedes devouring Abderus ; the Horses of Achilles ; Trip- 
tolemus : Pegasus ; the Slave of Cadmus, carrying two amphorae ; 
Hippodamia in a triga driving over the corpse of a vanquished 
suitor; a Chimera. Many others unpublished, or wrongly ex- 
plained, as the Folynices on horseback. A seated Nymph bearing 
on her hand the Infant Bacchus, both figures winged, in the field 
a caduceus. Very remarkable is a striped agate of extremely old 
work, a Pallas, completely armed, and advancing to the combat. 
A seated Old Man holding in one hand a staff, in the other a roll, 
an ancient rhapsodist, probably designed for Homer himself. A 
Wounded Tydeus remarkable for the extreme delicacy and correct- 
ness in some portions, whilst the head and muscles of the sides are 
only indicated by drill-holes. A scarabaBUS in burnt cameHan, 
remarked for the constrained attitude of the figure, perhaps Tydeus 
gnawing the skull of his enemy. 

Greek gems, to a very considerable number ; of which may be 
noticed, a cameo Head of Jupiter crowned with laurel ; another on 
a splendid sardonyx, crowned with oak leaves. A Seated Dodonean 
Jove with the Dove upon his hand, the Jupiter Axur, or more 
probably the Augustus, signed NEISOY in a splendid sard. Two 
scarabasi cut into heads of Jupiter Apomyios. A Jupiter and Leda ; 
and Jupiter as a Satyr and Antiope. A cameo Qanymede on a 
large sardonyx, where the work is as perfect as the dexterity with 
which the strata have been employed. A small sard with bust of 
Pallas peculiarly treated, the aegis being represented as an actual 
goatskin, upon which the Gorgoneion is tied sideways by two of 
its snakes. A Naked Yenus, cameo on a large agate-onyx, where 
the perfect drawing of the nude in a difficult attitude is as €idmirable 
as the delicate execution of the work. Particularly beautiful, the 
head of Diana, in cameo ; and of Mars, in intaglio. Some Heads 
of Bacchus conceived with the utmost beauty. A cameo, Aurora 
in a biga, the horses seeming filled with divine fire ; another Aurora 
guiding the Solar car, of no less perfect work, with the name of 
the artist POY^OC. The cameo Hermaphroditus passes for the 
finest known with this subject. As especially beautiful may be 
pointed out, a cameo head of Victory ; some figures of the Muses ; 
a sard with head of the Youthful Hercules ; an amethyst of the same 
head but older and scon in front ; another crowned with oak-leaves, 


a cameo. A Bacchante wliere tlie drapery is full of spirit ; a Faun 
sporting with a Nymph; a Sacrifice to Pan; an Eurydice; two 
headfi of Leander ; a sard with Achilles in his car ; Heads of 
Hector and Andromache ; some Children's Heads of very elegant 
work amongst a large number of similar design. A Cornelia, a 
masterpiece as to the drapery; some fine Heads of Alexander; 
and a little Perseus, a magnificent Greek work. One of the most 
famous camei in the world, quoted by Winckelmann as the ne plus 
ultra of the art, the cameo on agate-onyx, Perseus and Andromeda, 
formerly belonging to Gav. Mengs,* and of equal reputation with 
the Gonzaga cameo — the figures in very high relief cut in milk- 
white, upon a dark brown stratum. As a rare piece, may be 
named a Gorgon's Head in cameo, with a wing on the one side and 
two horns springing from the same base upon the other : Apollo 
perpetuating his grief on the Hyacinth into which his favourite 
was metamorphosed ; a head signed YAAOY ; another, Antinous, 
EAAHN; and the Msscenas, COAONOC. The well-known Head 
with the veil across the mouth, formerly called Ptolemy Auletes, but 
better explained by Winckelmann as Hercules in a female garb. 
Figure of a Youth with inverted torch on sard, the Genius of Death. 
In the Boman department the series of imperial heads is unin- 
terrupted from Julius to the Decline ; there are here sometimes 
more than twenty good heads of the same prince. Perfect gems 
are the Heads of Augustus ; Livia ; the united Heads of Agrippina, 
Drusilla, and Livilla on the same stone; Tiberius'; Poppaea; 
Faustina ; Caracalla; two large sards, portraits of Julia Titi : and 
two of the Gordians, good for their period. 

Of the animale, the most conspicuous is a lion, an extraordinary 
fine Dog's Head ; and many magnificent Eagles. 

The Cabinet is also rich in inscriptions on gems, both in cameo 
and intaglio, worked out with amazing industry. " The glance of 
the traveller in the regions of antiquity tarries fondly amongst 
these memorials of affection and the finer feelings of the heart ; all 
these stones being gifts of lovers, pledges of attachment mutually 
exchanged to keep up the memory of the beloved object at every 
moment. The vast number of such gems appears to have given 
occupation to a particular class of engravers, devoted solely to this 
branch of the art." 

Of Coptic, Persian, and Turkish inscriptions on gems, this 
cabinet contains a large number. 

It is also rich in the works of modem artists, e,g» Yalerio 

* PuicliaBed froDi his heirs for 3000 soudi=6002.— (Fca.) 


Vioentino; Domenico di Polo; Ceaati ; Cdldor^; Quay; Brown, 
and other famous masters, amongst whom Fichler deserves especial 
mention for his admirably executed £gure of the Herculanean 

Bemarkable also is a set of subjects from Modem History, form- 
ing a separate . collection, amongst which is a series of heads and 
allegorical designs relating to Eussian history. *' The portraits of 
the Imperial family in cameo are from the hand of H.I.H. the 
Grand-Duchess Maria Feodorawnaj in which the accuracy of the 
likeness as much as the fineness and delicacy of the execution is 
worthy of admiration." 

** In conclusion it may be remarked, that nowhere else will be 
found works in which rarity of material, and of its strata and 
colours, and the ability for their advantageous employment, are 
manifested so conspicuously as in the Russian Collection. As 
regards art, indeed, such costly productions have in themselves 
no real worth ; but when united with masterly, ingenious treat- 
ment, why should we not coincide with the taste of the ancients in 
this particular, as concerns works which in the main point must 
ever remain to us models of perfection far beyond our reach?" 
From Eohler's account of the manner, the time, and the circum- 
stances under which this Collection was formed, I strongly suspect 
that if examined by a critical eye it would be found to swarm with 
works of the last century in the department of intagli, and of the 
Benaissance in the camei ; as indeed must be the case if it numbers 
above 8000 of the latter. The Orleans Cabinet, however, contained 
many important antiques, as may be seen from St. Aubin's exquisite 
engravings of the greater portion here cited, in the two sumptuous 
folios, the 'Pierres Grav6es d'Orl^ans' (pub. 1780-4). 


The immense Collection of Berlin, by far the largest yet formed 
after the Russian, has for its foundation the old cabinet of the 
Electors of Brandenburg : the " Great Elector " having bought part 
of the Heidelberg Gems on the death of the Elector Charles II., 
in 1694; the remainder going to the Due d'Orl^ans. To this were 
added the Collection of the Margrave of Anspach; that of 
Stosch, numbering 3544 stones and pastes, purchased by Frederick 
the Great for 30,000 ducats ; that of Bertoldy, consisting entirely 
of antique pastes ; besides later acquisitions. These form the enor- 
mous total of 4490 stones, and 848 pastes. Of these have been classed 
3634, being the intagli alone, ais follows : — 



1. Egyptian and Oriental, 165; pastes, 31. 

2. Etruscan and Early Greek, 151 ; pastes, 30. 

3. Greek and Boman religion, 1141 ; pastes, 355. 

4. Monuments, Heroes, 263; pastes, 172. 

5. Historical subjects, 190 ; pastes, 70. 

6. Ancient Domestic life, 138 ; pastes, 71. 

7. Arms, Yases, Masks, 297 ; pastes, 66. 

8. Animals, 316; pastes, 47. 

9. Inscriptions and Abraxas, 125 ; pastes, 6. 

Of these, 316 gems and 115 pastes present Heads; and 2470 
gems, and 753 pastes, various subjects. Amongst them occur the 
names of supposed artists — ^Agathangelus, Agathopus, Alexa, 
Apollonides, Aulus, Craterus, Diodes, Diodorus, Deuton, GnaBus, 
Hellenius, Hermaiscus, Hyllus, Seleucus, Solon. 

The finest gems to the number of 1100 are mounted in gold, the 
rest in silver. Of stones retaining their antique settings, there are 
65, twenty-five of which are rings (in gold). Set in silver, antique 
rings, 9 ; in bronze, 15 ; in iron, 26 ; in lead, 1. By the side of 
each intaglio is placed a cast from it in plaster, the only mode of 
facilitating lihe study of the beauties and defects of the work, when 
it can only be examined through glass, not be taken' in the hand. 
From Berlin this plan was introduced into the Oollection of the 
Biblioth^ue, Paris. Selections of 50 casts to each set, forming 
a chronological series of the different styles, and neatly mounted 
in the form of a small 4to. volume, are to be obtained at the 
Museum, price three thalers per volume. These casts are made in 
a manner superior to anything of the kind that has come under 
my notice during a very extensive experience in similar repro- 

I have published already in a separate form a detailed descrip- 
tion of Her Majesty's Oamei and Engraved G^ms, together with 
one of the Marlborough. (Beprinted from the * Archeeological 
Journal,' vols, xviii. and xix.) 

The former of these consists principally of the ' Dactyliotheca 
Smitbiana,' added to a few relics of the treasures of Henry YIII., 
Elizabeth, and Charles I.* 

The latter, vying in the number and importance of its contents 
with almost any other cabinet in existence, has been gradually 
created by the incorporation into the Arundelian (formerly belong- 

* 739 oamei and intagli. It has since changed owners, and passed into the 
possession of a Mr. Broomilaw for the equiyalent of £80,000. 



ing to the Mncenas of that aame) of the Beseborongh, collected in 
the early part, and finally of the numerous acqnisitiona made by 
the Dnoal owner, at the close of the last century.* 

Oi private gem-toUet^iona in this country, only two of any impor- 
tance are known to me as still remaining — the Bale and the 
Bkodei. The first of these has grown up to its present oonsider- 
able extent by a very judicious selection fix)m every cabinet 
brought to the hammer in London, during the last thirty years. 
It consists ezclufiirely of ijttagU, and is particularly rich in speoi- 
meoB of the early Greek and Etruscan periods. 

{FkU Ilium I must be said of these collections, dispeiBed, the one 
by public, the other by private sale since the above was written ; 
and again, in the sad category of things that Aaoe been, must be 
included the choice cabinet of nearly four hundred intugli of every 
antique school, formed with long-continued labour, directed by 
taste and judgment, by Mr. Short; and literally tacrificed by 
auction in the May of the present year, 1885.) 

■ The DenHuliire Osbinet, and the celebrated Parurt oompoaed ont of iti 
ehoioert pieoes, will be fonnd notlosd at len^ ta 1117 ' Antiqiw Genu,' flrat 


Ever Binoe the date, at the beginning of the last oentniy, when 
the Eegent Orleans had expressed his opinion to Baudelot de Dairval 
(published by the latter in 1712) that the name 20AONOC on 
the famous sard in the Vienna Cabinet was that of the engraver^ 
not of the person thereon engraved, as had been previously believed,, 
an unlucky mania seized all amateurs for interpreting in this 
sense every name occurring upon a gem, provided only it were 
inscribed in Greek characters. Without^loss of time did Forgery 
also come to the assistance of this most flattering delusion in that 
branch of art — ^gem-engraving — ^which has ever been its especial 
^eld ; and the interpolations made to the order of Andreini aQd of 
Baron Stosch swelled the list of names, and furnished Bracci with 
a goodly roll-call of the engravers adorning every epoch in the 
history of Glyptics. The first to parade before the amateur- 
world his treasures in this newly-discovered line wafl Andreini, a 
Florentine gem-collector, who published several then in his own 
cabinet, five of which Dr. Brunn allows (in accordance to his own 
rules) to be genuine; the rest he pronounces all works of Flavio 
Sirletti's (the first reviver of the antique mode of gem-engraving) ; 
but whether the latter had been passed off upon Andreini himself 
as genuine, or actually executed to his commission, as Kohler 
maintains, is a question that must ever remain undecided. 

Soon afterwards Baron Stosch, besides accumulating his own 
vast collection, was supplying the wealthy dilettanti who visited 
Home with unique pieces that would elicit sufficiently enormous 
offers to induce him to surrender their possession to the bidder: 
witness the famous Cow of Apollonides, acquired from him by the 
Duke of Devonshire, and the other supposititious mastei'pieces, 
already noticed, which passed through his hands. Natter, at the 
commencement of his career, worked at Florence under his patron- 
age, and, beyond a doubt, supplied him with both new-made intagli 
and with interpolated names upon antique stones. Although this 
clever engraver, whilst confessing that he had put ancient artists' 
names upon his own works, denies that he had ever sold such for 
antiques, little credit can be placed in this reservation ; for what 


pofisible motive, except a fraudulent one, could have induced this 
assumption of a borrowed name ? Edhler even attributes to the 
crafty Baron the invention of another and yet more impudent 
species of fraud, — ^that of fabricating signed antique pastes from 
mere wax models having no actual prototype in gems. 

The vast success attending the interpolation of signatures made 
it universal : almost every fine work of antiquity that came into 
the market during the remainder of the century was enriched 
(or rather deteriorated) by the foisting in of some supposed artist's 
name, borrowed either from Pliny's catalogue of noted sculptors 
and silver-chasers, or from the epitaphs of the freedmen of Livia 
Augusta (some of whom are therein described as aurificeg)^ published 
by Gori about the same time. Sevin, of Paris, is said to have been 
Stosch's chief agent in this trafiSc, both in disposing of pieces 
altogether new creations, and of antique stones retouched and 
provided with a name to recommend them to wealthy amateurs. 
The interpolation of names upon antique works had indeed been 
long practised in Italy, but in an entirely different meaning, and 
one easily to be detected : more laughable, in fact, than injurious 
to the credit of the monument. Coincidently with the first dawn 
of the Bevival in Italy, gems presenting the effigies of ancient 
worthies were most eagerly sought after, as we may perceive from 
the efforts of Fulvius Ursinus thus to augment his series, entitled, 
•« Imagines Yirorum Blustrium e marmoribus, nummis et gemmis 
expressed." Actuated by this impulse, the clumsy fraud of those 
uncritical times speedily cut names upon the field of unknown 
portraits to convert them into likenesses of such historical charac' 
ters as the features seem best adapted to represent from the coinci- 
dence of the physiognomy with the traditional reputation of the 
personage.* Thus I have noticed (in the Marlborough Collection) 
some aged Boman ** nobody " transformed into a Caiua Maritu by 
the addition of cos vn., and some unknown Greek prince (Bhodes 
Collection) made invaluable in the new character of the famous 
l^umidian by the insertion below of the name ivgvbtha. Similarly 
the Maecenas already alluded to, not being identified till long after 
by the fortxmate discovery of a bust, was, in virtue of the pro- 
fundity of its expression, considered as especially appropriate for 
the Atitienian legislator, and on this score was equipped with the 
name of Solon : the true source whence have flowed all the supposed 

* Portrait statues and basts of private Romans of imperial times were likewise 
metamorphosed by the same facile means into the sages and heroes of Greece and 
Consular Romo. 


signatures of that imaginary artist. Fortunately, these early 
interpolations are cut in a lettering savouring so strongly of its 
own real date, and so dissimilar to the antique, that there is not 
the least danger of their imposing upon any experienced eye. Far 
different is the case with the productions of the last century, when 
even the finest gem was held of comparatively little value unless 
thus endowed with a historical certificate of its origin, and when 
the most eminent engravers of the day, like J. Pichler himself, 
condescended to further the deception by inserting names, with 
the utmost skill and delicacy, in the field of antique works to 
gratify the desire of the too unscrupulous dealer and of tiie too 
credulous amateur : the latter readily falling into the snare, having 
an ill-counsellor in his own avidity — 

** Quia enim damnet sua yota libenter ? " 

But this folly having been pushed to the extreme, a reaction 
naturally set in, and the sagacious but too cynical Kohler under- 
took, in an elaborate treatise, to demolish the whole of the specious 
edifice that had been growing up during the previous eighty years 
upon the foundation of that single conjecture ventured by the 
tasteful Eegent. Out of the whole catalogue drawn up by Bracci 
and republished by Clarac,^06 only have been allowed to escape his 
condemnation as recent insertions, and to go down to posterity as 
the genuine signatures of the ancient engravei*s. These are, the 
Diana of Apolhniui ; the Germanicus of Epitynchanus ; the Julia 
Titi of Evodus ; the Jupiter overthrowing the Titans of Aihenion ; 
and the Cupid of Protarchus ; the two last, camei. 

After a long consideration of this especial point, I myself have 
reluctantly been brought to agree (to even a greater extent, and 
on entirely different grounds) with the Eussian archaeologist in 
almost completely sweeping away the host of pretended signatures ; 
although I differ totally from him in his constantly repeated dictum 
that each name passed under his judgment (justly Draconian) is 
ipso facto a modem insertion. For I hold on the strength of actual 
observation, that in many cases the inscriptions are from the same 
hand as the intaglio itself, and equally authentic ; it is only the 
newly-imagined way of understanding them as referring to the 
artist himself that is, in my opinion, utterly untenable. 

The principle from which I start is deduced from the very nature 
of the tiling we have to deal with. It is an obvious and rational 
explanation that the name cut upon a signet should necessarily 
designate its owner, — a custom regularly established in the most 
ancient of the class, the Babylonian cylinders, and from them 


adopted in many instanoes by their disciples in the arts, the Ionian 
Qreeks. For, be it remembered, these fine intagli, now treasured 
as mere works of art, were to the ancient household articles of the 
utmost importance in the affairs of life both public and private, 
and by no means idle objects of luxury like their silver embUmata^ 
ivory carvings, and Corinthian bronzes. They were, indeed, often 
beautiful, displaying both taste and skill in their full perfection ; 
but this was only in accordance to the rule that whatever came 
under the ancient eye assumed beauty as a matter of course (as we 
see manifested in the forms given to their commonest domestic 
utensils) ; and yet frequently their signet-devices, being dictated 
by family tradition or by religious ideas, are the commonest, nay, 
even grotesque, objects. 

From the importance, therefore, of the articles, it cannot be 
supposed that the engraver (often, in the Boman period, a slave- 
artisan, and never, probably, holding a higher place in society than 
a common die-sinker of our times) should have been allowed to 
intrude his own ignobility upon the signet of the rich and powerful 
orderer of his work. For a name so inserted would inevitably have 
passed for that of the actual owner of the signet, in spite of the 
nice and arbitrary distinctions, hereafter to be detailed, whereby 
Dr. Brunn endeavours to discriminate the artist's from the master's 
signature. And this acceptation were the more natural, because 
the owner's name frequently accompanied and certified his family 
device, more especially upon the earlier Boman signets : the very 
time, be it observed, when the most skilful of these artists are 
supposed to have flourished. The hypothesis elaborated by Dr. 
Brunn would have been infinitely more plausible had any gems 
been forthcoming, presenting two different names on the same field, 
displaying some such marked distinction between them as should 
enable the casual observer to refer one to the possessor, the other to 

the ar^st.* 

The same rule holds good for the ancient die-sinkers, in whose 
falsely assumed practice a precedent has been found to establish the 
credibility of the existence of artists' signatures upon gems. The 
names engraved in minute characters upon certain unobtrusive 
parts of the type occasionally to be discovered on some Greek civic 
medals (notably those of Velia) have always been understood as 
indicating the die-sinkers. This explanation, however, is in all 

* Ofwbich, indeed, a solitary instance presents itself in the supposed work of 
*• Felix (servant) of Calpumius Sevems ;" the gem being in reality his private 


probability erronoous, it boing infinitely more consifltent with 
the regulations of the Qrecian republics that such names should 
indicate the miut-master or treasurer for the time being. To put 
upon the coinage the name of the officer responsible for its goodness 
(the quaestor, triumvir monetalis, monetarivs) was a very ancient 
law, eJmost universally observed under the Roman Republic, and 
as generally in the Frankish and mediseval periods. In certain 
localities, whilst Greek art yet flourished, we see the name of this 
officer, the To/xtas, is printed as legibly as possible on the reverse of 
the coinage ; for example, upon the later Athenian tetradrachms* 
and all the silver of Rhodes. This name, in other cases, seems to 
have been expressed in a rebus by the small object or figure placed 
behind the type, to be noticed in such endless variety upon the 
Corinthian didrachms, which, like the Athenian tetradrachms, 
were a universal cuiTency, and therefore demanded the most com- 
plete guarantees for the maiutenance of their accredited standard. 
It is, indeed, very possible that these accessory types represent the 
actual seal of the then mint-master : for in the Heraclean inscrip* 
tion, as already noticed, each magistrate specifies what was the 
device of his own signet. 

It must, not, however, be concealed that some examples in which 
the die-sinker has placed his own name upon his work actually do 
exist, and that in a most conspicuous manner. Of this only two 
instances are known ; the one a coin of Cydonia, in Crete, inscribed 
with NEYANTOZ EnOIEI;t the other the beautiful didrachm of 
Clazomense, exhibiting ©EOAOPOZ EHOIEI ; but their excessive 
rarity proves such to have been merely trial-pieces of these 
artists. It may easily be imagined that as the decoration of public 
buildings and temples was put up for competition amongst the first 
sculptors of the day — a custom of which Pliny cites numerous 
instances, — so, similarly, the making the dies for a new and im* 
proved coinage of the same States may have been awarded to a 
successful candidate on the production of his trial-piece, as was 
actually done in our own times by the short-lived French Republic 
of 1848-9. 

The latter consideration has now brought us back to the 
analogous case of our inscribed gems in those rare examples whose 
existence can be traced back long before this species of forgery 
was thought of (as the Julia of Evodus^ once possessed by 

* Some of which are extant, bearing the name of Demosthenes, who is known 
to lave once filled that office ; and also of Mithridates. 

t To which M. Froehner has lately added a thiitl, EfAY^'E MENETYZ 
on a coin of Aspendus. 


Charlemagne^ or the Pallas of Eutyches^ described by Cyriac of 
Ancona in 1445), where the names are definitely marked for the 
engraver's own by the addition of EllOIEI. This aquamarine* 
this amethyst, valuable in their time as jewels for their extraordi- 
nary dimensions, were never, as their size demonstrates, intended 
for signet-gems ; they were probably votive offerings to the deity 
thereon figured or to the princess, like the crystal-portrait immor- 
talised in the Anthology, presented by its engraver Satyreius to 
Queen Arsinoe. Or they may be supposed designed for ornaments 
for plate or for the bracelet, and intended to be employed in 
capacities that permitted the artist's name to exhibit itself upon 
them as unobjectionally as (what was then the rule) upon a bas- 
relief or a picture. Again, they may have been only trial-pieces, 
elaborate displays of skill made by the engraver to his patroness, 
whether divine or human. That such trial-pieces in gems were 
actually in use under the Empire is rendered no mere matter of 
conjecture by the existence of Stosch's crystal plaque, engraved 
with the obverse and reverse die for an aureus, and surrounded by 
the legend wishing a Happy New Year to the Emperor Commodus, 
a man of much taste in the article of coinage, as the variety 
and beauty of his medallions sufBciently attest. At all events, such 
large gems (and on such alone is the only indisputable certificate 
of authorship, the word EnOIEl, to be found) were not signets, 
and therefore they fall under the same category as the camei, on 
which authentic signatures of the kind are more frequent. No 
genuine example has yet been adduced of an actual signet gem of 
the usual size, intended for wearing on the finger, that presents a 
name accompanied by this distinctive declaration of its engraver. 
Again, in all the examples (which, in fact, form the majority of 
those published) where the name is written in Greek in the genitive 
ea$e^ it is utterly groundless to imagine that it can stand for any 
one but the owner's; for the same reason as (which no one has 
ever dreamed of disputing) when the name is expressed in Laiin it 
is put in that same case, to declare that the object sealed there- 
with is the property or receives the attestation of the sealer. To 
supply, according to the now received rule of explanation, the word 
^vyov, (he work of, before this genitive, has not the slightest autho- 
rity in antique practice. For in all other branches of art, sculp- 
ture, vase-paintings, mosaics, all works that are inscribed with 
their author's name present that name in the nominative, and 
followed by EllOIEI or its contraction. 

One condition, much insisted upon by the former catalogue- 
makers such as Bracci and Olarac, that the real artist-signatures 


are always inBcribed in the Greek character (with the conclufiion 
built thereupon, after the very popular mode of arguing in a circle, 
that signatures thus written do for the most part refer to the 
engraver) is totally fallacious, as will appear from the following 
considerations. For what was more natural than that at the very 
time when Greek was the fashionable language amongst the polite 
Bomans (which exactly coincided with the flourishing period of the 
Glyptic art), all men of taste would affect the use of that language 
upon their own signets, engraved, be it remembered, by artists 
whose native tongue was Greek. We have a somewhat analogous 
case in the medieval usage of our own ancestors, where the Nor- 
man-French, as the language of polite society, is generally used 
upon private seals, and on |N79y-rings, Latin upon public and official 
ones. Together with the language the Bomans adopted the Greek 
style of patronymic ; and inasmuch as in the latter the individual 
possessed only a single name, the Roman noble, complying with 
this usage, had to relinquish his nomen (marking his gena) as well 
as his cognomen^ and came out like a pure Greek with his frm-nomen 
alone as an aYAOZ, a TAIOZ, or a AEYKIOZ. Such names are 
not those of slave or freedmon artists, for such persons took the 
fietmily name of their patronus upon their manumissia, as Claudius^ 
Havius, JSlius, &c., to precede their own. 

On the other hand, the old-fashioned Bomans who maintained 
the use of their own language upon their signets, kept up the 
ancient style, either indicating all their three names at once, more 
or less in fall, or signing witli the family name alone, as TITINJ, 
PEDI, COPI, for the most part in the genitive case. 

This is the only explanation that satisfies mo for the frequent 
recurrence of such names as Aulus, Gains, d:c., in Greek characters 
upon gems; a fact so puzzling to Dr. Brunn, but which we need 
not settle in the summary mode adopted by the cauBtic Kohler, who 
cuts short the whole discuission by danming all such inscriptions as 
flagrant and palpable modem forgeries. Hence too is at last 
obtainable a complete solution of the difficulty why the same name 
— Aulua for example — should occur on gems evidently proceeding 
from different hands, in the fact of that same preenomen being 
necessarily borne by many hundred individuals at one and the same 
time. The names of persons of Greek extraction, their contempo- 
raries, are easily to be distinguished from the former. Being 
generally enfranchised slaves, they present names (fancy names we 
may call them) appropriate to their original condition, like the La 
Fleur, Hyacinthe, Jasmin, the so frequent appellations borne by 
the French valets-de-chambre under the ancien regime. Similarly 

DI0SC0BIDE8. 187 

the slaves of the Eoman aristooracy, their personal appearance 
forming their chief recommendation and value, received allusive 
appellations, such as Eros, Gallistus, Cestus, Phlegon, Earinus, 
Thallus, Marathus, Narcissus, and the like. 

Another criterion still much insisted upon, is the minuteness of 
the lettering, and its horizontal or vertical arrangement, that is to 
say, its occupying a straigJU line in the field, where a space appears 
to have been purposely reserved for its reception on the first 
sketching out of the design, instead of following the sweep of the 
circumference of the gem as do the undisputed appellatives of the 
owners. But this distinction seems to me altogether futile as well 
as arbitrary: such an arrangement having much more probably 
been adopted firom motives of taste alone, both on account of its 
neater appearance, and its not in any way interfering with the 
effect of the design. The truth la we do find Baman names, and 
written in the Latin character, in the field similarly arranged and 
in a lettering equally diminutive and neat. A most convincing 
example is famished by the gem No. 484 in ' Oorlaai Dactyliotheca.' 
The subject is Cupid sacrificing, with averted eyes, the Psyche- 
butterfly, and in the field on a tablet placed vertically is the 
owner's name T. AYGTI, engraved in the neatest and smallest 
characters imaginable. 

But this very perfection of the lettering is in itself often the 
sign of a forgery, for the genuine antique signatures (like 
Nicander's on the Marlborough Julia) are cut in with bold and care- 
less strokes such as one would expect from a great artist above 
troubling himself with such minutiaa. But on the other hand 
Pichler and his followers were adepts in a small elegant lettering 
where all the lines terminate in dots, a configuration which Kdhler, 
always pushing his theory to the extreme, puts down as the surest 
test of falsity. These dotted terminations to the letters had how- 
ever been noticed in the first days of gem-collecting : Feiresc had 
called attention to them in the signature of Dioscorides, and had 
accounted for their presence by the absurd hypothesis that they 
were intended for pins fastening gold letters upon the surface I 

The inscription above quoted, T. AVCTI, establishes another 
point, — that it was not then considered absolutely necessary for the 
proprietor's name to stand forth in large and obtrusive characters, 
as if desiring to proclaim that the device itself was but of secondary 
consideration. It was but consistent in a man of taste who had 
caused his signet to be engraved by a first-rate artist, to have his 
own name, requisite perhaps to make his seal more valid, introduced 
in a manner that should interfere as little as possible with the 


effect of the masterpiece adorning it. And this consideration offers 
us a second reason for his adopting both the Greek brevity in that 
particular as well as the Greek character. 

It is with regret that I acquiesce in the cruel sentence of Kdhler, 
and abandon the pleasing delusion that we possess any true signa- 
ture of the famous Dioscorides. All which present that name are 
ordinary signet-stones, and not of the importance of trial-pieces, or 
Yotiye offerings ; neither does the verifying EIIOIEI appear on any : 
two points which authenticate the Minerva of his son Eutyches. 
All these examples therefore are open to the irrefutable objec- 
tion applying to inscriptions giving merely a name, and that in 
the genitive case : occupying also the most conspicuous position* 
Besides, in the gems of undoubtable antiquity presenting the name 
of Dioscorides, both the work of the intaglio and the style of the 
lettering differ so much from each other (a circumstance long ago ob- 
served) as to make it impossible to ascribe them all to the same master. 
Again most of these inscriptions are modem additions, and what is 
more, the best executed amongst them, have, I suspect, the weakest 
claims to be accounted genuine. The improvera of the last centuiy 
would naturally do their best in producing what was to pass for 
the signature of the greatest master in their art The bolder, care- 
lessly cut letters, on the other hand, seen upon a few of their 
number— for example, the Marlborough Jlfercury and Pulsky's Mu8e 
— are on that very account to be received as genuine and £rom the 
same hand as the engravings they accompany. 

But in all such cases as the last, these inscriptions, I more than 
suspect, merely indicate the proprietor: for it is by no means a 
necessary consequence that, if not fidsifications, they must signify 
the celebrated artist. Dioscoridea was a very favourite name in 
antiquity, on account of the good augury its signification contained^ 
" the offspring or prot6g^ of the Dioscuri," most potent and pro- 
tective genii — 

" Fratres Helena lucida sydera." 

Thus by a singular coincidence we find the illustrious &ther of 
Botanical science flourishing in the same age with the engraver ; 
a third, a noble of Alexandria, a friend of Julius Gassar's ; with, 
doubtless, hundreds of others whose fame has not come down to 
posterity. And again another contemporary of both must have 
been the maker of that admirable Pompeian mosaic, the Comic 
Scene, who signs himself Dioscorides the Satnian. This name, in 
fact, seems to have been peculiarly affected by the Greeks of Asia 
Minor, for the botanist belonged to Anaz^bus in Cilicia, and the 
gem-engraver, as the trial-piece of his son Eutyches informs us, to 


lEgBs in ^olia. Thus we obtain a roasonable explanation for the 
diflferenoe in the appearance and in the spelling of this name upon 
gems, as being the signets of various owners, and consequently 
engraved in different places and at different times, without 
assuming that such discrepancies betray, of themselves, a forged 

With camei, however, the case stands upon an entirely different 
footing. Such works being intended for ornament alone, there 
was no more difficulty in allowing the artist to put his name upon 
them than upon other bas-reliefis on a larger scale wrought in marble. 
Accordingly we find the name occupying a corresponding position in 
the one to what it takes in the other, Athenion'a in a comer of the 
field, Protarckus* in the exergue. Such inscriptions as these cannot 
be explained away as subsequent interpolations, for they are cut in 
relief in a portion of the upper layer of the sardonyx, reserved at 
the very time of executing the subject. But the paucity of such 
authentic signatures, under circumstances where there existed no 
moral obstacle to their insertion, fiimishes in itself the strongest 
argument against their being admitted in that other branch where 
that insertion would have contravened the very purpose the 
engraver's work subserved. 

It must be kept in mind that of the signatures upon camei, 
those only are to be received for genuine that are in relief; the 
others, common enough, merely incised in the stone, being for the 
most part clearly additions, and in every case to be regarded with 
the utmost suspicion. This is a rule laid down by Eohler 
as having no exception. Dr. Brunn, indeed, objects to its 
sweeping nature; although, in my opinion, upon no sufficient 

It seems to me, however, almost certain, and it is strange the 
same view of the matter should not have occurred to others, that 
even genuine names put on camei are not necessarily those of the 
actual engravers, but in many cases of the famous ancient Toreutm 
(an art already lost in the Augustan age), whose chasings ia silver 
they were ordered to perpetuate in the more precious material 
which the spread of luxury had substituted, for the metal relievo, 
emblenuty as an ornament for plate and armour. In this way we 
can satisfiftctorily account for the names of the masters of high 
renown in other branches — Frotarchus, Athenion, Boethus — 
appearing upon cameL 

There is, however, another and somewhat fanciful solution of 
the question. As the Greeks used in their families to repeat the 
same name in alternate generations, the grandson taking as a rule 


that of his paternal grandfather ; the same appellative might be 
continued in a family of artists for several ages, and in such cases 
the Boman cameo-cutter would be called by that of his predecessor, 
the silver-chaser, in the century before. Here, indeed, the exact 
converse holds good of the rule established with regard to intagli : 
there is no possible room for conceiving that the name inscribed on 
a cameo is that of the proprietor; it must either designate the 
actual engraver or the more ancient cmkUor whose work he has re- 
produced. The latter supposition is the most likely to be correct, 
and is moreover strengthened by the great rarity of such inscrip- 
tions. None are found on the grand historic pieces : and in the 
minor works where they do occur, it can hardly be by a mere 
accident they should be exactly those of more ancient masters 
celebrated in the walk of toreuUce. 

The preceding are my own views upon this subject ; but as gem- 
collectors will undoubtedly consider such a conclusion as a ** hard 
saying," and one not to be borne, I shall proceed to give the rules 
generally received at present by those regarded as the highest 
authorities upon this head, so that the next section will serve for 
a commentary upon the Catalogue of Ancient Gem-Engravers, con- 
tained in Dr. Brunn's elaborate treatise, in which he thus modifies 
the code established by Eohler and StephanL 


*' From the examination of those signatures which are universally 
acknowledged to be authentic, and which can be traced back Uir 
beyond the time (after 1712), when this kind of forgery came into 
fashion, the subjoined rules have been deduced; based upon the 
following observations. These undoubted signatures are written 
in a straight line, either running vertically down the field of the 
stone, usually close to and parallel with some vertical portion of 
the design, such as a cippus : or else carried horizontally across in 
one of the largest unoccupied spaces ; provision for its reception 
having evidently been made in the first sketch of the composition. 
The letters are reversed upon the gem (if an intaglio), so as to read 
the right way in the impression from it. They are always minute, 
so as to escape observation at first, and to appear, what tiiey really 
are, subsidiary to the work itselt: for the same reason tiiey are 
executed with a certain freedom, totally different from the laborious 


minutenefiB so conspicuoos in tlie modem imitations of them. 
They rarely exhibit the terminal dots placed in the latter with such 
mathematical exactitude, and connected by fine hair lines. Indeed, 
this style of lettering is pronoimoed by Stephani the most certain 
means of detecting the inscriptions due to the clever forgers of the 
last century." 

" The propriety of the two positions above mentioned, and of 
these alone, for such memorials of the engraver, becomes self- 
evident, if we consider the purpose for which every antique signet 
was designed. As a signet it had a definite and most important 
use, and its subject involved usually some fixed reference to its 
owner, like that now claimed by armorial bearings. This being so, 
a name placed conspicuously would by the world necessarily be 
understood to designate the owner, and him alone. Of the most 
conspicuous positions in the field of a gem, the first is the exergue, 
or position immediately below the design ; the second in dignity is 
the circumference itself of the stone. All names, therefore, occur- 
ring in these two positions, whether arranged horizontally under 
the line of the exergue, or sweeping round with the curvature of 
the circumference, show by their prominent character and magni- 
tude that they set forth a matter of no less importance than the 
ownership of the signet itselfl Hence it indisputably follows that 
names thus arranged have nothing whatever to do with the artists, 
and this conclusion at once reduces the list, as formerly accepted, 
by fully two-thirds — such names, indeed, are in many cases really 
antique, but are quoted, without any foundation, by Clarac as 
indicating the engravers. It need hardly be observed that gems of 
only mediocre execution cannot be expected to be endorsed with a 
genuine signature of their author's ; the privilege of thus immor- 
talising himself, in the rare instances in which it was conceded, 
was confined to the man of established reputation, and whose 
signature added value to his work." 

'* Names skilfully added, in the appropriate positions, to really 
antique and fine works, constitute a mode of imposture which on 
its first introduction met with the greatest success ; the purchaser 
being thrown off his guard by the unquestionable authenticity and 
merit of the gem itself. Eohler, in fact, does not scruple to assert 
that such is the case (with the five exceptions already noticed) with 
several famous pieces, the antiquity of which even he is unable to 
gainsay. The only means for detecting such interpolations is to 
observe whether the lines forming these letters coincide in their 
formation with similar fine strokes entering into the composition 
of the design itself, for it is evident that the inscription, if genuine, 


must have been cnt by the same instrument, and the same tonch as 
produced such strokes, and therefore mnst be exactly identical with 
them. The modem additions, when thus examined, are at once 
betrayed by their disparity. Though many antique signatures 
are touched in with a bold and rapid hand (like that of 
Nicander's), yet, in spite of Stephani's dictum, some genuine 
inscriptions have the letters terminating in dots. But these dots 
are absorbed, as it were, into the lines themselves, thus forming 
letters exactly analogous to those used on the more carefully 
executed gold coinage of the same ages. The forged, on the other 
hand, betray themselves by the prominence given to these termi- 
nations ; which also in them are united by lines almost invisible. 
Nevertheless forged signatures often occur scratched in with the 
diamond-point alone, without any attempt at finish, with the view 
of blinding the amateur by their apparent artistic carelessness. 
Such, however, can generally be detected by the absence of that 
wear upon their edges which has softened down similar minute 
cuts made by the antique graving-tool upon the same superficies." 
To this class belonged the numerous signatures, all devoutly 
believed in by their possessor, that embellished the highly-puffed 
and extensive Hertz Collection. As for those distinguishing the 
Poiiiatowsky Qems (of which extraordinary fabrication some 
details are subjoined), they display every character that the true 
antique does not possess: excessive magnitude, obtrusiveness, 
display of terminal dots, and faintness of the connecting hair- 
strokes. Marks these, that now often put the gem-collector upon 
his guard against intagli (especially in the class of portraits), 
which from their intrinsic excellence and the air of antiquity 
artificially imparted to the stones, would else have been accepted 
by him as admirable relics of ancient Boman skill. ** In the case 
of camei other considerations are involved. These being intended 
merely as ornamental articles of luxury, or of personal decoration, 
the owner's name upon them would have been entirely out of 
place. As when a name is seen upon a bas-relief there can be no 
hesitation as to whom it designates, so in the cameo, a miniature 
representative of that branch of sculpture, the same conditions 
must hold good. In the rare instances known, the signature is 
found adhering closely to some portion of the design, and even 
following its curvature ; and not necessarily, as in the intaglio, 
running in a perfectly vertical or horizontal direction. One in- 
variable test of its authenticity, according to Stephani, is that it be 
always in relief, which is certainly a sure evidence that it was cut 
at the same time with the rest of the composition." This observa- 


tion has obtained universal conourrenoe ; Dr. Bmnii, thongh 
admitting it generally, yet points out a few exceptions, namely, 
the Ludovisi Augustus of Dioscorides, and the paste from the same 
head by Herophilus— on the grounds that in these instances an 
inscription in relief would have interfered with the effect of the 
portrait. Still, though I hold fast to Stephani's rule, it is possible 
to admit that these inscriptions may indeed be antique, for they 
bear the strictest examination, and have been noticed during the 
long period the works themselves have been known to the 
antiquary: yet still there is much reason to believe them 
additions made by some ancient possessor, either to preserve the 
memory of their actual author, or else fraudulently, with the view 
of enhancing their value.* 

Considering the large number of important camei preserved to 
us, for we probably still know all the principal pieces executed 
for imperial patrons, because such works were more than ever prized 
during the Decline, as the magnificent portraits of Constantine 
and his family declare; and afterwards in Qothic times, when 
being transferred to ecclesiastical uses, and sanctified by a Scrip- 
tural interpretation, they were reckoned amongst the richest 
treasures of the sacristy. Under these circumstances, the extreme 
rarity of any signatures upon camei is certainly a fact for which it 
is very difficult to account. This will be evident upon a reference 
to Dr. Brunn's catalogue; and my attention was the more 
particularly drawn to the circumstance, by my not discovering a 
single indisputable instance on the numerous important camei 
adorning the Marlborough and Devonshire Cabinets — and yet, 
especially under the Lower Empire, that branch of the art which 
occupied itself in producing inscriptions in relief (the small cameo 
good-wishes intended for birthday or wedding presents), was 
being carried to the highest perfection, whilst every other rapidly 


A notice of this, perhaps, the most audacious fabrication to be 
met with in the history of antique art, comes in here as the natural 
commentary upon the baseless creed of the amateurs of the last 
century; a fabrication, too, that has done more to discredit this 
branch of archaeology, by the confusion it has introduced into it» 
than could possibly be imagined by the non-practical reader. 

Every individual gem in this series, numbering about three 

* A trick, PhiedruB incidentally informs us, commonly pmctisod with new- 
made statues in his own time— the Augustan age. 


thousand (now dispersed all over Europe), presents ns with the 
name of some supposed antique artist : Aulus, Crouius, Dioscorides, 
Gnaeus, Pyrgoteles, Solon, and so on. The stones are generally of 
large dimensions and of fine quality, Orient^^l sards for the most 
part, with a few amethysts and yellow crystals, engraved in intaglio 
with groups or scenes taken from the Greek and Latin poets and 
mythologists, often executed with considerable taste and still 
greater technical skill ; for the compositions display too much of 
the flighty Louis XV. manner, even in the attitudes of the persons 
and the treatment of the drapery. The portraits and the single 
figures are much the most pleasing of their number, and approach 
more closely to the antique spirit. The whole were executed for the 
Prince Poniatowsky (who died at Florence in 1833) by the best 
Boman artists flourishing at the beginning of the century — Cades, 
Ginganelli, Dies, <fec. The inscriptions — that very difficult portion 
of the work — are from the hands of Odelli, who took upon himself 
that department exclusively.* 

The Prince is always spoken of as the victim of an ingenious fraud 
practised upon him by a combination amongst these engravers : it 
is, however, impossible to credit such inconceivable ignorance and 
credulity even in a prince, whatever weight we may allow to 
JuvenaFs dictum, — 

'< Barns enim sensus communis in ilia — Fortona." 

Others again defend his knowledge at the expense of his honesty, 
and assert that these forgeries were made to his order, that they 
might be palmed off" upon the world as antiques : an object which, 
incredible as it may appear, was actually, and for some space of 
time, obtained.! But tho true solution of the question appears to 
bo rather the one given to me by a person above all others an adept 
in the mysteries of the rt rfu-dealer's craft, and who protended to 
an exact acquaintance with all the circumstances (which from his 
large connection with Continental amateurs and dealers was 
probably the truth). It is, that tho Prince being an enthusiastic 

* Some account of this fabrication is given by Raoul-Rochette in the • Journal 
des Savans* for 1831, p. a38. 

t It is stated that a Mr. Tyrrell, who had somehow acquired 1200 of these 
gems, was so infatuated in his belief of their imaginary value as to refuse an 
offer of 60,0002. for the lot. And on the first report that the collection was on 
sale in London, our Government was dunned by swarms of would-be cognoscenti 
as to the crime of letting slip the opportunity of securing these priceless 
treasures for the nation. Fortunately, their usual supinenoss in such matters — 
most assuredly it was not their better knowledge — saved our authorities from 
committing so cgrcgioiu? a blunder. 


lover of the Glyptio art, himself selected ideas from the classio 
poets, and commissioned these engravers to embody them upon 
gems in the antique spirit, as far as their ability allowed. And 
this -he did from two motives — one a wish to encourage the art, the 
other personal vanity; believing his protSgSs to be, under his 
inspiration, fully competent to rival the ancients, and putting 
faith in Martial's promise, — 

*' Sint MsBcenates non deerunt Flaoce Marones." 

And certainly had these clever engravers set their oum names upon 
their works, instead of assuming those of the ancients, or even had 
each adopted exclusively some antique appellative for his nom de 
guerre^ under which he might still be iiBCOgnised, these often 
masterly performances would have done them lasting honour, and 
have increased in value with every succeeding century. As it is, 
they are now looked upon as all but valueless ; are sold for merely 
the weight of their gold settings (often extremely elaborate and 
beautiful), to persons understanding gems ; and fill the show-cases 
of the lower class of London curiosity-dealers ; who, by the way, 
often succeed in passing them ofif upon *' country customers " as the 
genuine works of the artists whose names they so ostentatiously 

To show the discredit into which they have fallen, I may state 
that at the sale (in 1854) of Lord Monson's collection, comprising 
164, and those the choicest of the series, they were knocked down 
at prices varying from 25«. to 30«., though many were engraved 
upon the choicest of the stones above-mentioned, and mounted in 
open-work gold frames of the most elegant designs the taste of the 
Boman jeweller could devise.* Knowing all this, one cannot but 
be amused at the blind fidth of the parties, who (1858) took the 
pains to* publish an erudite description,! at an enormous cost, 
of these now discredited forgeries, illustrated with -numerous 
elaborately executed photographs; and all this, as appears frt)m 
the preface, in the full persuasion that the gems are the undoubted 
works of the time-honoured artists whose names figure so impu- 
dently upon them. 

The motives that induced the Prince to conceive so chimerical a 
project, and to expend so vast a sum in carrying it out, as the 
remuneration then obtained by the established gem-engravers of 
his times necessarily entailed upon it, must ever remain a mystery, 

* I have since learnt that t>iere vas a reserved price of 37. on each. Soma 
were secured afterwards for the South Kensington Museum. 

t In 2 vols. 4to. Published at 20 guineas. Only 75 copies printed. 



nnloBB the explanation already hinted at be aooepted : yet he oughi 
to have been inspired with better taste by the possession of that 
incomparable cabinet of true antiques whioh he had inherited 
from his uncle Stanislaus, the last King of Poland. This oolleo- 
tion numbered, when catalogued by Yisoonti, no more than 154 
gems, including a few splendid camei. The intagli were all 
of the highest order; amongst them was the masterpiece of 
Dio8coride9^ the bust of lo, in three-quarter &oe, with small 
budding horns on the temples, deeply cut in a sard of singular 
beauty ; the Eagle's Head inscribed MI0, and in virtue thereof 
assigned (with better reason than in most of such attributions) to 
the cabinet of the patron-saint of gem-coUectors, King Mithridates ; 
the antique paste portrait of Nicomedes IV., with the name of 
Perganma ; and last, but most curious of all, the noted Helmet, 
whose uniqueness demands a detailed description. The stone, a 
large sardonyx If X f inch in size, is a curiosity to the mineral- 
ogist ; its upper layer being a true opaque red jasper, the lower a 
transparent plasma or green chalcedony. The subject, deeply sunk 
into the latter, is a magnificent Corinthian helmet, with flowing 
crest of horse-hair ; its crown unusually globose. This part ex- 
hibits the device of Bellerophon mounted upon Pegasus, ac- 
companied by his dog, and spearing the Chimera engraved upon 
the cheek-piece below ; all the figures, though on so minute a 
scale, being miracles of art, both for their drawing and their 
finish. The horse-hair crest is carefully and naturally rendered 
by means of the diamond-point alone. This helmet was at one 
time believed to be the actual signet of King Pyrrhus, for what 
reason it is impossible now to discover. ' On the dispersion of the 
Poniatowsky Collection (1839), it fell into Hertz's hands, who is 
said to have refused an offer of 150/. for it from the Duo de Blacas. 
At his own sale (Feb. 1859) it realised the very large* sum, for 
these times, of 891. It was afterwards sold to Seiior Arosarena, a 
Mexican amateur, and is at present in his native country, but will 
probably (in accordance to the law that makes all rarities gravitate 
towards London) reappear some day in the English market. (This 
prophecy has been verified: the gem is now, 1885, in London 
seeking a liberal purchaser.) Winckelmann describes another in 
Stosch's Cabinet almost identical with this, both as to design, 
and, what is more singular, the species of the material. This 
peculiar variety (Pliny's Jasponyx) seems to have been esteemed 
by the artist as the most suitable vehicle for such representa- 
tions of embossed metal-work ; for the Hertz Collection also boasted 
of a second specimen engraved with a tall Corinthian Crater, 


the sides decorated with Baochio oompositions, almost equal in 
execution to the figures upon this Helmet. Curiously enough 
Winckelmann has noted that the gems with helmets and vases in 
imitation of Corinthian chasings, which occurred in the Stosch 
Cabinet, were all highly and carefully finished, and to be num- 
bered amongst its choicest ornaments. 

The original Poniatowsky Collection numbered, as before said, 
no more than 154 pieces, but all of them both masterpieces as to 
workmanship, and unquestioned as to antiquity. The Prince, 
the last possessor, added, however, so many of his own fabrications 
to these genuine treasures, as to swell it to the inordinate number 
above mentioned. By this folly the whole cabinet was dis- 
credited to that degree that, when brought to the hammer in 
London in the year 1839, even the established reputation of the lo 
was not proof against the infection of the bad company she had 
been keeping ; and this matchless gem was actually knocked down 
for 171., although a few years before it would undoubtedly have 
realised 10001. ; a sum known to have been paid for other works 
made precious by their author's signature, yet £Eilling infinitely 
short of this both in historical and artistic value. Its purchaser 
was Mr. Currie, domiciled at Como, who, on his decease in 1862, 
bequeathed it with the rest of his very important collection to the 
Florentine Gkdleria ; thinking, and perhaps with justice, that his 
own country was as yet incompetent to appreciate the value of 
such a legacy ; 

** Ingrata patria, non habebis oeaa mea ! 



It is strange that Pliny, previously so minute in describing the 
works and in cataloguing the names of all statuaries, sculptors, 
and metal-chasers, who had attained any celebrity either before or 
during his own times, should have been so scanty in his notice of 
gem-engravers ; yet this last class, one would have supposed, from 
the passion of the greatest Romans, like Julius himself and Maecenas, 
for their productions, would have then been enjoying a reputation 
equal to any ever gathered in the grander walks of art. But 
PHny, though often enthusiastic in his description of precious 
stones (for instance, of the opal) seems to have regarded the 
whole subject treated of in Book xxxvii. of his * Natural History * 
more as a mineralogist and jeweller, than as a connoisseur in tlie 
Qlyptic art. In fsucX^ he only names, and that incidentally without 


any notice of their works (xxxvii. 4), Pyrgoteles, for his having 
received the exclusive patent to engrave Alexander's portrait on 
the emerald ; his successors, Apollonides and Cronius ; and lastly, 
Dioscorides, for having executed a most accurate likeness of 
Augustus (imaginem simillime expressit) which was employed as the 
Imperial signet by his successors. Not much more information on 
this head is to be gleaned from other authors. Herodotus records 
that Theodorus the Samian had executed " the signet set in gold 
on the emerald stone," so highly valued by the over-prosperous 
Poly crates, whose romantic legend has been already told. Since 
the historian is thus particular as to the artist's name, we may 
conclude that his far-spread reputation had given additional 
value to the precious material his skill was exercised upon. The 
date of this event was about the year b.c. 629. Again, we find 
another native of the same island, Mnesarchua^ mentioned by 
Diogenes Laertius as a gem-engraver by trade, by Apuleius as the 
head of his profession, though better known as being the father of 
Pythagoras, and who consequently must have been practising the 
art before b.c. 570, the date assigned for the philosopher's birth. 

Next we meet with NausiaSy an Athenian, described by Lysias 
the orator in the customary abusive style of the Grecian Bar, as 
carrying on three trades at once — of gem-polisher, engraver, and 
debauchee (nyv rt XiOovpyiinjiv koX XtOorpiPucrjv koX irpos tovtois to 
TerpvtfyqK€vai). It is truly unfortunate for the history of our subject, 
that this oration should have entirely perished, except this single 
paragraph. Its title, '* Concerning the Seal," a£fords good grounds 
for supposing that it concerned the forgery of a seal by this same 
profligate Nausias ; and its early date (about b.c. 400, Lysias being 
a contemporary of Herodotus,) would have rendered every inci- 
dental detail most instructive and interesting. 

Saiyreius must have been an engraver in considerable repute at 
the court of the Ptolemies, to judge from the extravagant eulogium 
bestowed upon a work of his by Diodorus in an epigrajn extant in 
the • Anthology ' (ix. 776) : 

'*My grace and oolouring Zeuxis well might claim, 
Tet SatyreiuB is my author's name, 
Who in the tiny crystal drew the form 
Arsinoe's self, with life and beaaty warm: 
A gratefal present; though minute in size, 
Its fair perfection with its model vies." 

From the term used, SatSoXov, properly signifying a statue, it 
follows that this "image of the Queen," in crystal^ was not an 


intaglio (for which, by the way, the Greeks seldom used that stone), 
but either a bust or a figure in full relief : like the statuette of the 
same queen in one single peridot, mentioned by Pliny as actually 
executed on the first discovery of that (in those times) much-prized 
gem. The '* colouring of Zeuzis " is somewhat hard to apply to a 
work in such a material, unless by a poetical hyperbole. Perhaps, 
indeed, the bust was carved out of a pale amethyst, like certain 
antiques yet extant, — ^notably the grand "Cleopatra" of the 
Marlborough Cabinet, — in which case the allusion to the natural 
roseate colouring would be quite admissible. Indeed, from the 
connexion of time and persons, this Satyreius may be conjectured 
to have been the author of the celebrated peridot statuette just 
alluded to. 

Tryphon also must have possessed distinguished merit, and at a 
most flourishing epoch of the art (as manifested by the excellence 
of the contemporary Asiatic coinage), to have obtained such high 
commendation from a tasteful poet like AddsBUS upon his intaglio 
of the sea-nymph Galene * (Anth. ix. 544) ; — 

**An Indian beryl erst, famed Tryphon's skill 
Hath bent my stubborn nature to his will. 
And taught me calm Galene's form to wear, 
And spread with tender touch my flowing hair. 
Mark how my lips float o'er the watery plain. 
My swelling breasts to peace the winds constrain : 
But for the envious stone that yet enslaves, 
Thou'dst see me sport amid my native waves." 

AddseuB was a &vourite with King Polemo, himself an amateur 
in gems, as he has testified by a couple of epigrams yet extant, 
** On a jasper engraved with a herd of cattle." The monarch had 
in early life been a rhetorician, but, having ingratiated himself 
with M. Antony, the king-making Triumvir bestowed upon him 
the crown of Pontus, a donation confirmed to him by Augustus. 
The non-existence of the signatures of such court-engravers as 
Satyreius and Tryphon (for the inscription on the Marlborough 
cameo is a palpable modem insertion) tells strongly against the 
credibility of their existence in later times : for there is no doubt 

* Or Leucothea, the goddess of fair weather at sea. Her bust, cleaving the 
waves, is very frequent upon gems, in the exact action described by the poet. 
On this account it is usually miscalled Leander's : but in some examples the 
exposure of the breasts above the waves sufficiently vindicates the claims of the 
nymph to this embodiment, so apt a device for the signet of a mariner. It also 
forms the type of a denarius of the Crepereia family ; the reverse, Neptune in 
his car ruling the waves, tends to prove the same thing. 



that in the times of independent Greece, and Greek kings, gem- 
engravera held the same rank as painters and statoaries. The 
anecdotes about Alexander and Apelles, Demetrius FoHoroetes, and 
pTotogenes, prove that king and artist stood in the same relation to 
each other as FranQois I. and Da Vinci, or Charles Y. and Titian. 
The art of design, as Fliny has already informed us, had &om the 
first been regarded as a liberal profession amongst ihe Greeks, 
there being a standing prohibition that no slave should ever be 
instmcted therein. 


**A> rcgunli m; wn, I doira thst hi will knp, u ■ Uliu 
I BMd to wcw attached to m; wstch."— Wiil of SapoUo* III. 

1, the 8ul which 

Thbouoh the kind iDterpoailion of my friend Oeneral Fearee, B^., in 
cotomsiid at Woolwich during the je&rs when the kte Prince Imperial 
was a cadet there, I most happily obtained an impresuon of this truly 
historical seaL 

" It is cut upon a gem [camelianT], octagonal, somewhat obloi^, engraved 
in modem Arabic in a neat character, with words translated, 'The slave 
Abraham relying upon the Merciful' (Ood)." The First Consul <^Owsi^ 
jncked it up with his own hands, during the campeagn in Egypt, wd always 
carried it about with him, aa did his nephew atlerwaida. The Prince 
Imperial also carried the seal upon a string bstened around bis neck, in 
obedience to the injunction of his fother. At the time of his lamentable 
death it must, therefore, have been carried off by the Zulus amongst the 
other spoils when they stripped his body, and may still be preserved by them 
as a trophy of their success. My object in giving it the most conspicuous 
place nmongst these illuatrations is the hope that such publicity may 
eventually lead to the rect^tJon and recovery of so predoua a relic ; 
which, conddering the vidssitudes of Fortune with its successive owners, 
dnerves to be deposited oa her altar dde by ode with the wgnet of 
Polycnto. The drawing is made to double the uze of the original, for the 
purpose of rendering the inscription more easily l^ble, which has also been 
done with all the following illuHtiations, unless otherwise specified.* 

My own collection has in the meantime been transferred to the New York 
Museum of Art, and all the gems so quoted formed part of it. The Beverley 
Qems have also been incorporated with the other antiquities at Alnwick Castle ; 
although not described in the lately published Catalogue of that Museum. 

* It hu not bMD thoaght ntcMsarf to name any but tb« principal cabinets, ont of 
which th* gemi war* Mlectad ; as those then in private hands mij hin ebanged 
owuan reptntedlj' since the casts were taken. 



Belus seated on a throne ; to whom a priest is conducting a maiden : a 
woman stands behind, in the attitude of adoration. The Jlidon, seen over- 
head, indicates the nocturnal hour, and explains the character of the 
ceremony. The legend is said to contain the name of Urukh, one of the 
earliest kings of Babylon; the "Orchamus" of Ovid. This cylinder, 
figured here of the real size in its impression, was brought from Babylon by 
Sir R. Eer Porter ; but its present owner is not known. 

The examples given in the four plates following, except the few marked 
otherwise, have been borrowed, through Mr. Layard*s kind permission, from 
his great work upon the antiquities of Nineveh. 


1. Signet of Sennacherib. The king, standing under a canopy, receives 
the adoration of a subject In the midst is placed the Tree of Life, above 
which soars the personification of Ormuzd. Green Amazon-stone. (BriL Mus.) 

2. Persian contending with a winged bull and a gryphon; above him, 
the protecting Deity. Legend in Phoenician, *' Seal of Gedishmah, son of 
Artidadt.'' (Brit. Mus.) 

3. Woman worshipping Ishtar, Queen of Heaven, surrounded with thei 
moon and stars ; in front sits the lion of Belus ; behind is the antelope, 
sacred to the goddess, browsing on a tree. (Layard.) 

4. Persian king contending with two Hons: typical of his irresistible 
strength ; at the side a Magus, performing his sacred rites at a fire-altar» 



1. Man adoring the Wmged Bull, typical of Belus : overhead are seen the 
sun, moon, and planets. 

2. Deity standing before an altar, on which stands his attribute, a cock. 

3. The King bestowing his benediction upon a kneeling suppliant (Gone.) 

4. The King, mace in hand, attended by a guard holding a torques, offering 
his vows to the limar deity. 

5. Belus, elevated upon his bull, between two figures of Nisroch, 

6. A train of captives, with the soldiers guarding them. 

7. The Horn, Tree of Life, standing between two gryphons. 

8. Belus standing upon his gryphons ; Arduesher, the Giver of Waters, 
upon her cow, to whom a man kneels in prayer. 

9. Magus about to sacrifice at an altar; before him is elevated the symbol 
of the Moon. 



1. Sandon (Hercules) wrestling with the bull ; the Minotaur with the lion ; 
an astrological composition. 

2. The Horr^ over which soars the Mir^ Visible Presence of the Deity ; on 
the one side stands Oannes, attended by a winged Genius ; on the other, a 

3. Warrior in a triumphal car ; in front, the severed heads of his van- 
quished foes. 

4. Cow suckling her calf; overhead, an astral symbol. (Cone.) 

5. Seated figure ; at her back, the planets. (Cone.) 

6. The Horn, over which soars Sin, the Moon-god; the king wrestling 
with two winged bulls. 

7. Impression in terra-cotta of the seals of Sargon, and the contemporary 
King of Egypt ; originally attached to some covenant between them. 

8. Seated figure : before him are placed a goose and a tortoise, as offerings. 


1. Man holding a knife ; legend in well-cut Babylonian cuneiform, not 
yet read. Hsematite. (Praun.) 

2. Magus before a fire-altar ; Phoenician legend, interpreted by M. L^vy, 
" The Herald of the Sun.** On the side of the cone, a man encoimtering 
a lion-headed figure. Chalcedony. (Praun.) 

3. Belus, seated, arrayed in a long Babylonish robe, to whom a worshipper 
presents an antelope ; above is seen the Mir ; behind, two G^nii, and two 
women are carrying similar sacrifices. The Crvao ansata in the god's hand 
betrays an Egyptian influence upon this design. Haematite. (New York.) 

4. Gryphons and Bulls; underneath, a row of various deities, amongst 
whom Mylitta is conspicuous. 

5. The Fish-god Oannes, or Dagon. 

6. The Horn ; above it, the great god Asshur, supported by two human- 
headed bulls ; on each mde stands a worshipper. The Phoenician legend, 
and the peculiar neatness of the engraving, clearly indicate its origin. 

7. The Worship of Mylitta. 

8. Sphinx, recumbent, in the Persepolitan style. Mottled agate. (Praun.) 

9. The dwarf CHgon bearing up a winged deity; on each side stands a 
man in Persian dress, as distinguished from the Assyrian by the peculiar 
manner in which it is pleated up the front. 



1. Two Hunters, in hooded mantles, encountering, the one a lion, the 
other a wild boar. Early Persian work, on a large chalcedony scarabaeoid. 


2. Another, in the same style, material, and cabinet; a Hunter spearing 
a stag. 

3. Bust of a king wearing the tiara; about his neck is suspended the 
royal signet : legend, ^ The attestation of Sapor, fire-priest of the Hyrnans." 
Camelian. (Brit. Mus.) 

4. Satrap, on horseback, in full attire; legend, his name ''Adnanes." 
Amethyst. (Paris.) 



1* B\ist of Yahrahran Eermanshah, in front £aoe : exactly agreeing with 
his profile portrait on the fEunous Devonshire Amethyst. Deeply and 
exquisitely engraved in camelian. (General Pearse.) 

2. Bust of a youthful Rajah, wearing a floral crown ; very well engraved, 
but in a totally different style from the preceding, in chalcedony. Both these 
gems were found buried together, and were bought at the same time by 
General Pearse. The political connexion of the two personages is attested 
by another intaglio, known to me, which bears the same two heads, but in 
profile, and engraved in a poor Indo-Sassanian style. Hence we may safely 
assume that the yoimger prince was the '* Vitiaxa," or Satrap, of Bactria ; 
and that these extraordinary gems were the ^'C^eat Seals" of his admi- 

3. Parthian King, wearing the national cidarii (leathern helmet) encircled 
with the diadem, seated on a camp-stool ; to whom a noble, abo wearing the 
ctdarity is presenting a massive torques. Neatly engraved in yellowish- 
green chalcedony. (General Pearse.) 

4. Siva, seated on the Sacred Bull, and holding in his four hands the 
insignia of the God of Death — the trident, the roamal or strangling-cord, the 
club, and the headsman's sword. The most ancient type of a Puranic deity 
that has yet been discovered on a gem. Chalcedony. (General Pearse.) 



1. Bust of a man, wearing a necklace of great pearls, and resting upon a 
row of flowers — an augury of happiness ; legend, '* Piruz Shahpuhri " (Peroses, 
son, or minister, of Sapor). Yellow sard. (Praun.) 

2. A similar Bust and legend, borne up on fourfold wings, emblem of 
deification. It is, therefore, the King's Ferouher, or genius : his '' angel," as 
the Jews termed it, who had got the idea from their Persian masters. Car- 
buncle. (New York.) 

3. Queen in full dress, holding the lotus-flower, like a goddess : at her side 
the young Shah, distinguished by his diadem. With her name <<Almin- 
dochti," the termination, like the *' InfjBinta" of the Spaniards, betokens royalty. 
Chalcedony seal. (Eastwood.) 

4. Head of a King much resembling the portrait of Yahrahran Eermanshah, 


and engraved in the exoeptionallj fine style that seems confined to the limits 
of his reign. Ghtmet. (Pulsky ; now Brit. Mus.) 

5. Diademed bust of a Queen, with her name, "BozehL" Bed agate. 
(New York.) 

6. Two ladies in Sassanian costume, in conversation together. If the emblem 
in the field be meant for the cross, we have here a Nestorian type of the greet- 
ing of Mary and Elizabeth. Sard. (New York.) 

7. Elephant's head ; legend, " Masdaki Raja." Yellow sard. (New York.) 

8. The Sacred Bull, emblem of Earth, recumbent. The l^end seems to 
read, " Choeroes." Garnet (New York.) 

9. This curious symbol, of frequent occurrence in gems, and sometimes 
bearing the royal diadem attached to it, is usually supposed to be the 
Standard of the Empire. Almandine* (New York.) 


1. Head of a young Indo-Sassanian Rajah ; in front a star, to indicate his 
rank ; behind, a Greek cross on a wreath to declare his religion. His name in 
well-cut Pehlevi letters, "Kartir," occurs also on another gem now in the 
New York Cabinet ; but is there attached to another portrait of the regular 
Sassanian type and of a much older man. 

This most interesting memorial of the spread of early Christiamty in Bactria 
is engraved with superior excellence upon a garnet^ which was found, set as 
a button, upon the jacket of an A%han officer slain in the last war. It now 
forms one of ^the numerous exceptional rarities that enrich that unrivalled 
treasury of Oriental Glyptics, the collection of General Pearse. 

2. A most remarkable combination of symbols. The so-called ''Royal 
Ensign," or Buddhistic figure, to be seen on the tiara of Varanes lY. or 
placed singly on numerous gems; by its side a hand, holding up a long Latin 
cross. We have here a memorial of the Nestorians, to whom the jealous pride 
of Penxses afforded an asylum from the persecution of his orthodox rival, " the 
Byzantine emperor.** The union of the two symbols was evidently intended 
to mark the princely birth of this courageous professor of Christianity ; and 
if the legend is rightly read as " Hormasdai " (Ahoranuizdt), we are reminded 
that a prince of that name was a refugee at the court of Constantius and of 
Julian from the tyranny of Sapor 11. This garnet, found at Merv, passed 
from the collection of M. de Gobineau, formerly French Minister at Teheran, 
into that of Mr. S. S. Lewis, out of which it was ** conveyed, the wise it call," 
during the detention of the case containing it at the custom-house of 
Constantinople, in December 1883. Such discrimination in the choice of 
plunder is so far superior to the honest dulness of a " True Believer " as to 
point to the refined rascality of the stndtest sect of the " Oriental Church." 
The gem has probably ere this found its way back to Paris; and by 
publishing this minute description of it and its vicissitudes, I hope that some 
unwishedrfor light may be thrown upon the circumstances of its mysterious 


3. Head, in a pearl-bordered tiara, with bushy hair curling on the shoulders, 
much resembling the portrait ot Ehosru Parviz upon the coins. The legend 
(not deciphered) is in the latest Pehlevi character, fast approaching the Cuflc : 
which latter took its name from Cufa, a town famed for calligraphers at the 
time of the Arab conquest, where the Koran was first transcribed out of the 
original Himyaritic MSS. Chalcedony. (New York.) 

4. Ruby found in the ruins of Brahminabad Scinde, engraved in Gufic 
with '* AH ibn Hassan : " a fine example of work in so hard a material 



The tablet, serving for a pendant jewel, is of terra-cotta, coated with blue 
vitreous glaze, the '* artificial cyanus " of Theophrastus. The two scarabsei 
are cut out of dark-green jasper, or more frequently moulded in the same 
material as the tablet. Of the signet, the gold swivel, on account of its 
magnitude and value, is supposed to have belonged to royalty ; the others are 
examples of the forms most generally in use under the Pharaohs. All are 
drawn to the actual size. 


1. Isis, crowned with the lotus and bearing the sceptre. A pretty intaglio, 
of Ptolemaic date ; in sardonyx. (Muirhead.) 

2. Tablet in yellow jasper ; bearing on one side the apis, on the other a 
horse. The cartouche contains the name of a very early king. (Brit. Mus.) 

3. Late Egyptian talisman of Alexandrine manufactiu'e ; red jasper. The 
Abraxas-god, in a threatening attitude, as he is always represented, busy in 
his office of scaring away all evil spirits; legend in the field, EVIA, "The 
Serpent" {Si/riac). Reverse: the Cnuphis Serpent, surrounded by groups 
of the sacred animals. This, the finest specimen of a so-<»lled Gnostic stone 
that has ever come to my knowledge (here drawn of the actual size), was 
brought from Bombay, and is now in the cabinet of Mr. S. S. Lewis, Fellow 
of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. 

4. This lion-beaded serpent, Cnuphis, a sigil prescribed by King Nechepeos 
for protection of the chest, is cut in a piece of veritable jade. (Same cabinet.') 


1. The AbraacaS'god in the car of Phoebus; thereby identified with the 
solar power. Legend, " Sabao " for " Sabaoth." 

la. Reverse, within the coiled serpent, emblem of eternity, " lao Abraxas." 
Green jasper. (Bosanquet.) 

2. The Ahraxas'giod ; engraved with nnusual spirit and neatness. Green 
jasper. (New York.) 


3. The same, but with the ass's head of Typhon. A unique personification* 
Green jasper. (Waterton.) 

4. This type is the exact converse of No. 1, for here PhoDhus receives the 
invocation, " Thou art our Father," regularly addressed to Abraxas. TVZ E V I , 
below, is known to be a mystic name of the Sun-god. 

4a. Luna guiding her white cow through the heavens. Haematite. (New 

5. Abraxas, engraved in a very bold style. Legend, " lao," — " the Eternal 
Sun," as the word is usually translated ; but the proper rendering is, " Sun 
of the Universe," Eilam being the Aramaic pronunciation of the Hebrew Olam, 
Black haBmatite. (New York.) 



Gelt of fine green jade, converted by some Gnostic of the 4th century into 
a talisman by the engraving upon the one side of seven lines of letters and 
sigils, mostly the permutation of the seven vowels that shroud from profane 
eyes the Ineffable Name of God ; and on the other of a garland of laurel, every 
leaf of which bears the title of some power recognised in the theosophy of 
the sect. The material itself is Pliny's '* Ceraunia, resembling an axe in 
shape, and to which the Magi ascribed wonderful virtues." The same name, 
translated *' Donnerkeil," and the same powers, are still attributed to these 
articles in the popidar creed of Germany. A very curious proof of the Roman 
estimation of the thing is the gold ring, ingeniously set with a tiny agate 
celt, in lieu of a precious stone, lately discovered in France and figured in 
the * Archaeological Journal,' vol. xL p. 325. The one in question was brought 
from Egypt many years ago; and has been deposited in the Rotunda at 
Woolwich by its possessor. General Lefroy. A copious dissertation upon this 
Ceraunia and its class, with an explanation of its inscription, will be found in 
my * Early Christian Numismatics,' p. 23. The immense diffusion of these 
talismans is again exemplified by a very important specimen of its class, an 
oval chalcedony, lately sent to General Pearse from India. Its face is covered 
with rows of Greek numerals, arranged in sets of four, which, we know from 
examples used in the Pistis-Sophia, are equivalents for the mystic names of 
the various persons in the Godhead. The reverse bears the following legend : 


WNHTHIA . . . 


a jumble of Chaldee and Greek words, cut in a square lettering for the sake 
of facility. The middle lines have lost their last letters through the damage 
of the stone, but the whole, with a few exceptions, is quite intelligible and 
may be thus translated : " He that w, Eternal Sun [then comes the usual per- 
mutation of vowels shrouding the Ineffable Name], the Living One ; the Earth ; 
lao Sabaoth." All invoked for the protection of the wearer of the gem. 



1. Wheatsheaf, aptest emblem of the Church, on which is perched the 
Dove, placed between its enemies, the Lion and the Serpent = World and 
Devil. The most elegant of these devices anywhere to be found. Sard, 

2. A Believer, armed with a staff tipped with the Chrm/ui^ and smiting 
the Old Serpent, on whose body he tramples. Lapis-laznlL 

8. A Virgin-martyr, as the palm-branch gives us to understand, performing 
her final devotions before the fatal strokes The name SECVNDA is that of 
the owner of the signet. Lapis-lazulL 

4. Fisherman's boat; Christ at the helm, its crew engaged in fishing. A 
type amongst those prescribed by Clemens Alexandrinus for the signets of 
Christians. The letters below indicate the Saviour's name. Camelian. 

5. A very curious representation of the Crucifixion, in the Byzantine style ' 
in which the Saviour's hands are seen hound^ not nailed, to the cross. The 
letters in mont^ram are IC, XP: rudely expressed. On each side stand 
Mary and the Centurion. Green jasper. (These last three gems are taken 
from the cabinet of Mr. 8. S. Lewis, Fellow of Corpus Christi Collie, 

6. The Sacred Fish ; a type borrowed from the Egyptians. Legend, " lesus 
Christus, the One ^,*'— "El" being the name of the eomprehennUe God 
of the Talmudists, as distinguished from the " Ain-Soph, or Infinite." The 
Kabalists gave the name of Dctg, " The Fish," to the Messiah, it bemg com- 
pounded in their £Eivourite feshion out of the initial letters of his titles. 
They solve all the mysteries of creation by means of the twenty-two characters 
of the Hebrew alphabet, and the Tcuh-Baq, or retrograde reading thereof; yields 
(with a little amplification) this prophecy : "The Lord shall whistle for his 
people amongst the Gentiles. He shall make the moimtains to overflow with 
sweetness. Who is He ? The Fish cometh ! (Dag Bah)/* From these the 
type of the Fish passed into the symbolisnji of the Christians, and became still 
more appropriate when it was discovered that the word IX©Y2 was com- 
posed by the initials of the Greek text "Jesus Christ, Son of God, the 
Saviour." Chalcedony, blanched by fire. (Captain White, Armagh.) 

7. Candlestick of the Temple, the national badge of a Roman Jew. The 
legend LABE, " a lion," several times repeated, seems to be meant for a spelL 
Chalcedony ; drawn here to the actual size found at Ephesus. (S. Wood.) 
. a The Chrisma placed in a laurel wreath, and therefore proclaimed 
victorious. With the name of the owner, " Phoebion," El is put for I because 
the accent falls upon it. (Antique paste.) 

9. The Good Shepherd; a work of very early date. Sard, found at 
Murree, Peshawur, where many relics of the first Christians still exist. 
(Gen. Pearse.) 

10. Medal, of Cinque-cento manufacture, cast not struck, of which nume- 
rous examples are current in bell-metal, and even in silver ; and which are 


often i)a1med ofif upon the ignorant as contemporary portraits of the Saviour, 
made by the command of Tiberius. 

In connexion with this, subject may be cited a singular bronze ring, 
formerly in the Castellani Collection. Its face, a square tablet, 
bears in rdief and reversed^ as here represented. The signet, 33^3 
therefore, was not meant for a signet, but as a stamp with ink 
for imprinting the inscription upon paper or other smooth surface. O^u Ml 
The three words may, perhaps, constitute a proper name, such 
compounds, in imitation of the Greek, being in fashion in those times, of which 
we have a notable example in " Adeodatus," the name of Augustine's son. 



Gems selected from the number discovered by General Cesnola amongst 
the dedicated jewels deposited in the. treasure vault of the Temple at 
Curium, which alone yielded more specimens of Phoenician art th^i had 
previously been possessed by all our Museums put together. This art has 
no originality in design^ but copies that of Assyria and of Egypt, yet with a 
superiority of execution that enables us at first sight to distinguish its pro- 
duction. These gems are either scarabasi or scarabaeoids, generally sards, with 
a few plasmas and agates : they are all mounted as swivels in gold, or in gold 
collets with immense shanks of silver ; not being intended for the finger, but 
for suspension by a cord around the neck. I have to acknowledge the kind- 
ness of Mr. John Murray in allowing me the use of these cuts, which form 
part of the illustrations to Cesnola's ' Cyprus.' 

1. In the Assyrian style. Two men in Babylonian dress, standing on each 
side of the Tree of Life ; over which soars the i/tr, or winged orb, the Vibible 
Presence of the Deity, 

2. In the Egyptian taste. The Royal Vulture, supporting the flail and the 
sceptre ; in front, the UrmtAs, serpent, badge of sovereignty. 

3. Winged Deity kneeling; one of the few purely national types of 
Phoenicia : found also upon the coins of Malta. 

4. Imitative Egyptian. The Hawk-headed Phre and a Man kneeling at 
each side of a Nank cartouche ; above it, the Mir. Behind each figure, the 
Symbol of Life ; conjunction of Form and Matter. 

5. The Tyrian Hercules wrestling with a lion ; in the heavens is seen the 
Mir. Purely Assyrian in idea, Phoenician in Oneness of workmanship. 

6. The god Phre, upholding the solar orb ; closely copied from the Egyptian. 

7. Cypriote Warrior, with plain shield and conical helmet, spearing a 
Persian, recognisable by his hood and the large umbo of the shield. 
The design clearly indicates by its augury the date of the revolt of the island 
from Darius Hystaspes. 

8. Two hawk-headed deities holding a garland between them, as a promise of 
victory. On the right is placed the regular Phanician symbol of the conjunc- 
tion of Baal-hammon with Ashtaroth; on the left, three Cypriote letters, 
probably giving the owner's name, 



9. The Baboon of Thoth, ^ Scribe of the godfl,** busily engaged with hh 
writing-tablet and stylus. In front, betraying a foreign hand, some blundisred 
hieroglyphic letters, indicating an ignorant copyist. 


1. Sphinx confronting a winged lion ; in the midst a cypress ; over it the 
solar emblem, the usual representative of Fire. A design purely Assyrian in 
character, though coming from Phoenicia ; incised (graffito) on the face of a 
gold ring. 

2. Man in car drawn by a Sphinx and Pegasus, to whom a Harpy, emblem 
of Death, proffers a lotus-flower. Some doctrine of the Mysteries touching a 
future state must be couched in this truly mjrstic composition. A graffito on 
a gold ring. 

3. Sard scarabseus, in the original gold setting. The Horseman engraved 
on its base, in virtue of the accompanying star, may be explained by Horace's 
•* Castor gaudet equis." (Brogden.) 

4. The Etruscan Mercury, or perhaps a Lucomo (his peculiar eap makes 
him the **galeritu8 Lucmo" of Propertius) in full drees, about to take the 
auspices. In the field, a Stag and a Baven, sacred to Apollo. Engraved on a 
gold ring. 

5. Man wearing the conical Etruscan apex, driving a car of two winged 
horses. The trees in the field may convey an allusion to the proverb^ " Ke 
extra oleas.** Engraved on a gold ring. 

6. Man with wings springing from his hips, in the Assyrian style, and 
wearing a hooded mantle and the long-toed Etruscan shoes, standing between 
a Sphinx and a Panther, grasping a forepaw of each in sign of mastery. 
Apparently allusive to some event in the history of Hercules, now lost. 
Graffito in gold. 



1. Arimaspian contending with a Gryphon, guardian of the gold mince of 
Scythia. Chalcedony scarabeus. (Hertz.) 

2. Cadmus slaying the Serpent which haunted the fount of Diroe. Scara- 
bans. (Berlin.) 

3. Hercules wrestling with the Nemean Lion. Intaglio, Greek scarabasus 
o( sard. (Brit. Mus.) 

4. Venus, winged in the Etruscan fashion, seated on the hymeneal altar, 
with an ivory distaff, and holding forth a dove as sign of amity to her 
worshipper. Engraved in a solid gold ring of Cam^Minian make. (Brit. 

5. Ganymede depicted as an emasculated boy, according to the Etruscan 
idea of the perfection of youthful loveliness. Said BcacabaBus. 


6. Lion pulling down a Stag. This is the nationnl '* anns," so to speak, 
of Phoenicia, symbolising the power of the Sun-god, Baal. This highly-finished 
scarabasus, in green jasper, comes from their colony Tharros, in Sardinia. 


1. Female Sphinx taking a necklace out of a casket : on the other side, a 
craieTf emblem of conviviality. Remembering that the Theban Sphinx was 
the destruction of all who fell into her clutches, this graceful design was well 
adapted for the signet of some Lais or Phryne of the best times of Greece. 
Pale green chalcedony. (Hertz.) 

2. Neptune rending asunder the mountain rocks, whence issues the river 
Peneus, in the shape of a horse ; in the field, the name of the god N EOYNOr» 
converted afterwards by the Latins to Neptunu8, 

3. Icarus, with loosening pinions, tumbling backwards from the heavens. 
In his hands are seen the inventions of his father — the saw and the drilL 

4. Telephns, wounded in the leg by the spear of Achilles, consulting 
Dionysus, the national god of Mysia, how to find a remedy for the incurable 
sore. The story is most cleverly told by the bandaged leg and agonii>ed 
expression of the suppliant hero. Sard. (The late Hon. Judge Johnson, 
Utica, U.8.) 

5. Head of Silenus, engraved on the base of a camelisn scarabasus. 

6. Hercules beating down the hero Ceyx: their names, in the Etruscan 
spelling, appear in the field. Sard. (Blacas.) 

7. Hermes Psychopompos evoking a ghost from the shades, by the virtue 
of his mystic wand, as is indicated by his gesture. One of the finest 
specimens of the Etruscan style that can anywhere be found. Sard. (Berlin.) 



1. Uelmetcd Head, in a veiy archaic manner, apparently copied from some 
ancient statue. The Venus in the field may warrant the conjecture that it 
represented JBneas. Many modem copies, with the face made more human, 
are to be met with ; and ever since Agostini gave the name, they pass for the 
head of Massanissa, the goddess being interpreted as symbolising his amorous 
powers. But any portrait of the Numidian, did it exist, would be in the 
florid Roman manner. Sard. (Florence.) 

2. Visoonti identifies this noble portrait with Miltides, from its agreement 
with the head of the Founder placed upon a coin of Byzantium. Amethyst. 

3. The celebrated ** Drunken Bacchus : ** the finest specimen of a nude 
figure to be found on a gem. Winckelmann has left a copious dissertation 
upon its excellences in his Catalogue of the Stoech Gkms. Sard. (Berlin.) 

P 2 


4. Ulysses leaning on his pilgrim's staff, and recognised by bis old dog, 
Argos. A favourite type witb botb Greeks and Romans. That it conveyed 
the idea of a bappy termination of one's labours, as in the case of the typical 
wanderer, is manifested by its being chosen to decorate an Attic tombstone, 
where it, no doubt, was understood in the same sense as the ship sailing into 
harbour on Roman monuments. Early Greek intaglio, on a chalcedony 
scarabasoid. (Leake.) 

5. Campanian Potter, engaged in turning the rim of a great amphora, 
which is held up by his apprentice. The cylinder on which it rests is 
probably a revolving iwho^ answering the purpose of a potter's wheel. Of 
extreme interest as exhibiting the actual process of manufacture in early 
Greek Ceramic art. At the recent sale of the Gastellani Collection this fine 
gem reached the price of £84. 



1. Minerva, preceded by her Serpent, advancing to the attack. In her 
right hand, instead of the usual spear, she carries what appears to be 9^ fire- 
hrand^ as though leading on the Greeks to the destruction of Troy. Over her 
shoulders is thrown not the wgis, but a long tippet of scale- armour, of the 
same construction as that worn by Virgil's Etruscan warrior : 

**.... quern pellk ahenis 
In plumam squamis auro consttta 

An intaglio valuable both for the curiosity of the subject, and the minuteness 
of detail in the costume ; being probably copied from some celebrated statue of 
the Archaic school. Scarabasus of banded agate, blanched by fire. 

2. Female Figure, with wings springing from her Aijps, carrying with both 
hands a large vase. It is uncertain whether she was meant by the Etruscan 
artist for Hebe, the original cup-bearer to the gods, bringing a wine-jar to the 
feast ; or for Iris, the giver of rain to the earth, in the act pictured by Ovid : 
'* Concipit Iris aquas, alimentaque nubibus adfert." Whatever the character 
intended, the lightness of motion through the air is very cleverly expressed in 
the engraving. The carelessness of the workmanship, and absence of finish 
in the details, indicate the latest period of the Etruscan school. Sard 

3. Female Sphinx, at play : in front, an olive branch ; a mystical device 
of unexplained signification. Her hair is drawn up into a cone, and tied in a 
knot at the top of the head, after the fashion of the Campanian women, the 
" altum Saganss caliendnmi,'' which (as a false one) Horace laughs at This 
peculiarity, coupled with the loose freedom of its execution, proves the intaglio 
to belong to the Cumsean school. Dark sard, cut from a scarabteus. 

4. Nero, with the AmrMnCs horn on the temples, in the character of 
Alexander the Great. This whimsical CsBsar often figures on gems as an 
Apollo, with the adjunct of his lyre — an excusable act of vanity, as every 



fiddler oonsiders himself at the summit of his art : but what possible parallel- 
ism could the most ingenious flattery have discovered between him and the 
mighty Macedonian? Bright yellow sard, of the kind popularly called 
" Hunstone." 

5. Serpent-headed Deity, on a throne, holding forth the orb, in token of 
universal sovereignty : before him squats the Baboon of Thoth, in the attitude 
of adoration. A unique figuration of Serapis ; but in the same sense as that 
which occasionally typifies him by the Agathodsemon Serpent invested with 
the mo6{»ii«-crowned head of the Alexandrian god instead of its natural one ; 
and the converse conjunction may very well be interpreted in the same sense. 
As Thoth or Hermes stood, in the Neo-Platonic theosophy, for the Spirit direct- 
ing the movements of the universe, this picture of his attending the com- 
mands of the Supreme Deity is full of deep signification. Deeply cut in 
a dark-green jasper, Pliny's ** molochites,'* in great esteem for making 
talismans. . 

6. The GKx)d Shepherd, of the usual type, but with a very unusual adjunct, 
the mystic intention of which it is impossible to do more than conjecture. 
Prom beneath his tunic, behind, escapes the neck and crest of an unmistake- 
able Serpent : can this be the device of some audacious Ophite, to express the 
main article of their creed — the identity of Christ with Ophis ? If so, this gem 
is the rarest of the rare — a Gnostic monument in the strictest sense of the 
name; the generality of the stones so denominated being no other than 
astrological or medicinal talismans. The V in the margin is the relic of a 
longer legend, destroyed by the reduction of the field to octagonal form in 
recent times. Fine red sard. 



The meaning of this elaborate composition will be found fully explained 
at p. 44. Sardonyx of three layers ; drawn to one-third of the actual size. 


1. Jupiter overthrowing the Titans, sons of Earth, as is typified by their 
serpent- legs. The name '* Athenion" in the tablet placed below the car has 
always been understood of the engraver of the gem ; but (as in many similar 
cases) it was akio that of an eminent Greek painter. There are better reasons 
for believing the cameo to be a copy, made in Roman times, of some famous 
picture by him, thereby (so far as the design goes) assured of immortality. 
Sardonyx of two layers ; drawn of the actual size. (Naples.) 

2. ** The Odescalchi Cameo." The conjugated portraits pass for those of 
Ptolemy 11. and ArsinoS, but a comparison of the lady's profile with that of 
Agrippina in the "Claudian Family" will at once restore these likenesses to 
their proper originals — ^Nero and his imperious mother. Sardonyx ; drawn to 
one-half the actual size. (St. Petersburg.) 




1. The earliest work of the kind, the date of which can he fixed with 
certainty. Ptolemy II., distinguished by the royal asp upon his helmet, 
conjugated with his sister Arsinoe, in the head-dress of Isis. Sardonyx cameo ; 
half actual size in the drawing, (Vienna.) 

2. The Claudian Family. Tiberius, with his mother Livia, facing the 
Emperor Claudius and Agrippina, the daughter of Germaniciis. The busts rest 
upon comucopiie, denoting the prosperity of their reigns ; but, with ingenious 
flattery, the Roman eagle is made to look towards the then reigning powers. 
By comparing the portrait of Agrippina with that of the lady on the Odescalchi 
cameo, the latter will be restored to its true originals. Cameo ; drawn to half 
the real size. (Vienna.) 


The Triumphal Procession of either Constantine, or his son, Constantius 11. 
Although the excellence of the design of this fine cameo, so superior 
apparently to its professed date, may excite some suspicion as to its genuine 
antiquity, yet nothing can be detected in it that betrays the mannerism of the 
Cinque-cento school, — the usual source of such historical camei; and the 
accuracy of the details of costume and arrangement is far above the knowledge 
of the more recent forger. The gem is now in the possession of that eminent 
collector, Herr Tobias Biehler, of Vienna, who purchased it from the widow of 
a Greek, who either could not, or would not, give any information as to its 
provenance. Drawn to the actual size of the original. 

I gladly embrace this opportunity of correcting my erroneous attribution, 
made through blindly following the traditional one, of Charles L's cameo, at 
page 61. The portrait must be restored to Claudius, and comparison with 
his medals will at once decide its identity. How the mistake arose it is 
difficult to imagine. The stone has been skilfully repaired and remounted by 
Mr. Spilling, and is now deposited by Her Majesty in the British Museum. 

Through a similar exchange, that most exquisite of all cameo-portraits, the 
Augustus with the attributes of Jupiter, of the Blacaa Cabinet, long passed 
for Constantine ; and was so published by €K)ri in his ' Museum Florentinum.' 
That learned antiquary was led into error by the Byzantine jewelled diadem^ 
which some centuries later had replaced the original laurel-wreath, cut away 
in order to admit it, not however without leaving still discoverable traces of 
itself. The change was probably made by Constantine himself, whose features 
bore a marked resemblance to those of the first Augustus, and who thereby 
secured a portrait of himself such as the decadence of contemj^orary art 
wad unable to supply. Another substitution followed : in times of distress 


the precious stones were picked out of the diadem by the possessors of the 
cameo, and consequently their empty settings were filled by its purchaser, 
Leone Strosszi, with the little camei that now adorn it. 



1. Bacchanalian group, reclining upon a lion's hide, spread under the shade 
of a fig-tree. A youthful Faun is sounding the double pipes; a Nymph, 
holding a goblet in her left hand, pours out a libation to the god from a patera ; 
a drowsy Cupid in the background expresses the protraction of the festivities. 
(Beverley ; now Alnwick Castle.) 

2. Polyhymnia, Muse of Heroic poetry, holding a scroll, points to the 
sepulchral monument of some ancient worthy, by the side of which stands a 
maiden with offerings to the dead. Terpsichore, seated, strikes the lyre in 
accompaniment ; in the centre is the Bacchic ciatay supporting a tragic and a 
oomic mask. A good specimen of the antique style of oomix)sition in a 

3. The same subject as the first ; but here the Faun is singing, the Nymph 
beats time with her hands, whilst Pan supplies the music with his syrinx. 


The beneficent demi-god Ctuwhafif seated cross-legged on a flowery 
cushion ; on his wrists are bracelets, and hung about his neck the chalcedony 
cylinder, still worn in the same manner by the chiefs of certain Brazilian 
tribes. The figure betrays a traditional reminiscence of a Buddhist type : an 
idea supported by the now received theory that civilisation was brought into 
Peru (at least) from Japan. This extraordinary carving is executed on a 
slab of green Amazon stone, the highly-prized Chalchizetel of the Mexicans, 
here shown of the actual size. It was dug up by the explorer Squires, in a 
ruined town forty miles from Palenga. 

Japanese influence upon the art of South America is both conceivable and 
easily accounted for, but the most inexplicable and (if genuine) the most inter- 
esting trace of the ancient connexion between the Old World and the New 
is the inscription still to be read upon a large stone, standing near Yarmouth, in 
the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia. This inscription, long known, has hitherto 
been taken for Runic, and, thus viewed, gives no sense whatever ; but, when 
inverted, yields beyond all cavil, in the cursive Latin characters of the 7th 
and 8th centuries, the epitaph VfCV h TALLVSANI, where the second and 
fourth characters are inverted, as is commonly done in Merovingian and Anglo- 
Saxon legends. VLCA may be intended for Voica, ''wolf," in Sclavonic. 
This inscription, it will be observed by palaBologists, is identical, both in sense 
and in lettering, with those still so numerous upon the Maen-hirs of North 
Walesy and the patriotic Cymry may be allowed to discover in it a moxe 


conclusive testimoDy to the famous voyage of Madoc than in th^ 
etymology of the name, " Penguin." The obvious explanation of a recent 
forgery is refuted by the length of Hme since it was first observed ; indeed it 
may be questioned if any one has ever visited the locality who possessed 
sufficient antiquarian knowledge to perpetrate a fraud that so completely 
satisfies all the requirements of its professed age and destination. Although 
the Northmen generally made Runic their epigraphic character, yet there is no 
reason why they should not have been acquainted with cursive Latin, as well as 
the Welsh and Irish of the same time. It is also the same that is used for the 
Celtic inscription upon the celebrated "Newton Stone," near Aberdeen, where 
it is accompanied with a version in Oghams ; and which that great Hebraist, 
Dr. Mill, by reading from right to left, converted into very satisfactory 
Phanician, I have no doubt that the inscriptum is genuine. The question is, 
how it got to the Bay of Fundy ? The matter-of-fact reader will reply, ** As 
ballast in a Welsh brig bound to Yarmouth ; " and so solve the problem. 



Posidonius records that, in the grand Dionysiac Procession celebrated by 
Ptolemy Philadelphus, there marched Aglais, *' wearing a peruke with a crest 
fastened upon it, sounding the trumpet " (Athenaeus, x. 58). flence it may be 
inferred that this remarkable head-dress was an established article of costume, 
appropriated to certain divine personages. In this magnificent gem, the 
artist has certainly wished to represent an artificial head-covering, seemingly 
of metaly and not the natural hair. It has been conjectured that we have 
here a copy of the Pallas which adorned the lost pediment of the Parthenon. 
But, in this character, we probably have on the present gem the portrut of 
the Amazonian Marcia, for the face, in its stem beauty, is certainly not 
ideal, and agrees with that to be seen conjugated with Gommodus upon his 
medallions, but in which she wears the helmet of Dea Roma. Sard ; drawn 
here of the actual size. There is a reduced antique replica of this in the 
Blacas Cabinet, a proof of the original importance of the subject. (Florence.) 


1. Under a spreading Quince tree (sacred to Hymen) Vulcan is engaged in 
making the wedding ring; as Ovid's 

" AnnuluB at fiat primo colUditur anniin.'' 

At each side stand Cupid and Psyche, who have bespoken it. 

2. The youthful Bacchus offering sacrifice, under the direction of his 
foster-father, Silenus, who, having dropped his thyrsus, has great difiiculty 
in keeping his legs. Sard. (Muirhead.) 

3. Skeleton, emerging from a huge vase, ornamented with torches crossed, 
in allusion to the Eleusinian M} steries, and plucking the branch of a palm* 



tree. A speaking allegory of the reaping of posthumous fame, and expressed 
upon the gem with a Wilfulness of workmanship not unworthy of the idea. 
Dark sard. (Beck.) 

4. Nemesis gtuding a wheel, over which is passed a rope, at which Cupid is 
pulling. An exemplification of Horace's 

"Ingratam Veneri pone superbiam, 
Ne cnrrente retro faniseat rota." 

Antique paste. (Praun.) 

5. Warrior, with hammer and punch, repairing the damage done to his 
corslet by the foeman's spear.* This curious design may be merely the 
" trade-mark " of an armourer. Chalcedony. (Leake.) 

6. Invaluable for the light it throws upon the ancient method of modelling 
life-size figures in clay. Prometheus engaged in creating Man : on each 
side a Bam and a Horse, whose distinctive qualities he extracts to compose 
the mental portion of his work. As Horace tells it : — 

'* Fertur Prometheus addere principi 
Limo coacto particnlam nndiqne 
Desectam, et insani leonis 
Vim stomacho apposniase nostro." 

7. Nymph, seated upon a cork-stick (?) fixed in the ground, and balancing 
herself with her thyrsus, while she offers her vows to a terminal statue of 
Bacchus. The ceremony is explained by the history Amobius gives of the 
institution of the PhaUophoria by the same god. The most singular 
representation to be found in a gem. Agate, banded in a singular manner. 
(New York.) 


Numbers 1, 2, 3 are various types of the goddess Spes ; of which the third 
may very well be considered a copy of the famous Spes Vetue, one of the most 
ancient deities worshipped at Home. Both the pose of the figure and the 
arrangement of the drapery bear unmistakeable evidence to the drawing's 
having been taken from an archaic bronze. 

4. Victory reading out the announcement of some great success in war, 
from the scroll she holds in both hands. The dub, so conspicuously dis- 
played in the field, is the regular cogntsante of the family Autonia, which 
claimed descent from the Heraclide Anthon: and this, coupled with the 
coincidence of the owner's name and the evident date of the workmanship, 
may justify us in assigning it to the Eros, the last friend, faithful to the 
death, of the despairing Triumvir. Sard. (S. S. Lewis.) 

6. A City, under the customary personification of a tower-crowned female, 
soliciting the protection of the goddess Fortune ; on whose arm she lays a 
- - - _ — ' 

*".... bia sex thoraca petitum 
Perfofisumqae locia." — Aen, zi. 11. 


firm grasp. The peculiar neatness of the engraving points to a Greco- 
Asiatic origin. Sard. (The same.) On the back of the gem, a later owner 

has cut 

VLRVr AVd (E) 

Name and lettering bespeak its Teutonic origin, and the 5th century for 
the addition. 

6. A Citizen imploring, on bended knee, the favour of the same capricious 
Ruler of events by the ejaculation BOHOEI, " Help me,^ engraved on the 
reverse of the gem. A fine sard. (The same.) 

7. Capaneus struck down by a thunderbolt from the walls of Thebes, 
which he had sworn to scale in Jove's despite. He is seen tumbling back- 
wards, and clutching at the wall to stay himself. The gateway, with its 
peculiar pinnmy is evidently copied from that which the Etruscan artist had 
before his eyes in his native town. This highly interesting iutaglio once 
belonged to Caylus, who, viewing the subject upside down, has published it 
as an acrobat performing upon the petaurum. 8ard. (The sama) 

8. Woman offering a libation before a statuette of Priapus, set up on a 
lofty pedestal ; behind her stands an aged man blowing the double flute. A 
bending fig-tree completes this pretty picture of a rural worship, weU 

exemplifying Virgil's 

^ Inflavit cum pinguis ebar 
TyrrhenuB ad aras.** 



The gems figured in this and the next plate are memorials of the Romans, 
who so diligently explored, during three centuries of possesuon, the mineral 
treasures of the Mendip Hills. They are chiefly in camelian, with a few in 
nicolo (blue and black onyx) and red jasper ; and a few retain their rings of 
iron. All proceed from a local collection made at Gharterhouse-on-Mendip 
by a Captain of the Mines ; where they were discovered by that inde&tigable 
explorer, Mr. S. S. Lewis, Fellow of Corpus Christi College, and published 
by him in the Transactions of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society, and to 
whom I am indebted for permisaon to use these very interesting illustrations. 

1. Virgo of the Zodiac, recognisable by her helmet, offering sacrifice upon 
a portable altar. 

2. ** Mercury of the Rocks," as the Greeks styled him, in the character of 
patron of sailors, seated on a rock, and proffering his money bag ; evidently 
the signet of some "ancient marinpr," who shipped the Damnonian metals 
for Gktul. 

3. Gk)at browsing upon a tree. Signet of a colonist settled in the rich 
plains at the foot of the Mendip. 

4. Bnll butting. As Augustus put this exact t3rpe on a gold coin, it 
must have had a mystic meaning of importance, but it is not the Zodiacal 


5. Mars contemplating his own Ghanns in the reflection from a burnished 
shield at his feet. 

6. Jlfoc^ttM, corn-measure, filled with firuitsand flowers, set upon a pedestal, 
out of which spring two cornucopia8. A speaking emblem of fecundity ; a 
good augury, seen also in a similar form upon an Alexandrian coin. These 
last three gems retain their original iron settings, although much damaged. 

6a. Hope holding forth her lHy towards Abundance, who elevates a 
basket of fruits (lanx aaiura) ; in the middle, a bunch of wheat ears, to make 
the allegory more easily understood. This is the identical ring recorded by 
'Hhat quaint old cruel coxcomb" in his' Angler' as having been dropped 
into the Tyne, and refunded by a salmon. Truly, a dactyleological Jonah I 
Now in the possession of the Eev. Mr. Anderson. 

7. Shepherd seated under a tree. Paste cast, from a fine intaglio. 

8. Man and Woman joining hands ; the established device for a betrothal 
ring (such as was found on the finger of the unfortunate wife of Pansa, in 
the crypt of her villa at Pompeii). Imperial coins, struck on occasion of a 
marriage, bear this type, with the legend " Concordia Felix." 

9. Minerva Yictrix. The choice of this subject points to the reign of 

10. Mars Qradibus. In a superior style of art and execution to any of 
the rest. 

11. At once the most curious and the most tasteful of all the glyptic 
legacies of the Romans to the soil of Britain. Victory, wearing the winged 
cap of Mepcury to declare her the hearer of important news, is borne along by 
a horse, which she urges with a whip to its utmost speed. Her attitude clearly 
proves that the present fashion in which a lady sits her steed was only a 
re-invention of Diane de Poitiers. As for its meaning, the design conveys an 
augury of success to some &vourite racer, to be taken in the same sense as 
another intaglio known to me, in which the same goddess is placing the 
victor's crown upon the head of the winning mare ** Calippa Bomana." This 
type is, as far as I know, unpublished ; but Mr. S. S. Lewis, in the winter of 
1882, observed its exact counterpart upon the finger of an English railway 
ofiBcial at Smyrna ; who, however, set so extravagant a value upon the gem 
as to make its acquisition impossible to the most enthusiastic of amateurs. 
Sard ; found in the ruins of the I^oman castrum at South Shields, and now in 
the possession of Mr. Blair. 

ROMAN-BRITISH (continued). 

1. Bust of Antonla, wife of Drusus. Paste lapis-lazuli ; found at Stanwix, 
near Carlisle. Actual size. 

2. Circus ; with chariot-race going on. A most accurate representation of 
the arrangement of the building, showing the central division (spina) with its 
dolphin fountains, and the conical mete, the globes on which dropped 
successively at each turn of the racers around them. Astarte on her lion, so 
conspicuously placed on the spina, being the tutelary goddess of Carthage, 


would lead to the conjecture that we see here the Circus of that imporUint 
capital. Sard, much enlarged in the drawing; found at the Ghestera 
(^Bxnov%um)y and now in the possession of Mr. Clayton, whom I have to thank 
for the use of this most interesting illustration. 

3. Bear: a picture from the life of the Ur9us Caledoniusj which tore 
Laureolus in the Roman amphitheatre in the days of Martial : 

" Nada Caledonio sic Tiflcera prsbuit tirso 
Haud fiilsa pendens in cruce Laureolus." 

Sardonyx cameo ; actual size ; foimd at the Boman station. South Shields, 
and now in the collection of Mr. Blair. 

4. Bust of Minerva : singularly treated, helmeted, her hair combed straight 
down upon the shoulder. The style of the engraving bespeaks a more early 
period than the £mpire. (Mendip.) 

5. Cupid angling : the prettiest design and neatest work of all the gems 
hitherto yielded by the same locality. Bed jasper; now in the Lewis 

6. Head of Omphale, clad in the lion's hide, of which she has despoiled her 
slave, Hercules. Sardonyx cameo, blanched by fire ; lately found atCaerleon, 
the ancient Isca Silurum. Drawn to the actual size. 

7. Bronze ring : ornamented with a Mask in low relief. This Mask is 
hollow and soldered on to the face of the ring : it is made with a die ; affording 
a curious proof of the demand for such designs (talismanic) amongst the poor^ 
Bomans. Found at Chesterford. 

This is the place to remark that in several Boman stations, but particularly 
at Brough on the Picts' Wall, are found large numbers of small leaden disks, 
stamped with various devices, often impressions of engraved gems. As no 
gem would endure, without damage, frequent application to the fused metal, 
we must suppose that a terra-cotta stamp made upon the officer^s signdi was 
used for the purpose. These disks, ancestors of the larger breed of Papal 
BuiRa, explain the meaning of the plumbum^ which we find from the ' Acts 
of St. Maximian ' was given to every recruit on his first entering the service : 
answering exactly to the shilling now given by the enlisting sergeant. After 
this the tiro, if found fit for duty, was tattooed with the device of his own 
cohort (seen so frequently on tombstones), as Yegetius incidentally mentions. 


1. Jupiter, leaning on his sceptre, holding the thunderbolt downwards, in 
sign of peace ; at his feet, the Eagle. This beautiful cameo was mounted in 
the present setting of gold, enamelled, and deposited in the Sainte Chapdle^ 
where it was long venerated as the portrait of St. John the Evangelist, in 
virtue of the Eagle, his proper attribute, which accompanies the figure. 
Drawn to the actual size. (Paris.) 

A curious example of mediaeyal appropriation of antique work came lately 
under my notice in VUAni, cut in the most artless manner in the field before 


m good portrait of Nero. The blundering in the arrangement of the letters 
betrays the hand of a complete novice in gem-engraving, whilst the name of 
the great Florentine family indicates the place of the attempt. 

The Inventory of the Jewels of Charles Y. of France contains the following 
item : — ^*^ The King's signet : which is the head of a king without a beard, and 
IB engraved on a fine Oriental ruby ; it is with this that the King seals letters 
written with his own hand.** I formerly identified this ring with the one 
of the same period now in the Marlborough Cabinet, but have since been 
convinced of my mistake by comparing it with a cast taken from the impres- 
sion of the signet of Charles Y., for which I am indebted to the kindness of 
Baron Pichon. The ruby of the French Boyal Signet is larger ; the portrait, 
similarly crowned and in front face, more artistically engraved, and having 
more the character of an actual likeness, and some vestiges of a legend 
completely filling the border. 

2. Private Seal of William Giffbid, Archbishop of York (1366-1379). The 
•fine antique intaglio which adorns it bears the bust of M. Aurelius, eanJugcUed 
with that of his great teacher, Plato : although, without doubt, they passed 
with the Archbishop's contemporaries as portraits from the life of the Apostles 
Peter and PauL In hct the curly head of the emperor was then quite suffi- 
cient to identify him with the traditional likeness, as seen on the Bulls of the 
fiery Zelotes. 



Facsimile of the drawing by Matthew Paris, done in his own MS. Chroni- 
cle, now preserved in the library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. A 
Roman Emperor, Constantine, or one of his sons, holds forth a Victory, and 
rests upon a spear, round which twines a serpent. The imperial Eagle stands 
at his side. This stone was in high repute as a talisman that assisted women 
in labour, the figure of Victory being interpreted in an analogous sense. It 
was given to the Abbey by the Saxon king Sebald ; and the silver mounting 
is apparently of the same date. This very remarkable gem is not known to 
exist in any cabinet No doubt it was carefully concealed at the time when 
the Abbey was dissolved, and we must hope for some lucky chance to bring it 
again to light : a favour of fortune not to be despaired of, when we remember 
the almost miraculous resuscitation of the Shrine itself a few years ago. 



1. Thalia, seated, contemplating a comic mask ; in front, a young Faun, 
balancing himself upon a pedestal. The legend ** Je sui sel d'amour leV' *' I am 
the seal of loyal love," is so disposed as to look like a religious motto. The 
subject was understood by the setter as Herodias gloating over the severed 
head of the Baptist, whilst Salome is practising her steps before her. Sard ; 
set in a large silver seal. (Dineley ; now in the British Museum.) 


2. Portraits of Julia, between her song, GaiuB and LacioB. The style of 
this most interesting intaglio coincides so exactly with the same type upon a 
denarius minted by Marius Trogus that it may safely be presumed to have 
been his personal signet. But the ** Andreotto of Syracuse" who*adopted this 
intaglio for his signet, necessarily viewing all such things with the eye of 
faith, converted the lively Princess and her boys into the Mad<»ma, 
Bambino, and Precursor. The setting is silver. (Waterton; now S. Ken* 

3. Vizored Persian Helmet, with monogram in the field. The signet of 
** Conrad del Gonte ;" perhaps a member of the family to which Dante dia* 
paragingly alludes (Purg. xiv. 146) : 

" £ mal fa Castrocan, e peggio Conte 
Che de figliar trai ContS pi^ 8*impiccia ;** 

for the make and the lettering of this elegant gold signet-ring bespeak a 
contemporary of the poet Did he possibly take the trunkless head for that 
of the Patron Saint of Florence ? Very fine work in sard. (Waterton ; now 
S. Kensington.*) 



1. The so-called Seal of St Servatius, still preserved, together with his 
portable altar, in Maestricht Cathedral. The obverse shows the bust of a 
Saint ; the reverse the Gorgon's Head, regarded even to the latest time as a 
most potent amulet. The legend, running round both sides, is a blundered 
copy of the common Byzantine charm, '*As a serpent thou dost writhe, 
but as a lamb thou shalt lie down." It was probably engraved in the 13th 
century, long after the times of Servatius. Green jasper; drawn of the 
actual size. 

2. The Gnostic Grorgon ; a work of the early Byzantine school. The legend 
is, ''Holy, holy. Lord of Hosts, Osannal Thou who art blessed in the 
heights." Drawn to the size of the original. 

3. Ring of Siffred, Bishop of Chichester, d. 1160. The extreme rudeness of 
the jasper abraxas with which it is set almost proves the engraving a 
contemporary work. This very interesting relic is preserved in the Cathedral 


1. Massy gold ring, set with a fine ruby, deeply engraved with the head of 
a youthful prince. The shank has letters in gold, upon a groimd of niello^ 

* Of St Bartholomew's Hospital, founded in the early years of Henry I.*s reign, 
the original seal was set with a large antique gem, rudely engraved with a Spread 
Eagle. Its style is closely allied to that of the same type on the latest potin coina 
of Alexandria ; and, as the field is perfectly plane, the material was most probably 
the then so favourite lapis-laxuli. 


coDtaining an inyocation to St. George. On these grounds, its present 
possessor, Baron Pichon, seems justified in attributing it to the Black Prince. 
This matchless specimen of mediaeval jewellery was discovered in company 
with some human bones near the Castle of Montpensier a few years ago. 
Drawn to double the actual size. 

2. The fatal love-token given by Queen Elizabeth to Essex, the detention 
of which by his treacherous messenger proved the cause of his destruction. 
Drawn here of the actual size. (Now preserved in the Thynne family.) 


1. Veiled Head, probably meant for a Madonna ; deeply cut in sapphire. 
As the motto '* Tecta lege, lecta tege," was also that of Matthew Paris, the 
signet was formerly attributed to him. Set in a gold ring of 13th century 
fashion ; found in an old well at Hereford. (Waterton ; now S. Kensington.) 

2. Ruby, engraved with a youthful head, crowned. Probably the signet 
of Margaret of Anjou; the setting being in the fashion of her days. 

3. Royal Bust ; surrounded by a corddih'e : the star on the breast seems 
to refer it to the Douglas family. Cut in the metal of a large gold ring, 
supposed to have belonged to Cochrane, the favourite of James V. Found 
at Crawford Muir. 

4. Bust of the Madonna, in the head-dress of the 13th century ; her lily in 
the field, with the appropriate motto, " Tota pulchra." Neatly cut in a red 
jasper ; found at Bedford. 

6. Venus at Vulcan's furge; an engraving of the times of Archbishop 
Parker, who presented it to Elizabeth, together with an enumeration of the 
virtues of the gem. An agate ; drawn to the actual size. 

6. Triple face, deeply cut in a brown garnet (jacinth). This is the 
cognizance of the Trivulzi family, to whose name the **Tre6 Vultus" was 
applied. The French war-cry, " Noel," forming its legend, seems to hint that 
the owner was in the service of that royalty. Set in a heavy gold ring. 
(Waterton ; now S. Kensington.) 

Time, which solves all mysteries, has likewise solved the problem of the 
real destination of those brazen monsters of the species AnntUuSy hitherto 
known as '' Credential rings." The various explanations as yet proposed as 
to their use (all of them alike unsatisfactory) I had reviewed in a former work ; 
but now M. Castan has placed the matter out of doubt by his observations 
upon one now preserved in the Museum at Besan9on, which by the connexion 
of the devices upon it plainly tells its own history. The shoulders bear 
respectively the shield of Pope Nicolas V. and St. George and the Dragon, with 
the inscription P. N. and DVX. Now it is on record that this Pope, Thomas 
of Sarzana, sold the sovereignty of Corsica to Fregoso, afterwards Doge of 
Genoa, who in his turn disposed of it to the famous Bank of St. (George in that 
city. The ring, therefore, was the token of investiture of the bank with the 
feudal rights of both Pope and Doge. These rings were in use for the half- 


century between Pope Eugenius lY. and Sixtus lY. Their invention bo- 
speaks the craftiness of the Italian and the churchman; thdr huge size 
guankd them from loss, their worthless metal from theft and the melting-pot. 
Rings of the same fashion were also sent to Cardinals upon their election 
into the Sacred College ; and this explains the fact of their having been dis- 
covered in the tombs of certain Popes who had preserved these memorials of 
tbtdr first step towards that supreme dignity. A copious essay upon the 
subject will be found in the ' Mdmoires de la Soci6t^ d'Antiquaires de France,* 
vol. xliiL p. 22. 



1. The Laoooon group ; from a seal, formerly supposed that of W. Colyns, 
Prior of Tywardreth, Cornwall, but since proved to have belonged to T, 
Arundell, attached to a deed made between those two parties, bearing the date 
of 1527. As this was fifteen years after the finding of the marble, it is 
posfflble that the intaglio is only a copy of it, as restored by Michelangelo da 

2. The same group, represented in the fully developed manner of the 
Revival, with the architectural embellishments then so much in vogue. 

3. An Imperaior and a Senator, offering sacrifice before the statue of Dea 
Roma. The initials below refer to the engraver. 

4. Head of a Turk, in a jewelled turban ; clearly the signet of some Pasha, 
like Ali of Yannina, who had emancipated himself from the prejudices of his 
brethren in this respect. Green jasper. (Leaka) 

6. Narcissus contemplating his naked beauties in a fountain. The attempt 
at pictorial effect, and the falseness of the details, strongly mark the p^od of 
this elegant composition. 

6. Bellerophon watering Pegasus at the newly-risen Hippocrene ; executed 
in the same style as the last. The legend is a bad attempt at the name of 
«' Sostratus." Sard. (Marlborough.) 


Yenus and Mars taken in the toils of Yulcan ; all the gods and goddesses 
looking on. Said to have obtained from Gregory XIII. for its artist, Calabresi, 
the remission of his doom to imprisonment for life ; but, according to another 
story (much more credible), executed in 1830 by another Calabresi, who got 
£600 for this wonderful tour deforce. From Prince Demidoff it has passed 
through various hands into Captain Peel's cabinet. The only part of the 
romantic history that is worthy of credit is that the work cost the artist three 
years' unremitting labour. What inconceivable pains must he have taken 
to completely detach the network from the figures confined therein, and then 
to give such exquisite finish to those figures through the small interstices of 
the cords ! The particular Pope was evidently pitched upon for the dedicatee 
of this somewhat unclerical subject, on account of the notoriety he enjoys 
amongst Protestant amateurs as the instigator of the St. Bartholomew 


massacre. Cameo la blue and white agate ; the net executed in the black, the 
figures in the white layers. Drawn to double the actual size. 


1. Saturn, with head veiled, in token of seniority. The signet of some one 
of the family Sentia, who derived his hereditary cognomen from the primitive 
god of Latium. Sard. (New York.) 

2. Faustina Mater, tower-crowned, in the character of Cybele, the Great 
Mother. Red jasper. (New York.) 

3. Jupiter the Thunderer. The bust of Cybele in the field shows this gem 
to be of T^rian work. The back of the scarab is cut into the shape of a fly. 
Amulets of this kind are not uncommon, and are supposed to refer to Baal- 
zebub, '* The Lord of Flies," the great god of Syria. Agate. (Fraun.) 

4. Serapis, as the Sun-god, uniting the characters of Ammon and Phoebus. 
Sapphirine chalcedony. (New York.) 

5. Juno standing between Mercury and Minerva. The last holds a palm 
instead of her spear, as an augury of success. Sard. (New York.) 

6. Ganymede borne aloft by the Eagle, as he was hunting. Sard. 
(New York.) 


1. Head of Jupiter : the hair bound with a fillet. In the Etruscan style. 

2. The same head, laurel-crowned. In the best Roman manner. (Blacas.) 

3. Zeus and Hera, conjugated heads, in the later Greek style. Chal- 
cedony. (Leake.) 

4. Juno, of Roman workmanship. (Berlin.) 

6. Jupiter " Fulgurator " in his car. Finely engraved, but the treatment 
of the clouds indicates a modern date. Camelian. 

6. The shepherd Cranymede made the cup-bearer of Jove. Sard. (Blacas.) 

7. Europe, holding the nuptial torch and the symbols of fertility, borne 
across the seas by the Bull. Sard. (St. Petersburg.) 

8. Jupiter descending in thunder upon the expiring Omphale. A 
matchless specimen of the early Greek style. Sard. (Berlin.) 


1. Serapis as the Sun-god, Lord of the Elements : the Air symbolised by 
the Moon, Water by the Trident, Earth by the Serpent. Sardonyx. (Wood.) 

2. Genius of Death leaning on an extinguished torch: rs he is often 
represented on sarcophagL Not an uncommon signet-device, evidently chosen 
to inculcate Horace's precept : 

**Omnem crede diem tibi diluxisse Bupremam." 

Once the property of Murat. Nicolo. (Davidson.) 



8. Serapis as the Grecian Zeus, borne up by the Eagle : an idea expressed 
by the legend, ** One Zeus, Serapis.** Red jasper. (Leake.) 

4. Serapis, with a stem countenance, as Lord of the Lower World; 
identified with the Roman Pluto. Sard. (Berlin.) 

6. Magician evoking the ghost of an aged man, at the request of two 
women, who bend down to consult him. Etruscan sardonyx. (Herts.) 

6. Larva, ghost, leaning upon a tall wine-jar, and holding forth an tin" 

guentarium : an Epicurean hint to enjoy life whilst one can. 

7. Hope throwing incense upon a portable altar, in honour of iEsculapius, 

for the health's sake of the owner of the signet, '' Onesime,*' whose portrait 
appears above. Sard ; found at Alexandria. (New York.) 


1. Neptune and Amphitrite borne over the waves by a sea-horse. The 
treatment of the water is not in accordance with the antique style in that 
particular. (Berlin.) 

2. The Cabiri of Samothraoe, inventors of navigation and conunerce^ 
conveying a wine-jar in a galley. Burnt camelian. (Maskelyne.) 

8. Scylla destroying a mariner : a design put on his coins by S. Pompey, 
the pirate. Sard. (Marlborough.) 

4. Neptune urging his suit to the Danaid Amymone : in whose hand the 
pitcher symbolises the gift of the Fountain of Lema. Antique paste. 

5. Nymph kneeling at the side of a fountain. Either of the same significa- 
tion as the preceding ; or if the cymbals hanging on the rock have a definite 
meaning, she is a Bacchante fetching water for the sacred rites. Cameo. 

6. Giant defying the Gods ; he shields himself with the lion's hide wrapped 
round his left hand, whilst with his right he aims a rock at his enemy. 


1. Goddess with /our wings, in the Phoenician style; but her hdmeted 
head may be taken to indicate a very early type of Athene. Sard. (Blacas.) 

2. Minerva, with her usual attributes. In the Etruscan style. 

3. Athene Promachos encouraging the Greeks to the attack. The most 
spirited intaglio in the mature Greek style known to me. Sard. (Hertz.) 

4. Diomede stealing the Palladium. The slain guardian lies at the foot of 
the altar. Onyx. (Beverley.) 

5. llie jealous Minerva transforming her rival Arachne into a spider. The 
design more in the taste of the Cinque-cento than of antiquity. Sard. 

6. Gorgon, or Fury : a most ancient personification of the idea of divine 
vengeance. Sard. (St Petersburg.) 



1. HeadofCereB. SanL (Blacas.) 

2. Triptolemus, attended by the serpent of Ceres : in the field, a Punic 
legend in large characters. 

3. Ceres presenting wheat ears to her adopted son, Triptolemus, about to 
start, in her own car, upon his mission of benevolence in making agriculture 
known to mankind. Plasina. (Paris.) 

4. The Nymph Thallo, with lap full of blossoms. 

5. Mother Earth reclining in the midst of her productions. 

6. Ceres, seated, holding forth the figure of Justice ; at her side, the com* 
measure. Plasina, bleached by fire. (New York.) 


1. Apollo, clad like his rival Nero, ciiharmdico habUuy singing to the 
cUhara (his proper instrument) in front of the Delphic tripod. 

2. The Pythia meditating on her oracles, before she ascends the tripod. 
Antique paste. (Berlin. ) 

3. Apollo seated in meditation ; at his side stands the aged Herophile, the 
earliest priestess of Delphi. 

4. Apollo standing by his tripod, about which is coiled the Python. The 
inscription in the field shows this gem to have belonged to Lorenzo de 

5. Two Gryphons uniting with a Harpy in a mystic chorus. Etruscan 

6. This interesting intaglio presents to us a faithful copy of the famous 
statue by the early artist, Canachus, placed in the Didymaaum of Miletus, 
llie stag's bind feet contained a spring, so as to allow a thread to be passed 
between them and the pedestal — a trick which Pliny seems to have considered 
the chief merit of the work. 8ard. (Praun.) 

7. Gryphon, emblem of the Sun, being the compound of the Eagle and Lion, 
holding Apollo's lyre. Amethyst. (Florence.) 


1. Apollo Pythius resting his lyre upon the head of a Delphic virgin, who 
holds first-fmits in her hand, represented by the branch which she extends. 
Sard. (New York.) 

2. Bust of Apollo, which from the peculiar arrangement of the hair would 
seem to be a copy of the famous statue at Miletus. Amethyst. (Praun.) 

Q 2 


8. Apollo profiferiDg his bow in token of amity : ftn admirable work of the 
Seleucidan period. Peridot. (New York.) 

4. The celebrated ^sculapius of ''Aulua,^ the original owner of the 
signet, not the engraver^ as was so long imagined. Sard. (Blacas ; now 
British Museum.) 

5. Cupid bearing off the trident of Neptune, and bestriding Capricorn, the 
" Buler of the Western Wave," as Horace terms that sign. The type pro- 
bably expresses the universal dominion of the little god. Sard, (Praun.) 

6. Syren playing on the lyre. The inscription, coupled with the palm in 
the field, attests this to be the device of one that had gained the prize for 
Poetry at the CapUcline games instituted by Domitian. A curious historical 
record of the same nature has come under my notice — ^the intaglio of a Tragic 
mask, inscribed KAP CEL • COCC • COS • obtained at their celebration by the 
succeeding emperor, Nerva. As these contests recurred every fifth year, the 
frequency of similar memorials need not excite suspicion of their authenticity. 
Sard. (New York.) 

Note upon the ApoJlo now in the New York Museum, 

The enigmatical legend in the field, BAI C€OV, is explained by that seen 
on a famous gem of the French Cabinet, in which t A BAC ^Upit 'AiroXXo>ir 
Bao-tXfw) is thanked for the restoration to health of Pescennius Niger. 
Similarly, on our gem, some partisan of his competitor, Severus, invokes the 
protection of ''the Holy King Apollo** for his leader: C€OY being the 
regular Greek transliteration of the Latin 8EV. 


1. Polyhymnia, Muse of Epic poetry, holding the plectrum^ and contem- 
plating the tomb of the hero whom she celebrates. 

2. Clio, Muse of History, holding the scroll of records. Sard. (Marl- 

3. Muse, or Poetess, playing on the •* many-stringed " ftorfttYon. Crystal 
scarabseoid. (Cockerill.) 

4. The same subject, on a smaller scale. Sard. (Brit. Mus.) 

5. Dancing-girl making a pirouette to the sound of the double-pipe. 
Sard. (S. S. Lewis.) 



1. Aquarius, the " House " of Jupiter, as the representative of Ganymede. 

2. Diana in the character of Luna; her car drawn by white stags, as 
that of the Hindoo Chandra is by antelopes. She holds forth an auspicious 
plant to her votary, and promises him success by the wreath placed in the 
field below. 


3. Transportation to the Fortunate Islands of a youth, borne across the 
sea by the ''Tyrannus Hesperias Capricomus undse.** Sardonyx cameo. 

4. Deus Lunus, the Moon-god. The chief seat of his worship was CarrhsB, 
where it still flourished at the date of Julian's expedition into Persia. Sard. 

5. Leo, the ^ House " of the Sun, holding in his jaws the head of the Bull, 
type of Earth, and trampling on Scorpio, typical of Cold. 

6. The fore-quarters of Two Winged Bulls, conjoined: apparently an 
astrological talisman, for the idea is purely Chaldean. 


1. The Artemis of Ephesus, here identified with Isis, as the Goddess of 
Earth ; the scorpions in the field symbolising seed-time. Black jasper. 

2. The Roman Diana, as the Lunar Power and Huntress combined. 

3. The Greek Artemis, in the latter character only. Sard. (Leake.) 

4. Niobe shielding a son from the shafts of the twin deities. 

5. Nymph pouring out water from an urn. Cameo. (Beyerley.) 

6. Roe, the attribute of Artemis. Early Greek work. 


1. Mercury tuning the lyre, of which he was reputed the inventor. Sard. 

2. Mercury introducing the suppliant Priam to Achilles. Sard. (Blacas.) 

3. The original type of Hermes ; retaining much of the Assyrian character, 
and adopted by Etruscan art. Sard. (Beverley.) 

4. Mercury acting as cup-bearer to the Gods, carrying an oZpe, on which 
rests a Soul ; typifying his office in the Shades. Sard. (Paris.) 

5. Mercury and Fortuna uniting their influence for the benefit of the 

6. Mercury conducting a Soul to Charon, into whose hand the defunct is 
dropping the ferryman's fee. The design has nothing of the antique cha- 
racter. Peridot. (Maskelyne.) 


1. Mars, victorious in a sea-fight, reposing after his work is done : an idea 
expressed by his armour lyiog on the ground, and by the ship's rudder dis- 
played in his hand. (Beverley.) 

2. Victory, in the character of Hygeia, feeding the Serpent of Health. 
Sard. (Blacas.) 



3. An important historical intaglio, commemorating the restoration by the 
Parthians of the standards lost by Crassus. Antique paste. 

4. Mm Stator, with the Roman Eagle at his side. 
6. Victory pouriDg out a libation. (Berlin.) 

6. Victory erecting a trophy : the double-headed aclis at the side points to 
the Samnite. This magnificent engraving, in a chalcedony scarabe^oid, passes 
for Sicilian work, but the inscription on the streamer has an ugly resemblance 
to Rchler^s signature. (Brit. Mus.) 


1. Mars Gradibus, carrying a trophy on his shoulder. Fine early Greek 
work in a banded agate. (New York.) 

2. Two Roman knights encountering two Gauls. A most interesting 
subject, as it probably commemorates Marius' famous victory over the Cimbri 
and Teutones. Yellow sard. (New York.) 

3. Horse^s Head, between two Oallic shields, each bearing a different 
national device. Another valuable monument of history, for beyond a 
doubt it refers to the defeat of the Insubres and (Enomanni by the Consul 
Lentulus Lupus, b.o. 156. Sard. (Waterton ; now S. Kensington.) 

4. Victory urging on her biga : a design copied from the reverse of the gold 
Fhilippus. A fine cameo on sardonyx ; said to have been found in India early 
in the present century. 

5. Victory holding forth the triumphal wreath, and borne along in the 
serpent-drawn car of Ceres : perhaps allusive to the recovery of Africa after 
the revolt of Clodius Macer. Sard. (New York.) 

6. The *' Helmet of Pyrrhus," one of the chief treasures of the ortgiwU 
Poniatowsky Cabinet. It is, however, not antique, but by some unrivalled 
hand of the Cinque-cento, from whom I have seen another intaglio, a vase, 
in exactly the same style and material — a singular onyx of a red upper layer 
upon a translucent green base.. 

7. Syro-Macedonian Helmet, of the shape seen upon the coins of Tryphon. 
Dark sard. (PrauD.) 



1. Venus holding out a perfume-jar, and leaning upon a cippns, emblem of 
stahiUty. Sard. (Beverley.) 

2. The same, with dove perched on her hand. Early Greek sketch in sard. 

3. Aphrodite Euplcea, patroness of mariners, borne over the waves on a 
sea-dragon. Sard. (Blacas.) 

4. Chdatea, the Sea-nymph, in the act of swimming : commonly misnamed 
a Leander. 

5. Venus Victrix contemplating the armour of Mars. Chalcedony. (Leake.) 


6. Venus in the Bath ; \n her hand the oilH^ruse. Ctimeo. 

7. Venus at Vulcan*8 forge. A design altogether in the Cinque-oento taste. 


1. Bust of Venus, wearing a necklace of large pearls. 

2. The Goddess robing herself. Lapis-lazuli scarabaeoid, found at Athens. 

^ Venus rising from the sea. 

4. The Birth of Cupid : the infant deity springing out of an opening 
flower of the pomegranate. 

5. Cupid weeping over the death of the butterfly. Psyche. 

6. Cupid wrestling with Pan : the attributes of both are himg on the tree.<i 
behind them. Cinque-cento taste. 

7. Cupid as the Infant Harpocrates, bound with chains. A pretty conceit, 
hinting at secrecy and constancy in love. Cameo. 

8. Cupid making his boat of an unguentaHunif and his sail of a lady's 
kerchief. (Berlin.) 

9. Cupid acting the schoolmaster, and brandishing the '* taws " in Scottish 


1. The Infant Cupid slumbering on the lap of Psyche, seated under a tree. 
The earliest representation known to me of this elegant personification of the 
human soul. 

2. Eros and Anteros, after a contest : the victor has bound his opponent to 
a column. 

3. Cupid, in the attitude of an archer who has just let fly his arrow : the 
bow is omitted from want of space. Evidently copied from a statue by 

4. Cupidy with averted face, quenching the torch of Love. 

5. Cupid invested with the insignia of Mercitry, Hercules, and Mars — in 
token of his resistless power. 

6. Nemesis holding out the branch of ash-tree, and making the usual 
gesture with her hand. Of this gem innumerable modem copies are in cir- 
culation. Sard. (Blacas.) 

7. Psyche, symbolised by a mere head, with butterfly wings on the temples : 
a type hitherto unpublished. It was a truly poetical idea thus to represent 
the 8<nU by its proper seat, unencunibered with any portion of the body. The 
idea may indeed have been suggested by the form under which the Etruscans 
pictured their Laverna ; who, as being the patroness of people that live by 
their wits, was similarly represented by a head divested of a body. The 
highly-finished workmanship of the present intaglio indicates a much earlier 


date than that of the common type of Psyche, most of which appear to be 
contemporary with Apuleius' channing romance of that name. Sard ; bought 
at the sale of the Castellani Collection by Mr. S. S. Lewis. 



1. Bacchus, clothed in the crocrota, carrying the cantJuirtu and the narthex, 
his proper symbols. This is the original conception of the god, and is 
engraved in the finest Greek style on a banded agate. (New York.) 

2. The youthful Bacchus, according to the Roman idea, holding forth the 
Bcyphua, and backed by his vine. Banded agate. (New York.) 

3. SilenuB sounding the double fife. Sard. (New York.) 

4. Youthful Faun, filling the bowl for the thirsty Silenus, out of a 
capacious crater ; both kneeling upon the conventional representation of grass. 
Early Greek work, in yeUow sard. (New York.) 

5. Vase formed out of a triple mask of the god. At the base are laid the 
pastoral syrinx and pedum— emhlems of Comedy. Bed jasper. (New York.) 

6. Goat, sacred to Bacchus, mounted by a Grasshopper. As the insect by 
its form suggested phallic notions, this remarkable type was probably intended 
as a philtre. Sard. (New York.) 

7. Two Cupids chastising with a pedum the panther of Bacchus — a pretty 
allegory of the hostility existing between the two powers, when the latter is 
in the ascendant. Sard. (New York.) 

8. Parrot, carrying a bunch of pistachio-nuts. The Indian bird ac- 
companied the god on his return from the Indian campaign, and therefore 
figures in his triumph. Sard.. (New York.) 


1. Old Faun nursing the Infant Bacchus. Fine early Greek engraving, in 
sard. (Blacas.) 

2. Bacchus contemplating his face in the mirror of his goblet. A match- 
less example of the Campanian style. Sard; brought from Cumaa by 

3. Beclining Faun, represented in the archaic style, retaining more of 
the caprine form than in later art. Greek scarabasus, in dark agate. 

4. Masnad, inspired by the god, casting off her robe. (Berlin.) 

5. Nymph drawing water from a well, over which presides Priapus, god of 

6. Gardener at work with his hoe, before a figure of Priapus, constructed 
in the most primitive manner of a lopped tree. Sard. (Leake.) 

7. Jupiter, in the shape of a Satyr, surprising the sleeping Antiope. 
Emerald. (Beverley.) 

8. Silenus playing the lyre before a rustic shrine, in which is set up the 
lingan or emblem of the same god. Chalcedony. (Leake.) 



1. Head of Baocbos, crowned with ivy. Magnificent Sicilian work, in 
brown sard. (Pulsky.) 

2. Masnad, with thyrsus, full of eagerness and inspiration, as if listening to 
the Toioe of the god. (Berlin.) 

3. Bust of Silenus, ivy-crowned ; a drunken gravity in his featores* 
Antique paste. (Dr. Kott.) 

4. Intoxicated Bacchante, holding a wreath, and supporting herself with 
one hand on a tall amphora, the pattern of which clearly indicates the school 
and the date of this intaglio — Gampanian, of the 4th century b.o. Sard. 

5; Kymph filling her urn at a fountain, by which stands a rock-cut figure 
of PriapuB. Gameo. 

6. The Centaur Pholos carrying a huge bowl and a tree to some Bacchic 
festival. Gameo. (Beverley.) 

7. Ariadne, or Libera, wife of Bacchus, attired in the nebria, deer-skin, her 
distinctive costume. (Berlin.) 

8. Boy carrying a goat for sacrifice, on the thymde^ or circular Bacchic altar. 


1. Silenus seated and draining his capacious bowl. Sard. (Dr. Nott.) 

2. Bacchante, thyrsus on shoulder, balancing herself on one leg. Sard. 

3. Head of Silenus, ivy-crowned : one of the finest examples of the subject 
known. (New York.) 

4. Nymph opening the cUta mysUcay whence issues a serpent: a Faun 
stands by amazed. Sard. (Dr. Nott.) 

5. Tall Grater, embossed with a Bacchic procession : doubtless a copy of 
some famous piece of plate by an ancient master. Onyx. (Pourtal^) 

6. The Panther of Bacchus, equipped with wings : rapidity of intoxica- 
tion. Sard. (Beverley.) 

7. Young Etruscan cup-bearer, carrying a wine-jar, almost too heavy for 

8. Bacchic Genius : compound of Silenus and panther. Early Greek work. 
9, 10. Pan dancing against a Goat for the prize. Sard. (Leake and 

New York.) 



1. Head of Silenus, represented in the act of shouting out the Bacchanalian 
cry. Gameo. 


2. Head of the Indian Bacchus, calm and tranquil, wreathed with ivy. 

3. Two Comic Actors : the one standing, and declaiming to the accompani- 
ment of the other's lyre. Sard. 

4. Tragic Mask, of most ferocious cast : well befitted for the character of 
Scythian Tyrant on the stage. Sard. (Beverley.) 

5. Head of Bacchante, ivy-wreathed : her beautiful features fiill of wild 
inspiration. The most exquisite specimen of the class anywhere to be found. 

6. Head of Pan : admirably expressing the jocular savagery of the (3od of 
the Shepherds. 

7. Character of the Slave in Comedy — a Davus, or Dromio. The signet 
of some C. Clodius. The H A added, probably denotes his cognomen^ 
^ Habenna,*' or some similar word ; but at the same time a joke may have been 
intended, as though it were the cry of astonishment which the Mask itself 
seems to utter. 


1. Hercules crossing the Styx, and preparing to muffle Cerberus, who awaits 
him on the further bank, with his cloak. The prosaic treatment of the sub- 
ject is truly characteristic of Etruscan taste. 

2. Hercules contending with the river-god, Achelous, for the possession of 
Dejanira : a very remarkable Etruscan work, in pale plasma. (Dr. Bishop.) 

3. Hercules destroying the Hydra ; as depicted upon the coins of Phasstum, 
in Crete. 

4. Hercules, by the twanging of his bowstring, scaring away the Harpy 
Birds from the table of the blind Phineas. 

5. Hercules, floating on a raft buoyed up with wine-jars, steering himself 
with his club, and holding up a wineskin for the sail. Rafts of this construc- 
tion are still in use upon the Nile ; but Juvenal poetically exaggerates them 
into actual hoaU in earthenware : 

" Parvola fictilibiu solitnm dare vela phaMlis, 
£t brevibos picto remis incnmbere teste." 

A truly Etruscan idea. 

6. Death coming to the relief of the despairing Hercules. Early Greek 


1. Hercules shooting the Stymphalian Cranes, invulnerable agunst mortal 
arrows. Early Greek style. Sard. (New York.) 

2. The same subject, treated in the Roman manner. 

3. Hercules capturing the Boar of Erymanthus : a characteristic example 
of the early Etruscan naturalistic treatment of such designs. Sard. (New 

4. Hercules about to let fly an arrow. Asiatic Greek work. Sard. (New 


5. Omphaley clad in the spoils of Hercules. Sard. 

6. Hercules acknowledging his infant son Telephjis, discoyered hy the shep- 
herd whilst being suckled by a doe. Sard ; found at Chiusi. (New York.) 


1. Bellerophon slaying the Chimera. Sard. (Dr. Kott.) 

2. Atalanta pausiog in her course to pick up the golden apple. Amethyst. 

3. Sisyphus lifting his rock up a flight of steps. Etruscan style. 

4. llie same subject, but treated in the modem manner. (Berlin.) 

6. Prometheus chained to the rock, the vulture tearing at his side. (Berlin.) 
'6. Nessus, the Centaur, carrying ofif Dejanira. Etruscan style. 

7. Theseus affixed to his iron chair at the gates of Hades. (Berlin.) 

8. The sons of Hercules casting lots for the division of the Peloponnesus. 
A favourite subject with the ancient artists, from the earliest to the latest 
times. Sard. (Blacas.) 



1. The gigantic Ajax carrying off the field the slain Achilles, with the 
arrow still fixed in the wound. Sard. (New York.) 

2. Ajax Oilei tearing away Cassandra from the altar of Pallas. Banded 
agate. (New York.) 

3. The thirsting Tantalus grasping at the receding waters. 

4. Tydens lying in ambush. Sard. (New York.) 

6. Orestes, returning home by stealth, fastens a fillet around the monu- 
ment of his father. Sard. (New York.) 

6. Wounded Soldier led out of the fray by two comrades : whence the old 
name for the subject, <*Pietas Militaris." It also has, erroneously, been 
explained as the triple-bodied Geryon ; bnt there is little doubt that it alludes 
to some Homeric incident of the above-named character. 


1. Head of Priam, so called; but more probably that of some Persian 
king, and a portrait from the life. 

2. The shepherd Paris holding out the Apple of Discord. The design 
betrays a modem hand. Sard. (Blacas.) 

3. ^neas making his escape from the burning Troy. Sard. (Blacas.) 

4. Head in a Phrygian cap, of an imknown person. Sard. (Blacas.) 

6. Ulysses escaping from the cave of Polyphemus, by clinging to the belly 
of his Ram. (Berlin.) 


6. Ulysses carried over the seas upon a turtle, which he regales with 
grapes.* A reference to some legend now utterly lost. 

7. Penelope sorrowing for the absent Ulysses, whose bow is set before 
her. Etruscan work. (Blacas.) 

8. The sea-monster Scylla. Early Greek style. 


1. Achilles in his tent, singing to the lyre '' the glories of the men of old," 
as Homer describes him. Sard. (Blacas.) 

2. Ajax meditating suicide. In the modem taste ; apparently a work of 
Pichler's. Ruby paste. (Beverley.) 

3. Achilles putting on a greave " of ductile tin,'' as Homer says. Early 
Greek engraving in chalcedony. (Leake.) 

4. Achilles dragging the slain Hector at his chariot wheels. 

5. Briseis raising up the suppliant Priam, at the feet of Achilles. Sard. 

6. Achilles at the moment of being hit in the heel by the arrow of P^ris. 

7. The siune, expiring from the wound. 

8. The proscribed Orestes making himself known to his sister Electra. 
Sard. (Leake.) 


1. Epicurus ; not antique, but evidently a modem copy from a bust. 

2. Socrates and Plato. Gamet. (Paris.) 

3. Plato. The Psyche-wings fastened to his temples allude to his doctrine 
of the immortality of the soul. A very ancient portrait. Sard. 

4. Aristippus surrounded by the deities who inspired his writings. 
Antique paste. (Blacas.) 

6. Homer chanting his verses before the monument of a hero. Cameo. 

6. Generally accepted for the head of Sappho. Antique paste. (Praun.) 

7. Bust of Venus, converted into a Sappho by an ignorant modem, who 
knew not how her name is spelt. Sard. (Marlborough.) 


1. Alexander, wearing the Macedonian bonnet Cameo, of the time ; once 
in the collection of Caylus. 

2. Ptolemy Soter, Berenice, and their son Philadelphus. Sard; found in 
India. (Muirhead.) 

3. Philip V. of Macedon. Sard ; once in Horace Walpole*s cabinet. 

• This subject is exactly repeated in a bronze relief lately in the Gre<5 Collection. 


4. His son Perseus, in the character of his mythic namesake. LapiA- 
lazuli. (Blacas.) 

5. M. Agrippa. From the De la Turbie Cabinet; as is shovni by the 
peculiar style of the setting. Sard. 

6. Bust of a youthful Prince, in the character of Alexander. The face 
bears a certain resemblance to the portraits of Philip V. as seen on his coins. 
Lapis-lazuli. (Praun; now New York.) 


1. I^atius Sabinus. Early Roman work. Sard. 

2. Numa. Antique copy from his statue in the Capitol, still existing in the 
times of Pliny, and identical with the portrait on a denarius of the Gens 
Pompilia, who boasted their descent from him. 

3. The Second Triumvirate : in the style of the Cinque-cento. 

4. Julius Caesar ; in front, the '* Julium Sidus." Dark sard. (Maskelyne.) 

5. Augustus in later life. The inscription seems dedicatory ; not part 
of a name. 

6. Tiberius in his younger days. Sard. 


1. One of the finest examples of Roman art in this department anywhere 
to be found. It has been attributed successively to Pompey (on the strength 
of the tuft on the forehead), to Maecenas, and to Tiberius io advanced life, but 
on no satisfactory grounds to any of them. The ApoUonius whose name 
appears on it was the owner, not the engraver, of the gem. Brown garnet. 

2. Portrait of an Old Man ; perhaps the physician Dioscorides, whose name 
is cut in front of it. Antique paste. (Nelthropp.) 

3. The full face of a Child. Such were used as amulets, in a sense connected 
with the in&nt Horus. Sard. (New York.) 

4. Bust of a young Ciesar, probably Geta, wielding Fortune's rudder, 
instead of a spear : an ingenious stroke of fiattery. Sard. (New York.) 

5. The most important of all Roman intagli, both for its merit and from 
its bearing the unimpeachable signature of the engraver, " Evodus ;" for its 
history can be traced back to the days of Charlemagne. I'he subject is 
Julia Titi, wife of Domitian. BeryL (Paris.) 


1. Socrates : good Roman work. Sardonyx. (New York.) 

2. The same, in a different style; sometimes assigned oonjecturally to 
DemocritUB, Sard. (New York.) 


3. Scipio the Elder; his head covered with a eudo (leathern skull-cup), to 
conceal his baldness. Sard. (New York.) 

4. Brutus Junior. He is represented unshaven, for towards the end of his 
career, as Plutarch tells us, despairing of the fortunes of the Bepublic, he let 
his beard grow as a sign of mourning. Sard. (New York.) 

5. Caius Cffisar, son of M. Agrippa and Julia, daughter of Augnstos : an 
unrivalled specimen of the art of his times. Dark sard. (New York.) 

6. The Mother of the same ; in the character of Isis. Sard. (New York.) 

7. Lady with her hair dressed in the fashion first set by Julia Domna. The 
ingeniously disguised legend, " Amo te ego,'* indicates the use to which the 
signet was to be put. Sard. (New York.) 

8. Julia, daughter of Titas, preposterously deified as Juno : distinguished 
by the peacock for a head-covering, and the triple ear-pendants assigned 
by Homer to that goddess. Yellow sard. (New York.) 


1. Augustus deified as the giver of abundance. Cameo. 

2. Maecenas ; for whose portrait this head has been long accepted, though 
on no better authority than its resemblance to a bust, itself conjecturaUy 
assigned to the celebrated patron of letters. 

3. Hannibal: indicated by the Ammon*s horn in the helmet; but the 
meaning of the lituus below the bust cannot be explained. Sard. 

4. A precious historical gem: the conjugated heads of Commodus and 
Marcia as Hercules and Omphale. Said to have formerly existed in the 
Hertz Collection. 

5. Antony ; a contemporary likeness. Sard. (Marlborough.) 

6. Juba, *' bene capillatus juvenis," as Cicero calls him. Sard. (Blacas.) 

7. Caracalla and Plautilla as Ceres and Triptolemus; in the centre, the 
hymeneal altar, on which perches the Imperial Eagle. Sard. (New York.) , 


1. Mercury, by the magic power of his cadttceus^ drawing up a soiil from the 
Shades. The analogy of the initials 0. A. D. probably led to the selection of 
this seal-device. Banded agate. (New York.) 

2. The Nereid Galatea, the '^ G^lene ** of Adda^us's epigram, breasting the 
waves. Sard. (New York.) 

3. Cupid throwing the light of his torch into a huge vase, whence escapes 
a larva. A hint to enjoy life while life lasts. Onyx. (New York.) 

4. Jupiter descending in a shower of thunderbolts upon the dying Semele. 
A warning against ambition. 

5. Two Genii supporting a Vase, whence issues a stream. The tun and the 
horse painted on this vase make me see in it the Clepsydra of the Circus, as 


used for timing the races. Visconti, however, interprets the design as 
emblematic of Spring. Banded agate. (New York.) 

6. Ceres, in a thenaa^ drawn by elephants. That the type conveyed the 
idea of Eternity is manifested by a coin of Faustina's, where it is accompanied 
with that legend. Sard. (New York.) 

7. Seated Sphinx : the type of the coins of Cos. Augustus used it for his 
seal ; it perhaps carried a hint at secrecy to the receiver of the letter. Black 
jasper. (New York.) 

8. Caduceus within a myrtle crovni : union of the attributes of Mercury 
and Venus. On the reverse is the legend AKPICjL}<t>l, still unexplained, but 
clearly a charm in high repute, to judge from the frequency with which it 
occurs. Sard. (New York.) 


1. Type of the Province Africa, distinguished by the elephant's scalp : an 
idea as old as the times of the Macedonian conquest. Sard. (Blacas.) 

2. The Province Sicily ; the centre formed by the head of Proserpine. The 
mallet in the field indicates the owner, one "Malleolus." Sard. (New 

3. Morpheus pouring forth his soporiferous dews from a horn. Sard. 

4. Head of Castor, in the pUeus ; or perhaps a boy's portrait in that 
character. Amethyst. (Blacas.) 

5. Mercury wearing a very small petasus. Antique paste. (Leake.) 

6. Caduceus between wheat ears : an augury of prosperous trade. Sapphire. 

7. Stork, the bird of passage, carrying Ahundantia and Caduceus. In the 
same sense as the last. 

8. Fortuna, as '* Domina maris," mounted on Capricorn, ruler of the tides, 
and holding Neptune's dolphin and trident. 

9. Sjrmbolical ring ; a combination of various religious symbols, noticeable 
amongst which are the caps of the three Flamens, The gryllus over the ring 
represents the device graven on its face. Intended to serve as an amulet for 
the defence of one " M. Varrius." Sard. 

10. Head of Helena between her twin brothers : 

^ Fratres Helena, lacida sidera." 

They being the protectors of seafaring people, it is probable that this gem 
was supposed to possess a talismanic virtue for the benefit of that class. 
Chalcedony. (Leake.) 


1. Sacrifice after a victory. Sard. (Blacas.) 

2. Woman throwing her offerings, *' libum molamque salsam," on an altar 
in front of a rustic shrine of Priapus, containing the emblem of the god in the 


shape of a cylindrical stone ; which indicates the destination of the celelvated 
" Pierre sacr^e d'Antibes." Chalcedony. (Leake.) 

3. Triumphal sacrifice to Jupiter Gapitolinus. 

4. Touth grasping a Serpent by the neck, and extending his right hand as 
though he were giving directions. Explained by Winckelmann as Telegonus, 
inventor of divination by the observation of serpents ; but more probably 
Fhorbas, son of Apollo, who delivered Rome fix>m such a pest, and who there- 
fore mwt have been honoured with a statue. The idea is allusive to the 
name of ** Pius." 

5. Insignia of a Flamen—Xhe apex, aspergillum, lituus, &c. 

6. Electra carrying libations to her father's tomb. A subject much in 
favour as a decoration for Athenian gravestones. Sard. (Blacas.) 


1. Prometheus modelling his Man. Sard. (Blacas.) 

2. Argus cutting out the stem of the first ship, to which he gave his 

3. Water-organ (Hydraulis). The men below are working the forcing- 
pumps which drive the air into the great cylinder (tympanum), from which 
rise the pipes. The legend " Vivas " applies to the owner of the gem. SanL 
The peculiar setting shows this gem to have been in the Beckford Cabinet. 

4. Artist engaged in sculpturing an immense vase. 

5. Diogenes ensconced in his dolium, oil jar, with the dog that gave the 
name to the sect : a disciple, seated before him, takes down his words of 
wisdom on a scroll. 

6. Astrologer seated before a sun-dial, calculating a nativity. 

7. Vase with doves on the handles : a restoration by a Roman hand of the 
famous bowl of Nestor. 

8. Funeral urn, with pendant tt\fula, 

9. The plectrum for striking the lyre ; and the scabiUum, or loose shoe, for 
bearing time to the music. 

10. The Comic aoccus^ with the palm-branch : augury of success to the 
recii'ient of the gem. 



1. Touth holding the discus, and brandishing the thong used in throwing it. 
The finest intaglio of the subject known. Sard. (Hertz.) 

2. Youth with the metal hoop (the "Graecus trochus" of Horace), and 
the hooked rod used for propelling it. Etruscan style. 

3. Horse^s head and Attic helmet : the device of a Greek cavalry soldier ; 
literally, his ** armes parlantes." 

4. Quadriga at full speed : a very characteristic example of the earliest 
period of Etruscan art. Sard scarabsBUS. (Brogden.) 

5. Horse, winner of the prize; whereby is immortalised his name, 


** TiberiB.** On the reverse is cut a Qnostic sigi!, to convert the gem, ahclio- 
trope» into a talisman. (New York.) 

6. Child scaring two others with a mask : the shape of which, as being only 
a/ace, betrays the modern origin of the engraving. Black jasper. (Blacas.) 

7. Greek Warrior standing by his steed. 

8. Boy victorious at the game of Trochus, 


1. Female Triton charging furiously with the trident. Chalcedony. (Leake.) 

2. Eagle and Tiger attacking a Rabbit : the alliance of the strong against 
the weak. Sard. (Leake.) 

3. Sea-horse : a mariner's signet. Sard. (Leake.) 

4. Corslet, interesting for the completeness of the details; exhibiting 
defence for the throat, like a gorget. The signet of an armourer. 

6. Rabbit in a car, drawn by a pair of Ania. The more preposterous the 
combination could be made in these things, the greater the virtue of the 
amulet. Sard. (Leake.) 

6. Saturn, holding the /oZo; and sceptre, in his serpent car; above, Capri- 
corn and Aquarius. The horoscope of the owner. 

7. Murex-shell : a valuable type, as placing out of doubt the species that 
produced the Tyrian purple. 'We signet of a dyer, or of one like Lydia, '* a 
seller of purple." It is evident, from their frequency, that types of this kind 
were used as '' trade-marks.*' 

8. Locust, as a poulterer, carrying on his pole a couple of rabbits and a Bsh, 
assailed by a scorpion and a centipede — ^bad-paying customers. Sard. (Leake.) 

9. Caduceus, Dolphin, and Cornucopia: emblems of Trade, Navigation, 
Riches ; the speaking device of a merchant. Chalcedony. (Leake.) 


1. Two Gryphons pulling down a Stag : attribute of Apollo, as being 
typical of velocity. 

2. Grasshopper perched upon ears of bearded wheat (Triticum). Sard. 

3. Wheat-grain between two Ants, sacred to Ceres, as the inventora of 

4. Four Dormice nibbling at each corner of a vine-leaf; in the middle of 
which sits a Cigala^ to furnish them with music. 

5. Head of a Persian, capped with that of Aries, the guardian Sign of his 
country, as Manilius teaches : 

''Him Persia worships, clad in robes that flow. 
Her steps entangling as they fall below." 

Sard. (New York.) 

6. Locust driving a plough, drawn by a pair of Bees : Industry toiling t'ur 
the benefit of Idleness and Mischief. 


7. pHttacM TorquatuBy the green paroquet of the Himalayas, and therefore 
playing a part in Bacchus' Indian Triumph, here combined with the face of 
the same god. Sard. (Leake.) 


1. Sow eating an apple. Greek. Animals are the favourite subjects of 
early art. 

2. Female Panther : the Bee may express the ovmer's name, *' Melissa." 

3. Group of cows. Chalcedony. (Leake.) 

4. Wild Sow. Etruscan work. 

5. Head of great Wild Boar. 

G. Wild Boar attacked by Hounds. 

7. Hunter spearing Wild Boar, as he charges out from his reedy covert. 
Sard. (Blacas.) 

8. Ass turning a commill, as we see in the Pompeian pictures. 

9. Ass going to market, carrying panniers laden with the produce of the farm. 


1. Evidently a portrait from the life, and done with infinite skill : it has 
been assigned to Demosthenes, for want of better, but bears no resem- 
blance to the genuine busts of the orator. The signature of the engraver, 
" Dexamenos," has every appearance of being by the same hand as the rest 
of the work. On a particoloured agate scarabaK)id ; now in the possession 
of Admiral Soteriades, Athens. 

2. Greek Lady at her toilette, unmistakably by the same hand as the last, 
and with his name ; but the addition of another name, '* Mikes," cannot be 
explained. The genuine antiquity of this exquisite intaglio is beyond all 
caviL Sapphiriae Chalcedony, obtained many years ago by Colonel Leake, 
but the locality not recorded. 

3. Stork upon the wing. In the signature Dexamenos tells us he was a 
*' Chian." Now this island was PeUugic^ which word properly signifies stork : 
the device therefore is his national emblem. No Italian forger was ever 
capable of so much knowledge. Agate of the same curious species as No. 1« 
(St. Petersburg.) 

4. The celebrated Strozzi Medusa. The signature of the imaginary artist, 
*' Solon," was undoubtedly added by the dealer into whose hands the gem 
first fell: for it was discovered soon after the imlucky conjecture of the 
Regent Orleans had given birth to such an artist. Chalcedony, in a Cinque- 
cento mounting. (Blacas.) 

6. Cupid engaged at the game of knuckle-bones (aatragcUt) ; in the field, 
the mitylus shell, aptly dedicated to his mother Venus. A beautiful design, 
beautifully executed ; but there is no reason for supposing that *' Phrygillus *' 
was other than the owner of the signet. Sard. (Berlin.) 

6. Female Sphinx, scratcljing her head with the hind paw. The name of 
the ancient poet '* Thamyrus " was also borne by the o\vner of this truly 
elegant signet. Sard. (Vienna.) 



1. Antinous in the character of Achilles. The name has the appearance of 
modem insertion. Sard. (Marlborough.) 

2. Augustus : used fur the civic seal of the town of Valeria in Latium. A 
parallel to the use of the head of their ancient king Polydorus, by the 
magistrates of lAConia, so late as the times of Pausanias, as I have mentioned 
already at p. 192. 

3. Cupid taming the lion by the sound of his lyre. The signature of its 
engraver, " Flutarchus/' is amongst the very few the genuineness of which 
cannot be questioned, although there remains the possibility that it may only 
mark the copy of some noted picture by that celebrated painter. Cameo. 

4. Hercules Bibax. His gladiatorial corpulence bespeaks, like that of the 
Hercules Famese, a late Roman date. ''Admon" is the name of the 
owner, or perhaps of the athlete himself, in this manner deified. Sard 

6. Alexander in the character of Jupiter, after the painting by Apelles at 
Ephesus, as described by Pliny. The name of *' JSisus " certainly designates 
the owner. Sard. (Orleans.) 


1. Cupid bearing up a huge cornucopia: an apt device for a lady of 
pleasure. The name of the supposed artist, '' Aulus," is, as usual, a modem 
addition. Sard. (Marlborough.) 

2. Diana standing by her Stag. That we have here a faithful copy of 
come very ancient and celebrated statue is proved by Faustina Junior's 
taking the same figure for a reverse to one of her medallions, llie name 
'* Heius " is that of the owner of the signet. Antique paste. (Blacas.) 

3. The Dionysiac Bull upon a thyrausy to indicate his character in this picture. 
*' Hyllus," a name much in favour, is merely the owner's. Sard. (Paris.) 

4. Mercury in cap and mantle, as patron of travellers. *' Dioscorides " was 
one of the most popular names with the later Greeks, on account of the good 
augury it contained. Nevertheless, its fancied reference to the famous gem 
engraver made this only mediocre work obtain the price of one thousand 
guineas from Lord Bessborough : but, " stultitiam patiuntur opes.** Sard. 

5. Terpsichore tuning her lyre ; at her side, a statuette of Apollo. 
'* AUion" is an artist excogitated by the forgers out of AAA ION, ''of the 
Delians " (Doric% found accompanying a head of Apollo and misinterpreted 
in this manner. Kicolo. (Blacas.) 


1. Head of the youthful Hercules; with the name of "Gnajus" inscribed. 
Beryl. (Blacas, with a facsimile by a modem hand.) 

2. Sextus Pompey, with the signature of •* Agatl ongelus," one of his 
officials. Sard. (Berlin.) 

11 2 


3. Eagle's Head, with the name " Scylax ;" a gem repeatedly copied. Sard. 

4. This portrait so closely resembles that of Julia, daughter of Augustus, 
that I cannot help suspecting the Oielius who made it his signet was one of 
the favoured admirers of that amorous princess. Sard. (Praun.) 

5. Melpomene seated : serving to authenticate the '* Herophile Opobalsa- 
mum ** of some oculist in the 2nd century. Sard. (Brit Mus.) 


Bust of Christ, with radiated head, painted on panel, and inscribed below : 
** The perfect similitude of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ : imprinted on 
amerild by the predecessors of the Great Turke; and sent to the Pope 
Innocent the YIII. to this use, for a token that he might redeme his 
brother, yt was taken prisoner." 

A second, almost a replica of this pcture, exists in the Chateau de Pertuis, 
Arrondissement d'Api. Style and lettering indicate the middle of the 16th 
century as the date of their execution. They are copied from a large ca»t 
medal, a specimen of which is preserved in the British Museum, and which 
appears to be not much more recent than the times of the Pontiff named 
uix)n it. But the legend of the medal gives the true motive of Bajazet IL's 
gift, *'ut retineret fratrem," to induce the Pope to detain^ in honourable 
but safe custody, a dangerous refugee, his brother Zizim. 1*he translator, 
ignorant of Italian history, naturally enough rendered this by the word 
'' redeem.** The medal, therefore, is the true source of the numerous portraits 
of the Saviour, all claiming the Emerald (sometimes ascribed to Pilate) for 
their authority. The picture from which my drawing is made is 17 in. 
high by 13 >vide, and has been long preserved in the School-house at Douglas, 
Isle of Man. The history of this curious fabrication will be found, fully 
traced out, in my * Early Christian Numismatics,' p. 95. 

Kote upon the Onostic Oorgon, 

A very curious variety of this talisman, and which expkdns the primary 
intention of others of the sort, like the Seal of St. Servatius, has lately been 
communicated to me by Mr. W. T. Ready. The one face of the jasper 
agrees almost exactly in type and size with the former; but the other 
b^rs St. Anne, a half length, nursing the infant Madonna, with the legend, 
at each side, in contracted Greek, " Saint Anna," " Help, Mother of God ! " 
Around runs the legend— VCT6PA M6AAINH M€AAINOM€NH OC [ij] 
GAAATAN (•*?) PAAHNH C6NOI (for o-acVfi), "as the calm soothes the 
sea." The substitution of vorcpi for the more conmion Molpa (as in the 
similar gem figured by Chiflet, No. 70, "Apistopistus ") proves this talisman to 
be intended to protect parturient women. That the worship of the " Panagia " 
had by this time included her mother, indicates a very low date in the 
Byzantine empire, probably the era of the Palaeologi. 


Condensed vbom Db. Bbunn's 'Gesghichte deb Gbizchi8Chen 

KCnbtleb' (1859), Vol. 1L 

(The gems marked with a star have all been examined by myself, and several 
of them, unnoticed by Dr. Brunn, are now introduced into the text for the 
first time.)* 

Class I. 

Names handed down toushy genuine InscriptioM^ and which are with 

confidence to he referred to the Artist, 

AGATHOPUB.--Head of Sex. Pompey; behind it ArAOOnOYC €nOI€l ; 
formerly Andrcini's, now Florence. Aquamarine. K5hler admits the genuine- 
ness of the. intaglio, but terms the legend decidedly modem, and borrowed 
from that accompanying an Elephant's Head in Stosch's casts. He notes that 
De la Chauss^ publishes this head without the inscription, though, as Dr. 
Brunn remarks, this may have been an accidental omission. [I, for my part, 
believe that most of these heads called Sex. Pompey's, if not all, are in reality 
portraits of Hadrian : certainly the lunar-shaped letters C &Q<1 € in the legend 
were not in use much before the reign of the latter.] 

2. Head of the Laocoon, with the name spelt with an O, is very suspicions. 
(Stosch's casts.) 

3. Hercules' Head in cameo, name in intaglio, is, according to Tolken, 
modem. (Berlin.) 

4. AoATHOPi, in Latin characters, above two clasped hands, refers to the 

Apollonius. — The Diana of the Hills, an intaglio of the greatest merit ; 
amethyst. (Naples.) One of the few the entire genuineness of which is 
allowed by Kohler, who supposes it to be copied after the colossal Diana at 
Anticyrii, the work of Praxiteles. First mentioned by De Montjosieu in 
1585, who refers the name to Pliny's Apollonides. At that time in Tigrini's 
possession, whence purchased by Ful. Ursinus. A copy of it, but far inferior, 
by Lor. Masini, exists. 

[*2. Head of Masoenas, in front face ; an admirable antique work : jacinth. 
(Hertz, now Bodes.) The signature, in minute elegant letters, imdoubtedly 
designates the ancient owner.] 

* y[j own obserrations in the text are enclosed in brackets, to difftinguish them 
from the critiques of Dr. Brann. 


AsPAsros. — Bust of the Minerva of Phidias ; behind the neck ACIIACIOY 
red jasper. (Vienna.) The intaglio admitted by Kohler, but the legend 
condemned. First published by Ganini in 1669, who takes it for the portrait 
of the famous Aspasia. 

2. Replica of the same brought from Egypt thirty years ago by Drovetti, 
now BasBeggio*s : sard. Admitted as antique by the Roman Institute, but 
far inferior to the Vienna gem, though at the same time above Calandrelli's 
copy of the latter. 

3. A well-known copy of this by Natter. 

4. Serapis ; lower part of the bust : red jasper. (Florence.) The legend 

5. Agrippina as Ceres : sard ; erroneously described as red jasper or beryl. 
(Formerly Medina's, now Marlborough.) Declared by Bracci a work of Flavio 

Suspicious, on account of the blundered orthography, are — 

6. Bust of the Bearded Bacchus ; formerly Hamilton's, now Worsley : red 

7. Head of Gybele : onyx. (Worsley.) 

8. Juno standing, at her feet the peacock^ is put down by Cades to the 
accouQt of Cerbara. 

9. Junius Brutus. (Stosch's casts.) 

Athbnion. — Jupiter in his car overthrowing the Titans; the name in 
relief in the groimd at one side : cameo. (Naples.) Highly praised by Eohler. 
From the lettering Visconti attributed the work to a pre-Caesarian ago. But 
Tdlken quotes, from Bartboldy's Collection (Berlin), an antique blue paste 
representing the Triumph of Drusus (whose features are clearly recognizable 
in the victor'd), with an exactly similar signature in relief in the exergue ; a 
proof conclusive that Athenion flourished under Augustus.* 

BofiTHUB. — Philoctetes reclining on the earth, fanning with a wing his 
bandaged leg : cameo. (Beverley.) Quoted by Raspe as then in France, and 
supposed, by B. Rochette, to have come from Asia, because it is for the first 
time figured as a heading to Choiseul's map of Lemnos. Stephani, on no 
good grounds, calls the work modem, and the name taken from the famous 
cruBtarius Boethus. pt is, however, amongst the most authentic, as &r as 
execution goes, of any signed camei ; but 1 have no doubt it is a copy, made 
in the Augustan age, of a chasing by that famous and (even then) ancient 

♦ Athenion of Maronoa, in the age of Praxiteles, waa the rival of Niciaa — **' ans- 
terior colore et in austeritate jucundior ut in ipsa pictura eruJitio elaceat "— •* quod 
nisi in juventa obisset nemo compararetar." '< Pinxit in nna tabula VI Signa." An 
unique example of an early astrological picture this, and our Jupiter may well be a 
copy of some famous painting by him. — PKn, xxxv. 11. 

t BoSthus is one of the four most famous chasers of silver quoted by Pliny (xxxiii. 
55). Works of his were then extant in the Temple of Minerva at Lindus, in the Isle 
of Rhodes. In the same bland were also preserved works by the other three ; e, gr^ 
** Scyphi engraved with Centaurs and Bacchantes," whence it would appear that 
Rhodes was the hea l-quarters of the art. 


DiosGOBiDES. — ^Mercury standing ; the signature follows the length of the 
field. Quoted by Montjoeieu, in 1585, as then belonging to Tigrinij after- 
wards by Spon, as^ olim apud Fulvium Ursinum." Sard. [Apparently the 
gem sold by Stosch to Lord Holdernesse, whose son-in-law, the fifth Duke of 
Leeds, bequeathed it to the Marlborough Cabinet. The name, cut in large 
careless letters, has been almost effaced by the repolishing of the surface: 
a suflScient reply to Kohler's assertion that it is evidently an addition of the 
last century.] ^ 

2. Solon, or Maecenas: amethyst. (Paris.) Shown by Bagarris, in 1605, to 
Peiresc; and then belonging to Fran. Perier, a nobleman of Aix. It has 
been repolished and retouched to all appearance, and by an unskilful hand. 
In 1802 it was made up with other antique gems into Josephine's parure, but 
returned to the Museum ; unlike the fate of the rest 

3. Head of Augustus, front face, given to Colbert by the Chapter of 
Figdac : sard *' as big as a 30-sous piece." Kot known at present. 

4. Augustus, with radiated head, said, by Faber, to have belonged to Ful. 
Ursinus. Not known. 

6. Augustus, young head : large cameo. (Piombinb-LudovisL) Name in 
intaglio. The relief partly ground down and efiaced. This name Dr. Brunn 
believes genuine. 

6. Head of lo : camelian ; found, in 1765, on the estate of the Duke 
di Bracciano; then in Poniatowsky Colleclion (lastly Mr. Currie's, at 

7. The Diomede. (Devonshire.) 

8. Augustus : amethyst. (Blacas.) The inscription is below the neck ; the 
outline of the hair seems purposely mutilated, and the work does not bear 
with indubitable certainty the character of antiquity. 

9. A similar head, on garnet, went with the De Thoms Gems into the 
Hague ; signature beneath the neck, a star below it. Suspected by Bracci to 
be a work of Sirletti's ; and, with the preceding, put down by Kohler to 
Stosch's iiftbriqne. 

10. A modem copy, known to exist now at Paris. 

*The Devonshire Diomede, purchased of Sevin, had been first mentioned 
by Bandelot, 1716. Its history, as given by Mariette, Ib that, originally in 
the Royal Cabinet, it was presented by Louis XIV. to his daughter the Princess 
de Couti ; she gave it to her physician Dodart, and he to his son-in-law 
Homberg, on whose death it was purchased by the jeweller Hubert, and from 
him by Sevin. Kohler, to make it out a work of Sirletti's, says, " The 
Diomede is to any eye, though but slightly initiated into ancient art, a well- 
drawn and careful, but very timidly, meanly, and painfully highly-finished 
work of Flavio Sirletti's. ... It is possible that it may have been orij^lly 
a sketchy antique engraving, which Sirletti finished off with infinite industry 
by means of the wheel and the diamond-point. It is, however, more probable 
on other grounds, that Sirletti both commenced and executed this piece 
without any such assistance." [With this judgment of Kohler's I fully 
agree ; the execution is slight and timid to a degree utterly inconceivable in 
an ancient artist, above all in one capable of the correct drawing that 
distinguishes this performance. The genuine productions of antiquity, what- 


ever may be their other defects, are never wanting in boldness as r^ards 
their mechanical part.] 

Dr. Bmnn '* has not the knowledge of the gem necessary for coming to a 
conclusion as to the justice of these remarks of Kohler's," but observes that if 
we compare it with the replioaa of Solon and Gmeus, this of Diosoorides 
appears " not only superior in the technical execution ; but also the refinement 
visible in the conception, the spirited intensity of the attitude^ the elasticity 
in all the movements, awaken of themselves a favourable impression as to the 
antiquity of the work, which, however, requires to be verified by the careful 
examination of the stone itself." A copy of this gem exists at the Hague. 

A similar verification is required by the cameo at Berlin, '* Hercules 
chaining Cerberus," with the legend in intaglio in the exergue. First 
published by Beger, and belonging, as appears from its silver mounting, to 
the original treasures of that cabinet, and to the times of the Electors Joachim 
I. and II. (1499 and 1533) ; so that in this case, at least, we have not to deal 
with the forgers of the last century. Tdlken praises its artistic merit. [It 
strikes me as hardly an acddental coincidence that the same should have 
been the subject of the cameo obtuned by Cellini from its finders during his 
first sojourn in Rome (1524-7), and which M. Angelo pronounced the finest in 
its kind he had ever beheld. How natural, even at that early period, to 
enhance its value by adding so ohvious a name as that of the most famous 
engraver on record.] 

Similarly, further examination is requisite in the case of a gem of whose 
origin nothing is known, and which has appeared only in one single, and that 
a private cabinet, the *Mu8e of F. Pulsky, to quote whose own words, '* The 
most important of the Fdjdvari gems signed with a name, is a Muse upon a 
splendid dark red sard of intense fire. The signature AI02K0YPIA0Y is, in 
my opinion, genuine, for it is evident that the engraver has left somewhat 
more room on the left side in order to afford space for the name. The style 
of this gem is not that of the Blacas Augustus, nor of the Demosthenes 
published by Winckelmann. It is precisely that of the Poniatowsky lo, 
which Kohler considered too good to have been engraved by Diosoorides." 

We now come to a long series of stones bearing the name of Dioscorides, 
all more or less suspected, many acknowledged to be forgeries. These are : — 

1. Mercury Criophorus : sard. (Stosch's, now Carlisle.) 

2. Perseus leaning on his shield ; at his feet the rest of his armour : sard. 
(Naples.) Eohler thinks the gem antique, but the name added (in the 
exergue) ; but Dr. B. regards the piece as a modem copy of the Mercury of 
the Belvedere, or so-called Antinous. 

*3. A replica of this — once Medina's, now Marlborough — Braoci calls a 
work of Sirletti*s ; Raspe, of Torricelli*s or Natter's. 

4. Caligula, a cameo on which, says Casanova, Amidei had the name 
inserted by J. Pichler, and thus obtained for it fourfold the price first asked. 
This is the gem seen by Winckelmann in the possession of Jenkins (the well- 
known Boman banker), and afterwards of General WalmodeD. 

5. Lower part of the head of lole : amethyst. (Beverley.) The signature 
in front of the neck. [Glaringly modem.] 

0. Fragment of a group, Hercules and Omphale, or more probably a Her- 

DI08C0BIDES. 249 

maphroditic symplegma. (Cades.) Tho work bears the stamp of modem 
elegance, and at the first sight the division of the name into two lines is very 

[♦Wild Boar at bay, attacked by a dog, very deeply cut, so that the body, 
foreshortened, comes out in the impression in nearly full relief. The inscrip- 
tion, partly in the exergue, follows the contour of the gem, and is inscribed 
in neat, almost microscopic letters of immistakably antique work. Black 
agate of small size. (British Museum ; purchased July, 1865, of Castellani, 
of Naples.)] 

As no artists' signatures are known in a contracted form, so in every case 
where the name of Dioscorides thus appears must every other doubt acquire 
redoubled weight. On these grounds, as also for orthographic errors, the 
following gems will require a very brief notice : — 

1. Giant, aquamarine (given 1720 by Grozat to Zannetti, now Worsley's). 
Bracci states was attributed by the two Pichlers to Sirletti. 

2. Same subject, sard ; Blacas : came from the De la Turbie Coll. (Turin). 

3. Medusa's head, in front-face cameo, signed A IOC ; regarded by Pichler 
as antique, and is a fine work : but the lettering differs from all the other 
inscriptions of this artist, and necessitates the supposition either of another 
Dioscorides or else of an ancient forgery. [The name is probably that of the 
god, taking into account the talismanic character of the subject; Jove 
himself being a defender : 

** Satumum que gravem nostro Jove ft^gimus xma."] 

4. Hermaphroditus reposing, attended by three Cupids — amethyst ; Wors- 
ley — ^is given by Bracci to the same modem hand as the Giant, on the same 

5. Augustus: sard. Beugnot (vid. 'Impronte Gemmarie,' iv. 93). Ste- 
phani observes upon it : " The engraver exhibits, more undisguisedly than 
many others, that degree of empty commonplace and want of certainty in the 
grasping of the form, coupled with painful and clumsy diligence in the 
representation, which distinguishes from all others those works of the pi-esent 
century that are intended to pass fur antique." [Certainly the work of the 
hair is totally different from that usually seen in the antique.] 

6. Serapis, front face: garnet; in Caylus' own possession:'. legend AI(i)C> 
[There is no necessity of referring this inscription to an artist ; it being an 
invocation to the god.] 

7. Thalia seated holding a mask : onyx of two strata ; Be la Turbie. The 
name, according to Millin, is modem. (Now in the Blacas Coll., according to 

8. Bacchus and panther: sard. (Cades.) 

*9. Female head, signed AlOCI : topaz. (Marlborough.) 

10. Silenus seated under a tree, a female Faun by his side playing the 
double flute: sard. (Naples.) In the exergue At oCKo P. Baspe remarks of 
it, " A distinguished work, and worthy of Dioscorides, to whom it would be 
assigned if the orthography were not faulty." 

11. Julius Csesar, front face, laurel-crowned, lituus on the right : jacinth. 
(Blacas : signed AI02K0PIA02.) 


12. Angustus (unknown coll.), given hj Raspe. 

13. Head of Laocoon, once T>r. Mead's, broken and restored in silver by 
Sirletti ; to whom Edhler, perhaps with justice, attributes the intaglio itself. 

Epittkohanub. — Germanicus ; cameo, broken below, so losing the end of 
the legend running downwards behind the head, EniTYrXA. Belonged to 
Fulvius Ursinus. (Strozzi, now Blacas.) Much praised by Edhler, but 
doubted, as fiir as the legend goes, by Stephanl, because the letters are in 
intaglio. To this objection Dr. B. replies that there is no place upon the 
field where an inscription in relief could appear without interfering with the 

[*Same head : intaglio, sard; once Beckford's. Modem.] 

All the others, with the name abbreviated, and only known by Stosch's 
casts, are highly suspicious. 

EvoDUB. — ^The Julia Titi, on aquamarine, or, as Haiiy says, green crystal. 
The history of the gem can be traced up to Charlemagne ; it having crowned 
the top of a ch&sse belonging to his chapel, and afterwards preseuted by 
Charles the Bald to the Abhey of St. Denys. 

2. Female bust, Bacchante or Muse, sard, with indistinct legend €YoAoC 
€nol : put down by K5hler as an insignificant modem work. 

3. Horse's head, 6Y0A0C : sard. Schellersheim, now Baron Roger's : 
if agreeing with the Blacas onyx, is but a copy of the one signed Mie. 

[*4. Horse's head and neck ; work bold and indubitably antique. Below 
€ YOAOY ; probably the steed's own name, " Speed away : " a fine cabochor 
jacinth. (Rhodes.) 

** Amethyst, head of Plotina or Marciana ; the work antique and good : the 
name a modem addition, in large coarse lettering. [Present owner un- 

Edttchks. — ^The authenticity of this inscription has been recently estab- 
lished in a most striking manner by imezpected testimonies, dating from a 
remote period, which furnish the strongest external evidence to T5lken's 
internal reasons in favour of the genuineness of the inscription. De Rossi 
has found amongst the papers of Cyriac of Ancona, in a Vatican MS., the 
following notice: "Eugenii Papse, an. XV 1445) Venetum »er. ab urbe 
condita M.XX.Iir. (t.e. 1023 years from the founding of Venice). Ad 
crystallinam Alexandri capitis ymaginem. Hec antiquis Grecis litteris 
inscriptio consculpta videtur 


Qua) Latine sonant : Eutychus Dioscuridis Aigelius fecit" According to the 
words that follow, *' Bertutio Delphino Venetum Alexandrese classis, pmfecto," 
the gem appears to have been presented by the latter to Cyriac. The opinion of 
Em. Braun's, that the supposed Alexander was no other than our Pallas, has 
received a speedy confirmation by a further communication of De Rossi's out 


of another Vatican MS., which proceeds from a contemporary of Cyriac's, «>. 
the beginning of the fifteenth century: *'Ad M. Lsepomagnum ex K. A. 
(Eyriaci Anconensia) litterarum particula de Alexandri Macedonia in 
cristallino sigillo comperta nuper imagine prssscripta cum inscriptione. 
' Prseterea ut insigne admodum aliquid tibi referam, cum mihi lo; Delphin 
ille fiavapxo^ diUgens atque ^ikonovwraros apud eum per noctem prse- 
torla sua in puppi moranti pleraque nomismata pretiosasque gemmas ORtentas- 
set, alia inter ejuismodi generis supellectilia nobile mihi de cristallo sigillnm 
ostendit, quod poUiciaris digiti magnitudine, galeati Alexandri Macedonis 
imagine pectore tonus, miraque Eutychitis artificis ope, alta corporis oonca- 
vitate, insignitum erat ; et expolitaa galeaa ornamento, bina in fronte arietum 
capita, certa Ammonil Jovis insignia parentis, tortis comibus impressa : ac 
Bummo a vertioe thyara, cursu veloci Xapyocov^ molossos hinc inde gerere 
Tidetur; insigni artis pulchritndine : et sub galea, tenaissimis hinc inde 
capillamentis princepe, subtili velamine et peregrino habitu elaboratis a 
summitate listis amictus, dexteram et nudam cubitenus manum, yesti summo 
a pectore honeste pertentantem, videtur admovisse ; et gestu mirifico facies, 
regioqne aspectu acie obtuitum perferens, vivos nempe de lapide nitidissimo 
Yultus, et heroicam quoque suam videtur magnitudinem ostentare. Gum et 
ad lucem solidam gemma partem objectares, ubi cubica oorporalitate, intus 
Bublucida et vitrea transparenti nmbra mira pulchritudine membra quoque 
Spirantia enitescere conspectantur ; et tarn oonspicuaB rei opificem supra- 
scriptis inibi consculptis litteris Graecis atque vetustissimis intelligimus.' ** 

In the last century this gem was in the possession of Salviati and Colonna, 
and after of Prince Avella at Naples. In recent times it belonged, if I am 
not mistaken, to the Schellersheim Collection, so that a second example in 
the Marlborough, mentioned by Clarac, must certainly be a copy. [Quite 
true ; for the lettering of the legend is in the large peculiar style seen on the 
Poniatowsky GKsms, and the work of the intaglio, though deep and bold, on 
examination is destitute of the antique finish. The dimensions of the ame- 
thyst also far exceed the " poUiciari magnitudine " of Cyriac*s description.] 

Of very dubious credit are — 

1. Sol in his quadriga ; onyx. (De Thoms.) 

2. Head of a Roman youth : Baspe ; where the name is written Euty* 

3. Minerva putting her vote into the urn in favour of Orestes. (Ponia- 

Hjsbophilub. — ^Laureated head of Augustus : in the field in front, in two 
lines — 


A large cameo in blue paste, now at Vienna. Figured by Winckelmann (H. 
A. PL 31 D). Said to have been found at Maintz, and to have belonged to 
Treves Cathedral up to the dispersion of the chapter in consequence of the 
French Revolution ; but actually described by I'ater Wilhelm (d. 1699) 
in his ' Luxemburgum' as then preserved in the church of Eftemach, where 
Dr. B. thinks justly it must have lain from time immemorial, judging from 


its mediaBval silver setting attached to a chain, as if for suspension round the 
neck of some holy statue. [Condemned by Eohler in perfect ignorance of 
the facts, but, in my opinion, one of the very few examples beyond suspicion, 
satisfying as it does every condition.] 

Felix. — ^Ha^De of the Palladium : sardonyx. (Marlborough.) One of the few 
acknowledged as indubitable by Stephani. A copy of this by Sirlettl was in 
Andreini's Collection, whence it was stolen. Another replica in the Floren- 
tine Museum. In the original the whole of the legend 

<t>HAIZ €nOI€l 

is in the exergue;** in Andreini's gem the <t>HAIH €nOI€l is inscribed upon 
the cippus. [If Dr. B. is not mistaken here, the Marlborough gem is in all 
likelihood that lost by Andreini ; for such is the position of the legend on the 
Marlborough sard — a very dark-brown sort, the French sardoine, not a 
sardonyx, as he calls it, misled by the Catalogue.!] 

2. Cupid and Psyche, sard ; Strozzi. Copy of the Capitoline group, signed 
«HA1X by Fel. Bemab^. 

3. Centaur, «HA, probably to be assigned to the same. 

4. Lucretia, altogether modem. 

Heraoleidas. — Head of M. J. Brutus, cut in a mixed metal let into a 
massy gold ring, found a few years back near Capua ; now in the Naples 
Coll. : on the side HPAKAEIAA2 EIIOEI. Compared by Em. Braun, for the 
beauty of the work, to a certain coin of Catania. 

Htllus. — Female diademed head, called Artemisia ; in front, YAAOY. Sard, 
once in the cabinet of Lor. dei Medici, Orleans ; now St. Petersburg. Hence 
the inscription must be reckoned one of the best authenticated. 

2. Head resembling Sabina, with the diadem, perhaps a row of pearls inter- 
woven in the hair ; the work very elegant and neatly finished : the lettering 
looks too bold. Mistaken by Stephani for the first : its presen t place not known. 

3. Barbarian's head, common camclian : Florence. Published by Canini 
1669, and the inscription, therefore, most likely authentic. 

4. Hercules, or Aventinus, standing with the club in his right hand, held 
downwards, his left wrapped in the lion's hide placed upon his back : sardonyx 
of five layers, much injured by fire, which has destroyed the sur&ce and 
shows that the legend existed there previously. (In Stosch's Coll., now Berlin.) 
The work of little merit. 

5. Dionysiac Bull : chalcedony. (Paris.) The name, carelessly and sharply 
cut, over the design, is pronounced by Bracci and the Pichlers a modern 
addition.^ Many copies known, in the Hague, Lord Olanbrasil's, Tunstall's, 
Hamilton's collections. 

liequiring investigation is Pulsky's Bust of Jupiter, with a sceptre, and 

* Figare.l in Stosch's < Pierres Graves.' 

t The extreme thinness of the stone, coupled with its large extent, and the paia- 
fally minute style conspicuous in every part, confirm the suspicion suggested by the 
remark of Dr. Brunn. 

X Mr. Rhodes, after a careful examination this summer (1862), agrees in this 

FELIX — KOlNOa. 253 

upper part of an eagle ; the work of a latish yet still good period, on a fiery 

sard. Behind the head, in almoet imperceptible letters, the signature YAAOY. 

Upon the diadem, in coarser lettering, the name nEPI4>ANTE2. 

The most important of all the gema with this signature is a cameo bust of 

a young laughing Satyr, formerly Baron Winckler's, now in the Berlin ColL 

In the field, in intaglio, 



The work held by T5lkeD as modem, but, strangely enough, by Stephanl as 
antique. But he rejects the inscription as being incised. Unfortunately its 
history cannot be traced beyond its first mention by Gori. 

The foUowing are in the highest degree suspicious : — 

Nereid borne by a Triton, and two Cupids, stone broken below ; said by 
Clarac to be in the Marlborough Cabinet* 

Ariadne deserted ; in Baron Roger's or the Piombino ColL The figure in the 
modem sentimental style, and badly accommodated to the space. 

SHenuB Head, amethyst ; and a Hippocrates, white and grey agate. Both 
from De la Turbie. 

Paris : sard. (Algernon Percy.) Called by Raspe a modem work. 

Diana : a copy from the Diana of Hdus. 

BUenus Mask : sanL (Gen. Rottier.) 

Seated PoUm, contemplating a Gorgoneion: ant paste; the name the 
remaining portion of '* Thrasyllus." 

KoiKOB. — ^Adonis leaning on a colimm, a spear in his left hand, a hound 
looking up to him : small sardonyx. (Once Ficoroni's, now Lichtenstein.) The 
legend behind the figure reads clearly KOINOY, though variously misread* 
Kohler, as usual, ascribes this work' to Natter, forgetting that it had been 
already published by Stosch in 1724, whereas Natter did not establish himself 
at Florence before 1732. Besides, it had been published by Maffei long before 
the forgery of names had come into vogue. 

2. Augustus, in a Stosch's cast, of which nothing is known. 

[3. *Head of Demetrius Poliorcetes, grand antique work : sardoine : Pulsky. 
The name, a modem insertion, in the front.] (Now in the British Museum.) 

The blundered KOIMOY, evidently arising from th& false reading of the 
name when first published, itself testifies against every gem on which it 
appears. Such are — 

1. Satyr mnning: sardonyx [dark sard?], very minute. (Once Natter's, 
who expresses a doubt as to the true reading of the name.) Kohler at once 
puts him down as its author ; but in that case he would hardly have expressed 
himself in the above terms. The figure, however, looks like a copy after the 
Satyr of Pergamos, that great favourite with the forgers. 

2. Pythagoras seated and handling a globe set upon a cippus before him : 
sard. (De Salines : a collection notorious for its forgeries.) 

* The intaglio, of a grandiose character, possesses everj condition requisite for 
certifying its antiquity ; whereas the name carelessly cut into the field, where it cannot 
indicate the otrn^r, must be an interpolation. 


[•Faun, carr}'ing a vast hydria as if ascending a rock ; a delicate Greek 
intaglio, but the name most awkwardly foisted into the exergue: sard. 
(Formerly Hertz.)] 

*Perseus with the Gorgon*shead in his hand — ^feeble modem intaglio: sard. 

Mykon. — 1. Bust of an aged man, beardless : jasper. (Once F. Ursinus*.) 

2. Cupid on a lion : small onyx. (Once Caroline Murat*s.) Seemed to Clarac 
genuine, both work and legend. 

3. Muse seated, a roll in her left hand, the right lifted, as if declaiming ; 
before her a mask on a cippus ; jacinth. Said to be at Florence. The work 
of no particular merit, scarcely likely to have received an artist's signature. 
(In Cades* casts.) [Is this the jacinth-like sard of Uertz^ now Rhodes ? If 
so, which there is no reason for doubting, the work is far from mediocre and 
the sard of an extraordinary fineness : the signature, too, as antique as the 
intaglio, but as indubitably the owner's name, and no more.] 

Neisos. — Jupiter Axur,* resting his hand on a shield, the thunderbolt in 
his right : large Oriental sanl. (Formerly Crozat's, then Orleans, now in the 
Russian Coll.) Stephani decides unconditionally in favour of the inscription, 
and that it is of the same date as the intaglio. 

2. Cock in a car drawn by two rats, legend broken ofif, K£I • . : black 
jasper. (Baron Roger.) Undecided. 

NiCANDBOS. — * Julia Titi : amethyst [jMrdaine], (Marlborough.) Greatly 
abused by Kohler: "The portndt without resemblance, executed utterly 
without taste, and legend and all of modem origin," &c Dr. B., though fkr 
from praising the work, says it has something harsh and unfinished, yet 
gives the effect of genuineness, and is quite different from the style of the 
forgeries of the last century. The same holds good for the signature, cut in 
with a certain hastiness, where angular forms of the letters and dots replace 
the usual curves and circles, so troublesome to execute. [These criticisms are 
founded upon the casts ; neither writer knowing that only the lower half of 
the gem remains, and has been restored in gold as a Julia, though certainly of 
a much earlier date, the chin and neck displaying the bold treatment of the 
Greoo-Egyptian school. The signature, fortunately, is quite perfect, and 
the form of its letters fixes the date beyond all dispute, the O being represented 
by a dot, a peculiarity of the later bronze coinage of the Ptolemies. The 
material is a jacinth-coloured sard.] 

Onesas. — ^Muse, leaning against a cippus, tuning her lyre: ant. paste. 
( Published by Maffei, now in the Flor. G allery .) Inscription behind the cippus, 
which supports a naked figure — 



Considering that both figure and inscription were known in the middle 

* '' Apelles pinxit et Alezandrum Magnum fulmen teneutem in templo Epheaia 
Danse xx talentis anri — digiti eminere videntur et fulmen extra tabulam esse " 
{Piin. 35, 36). This famous painting was assuredly the original of the gem ; indeed 
the youthful, heroic figurp differs totally from the established type of Jupiter ; and 
the Vejovis was unknown to Greek art. 

MYK0N—80L0K 255 

of the Beventeenth century, the last doubts as to their genuineness mubt 

2. Bast of Hercules, olive-crowned : sard of Andreini's, now Florence. In 
front of the neck, ONHCAC Kohler condemns the whole, and thinks 
the top part of the head was broken off purposely to hide the faulty work. 
Dr. B. coincides, with a reservation, in this sentence. 

3. Beplica, in De Thorns Coll., highly dubious; perhaps that formerly 
belonging to Van Hoorn, upon which G. Gostanzi added the name. 

4. Ulysses holding a helm : sard, broken. From the De Thoms GoU. ; 
equally suspected. 

6. Head of youthful Hercules: napphire, (Strozzi.) 

6. Apollo, head bay-crowned: sard. (Card. Albani; now Golonnuli, a 
Spanish marquis.) Probably the famous one belongiog to the Gountess 
Gheroffini (the Gardioal's mistress), described by Winckelmann, but having, 
in Dr. B.'s opinion, a very modem look. To this origin is due the uncertainty 
in the expression, by no means bespeaking an Apollo. 

7. Drunken Woman ; the inscription blundered : sardonyx. Lippert ; has 
been attributed to Onesas. 

8. Venus Yictrix : sard, broken. Gades ; where the signature is palpably 

Pamphilos. — ^Achilles, seated on a rock, playiug the lyre: amethyst. 
(Paris.) Presented, about 1680, by Prof. Fesch of Basle to Louis XIV. 

2. A copy of this, called by Lippert a caricature, the accessories slightly 
modified : sard. (Devonshire.) Bracci quotes Pichler as to its being a copy of 
the first. Two more copies known ; one in Raspe, the other in Poniatowsky*s. 
The following are more or less dubious :— 

3. Youthful Hercules : Portales ; modem, according to Dubois. 

4. Gupid rescuing Psyche : sard« Townley (Brit. Mus.). 
6. Theseus slaying the Minotaur. (Glarac.) 

6. Metrodorus : Gades ; certainly modem. 

7. Junius Brutus : Raspe ; in very suspicious company. 

Protabchos. — Gupid playing the lyre: cameo sardonyx. In the exergue 
nPOTAPXOZ EnOEI in relief. (Formerly Andreini's, now Florence Gabi- 
net.) One of the five allowed by Kohler to be genuine. The name at first 
misread Plutarchus has given rise to that signature upon the modem copies. 

Solon. — ^IfsBoenaa: COA(i)NOG behind the head: first published by F. 
Uminus, 1580, as the portrait of the Athenian legislator. Dairval first in 
1712 published the opinion of the Regent Orleans that the name was the en- 
graver's, the portrait that of Mascenas. 

2. Rape of the Palladium : GOAnN €110161. Seen in Italy by Louis 
Ghaduc about 1600. 

3. The Strozzi Medusa : chalcedony. Published by Maffei, 1709, and seen 
by La Ghauss^e at the end of the previous century. It was found on the 
Ck;lio near SS. Giovanni and Paolo, came into the hands of Sabbatini, who 
sold it to Gardinal Albani ; thence passed into the Strozzi, now Blacas GolL 
Gopies known : by Gostanzi, for Gardinal Polignac, 1729 ; by Madame Preiss- 
ler ; and by Jeaffroy on amethyst. [The profile has none of the antique cha- 
racter, but much resembles a portrait from life of the sixteenth century.] 


Tho head of Maecenas was UDdoubtedly often copied daring the sixteenth 
and seventeenth centories ; the question, therefore, is to decide which is the 
original. There exist — 

1. A fine Oriental sard. (Famese Coll., Naples.) 

2. Sard, of the same size, in' the Riccardi, afterwards Poniatowsky. The 
name reversed. 

3. Sard, much larger than the preceding ; now in the Vienna Coll., and, 
according to Eohler, that of F. Ursinos, and figured by La Chaiiss^e as in his 
time in the Barberini. 

4. Sard : the intaglio very shallow, stone shield-shaped. (Piombino.) The 
letters deeply cut and coarsish. 

Of these four the Vienna is pronounced the best by K(5hler (who, however, 
rpgaids the legend as an insertion of the age of F. Ursinus). Dr. B., from 
the actual inspection of the Piombino gem, finds himself able to warrant its 
genuineness ; and says that, in spite of a certain carelessness, the treatment of 
the head appears to him the most /uU of character in this. Taste and care 
cannot, indeed, be denied to the Neapolitan, but the roundness and fulness of 
the forms seem less appropriate to the character of the person reprcBented. 

'* A large and fine bust of Maecenas, in front face, inscribed 20A12N02, 
said to have been found, in 1794, near Palestrina," now in the Worsley Coll.» 
deserves to be mentioned here. [Nothing further seems to be known of it] 

The Rape of the Palladium is now in the Russian ColL, according to Ste- 
phani. Dr. B. thinks it far inferior to the same subject by Dioscorides ; and is 
inclined to agree with Ebhler^s suggestion, that it was done by some artist 
early in the last century after the descrixition left us by Chaduc of a similar 
composition thus inscribed. 

A second, a cameo, exactly agreeing in design with the gem by Dioscorides, 
but the name in relief, is highly praised by Baudelot and Caylus.* Nothing 
further known. 

Bust of a Bacchante : large ant. paste. (Berlin.) The only other genuine 
work of this artist. Much praised by Winckelmann and Tolken. The sur- 
fece bearing the legend greatly corroded by time. 

1. Cupid standing: sard. (Schellersheim, now Bar. Roger.) Style very 
mannered, and probably modem. 

2. Copy of the same in the Hague. 

3. Hercules, bearded and crowned with laurel, in front face : sard. T5lken 
doubts the legend, D. B. the work also, as not bearing the antique stamp. 
Perhaps this is the stone once in Andreini's possession. 

4. Head of an ivy-crowned laughing Faun : Oriental agate ; pretended to 
have been found in tho Columbarium of Livia*8 freedmen. First published 
by Gori, but very dubious. Dactyl. Smithiana.t 

6. Livia as Ceres, veiled head: sard. The drawing betrays a modem 

• Figured hy Caylus, Rec. I. PI. 44, On an agate of two layers, the signature 
admirably cut in relief. It was then in the possession of the Comte de Maurepas. 

t Not so ; Oori merely says it much resembles (persimilis) a gem reported to have 
been found in the sepulchre, &c., in the year 1726, of which he had an impression — > 
a hint that he suspected Smith's to be a copy of the same, as it doubtless was. 

SOLON— TEUKR08. 257 

6. Head of Vulcao, in pointed cap ; the hammer appears over his shoulder. 
(Cades.) Of very dubious stamp. [This being mentioned by Gerhard, Arch. 
Anz.9 1851, 1 beheve is that of the Hertz Coll. ; most indubitably modem : a 
nicolo of neat work enough.] 

7. Victory with trophies: fragment of a splendid gem.* (Westropp Coll.) 
Only known by a notice of Gerhard's. 

8. Another fragment : Victory sacrificing a bull. (Raspe.) 

9. Roman Emperor, leaning upon his shield. (Raspe.) 

10. Satyr, inscribed COAYNOC (Raspe.) 

[*Head of Neptune; behind it Z0A12, the intaglio apparently antique: 
emerald, circular and very deep. (Hertz.)] 

Teukbob ; Teucer. — Hercules seated, and drawing lole (or Hebe) towards 
him : amethyst (Formerly .Andreini's, now Florence.) Authenticity unques- 
tionable, as behind the female figure a space has evidently been reserved at 
the outset for the signature. 

Copies of this very numerous : one in Milliotti deserves mention, on accQunt 
of his assertion that it had been in the possession of the Clermont family long 
before the publication of Andreini*s amethyst, which, if true, would be an 
additional warranty for the antiquity of the latter. 

None of the other pretended works of Teucer can pass for antique. They 

1. A crouching Satyr, twining a garland ; left by Stosch to Guay, and by 
the latter to Lord Carlisle. 

2. Achilles seated, holding a helmet ; a lance in his right ; the shield rest- 
ing agfunst a tree. Bracci affirms that both are of modem origin on his own 

8. Mask : amethyst (De Thorns.) Style and cabinet sufficiently attest 
its modem origin. 

4. Antinous : quoted by Raspe without further note. 

5. Head of Minerva: sard. (Lippert.) Perhaps the one in the Hertz 
Coll., with the name blundered TEYKTOV. [No; that gem is a jacinth, 
with a full-length figure of Minerva of the finest work, but the name rudely 
scratched in.] 

6. Bust of Diana : cameo. (Blacas.) The name incited in long deep 
letters ; the last upon the quiver. 

7. Hercules carrying a woman on his shoulders weaving a garland. An 
indifferent intaglio, quoted by Dubois. 

* A most instructive instance this of the recent and impadent forgery of an 
artist's name. It is the identical stone given in the ' Impronte Gemmarie,' iv. 7, 
published in 1834, and in this cast no inscription whatever exists. It then belonged 
to Cav. Demidoffl Westropp bought it at Capranesi's sale : probably the name had 
been put in by the order of that astute anHquano. 



Glass II. 

Names the genuinenms or signifieanoe qf v^ich 

are matten </ douU. 























Kbonios, Cboniub. 
















Admon. — ^The famous Hercules Bibax, said; was already in the MarU 
borough Cabinet before 1768. Another, quoted later by Braod and Yisoonti 
as belonging to MolinarL [A most excellent copy on sard, high en oaibochon^ 
was in the Hertz Coll.] Molinari's is now in the Blacas. The large sise of 
the lettering and the nominatiye oase of the name oblige us to assign it to the 
owner. Henoe, highly suspicious are«- 

1. Hercules, aged head, signed AA merely ; a work in the modem style. 

2. Hercules Musagetes. (Poniatowsky.) 
B. Alexander, as Hercules. 

4. Hercules reposing ; at his side a buU« Seen by Em. Braun at Potenza, 
and said to have been recently found there ; but siterwards he met with a. 
cast from the same amongst the modem class in Csdes* sets. [Oan this be 
Rega's admirable intaglio, with his signature altered 7] 

Oades marks as modem also, Hercules pulling the Amazon Queen from her 
horse^ and Theseus supporting upon his knee a slain Amazon ; Dubois, the 
Infant Hercules strangling the serpents^ in the Beck GolL 

Augustus : cameo. (De la Turbie.) Probably the one read AKMON by 
Visconti (the name in relieQ* Dubious irom the little credit of this collection 
and the gem not being forthcoming. 

Head <^ Ammon : sard. (Cades.) The lettering dumsy. 

Vulcan offering arms to a youth seated by a veiled female. Baspe thinks 
it a work of Natter's, probably copied from the Alban sarcophagus of the 
Marriage of Peleus and Thetis. 

Abuus.— Head of Tiberius or C. Caosar, front face : sard. (Corsina Coll.) 
Dr. B. doubts the style of the work and the Greco-Latin form of the name, 
which too» being in the nominative, would not warrant the admission of an 
JElina into the list of artists. Still more suspicious 

1. A copy of the last, Portales : said. EAIOZ. 


[* Another oopy (poor) in the Townley Coll., Brit. Mus. The name 
indubitably indicates the owner. There was in the Praon Coll. a Lion (poor 
work), with AEAIOY in the exergue ; probably a rebus (the Solar Lion) on 
the name, the wfflolic form of ^HXior.] 

2. Unknown Head. (Blarlborongh.) 

3. Homer: a profile: nicolo; correctly spelt AIAI02. But the gem 
comes from the Hemsterhuis Coll., and therefore is of no authority. 

AsnoN. — ^Bearded Head, covered with the Phrygian cap ; in front, A€TIO- 
NOC : sard. (Devonshire.) The gem bought by Peiresc in England, 1606 ; 
was porchased by the Duke of Devonshire from Masson in Paris (the source, 
says Edhler, whence all these gems with forged names got over to England). 
The position of the name in front of the face seems against its designating the 
engraver. Eohler thinks it an invention of the sixteenth century, to identify 
the head with that of Andromache's father, Action. 

Two modem copies, given by Raspe and De Jonge. 

A third, said to have been in the Orleans Ck>lL, not known. 

A copy, freely treated ; the cap converted into a sort of helmet and an 
ithyphaUic Herme behind the head; seems that of Gravelle*s quoted by 

Bacchanalia, of nine figures in front of a temple: sard. Raspe says, 
exhibits Dorsdi's style. 

Mercury bearded, carrying a sceptre-like caducous : sard ; in the archaic 

Same subject : sard ; bought by Petr^ in Egypt ; is, according to Dubois, 
of very dubious character. 

AoATHANOBLOB. — Scxtus Pompcy :* sard. (Berlin.) Utterly condemned by 
Kdhler, but defended by Tdlken. It was first published by Venuti and^ 
BerUmi, and was in the hands of Sabbatini, a dealer in antiques. His heirs 
sold it for 460 scndi to a Pole, who presented it to the Marquise Luneville at 
Naples. Said to have been found near Gedlia Metella's tomb, set in a massive 
gold ring weighing an ounce, but its authentidty doubted from the first 
Winckelmann, however, believed the story, adding [a strong confirmation of 
its truth, in my opinion] that the sard when drawn was found to be backed 
with a gold-foil ; a thing that would not have come into the head of a modem 
foiger. [Vid. Pliny's remark as to the custom of foiling gems with aurkhal- 
ofMik] Stephani notices [with justice] the modem elegance of the treatment 
of the hair, and points out the fOTmation of the letters and their termination 
in large dots as decisive marks of their recent production. Even Tolken 
allows that the name, from its position under the neck, can only be referred 
to the owner. 

2. A Sacrifice : mentioned as modem by Dubois. 

AoATHOH. — Bacchus, with thyrsus and cup : sard. Algernon Percy 
(St. Petersburg); name, APAOOJN ; therefore its case proves it not to be 
the engraver's. 

* Judging from the cast, I i hould decidedly pronounce this Hadrian*! portrait, 
taken at an early period of his reign— certainly not the profile of Sezt. 

8 2 


AusxAa— Ball4MUtiiig, between the feet AAEHA: sard. (Berlin.) Tbe 
inscription doubted by Braoci. 

2. Seareerpent, twisted about a rudder : cameo ; the name in relief. Half 
the stone wanting : and again 

3. *Lion in his cave, ^^^^gf » bomt sard. Both Pnlsk/s, who quotes 
Em. Braun's judgment in favour of the latter. But seven xmedited inscribed 
gems in one and the same private cabinet must excite suspicion, which is 
forther awakened by the fragmentary state of the cameo.* 

4. Senpis head; AAEHA in huge letters, that can have no reference 
at all to the artist (Raspe). 

AxMONiUB.— Head of a laughing Faun, full &ce; behind AMMONIOY: 

sard. (Beverley.) [St. Petersburg.] The intaglio, from the style of ex- 
pression and the treatment of the hair, very much suspected. 

2. Medusa^s Head : sard. Baron Roger ; uncertain. The votive nioolo to 
the Dea Syria of the Marlborough has nothing to do with our subject. 

Aktsbos. — ^Hercules carrying the Bull: aquamarine. (Formerly Sevin's, 
now Devonshire.) Pronounced by Millin and Yisconti a genuine work of the 
age of Titus ; but altogether rejected by Kohler. 

*2. Head of Antinous, AKT, stone broken. (Bracci.) The name evidently 
of the person represented. [This is probably the grand intaglio Antinous of 
the Marlborough.] 

Apellbs. — ^Mask, below it AflCAAOY; placed by Braoci in the times of 
Sept Severus. Not known at present KOhler thinks that names thus set 
under masks are those assumed by the actors on the stage : their &vourite 

AuLtJS (AYAOY). — Cupid nailing a butterfly to a tree : jacinth. Pub- 
lished by Faber in his edition of F. Ursinus; who interpets the name 
Aulus of Brutus the younger, assumed after his adoption by Au. Post 
Albinus, and explains it as his signet, typifying that his soul was as firmly 
attached to Gaasar as the butterfly was nailed to the tree I This may be the 
gem now in the De Thorns Coll., unless that be a modem work done after 
Faber's description. Inasmuch as forgers always have followed the line of 
subjects suggested by some famous original, we find a series of Cupids 
bearing this signature : — 

1. Cupid in chains, resting his head upon the handle of his mattock : 
cameo. (Baron von Gleichen.) In the exergue AYAOY incised Much lauded 
by Bracci, but suspected by Yisconti, and the figure bears much resemblance 
to the children of Guido Reni and of Fiammingo. 

2. Cupid, with hands bound behind his back; behind him a trophy: 
amethyst (Carlisle.) Called by K5hler " a pleasing work of J. Pichlei^s." 
Dr. B. esteems it of the same fabrique as the last : the large empty space 
above the Cupid would not be found in an antique work. 

*3. Equally modem appears the Cupid who is endeavouring to hold up a 
huge cornucopia ; chalcedony in Raspe. [This is the Marlborough gem ; a pale 
yellow crystal, which is certainly antique, but somewhat repolished, which 

* PuUky's lion seems antique work, and \>y] a good master ; but the legend is 
certainly a more recent addition. 

ALEXA8—A UL U8. 261 

has impaired all the ontlineSy bat at the same time establishes the ori^^mility 

of the sigDatnre.] 
Gavalier at foil gallop : sardonyx. (Florence.) 
Same subject, replica : ant. paste. (Berlin.) 
Qoadriga and charioteer : studonyx. (Morpeth, or Carlisle.) 
Horse, fore part of: garnet. Gaylns. (Dr. Brown; Lichfield.) 
lion pulling down a horse, like the Gapitoline group: jasper. (Lord 

Meghan.) The name expressly said by Braoci to be a modem insertion. 
Winged sow, neat work : sard. (Cades.) But the original not known« 
More important is the series of heads thus signed : — 

1. The famous Esculapius : sard. (Strozzi, now Blacas.) The conspicuous 
placing of the name upon a tablet in the field is sufilcient evidence that we 
see here the owner's ; supposed by Stephani to have been a physician, and 
the coincidence of the name with the supposed artist's merely accidontaL 

2. Bust of Bacchante: jacinth. (LudovisL) The work stigmatiBed by 
Edhler as ** wretched, and apprenticelike, such as no man of taste should 
admit into his cabinet." Dr. B., having examined the original, '^has no 
doubt as to the modem origin of the whole work.** 

3. Satyr's Head, front face ; prase (or sard). (Jenkins.) Pronounced by 
Edhler a work of the last century, and Dr. R oonfiraos his opinioD. 

4. Toung Hercules, a head : sard. (Beverley.) Is probably the one called 
by J. Pichler a work of Costanzi's. Execution and style both have the 
modem stamp. 

6. The Ptolemy Philopator of Stosch, or Abdolonymus of Bracci : large 
sard. (Pans.) Called by Eohler a good antique work, but the name added by 
the same hand that introduced the miserable little figures into the field. Dr. 
B., however, has a very low opinion of the whole, and thinks the accessories 
only differ firom the bust in point of sLse^ not of merit; and though antique, 
the.large size of the lettering proves the name to be the owner's. 

6. Sextus Pompey, with a ^ip's beak : only known in Baspe. 

7. Augustus, young head: sard. Eohler calls it "a neat but not antique 
work." ♦ 

8. Another : given by Raspe, from a cast of Stosch's, 

9. Tiberius : sard* (Portales.) Where Dubois doubts at least the genuine- 
ness of the name. 

10. Caracalla : cameo sardonyx ; the name incited* Modem, without a 
doubt, to judge from the cast. Several others, quoted by Clarac as doubtful : 
viz., — Ceres: sard. (Mar. de Drte.) — ^Faun : nicolo. (Beck.) — Faun, copy by 
Jeuffiroy of Nicomachus'. — ^Head of Laocoon. — ^Ma9cenas.t — ^Helmeted Head. 

Of many groups and whole figures the chief are : — 

1» Venus seated on a rock, balancing a wand, a Cupid flying towards her : 

* Apparently the gem formerly Lord Cawdor^s, now Rhodee' ; but I differ from 
Eohler u to its genuinenesa: it is a carefally finished Roman intaglio, and the 
letters (the name being divided on each side of the neck) are bold, and of the same 
character as the work itself. 

t The Greville gem ; the face more resembles one of the Vitellian family, and the 
name underneath the aeck, in that case, would designate the person himself. 


sard. (Formerly Vettori's, now in the Townley Coll.) A composition seemiDgly 
copied from the antique pastes (Winck. Desc ii. 673, 574), with some unsnc- 
cessful improYements attempted. 

2. A copy of this hy Natter, mentioned hy Baspe. 

3. Another copy hy the same, where Venus is converted into a Danae. 

4. Mercury Criophoms, standing hefore a cippus, supporting an um. 

6. Mercury carrying the Infant Bacchus : jacinth. De Thorns ; but the 
name modem, according to De Jonge. 

6. Pan and Olympus : sardonyx. Beck ; together with 

7. Leda and Swan, reclining figure : a group so often coped in modem 
times ; are classed by Clarac among the uncertain. 

8. Hercules Nicephorus : sard. Pulsky, who himself considers the name 
as an insertion. 

9. Woman pouring out a libation, Stosch's casts, is considered by Baspe as 

10. Woman tying her sandal in front of a Priapufr-Herme : sard. (Baron 
von Gleichen.) Seems modem in the style. 

11. Victory wilting on a Shield : onyx. An insignificant piece* 

12. A Sacrifice : worked in the style of M. Angelo's signet. 

In a few of these the inscription may be regarded as certainly, or at least 
as probably, authentic But taking into account the variation in the lettering, 
as well as of the style of the intagli themselves, the only plausible solution of 
the question is to regard the name, when antique, as that of various owners. 
As in our days seals often bear only the first name of the possessor, the same 
may have been the case with the private signets of antiquity ; and the 
frequency of this signature be explained by the commonnees of the name in 
those times. [A probable explanation ; in the fiimiliar epistles extant, pei^ 
sons are genendly designated by their |)r«nofnf no, as Marcus, Quintus, &c] 

AxBOOBUB.— Dancing Faun, wearing the lion's hide, and playing the lyre 
in front of a cippus supporting a statue of the Infant Bacchus. In the exergue 
AXE0X02 En : ant. paste. (Strozzi, perhaps now in the Blacas Ck)ll.) K5hler 
is undecided as to the work, but condemns the inscription on account of the 
orthographical errors, and the abbreviation of the verb. Dr. B. also discovers 
something modem in the pose of the little figure, and In the movement of 
the Satyr. 

2. Head of Omphale : sard. Countess Gheroffini ; is dubious on account of 
the repetition of a dubious signature, and the face is strikingly deficient in 

3. Perseus mirroring Medusa's head upon a shield lying at his feet, on whidi 
is cut the name A5E0X : sardonyx. De Thorns ; is equally suspicious with 

4. A Bacchante, with thyrsus and vase, mshing forwards; paste; in the 
same ill-famed collection. 

5. Beger's agate, with AZI(a)<I>I ; has nothing to do here, but belonp to the 
Abraxas class. 

Gaius. SeeGAiOB. 

Classioub. — Serapis on a throne. Crozat Cat ; assigned by Garac to an 
artist, without any grounds. 

AULU8—GAI08. 263 

Dbmetbiub. — ^Hercules stranglmg a lion hung up to a tree : sard. (Mar. de 

2. Bull : sard. (ScheUersheim.) Both uncertain, if name of artist or of 

DiONTBius. — Bacchante's head : quoted hy De Murr. 

EpnoKOfl. — ^Venus Victrix leaning upon a cippus : very douhtful as helong* 
ing to the De Thorns ColL 

EuKUBoa. — ^Mars in full armour, standing: sard. Quot^ by Baspe as 
belonging to the Landgrave of Hesse-GasseL 

Gaio6. — ^*The Sinus of the Marlborou^ Coll. 

^ A garnet on which the Head seen in front of a dog, Siiius or the Dogstar, 
with the inscription TAIOX €nOI€l on the collar, is very deeply cut, and 
which formerly belonged to Lord Bessborough and afterwards passed with the 
rest of his gems into the Marlborough Collection, belongs to the list of very 
fiunous gems. This Head is so perfect and spirited a work that one is at a loss 
what most to admire in it, whether the imitation of life here carried to the highest 
pdnt, or the extraordinary skill in the overcoming of all the difficulties, the 
licking, tender flesh in the muzzle, the inside of the jaws, the teeth, the nose, 
or the tongue that hangs out — * ut feesi canes linguam ore de patulo potus 
aviditate projiciens.* Baspe doubted as to the antiquity of this stone ; Natter 
had practised his profession a considerable time in London, and to him has 
this work been ascribed." Thus speaks Eohler, p. 158. But does this report 
(which Murr expressly points out as resting upon an error) possess sufficient 
weight that, upon the strength of it, we should forthwith ** number amongst 
those gems in which both work and legend are modem,** what Kdhler himself 
styles "a work so carefully finished that neither ancient nor modem times 
have produced its equal ** ? Nevertheless, Natter in the Bessborough Catalogue 
calls the stone a Bohemian garnet ; a species, according to Kdhler, not known 
to the ancient gem-engravers. On the other hand, Oarac, I know not on what 
authority, calls it a Syrian garnet [It is actually an Oriental gamet of the 
finest quflJity, which might be taken for a spinel.] Natter, it is true, openly 
acknowledges that he did occasionally put Greek names upon his own works, 
yet does he as distinctly deny that he ever passed them off for antiques. But 
the gem in question he caUs Greek, and only professes (p. 27) to have copied 
it with some success. Finally, as to what concerns the name which K5hler 
stigmatises as not happily chosen, because thereby a Boman engraver— Caiua 
— appears upon the scene, on this very acooimt would a forger have made a 
more " happy ** choice of a designation. The name, however, in itself, is not 
liable to the objection that we hereafter are obliged to make good against the 
names " Quintus '* and *' Aulus : " as the example of the Jurist Gains can 
sufficiently prove. In addition to this, it cannot be proved in a single case that 
gems with the name of Gaios were known earlier than our Sirius. Upon the 
Berlin obsidian (to be next described) even Winckelmann had overlooked the 
inscription. Therefore it seems to me that as yet no sufficiently valid reasons 
have been adduced for its suspiciousness, although the fiill certainty of its 
genuineness can only be attained by a repeated examination of the original, 
which'now probably is to be found in the Blacas Cabinet [No ; still in the 
Marlborough. But, after repeated examination, I fear this noble piece must 


be given to some great artist of the Gnque-oento ; the work displaying none 
of the hieratic stifiFhess ever characterising this head of the Egyptian Solar 
Lion, Sirias-/8<)«^^*«, not uncommon in garnets of Hadrian*8 time. But — the 
point of most weight with me — the surfiace shows none of the wear of time 
that bites ever so deeply into the antique stone ; and here this has cer- 
tainly not been rectified by modem repoli^ing.] 

2. Silenus seated on a hide, holding in each hand a flute: obsidian.* 
(Berlin.) Work but middling, not to be compared to the first ; the name here, 
therefore, probably designates the owner. 

8. Nemesis : only known by a cast of Stosch's. 

4. Copy of this : sard. Baron Roger : and in the same collection. 

5. Silenus : jacinth ; after the Berlin obsidian. 

Gnaios. — Head of Touthful Hercules; below the neck FNAIOS: bluish 
aquamarine. (Strozzi, now Blacas.) Published by Faber as the signet of Ghi. 
Pompey.f ** The signature belongs to the best authenticated that we have, and 
we can prove beforehand that it cannot designate an artist, unce the work of 
the head is of that fine quality that would justify the engraver in putting his 
name to it.** So speaks the paradoxical Kohler. 

^2. Athlete anointing himself. Published by Yenuti in 1736, and then in 
Apostolo Zeno's Coll., afterwards in Stosch's, who sold it to Lord Bessborough. 
The gem was rejected by Vettori from his list of artists, whether on account of 
his doubting the gem itself, or merely the form of the aignature. Kohler says 
*' that Natter praises the stone so highly, that he may be suspected of being 
the author of it. Natter calls the stone an Oriental hyacinth (jacinth), 
possesdng the colour of a Bohemian garnet, and notices also that the surface 
is fiat : a convincing proof that it is modem, as all antique jacinths are cut en 
cabockonj* [This criticism is based on an error : the stone is a superb jposfe, 
resembling indeed a dark jacinth when looked down upon, but exhibiting the 
tme sard colour when viewed by transmitted light. A testimony this to 
Natter's honesty : had he been its engraver, he had certainly discovered the real 
nature of the pece. Dr. B. considers the work as but of insignificant merit, 
and points out the little skill shown in the employment of the field : certainly 
the large empty space left above the table has a very awkward effect; the 
original work, however, of the intaglio has been excellent in the Boman style, 
but has its outlines now destroyed by the repolishing of the surface, which 
must have been done before Natter described it.] % 

3. Bust of a Queen, with the sceptre on her shoulder : sard. (Rdcher Coll) 
Called a Cleopatra or a Juno. Kdhler only rejects the legend, and praises the 
intaglio as tender, tasteful, and finished; but Dr. B. suspects the style of the 

* Obsidian probably means here a black paste, so termed pedanticallj by the 
catalogne-makers of the last centnry, from a misunderstaiidingofPliny's description of 
the actual stone, which was mistaken by them for an artificial production. In the 
Marlborough Catalogue, Obsidian is always employed to designate the antique pastes 
of a dark colour, 
t And with good foundation : the name proves it to have belonged to his dan, 
% The original of this beautiful paste is a dull sardoine, also in the same cabinet ; 
unless indeed the latter be a oopy from it. 


drawing, and the modem character of the attributes. *^ Though the features 
are pure, there is no life in the expression; the hair, too, on the brow is 
worked in a manner not seen in the antique." 

4. Juno Lanuvina, or llieseus. (Beyerley.) Bracci says the name was 
put in by Pichler : the whole, doubtless, modem. 

6. Bape of the Palladium : *rNAIOY in the exergue ; present owner un- 
known. [This must be the Devonshire gem, a large black and white banded 
agate.] Pronounced by J. Pichler antique, but doubted by Eohler ; and Dr. 
B. censures a softness in the contour of the body, and the expression of the 
head not suited to the character of Diomede. The design agrees with that by 

6. An Apoxyomenos ; sard of mediocre work, FNAOY behind the figure. 
The name judged a modem addition by Pichler. 

7. Head of Pallas, or Alexander, a Pegasus on the helmet : Mead's Museum. 
Baspe takes for a work of Gostanzi's. 

8. Head of Hercules : chalcedony ; seems the gem mentioned by Natter as a 
copy by Costanzi of the Strozai. 

9. Muse, a bust, in front a mask on a cippus, the name behind the head. 
(De la Turbie.) Considered by Yisconti as worthy of the artist, but suspected 
by Glarac, chiefly on accoimt of the cabinet it belonged ta Dr. B. obsenrea 
that the signature is clumsy and defective. 

10. AlcsBus, a head. (Lippert.) 

11. A Theseus, perhaps identical with Baspe's Antinous. 

12. Bmtus. (Lippert) 
To these may be added : — 

1. A Sister of Caligula's, a Head: sard; quoted by Tolken. The hc% 
exhibits traces of the modem " el^ance, and is somewhat squat, and the like- 
ness figur from certain." 

2. Horseman spearing a boar or bear, a reclining Faun holding a thyrsus : 
nicolo, Naples ; very dubious. 

3. Head of Mercury : Pullini, Turin ; quoted by Dubois. 

4. Horse's Head: fragment. (Formerly Marquis deDr^'s.) Several copies 
of the Strozzi Hercules, of the Marlborough Athlete, and of the Apoxyomenos 
are known.t 

Hellen. — ^Bust of Antinous as Harpocrates: sard. (Orleans, now St. 
Petersburg.) First published by Fulvius Ursinus, as Hellen, the founder of 
the Hellenic race. The work praised by K5hler as of the finest antique stamp 
and finished with inconceivable delicacy ; but the name he absurdly supposes 
'' an addition of F. Ursinus.* Though the name be genuine, yet Tdlken 
thinks it probably indicates the owner, some Hellenics or Hellenicos.} 

* Hme. MertexiB liad added to the Prann Collection, as a genuine antique, another 
equally exact replica of this subject, but without any signature. The work is of 
some merit, but the stone — a common carnelian — and the intact surface make its 
authenticitj to me extremely questionable. 

t To these may be added : *Omphale, a beautiful head covered with the lion's skin, 
but much of a modem style. (Marlborough.) 

X In fact, I strongly suspect EAAHN in its origin to be but the signature of the 
famous Alessandro H Qreco^ a most natural disguise for that artist to hare assumed. 


2. Mask: Blacas, from the De la Turbie GolL, and therefore extremely 
dubious until further examined* 

3. Head of a young Satyr crowned with yine-leaves : beneath, EAAHNOY. 
Tdlken calls this ^ unmistakably modem, and copied from the chubby Bao- 
ohus-heads on tavern-signs, but the execution shows a master's hand." [The 
blunder in the name also is unpardonable.]* 

EsoNioe. — ^Terpsichore, staiuiing, and resting her lyre on a dppus: sus- 
pected by Bracci to be done by Sirletti. But Andreini had only the cast 
(published by Qori) which he had obtained fifty years before from a good 
engraver in the Medicean Academy, II Borgognone. The gem not now 

2. Jupiter caressing his Eagle: cameo. (Old Poniatowsky ColL) Sus- 
picious for the false reading KPQMOY. 

3. Perseus with the Medusa's Head. KPONIOY : sard. (Devonshire.) 
Known to be modem. [One in the Marlborough ; probably that here cited as 
the Devonshire, a feeble modem intaglio.] 

LuozuB. — Victory driving a biga at full speed : sard. (Count Wassenaer.) 
The work pleasing, but slight, and not of sufficient importance to presuppose 
the artist's signature. The name AEYKIOY placed in the middle of the 
exeigue with a certain nice regularity, and without any reference to the 
design. Finally, the hair-lines of the lettering do not correspond with those 
employed in the engraving itself the whip, or wheel-spokes ; and therefore 
Dr. B. considers the name an addition, though put in (for the owner's) in 
andent times. 

2. Bust of young Satyr, ivy-crowned. Eohler calls a work without the 
least taste, that Lippert ought to have been ashamed to admit into his series. 

3. Bearded Satyr, mask, of which Raspe notices three repetitions : reading 
AOYKTEY and AOYKTEI, which probably have nothing to do with Ludua. 
[The Marl, gem reads clearly AOYKTEIOY, '^Lucteius;" but the position 
marks it the possessor's name : this stone, at least, is antique.]! 

4. Poppsea, signed AEY. Raspe, where no one suspects an artist. 
MiDiAB. — Gryphon trampling on a Serpent: cameo^ MIAIOY incised. 

Paris. The stone bumt, and broken, so that the name may be part of 
AIMIAIOY, which does occur on the same subject in Cades ; but the original 

Mtbtok. — ^Nymph with floating vdl home upon the back of a swan with 
spread wings, under one of which the name MYPTQN: formerly in the 

This theory is supported by the Omphale in the spoils of Hercules : the name, cut in 
the field in minnte letters, seems as antique as the rest of the surface. The intaglio 
is in a bold, well-finished style, but clearly Cinqne-cento. Sard. (My collection.) 

* A magnificent head in front face, most deeply cut, of a Bacchante ; EAAHN in 
the field in extremely fine letters in Pichler's taste. The intaglio itself seems Greek 
of the best age ; but the stone — a pale Balais of large size — and its recent surface are 
grounds for reasonable doubt. Left by L. Fonld to Baron Boger Talnd. 

t It is figured No. 506 in Gorlsei Dactyliotheca (ed. 1695), and thence came into 
the Bessborough Cabinet. 


Strom GolL Stepbani allows the name to be gennine from its eyident con- 
nexion with the design, but supposes it to indicate Myrto, Pindar's mother ; 
or else the Eulaaan nymph. Dr. B. thinks the work not sufficiently important 
to bear an actual artist's signature : the name besides exceeds tbe measure 
allotted to such, and is mate than an accessory, seeming to indicate either 
subject or owner : the reading, besides, is not qmte certidn. 

Oneshcxts, — Jove standing holding a sceptre, parallel to which runs the 
name: sard. (Bar. Hoom.) Uncertain. 

2. PaUas, Helmeted Head : Baspe. Confessedly modem. 

Pbboaxob. — Satyr dancing, in his right the thyrsus, in the left acanthams : 
paste. (Florence.) The name in the field in front of the knee was read 
HEITMa, or nYPMON, or IIEMAAIO. EShler Judges from the sharp- 
ness of the letters that they are a recent addition to the antique paste. But 
Dr. B. observes that the inscription already existed in Agostini's time, and 
that, far from being recent in appearance, it has suffered corrosion equally 
with the rest of the sur&oe. Hence the sole reason for not admitting Perga- 
mos into the list of artists is the uncertainty as to the real name. 

2, Other gems with this legend, where it evidently refers to the hero Per- 
gamus, thereon represented. 

d. Heroules carrying the BuU. (Stosch.) The name modem. 

Phabnaom.— Hippocampus ; in the exex^gue ♦ARJAKHC . g^j^^ (Pamese 

ColL, Naples.) The cutting of the letters not in character with the style of 
the design, which is allowed by Stephani to be antique, though but mediocre. 
The legend therefore must be considered suspicious. 

2. Capricorn and a Trident : the name awkwardly inserted between him 
and the waves : amethyst. (De Thorns.) The name probably taken from the 
Famese gem* 

3. Same subject : Poquel. (Paris.) Quoted by Dubois.^ 

4. Lion passant : sard. (Greville, now Beverley.) Name in the exeigne. 
Stephani ventures upon no decision here. 

6. Cupid riding on a lion : sard. (Cades.) The figure, though small, is 
done with clevemess and a sort of negligence, and may be antique. But 
in both the last, the letters are cut harshly, are furnished with dots, and 
proceed clearly from a modem hand ; being too conspicuous for the small- 
ness of the stones. 

6. Nemesis holding a bridle ; Millin : very dubious — from that attribute of 
the goddess, only seen in late works. 

7. Wild Boar, «AP : said. (St. Petersburg.) Name contracted. 

8. Meroury, a Head : jasper ; similarly uncertain. — Fragment of a Satyr. 

* Female ptDther paisant, of the finest work ; in the ezergne ♦APNAKOT. Sard. 
Unqnestionably antique ; formerly Lord Cawdor*s, now Rhodes'. Where the signature 
is actually genuine, there is good reason to believe such gems were signets of 
some of the Asiatic princes bearing this name. The Bacchic panther is a rebus 
upon it, Phamacei being, as Ansonius tells us, the Mysian name for Bacchus. 
By the same analogy Phamaces II. took for reverse of his gold medals the figure 
of Dionysos •Helios. 


. • KHC : Princess Gagarin ; dubioas, if it can be referred to this name. 
Though the signature upon one or two of the aboye may be geniune, yet 
none display any striking merit The various forgeries prove that the sup- 
posed artist was considered eminent in the representation of animals. Bte- 
phani regards the Greville gems as the starting-point whence all the rest 

Phzlxm OK. — ^Theseus and the shun Minotaur : sardonyx. (Vienna.) A bad 
stone of two layers ; but the work, according to K5hler, of a good modem 
hand. Stephani reckons it amongst the suspicious, and says the legend has 
much more of the modem about it than of the antique. [An exact replica of 
this, but without signature, a modem cameo admirably done, in the Marl. Coll.] 

2. Bust of an ivy-crowned laughing Satyr : behind the head ^noi * 

paste. (Strozzi.) Eohler says, " Nothing could be more convenient at the 
time of forging artists' names than to get an antique paste and to ennoble it 
by the insertion of a few letters : in this case they bear no analogy whatever to 
the style of the work." 

3. Hercules binding Cerberus: amethyst* (St. Petersburg.) Kdhler 
calls modem, but of good work. 

4. Bull's Head. (Braoci and Cftdes.) 

5. Hercules strangling the lion : onyx-cameo. (Glanbtasil.) Is known to 
be from the hand of Ant. Picbler. 

[6. Head ci Berenice ; her hidr, bound with a fillet, Ms down in numerous 
curls: in the field behind, <l>IAHMONOO. A modem intaglio, but of the 
highest merit ; formerly Hertz's.] 

Phocas. — ^Athlete standing, holding a palm, and touching the fillet around 
his head : jacinth. Braoci thinks does not refer to the artist Probably this 
is the trae reading of ^QIAA on a Bacchante sard. (Schellersheim.) 

Plato. — Charioteer driving his team : not the artist's name. 

PoLTCLBTTUS. — Rape of the Palladium. The stone broken on one side. 
Formerly Andreini's : condemned by Kdhler ; and doubted by Levezow. 
Subject and name are both against its being gennine. 

Satubnius. — ^Antonia, wife of Drusus : cameo ; the name behind the head 
incised : formerly Caroline Murat's, afterwards Seguin's. Stephani allows the 
work to be excellent, but the drapery probably retouched : only the inscrip- 
tion forged, as being incised. Dr. B., too, thinks the field there has the 
appearance of having been smoothed recently for the reception of the name. 

2. The Dioscuri ; between them the head of Jupiter Ammon. (Thorwald- 
sen Museum.) The name CAT0PN6I NOC certainly has nothing to do with 
an artist's. 

Sbvsbus. — Hygeia giving the serpent todiink: plasma: Slade. n.C€.- 
YHP.Y on a little shield in relief. 

Skopab. — Gems bearing upon them this name are so little known, and 
have not been ever critically examined, that nothing oertain can be advanced 
as to their authenticity : they are — 

1. Head of Apollo Citharcedus : sard. (Formerly Sellari's.) 

2. Caligula, or L. Ciesar: sard. (Leipsic Mus.) But Visconti doubts the 
legend, and Dr. B. objects to the weak, modem styk of the work. 


8. Beaided Head: aard. (Count Batterlin.) CalledbyLippert a Zeno; by 
Raape, an Epicurus. 

4. Naked fexnale ^7 & ^^)^w> ^ if anmnting herself. (Caylus.) The lines 
of the form yery harsh, and can be hardly antique. 

6. (Edipus and the Sphinx : 2KOIIA EH. (Baspe.) Very susincions from 
the abbreviation of the yerb. This dgnaturey so variously written, sometimes 
with round, sometimes with angular letters, in the nom. and in the gen. case, 
creates a very unfavourable impression as to its genuineness. And if antique 
in one or two cases, the exact mgnification must be ascertained before Scopas 
can be admitted into the list of engravers. 

SoTLAX. — ^Mask of Pan nearly front-flBoe : amethyst. (Strozzi, now Blacas.) 
Kohler says, ** This mask is, both for the invention and extremely spirited 
execution, one of the greatest masterpieces of antique art." The name is 
genuine, not cut in delicate minute letters, but in a bold style to indicate the 
owner, lliis is the source whence the forgers have got the name to put upon 
so many of their modem gems. 

2. Siriufl, the entire fore-part of his body, with the paws as it were swim- 
ming through the air ; in the field, CKYAAZ : yellow topaz, much larger 
than the MarL Sirius. (Old Poniatowsky GoU.) As Natter owns to having 
copied the latter, this topaz may be assigned to him in Kdhler's opinion.* 

3. Satyr playing the flute : onyx ; Cades ; is a pretty work, but bears no 
decided stamp of antiquity. 

4. Another Satyr agreeing in design with that of Pergamos ; also on onyx ; 
Cades ; the manner very pointed and studied. 

6. Cameo, Hercules seated plajring the lyre, his weapons leant against a 
rock behind him ; CKYAAKOC incised in the exergue. (Formerly Tiepolo's, 
now Bar. Soger's.) Dr. B. doubts the work, and takes it for a copy from a 
small cameo in the Beverley Coll. unsigned, and figured by Enea Vico. 

6. Eagle's Head ; to the right, CKYAAKOC, reading towards the neck : 
sard. (Formerly Algernon Percy's, now St. Petersburg.) 

7. Another^ to the right, and legend turned towards the border : sard. 
(Cades.) The letters quite bungled. 

8. C. Antistius Restio, Head : sard. (Marlborough.) [A mediocre modem 

Dubois notices in Bar. Soger's ColL, as doubtful — 

1. Head of a Bald Man : garnet. 

2. Man standing holding a bow : sard. 

3. Satyr's mask : sard. De Murr mentions a small sardonyx (St. Peters- 
burg), a giant drawing a gryphon out of his den, with the legend 2KYAAK En 
or 2KYAAKI02. None of tiiese inscriptions being entirely trastworthy, we 
must allow their full weight to Kbhler's critique upon the Strozzi amethyst ; 
and decide that the existence of an artist Scylax is in the highest degree 

SosocLES. — ^Medusa's Head, COJCOCA in front of the neck : chalcedony. 
(Carlisle, now Blacas.) Kohler condemns the gem as " a stone never employed 

* If antique, we should have here another rebus on the owner's name — :CicyAa(, a 


by the ancients ; its origin too is betrayed by its uncommon harahnesR and the 
want of taste in the rendering of the hair ; the blunders in the name coold 
not have been made in ancient times." Yisoonti proposes Sosthenes as the 
correct reading; Dr. B., more plausibly, Sosus. The gem was published in 
the seventeenth century, by Stefanoni and by Licetus. 

2. Copy by Natter for Hemsterhuis; in the Hague GolL 

3. Junius Brutus : sardonyx. (Aldborough.) The name CCUCOKA proves 
this to be a forgery. 

SoBTBATUB. — Oamoo, Victory leading the horses of a biga. (Once L. dei 
Medici's ; now Farnese, Naples.) In the field above^ COCTPATOY ; between 
the horses' feet, LAYB. M£D. The work allowed antique by Kohler and 
Stephani ; but the inscription pronounced an addition in the taste of the 
eighteenth century, " being scratched in with small fine lines with dots at the 
ends; and placed over the horses because the proper place for them was 
already occupied by the name of Lorenro." It is hard to see how such an 
addition could have been made, inasmuch as the cameo came into the Farnese 
Coll. through Margaretta, widow of Alessandro de' Medici, and never subse- 
quently passed through a dealer's hands : hence Stephani's theory cannot be 
admitted, without further proof. 

Unfiivourable, however, must be our judgment upon all other gems bearing 
this signature. 

1. Gar drawn by two lionesses bridled by a Cupid : cameo ; a fragment. 
(Devonshire or Beverley.) The work acknowledged by all as antique and 
excellent, but the name an addition. 

2. Meleager standing opposite the seated Atalanta : cameo. (Ottobuoni, 
now Devonshire.) The name inclBed behind Meleager. Stosch observes that 
the style differs essentially from that of the preceding. Dr. B. regards this 
piece as indubitably modem on account of the composition and the error in 
the costume of Atalanta, h«re represented as almost nude, instead of in the 
attire of a Diana. 

3. BellerophonwateringPegasus, reading CCUTPATOY: sard. (Baspe.) Is 
clearly a copy from the bas-relief of the Villa Spada.* 

4^ The same subject, UTIAIOY : sardonyx cut transversely. (Marl- 
borough.) Is a further corruption of the same word. 

6. Victory sacrificing a Bull : sard. (Formerly Stosch, now Devonshire.) Was 
judged by J. Fichler a work of the sixteenth, by Stephani of the last century. 

6. Nereid riding upon a Sea-serpent: a small sard, the name above; 
published by Lippert; Stephani styles too insignificant a work to judge about 
its age : the name, however, so fine as hardly to be distinguishable, is evidently 
fit)m a modem hand. 

7. Nereid on a Hippocampus ; cameo quoted by Winckelmann. 

8. Venus Anadyomene ; a cameo sold by Casanova "for 3001. to a Dr. MaUi. 
As he had received it from his brother the painter, it was most likely done 
from a design of his, and the buyer " what his name imports," i.e. a mn^mftn , 

9. Seated Faun holding fast a Bacchante, OCTPAT above, quoted by 
Panofka, is altogether modem. 

* Mediocre modern stjle. 



The result drawn by Stephani from this review is that the Devonshire 
"^tory was the starting-point, whence the forgers commenced with the 
employment of this name. This gem was in existence before 1723, though 
not published by Natter until 1754. Stephani thinks its style agrees with 
that of Natter's earliest works. Dr. B., however, believes it taken from the 

THAmrBUB. — Sphinx scratching her ear with her hind paw; sard. 
(Vienna.) The work old, according to K5hler, but the legend most suspicious. 
J. Pichler thought the work Greco-Etruscan, and Dr. B. notices the Etruscan 
border, and the style of the intaglio^ rather free but marked with the sharpness 
of the demgns upon some scarabni ; which too agrees with the character of the 
lettering, which, large and filling up the field, evidently designates the owner. 

2. Child seated (Harpoorates), the name incised ; cameo. (Beverley.) Dr. 
B. considers the work but sketchy ; and the name, totally differing in character 
from the first, to be decidedly modem. 

3. Warrior standing by the side of his horse ; Prince Isenburg ; is said by 
Kdhler, upon the authority of Heyne, to be a work of Bega*s. 

Class m. 
NcmM due tofdUe rtadings^ or which do not r^er to a Oem-engraver. 


Akxon, for Adxok. 
Aktlos (Aquila). 




Alphxus and Aae- 


Anaxilab, for Hbra- 












Gjekab (Gabca). 




















KfltaniAX (GiBsiLAx). 
Kaikibianob (Gjbgibi- 


Kaepob (Ga&pub). 


Kleon (Gleok). 

Kbatbbob (Geatebus). 

Ebeboems (Gbebcbnb). 







































jBfoliak. — ^M. Aurelius, so called without sufficient reason ; AEPOUANI 
behind it. (Devonshire.) Stephani and Dr. B. a^^ly the name to the owner 
or the person represented (probably the latter). 

2. A Bacchante dancing, as Millin says, '* a modem pirouette," AUIOAI^ : 
De la Turbie ; condemns itself by style and orthography. 3. Beplica of M. 
Aurelius, dted by Murr. 4^ Boman Triumph. (Dubois.) All modem. 

AoATHBMXBOB. — Socratcs: sard. (Devonshire or Portland, now Blacas.) 
Dr. B. remarks that he has not seen the type of the Socrates head so well 
expressed in any of Btosch's casts as in this ; and only hesitates to recognise 
an artist's in the name because it is divided by die neck. ATAIIHMB 
roughly cut in the field of a cameo head of a Qreek queen of good work, 
in the possesion of Whelar, December 1879, evidently a stujnd inter- 

Aktlos. — ^Venus in the Bath, Cupid holding a mirror to her : sard. (Baspe.) 
A work of the Decline. The name in large letters, divided by the design 
and reversed in the impression, can only imply the owner. 

2. Horse, Stosch's pastes : probably the name of the steed. 
Albzandbos. — Cupid, a Lion and two females, in the exergue AAEX AN A. B : 

cameo. (Florence.) Pointed out by Baspe as the identical work of H Qreco*8 

eulopsed by Vasari. 2. Profile head of a man beanUess; ^^^q^™^ 

behind it : Florence ; also a work of his. 

3. Ptolemasus Alexander : cameo ; Caylus, Y., PI. LIII., reading AAEKIIB : 
where Cay lus's reading — ^*AXc(aydpo£ 'Eirc^ay^ff Boo-iXrvfi — seems very plausible. 

4. Apollo, quoted by Minervini ; the name running all around cannot apply 
to the engraver. 

ArxT ny. — Touthful Head, Hercules, laurel-crowned : small sard. (Florence^ 
formerly Agostini's.) The legend is read by K5hler AAAION for AHAIQN, the 
god of the Delians : an explanation confirmed by the money of Delos reading 
AAA. This being the case, all other gems with AAAION or AAAION become 
doubly suspicious, especially as all have come to light after this, which 
certainly cannot be an artist's name. Thus the form AAAION condemns as 
modem: — 1. Same head: cameo; Baspe. 2. Head of Ulysses: sard; 
Worsley. AAAION occurs on the Dionysiac Bull : sardonyx ; HoUis : but 
this, only known to Bracci, is a copy of the Hyllus. Inscribed AAAIONOC 
is, A Muse leaning against a cippus, playing the lyre: sard; Strozzi, now 
Blacas. Kdhler says the stone is a common dull caraelian, and therefore 
rejects the work. It seems a copy of the Muse by Onesas, the letters ill-cut, 
and the edges of the stone appear purposely broken, llie Bacchanalia, 
aquamarine (Bessborough), is called by Natter a work of Sirleiti's. To the 
same artist Dubois assigns three gems: — ^Death of Julius Ciesar, Minerva, 


Yenus and Cupid. The Bessborough aquamarine seems to be the one described 
by Bracci as engraved on such a stone by Sirletti, after an antique original, 
and sold to Dr. Mead.* Nessus and Deianira, qaoted by Lippert; now 
unknown. AAA YON on a Venus Marina : sard ; Firmiano ; is said by Pichler 
to be a modem addition. Roman head : Raspe ; of no credit. Triumph of 
Cupid: Fej^vary; modem. Hermaphroditus (legs) ; Demidoff: the name an 
insertion. Nymph upon a hippocampus : amethyst ; Hemsterhuis (on which 
he published a dissertation); has the appearance of a modem composition. 
The disputed reading of the name here is, therefore, of little consequence. 

ALMELOfl. — A false reading of Pamphilos on the Orleans gem. 

Alfbeus and Abethon. — ^Male and female heads facing each other, 

between them incised CYN : cameo ; formerly venerated as being the 

betrothal ring of Joseph and Mary at. the Abbey S.-Germain-des-Pr6s ; now 

St. Petersburg. Eohler thinks the inscription votive, and added in ancient 

times when the stone was dedicated in some templcf 

Hence all other stones thus signed are extremely dubious: — Caligula, 
IVAzincourt : cameo ; where the lettering is placed on each side of the head, 
though the stone is apparently antique. With the name Alpheus alone, we 
have : the Triumph of a Barbaric King : cameo, formerly Card. Albani^s, now 
Marlborough; AA<^HOC incised in the exergue. Kohler rejects the name, 
but terms the cameo a beautiful work, and the subject one of the rarest ; but 
Dr. B. objects to the errors in the drawing, sees a want of the antique life and 
freshness in it, and doubts the genuineness of the cameo. Head of Juno, resem- 
bling that on the coins of Metapontum : sard ; Pulsky ; the name beneath the 
neck : doubtful, both on account of the name, and as coming from a collection 
professing to contain so many artists' names. Winckelmann mentions a 
cameo Penthesilea falling from her horse and supported by Achilles ; and an 
Aged Warrior ; both Mr. Deering's : the last by J. Pichler, says Bracci, who 
also added the name to the cameo. A shipwrecked Ajax seated on a rock, 
engraved in the scarabseus style, formerly Ant. Pichler's, is dubious for that 
very reason. Venus drawing a Butterfly out of a fountain : cameo ; Venuti. 
Kape of Proserpine : Poniatowsky, quoted by R. Rochette. 

Amasakthvb. — ^Hercules and tlie Stymphalian Birds: sard. (Praun.) 
According to Amaduzzi, once belonged to Zarilio. [Not now in the Praun 

Amfbo. — Bearded Head with narrow Fillet around, called Rhoemetalces. 
(Florence.) The name reading right upon the stone cannot be the artist's. 

Antiochub. — ^Bust of Pallas : sard ; Andreini ; Bracci gives to Sirletti, who 

* Diana Ephesia : sard ; Libri ; so highly puffed in his catalogue (May, 1864), is a 
regalar Poniatowsky fabrication in the mder style — ^large. 

t The portraits are nsaally called Germanicus and Agrippina, but in all probability 
represent the pair whose names accompany them. The projecting parts of the relief, 
such as the hair, &c., have been worn flat by the fervent kisses of the devout during 
the six centuries this gem enjoyed its most sacred reputation. Stolen at the burning 
of the abbey in 1795, it passed into the hands of Gen. Hydrow, and thence into the 
Imp. Russian Cabinet. 



borrowed the name from the statue of Pallas, in the Villa Lnidovisi. Cupid, 
the name divided : sard ; Raspe ; Dr. B. judges* modem. Female Head, of 
Hadrian's time, Bracci : Antiochis, the kdy herself. [Blacas.] 

Antiphilub. — ^The name placed by a bent bow and arrow on a gem of the 
Neuville GolL, Leyden ; merely the owner's. 

Afollodotus. — ^Head of Pailas, as that of Aspasius: sard. (Barberini.) 
In front, cut in large letters, AIIOAAOAOTOY Aieo, which, thou^ antique, 
merely stand for the " gem of ApoUodotus.** 

The Dying Orthiyades : sard. (Raspe.) The name added. 

Afollonides. — Cow lying down, wanting the hind-quarters, back, and top 
of the head. The name in relief in the exergue.* Lippert says Stosch got 
1000 guineas for this. KiShler boldly assigns the entire fabrication to Stoach 
himself ; and remarks tluit the cow, though executed with the utmost delicacy 
and industry, betrays more than plainly by its timidity and anxiety of 
treatment the newness of its origin. Dr. B., too, obserres that the ground on 
which the cow lies has more the air of a modem naturalistic than of the 
antique conventional treatment, and everything else shows a want of a fixed 
and definite style. The same design, perfect; the Hague, coming from 
Hemsterhuis ; is a copy of the above. (Edipus and Antigone : cameo engraved 
by Tettelbaoh, of Dresden, after a design by Casanova. Mask, with the name 
in Roman letters ; Winckelmann ; necessarily designates the owner. 

Abohiok, — Venus riding on a Triton, on her lap a little Cupid ; paste or 
sard ; De Thoms : the name inscribed upon a fold of the drapery. Dubious 
from the modem air of the design, as well as the collection to which it belongs. 
No genuine example occurs of a name so placed. 

Abibtotbiohos. — Scarabaous, prase, found near Pergamus: lioness in a 
threatening posture. The name filling up all the field over the design is 
clearly the owner's. 

Abibton. — Ulysses seated before his house, the forepart of a cow visible by 
his feet: red jasper; Paris. In front of the figure, the name. The design 
within an Etruscan border shows somewhat of the hardnefis of the archaic 
style ; the name is added in a later but still antique character, and reads right 
upon the stone, 

Atha^ — Amazon, quoted by Gori, 

ATOY. — Apollo and Hercules, a tripod between them. (Caylus.) The 
composition bears a modem air. 

Axios. — Capricom : opaque sard ; Portales-Gorgier, the owner's name, in 
the field. 

Beisitalgb. — Cupid standing and leaning on a sceptre: sardonyx. 
(Florence.) The letters large and reading right upon the stone show the name 
to be the owner's. 

CiBKAB. — Youth standing, holding a sword : paste ; the letters laige and the 

* Not 80 : by some anacconntable mistake Dr. B. (lil^® Clarac) describes this gem 
as a cameo. In realitj it is an intaglio in a red sard ; the missing parts completed 
in gold. The work is probably antique, and so is the name ; but the latter un- 
questionably refers to the owner, and nothing more — its agreement with that of the 
famous artist being a mere accidental coincidence. 


name dividecL [This mast be a paste taken from the Devonshire llieseus, 
and the name wrongly read, which is clearly GASEAE.] 

CoBBBMOK. — ^Bonner holding a palm : bnmt sard ; Brit Mns. ; stone of the 
Lower Empire. 

Chariton. — Gameo : formerly Casanova's, now St. Petersburg. Venas in a 
temple, between two female figures: the name on the base of the statue. 
Modem work, probably from Casanova's own design. Fragment of a head of 
Hercules : the name is placed behind the head. The style is affected, and of 
the same character as that to be seen in some other modem-made fragments. 

XEAY. — Seated Sphinx, with her forepaw raised, the inscription upon the 
wing: sard. (Be Thoms.) The unus\ial position of the l^end and the 
character of the cabinet together militate strongly against its genuineness. 

XPYCOYN. — In the middle a large lunar-shaped E; above it three 
balls tied together by a band [or more correctly three roses or other circular 
flowers connected by a fillet Euripides terms the Delphic Oracle arti^uuri 
jcorao-Kuw]. Uhden explains this subject as the golden Delphic E, a letter 
sacred to Apollo, and which Plutarch explains as expressing by its sound the 
word c( Thou art, as equivalent to 6 £1^, The living Qody or else as standing 
for the holy number Five, [A little cameo agreeing exactly with this 
description came into my hands at Lady Grieve's sale (1862). Caylus (Rec. 
vii. pL 27) figures a third of the same type, but wanting the final N in the 
inscription. The ingenious Frenchman discovers in the word the name of an 
artist Chryaesy and thereupon censures him for wasting his skiU upon so 
insigniGcant a memorial of himself !] 

AAMNAMENEYC. — Mercury girt with a serpent, and surrounded by 
the sacred aniipals : touch-stone. (De la Turbie.) [A mere Gnostic talisman ; 
Damnameneus occurs in the famed Ephesian Spell preserved by Uesychius, 
and is there interpreted as meaning the Sun.] 

Dason. — Janus-head: sard. (Mariette.) Evidently nothing more than 
the name of the owner. 

Deuton. — A race between four chariots: paste. (De Thoms.) An 
insignificant work. 

DIPHILI. — Vase embossed with a Sphinx, mask, and wheat-ears ; upon 
it DIPHIL : amethyst (Naples.) Name of the owner. 

D1V1LI8. — Bust of a youthful Satyr: red jasper. The largeness of the 
lettering manifestly declares it the owner's name. 

DoMETis. — Jupiter enthroned between Juno and Phoeb'is, two eagles above, 
&c. Winckelniann explains it as the apotheosis of Vespasian, and the legend 
as referring to Domitian : chalcedony. (Berlin.) 

[DOMITI. — ^The Ephesian Diana: sard. (Bosanquct) The name across 
the field.] 

DoBT. — Female bust, a crescent over the brow : Licet us.* 

Epitbacbalos. — ^Falae reading for Epitynchanus. 

EuBLPiSTUS. — Chimera of an elephant's head formed 'out of three masks : 
red jas)^r ; St. Petersburg. The owner's name cut in largo letters around. 

2. Kemesitf seated : sard ; Grivaud ; the same. 

* Kvidently the contraction of Dorjrphoriu, who had taken Diana for hi« patroness. 

2 T 


EuFLO. — Cupid riding on a Dolphin, legend in the exergue : sardonyx. 
'' Profiperous voyage I " Not a name. 

EuTHna. — SilenuB drunken seated on the ground, two Cupids holding flute 
and lyre : cameo. EOhler thinks the name Evodus blundered ; Dr. B., the 
design modem. 

Gamus. — Spes: emerald. (Kestner.) Indifferent work. 

Gaubanus.— Boar attacked by aHound, below TAYPANOO ANIKHTOY : 
bloodstone. Name of dog and his sire (or master).* 

Gltcov. — Venus borne upon a sea-bull, surrounded by many Cupids : large 
cameo. (Paris.) *^ A poor work,** says E5bler, ** of the Renaissance, in which 
the accessories are better done than the goddess.** 

Hkdt. — ^Medusa's Head (like Solon's) : onyx. (Col Murray.) The name 
probably borrowed from " Hedys aurifex" from the Columbarium.f 

Heius. — ^Diana holding a stag by the horns, in the exergue HEIOY : agate, 
according to Stosch. Letronne takes him for the Oscan Heius, the Yriend of 
Yenes. The work is stiff, in an Etruscan border, but Dr. K regards it as 
modem, on account of the attitude. [Pa8t« : Blacas.] 

2. Head of Apollo : sard ; Greville ; where the name stands for H«»r, a 
common title of that deity. 

3. Dying Amazon : saidonyx. (Raspe.) 

4. Minerva, bare Head, the helmet in the field in front : nicolo. (Raspe.) 
A mediocre work. 

6. Dolon attacked by Diomede and Ulysses. (Blacas.) 

KfisiLAX.— Boma seated, the name divided on each side of the figure : 
sardonyx. (Raspe.) 

KAIKICIANOY APIA, around a Venus leaning against a column; agate- 
onyx ; mediocre work. [Clearly the name of Arria, wife of Csecisianus.] 

Rabfob. — ^Fragment of the right leg of a Hercules, grandiose in style, the 
letters KAFn02 forming apparently the termination of a longer name. This 
appears to hare been the origin of the modem signature, which appears on 
numerous gems: — 1. Faun seated upon a standing panther: red jasper; 
Florence. Probably a modem work. 2. Muse of Onesas : cameo ; Milliotti. 
The name on the cippus behind the figure. 3. Hercules and Omphale, heads : 
sard ; Milliotti. Modem in design. 4. The Hercules and lole of Teucer r 
formerly lledina's. 6. Group of three soldiers; also Medina's. These two 
works of Sirletti's. 

The De llioms Cabinet properly follows the Medina. Here we find an 
" antique** paste from the Satyr of Pergamns ; but signed KAPHOY. Abun- 
dantia ; Dr. Thomasius ; Muit calls a modem copy, ^ as is also the Festival 
of Bacchus and Ariadne** [apparently meaning in the same collection]. 
Perseus holding up the GK)rgon'8 head : sard. (Raspe.) Hence it results that 
all gems with this name are acknowledged forgeries. 

* Quoted by ClaniG from the St. Aignan Coll., a large stone 1} inch in diameter, 
now belonging to Mrs. Stackhonee Acton. Qawranua means bred on Ganras, a 
mountain range near Lake Avernns. Martial has an epitaph (zi. 69) on a dog, Lydia, 
killed in a similar encounter with a boar. 

t Perhaps for Hedylus, which, as well as the feminine Hedylis, occur in Martial. 

EUPL0—NIKEPH0R08. 277 

Kabtbiciub. — Corylxmt with thyrsus and vase, dragging aloDg a kid: 
amethyst ; found in Perugia, the residence of the Clens Castricia, therefore the 
signet of one of that family. 

K188OB. — Heads, called of G. and L. Caasar, hut more prohahly of Kissos and 
Sodala: Winckelmann.* 

Elson. — ^Apollo standing with his lyre, hy a tripod set upon a lofty basis : 
sard ; attributed to Sirletti by Braoci. 

Ebatsbob. — Ephesian Diana : sard ; poor work. The name divided by the 

KPHCKHC. — ^Terpsichore, a copy of the Onesas: Poniatowsky; rejected 
by Dubois, for both reasons. 

*KY1NTIA. — Small comic Mask, three-quarter face, lettering very hue. 

LT8A2!n>B08. — ScarabsBUs of the Yolterra Mus., reading AYSANAPO, evi- 
dently the owner's name. 

Max ALAS. — ^Bust of Antoninus Pius : the name beneath incised ; rejected 
by Braoci as a modem addition. 

[This name, I suspect, is merely Passag1ia*s usual signature IIAZAAIAS, 
misread ; for the latter, on the Greville gem, at first sight, would strike the 
eye as MASAAA2.] 

MCIOPCIC — ^Worsley. Hercules carrying the Bull. The name a false 
reading of M. CLOD. CIS. 

MHNA TOY AIOAOPOY, on each side of a diademed female head ; De 
Thorns ; probably modem, and the name borrowed from a sard in Gruter. 

MxLESioe. — Apollo seated before a tripod : paste.* (GK>ri.) Evidently a title 
of the god, if the original be genuine, which Braoci appears to doubt. 

MiBOK. — ^Head of a Mase : sard ; time of the Decline. Tolken considers 
the name as modem. The false spelling of the name Myron with the i stamps 
as forgeries — 1. Ajaz killing himself upon an altar. 2. Daphne pursued by 
Apollu, a design in the Bernini style. 3. Lion passant, Blacas. Naked 

female bust, holding a mask : the legend at the side ep|OI€l ^ ^thout any 

precedent; Cades. 

Blie.— Horse's Head: sard. (Berlin.) Said by Edhler to be a doublet made 
to Stosch's order from a wax model ; but Tolken maintains that the stone is 
real, though the lettering, rude and large, is an addition, yet of ancient date. 
Eagle's Head : Poniatowsky ; probably taken from the above. Sard : WlassofiT, 
cited by Clarac. 

MuBiKOS. — Harpocrates : sardonyx ; the Hague ; mediocre. 

Nbabkos. — Head of Sulla, name in front in neat small letters: sard; 
Pulsky. Head of Demetrius III. : amethyst ; Pulsky. Head of Epicurus : 
sard ; Cades : a work offering few guarantees for its authenticity. 

NiSEPHOBOs. — Mercury, an Eagle upon his hand : onyx ; formerly Capello's, 
now Cassel Cabinet The name divided by the figure. A small Victory 
surrounded by the name, a signet containing the rebus of the owner : Raspe. 
Vulcan, nude, working at a helmet : sard ; Florence. The legend behind in 
large letters. 

* Of this gem are many modern copies curi'ent. 


Nbpos. — Youth playing the lyre : the name in large nide letters. 

Nbbt. — ^Bust of Cupid with his hands bound : chrysolite ; a beautiful 
work ; the Hague ; suspected as modem. 

Niootf ACHUS. — Faun seated on a panther's skin : black agate. (Molinari.) 
The Latin form betokens the owner's name. [There are two pastes of this in 
dark-blue glass, nearly black, in the Marlborough Coll., wliich are, in all like- 
lihood, Molinari's quoted aa &ZaeA; agate, a stone rarely found in ant](|ue work.] 
Hercules, Head : Schellersheim ; a perhaps modem work. Socrates, Head : 
Cades. [Venus in her shell, a splendid Renaissance intaglio : Uzielli.] 

Neilos. — Head, like Hadrian's, but broken : Winckelmann. The name cut 
in coDspicuous letters, not In fine lines. 

Ntmphebos. — ^Warrior standing ; in one hand a bay branch, in the other, 
-resting on his shield, his helmet: name divided by the figure. The gem 
antique, first published by Maffei ; the name probably the owner's.* 

Obub. — Silenus, mask : cameo ; uncertain if antique. 

P. Palonianub. — Merely a name upon a sard. 

PANJRUd. — Satyr assailing a Nymph: A^POAITH in the exergue; HA- 
NAIOY in the field. Stephani thinks it a dedicatory inscription.t Beplica 
without inscription. (Orleans Cabinet.) 

HAZAAIAS. — Passalias is the signature of the Roman Passaglia, a Lieu- 
tenant in the Papal Guards in the last century, and a most skilful imitator of 
the antique style in Bacchic subjects. MaxakUj given in the old lists of 
ancient artists, seems merely his signature misread ; a facile error. 

Pelagl — ^Diana running and drawing an arrow out of her quiver : lapts- 
lazuli ; very mediocre work. 

Pbtbos. — Caracalla : christened into the Apostle.]: 

Philippub. — Hercules, Head garlanded : sardonyx ; lettering large, the 
owner's name (the signet of some Macedonian prince ; the head, that of the 
founder of the line). Horae, small Roman work. (Marlborough.) 

Philogalob. — Youthful Head, laureated : sard. (Florence.) The name 
divided in the field. A sard, in the same collection, a copy and the name 

Phbygillub. — Cupid playing with astragali : in the field an open mussel- 
shell, within an Etrascan border : sard. (Berlin.) Greatly extolled by Winck- 
elmann, who places it at a very high antiquity, but called modem by Kohler. 
Stephani pronounces it a Roman work in imitation of the archaic style. The 
letters, large and filling up the exergue, can only stand for the owner. R. 
Rochette, however, identifies Phrygillns with the same name found on a coin 
of Syracuse. [He is right ; the notion of the Etruscan style being thus re- 
vived in Roman times is a mere theory, totally unsupported by any other 
examples, and quite inconsistent with the ancient mode of thought.] 

* In fftct, Greville's Alexander taming Bnoephalns bears in large lettering the 
name M. Ant. Nymp. . . apparently referring to the same person. 

f Why should not this be an ancient reproduction, in miniature, of a picture by 
the famous painter Pansus ? 

{ By some medisTal owner taking the curly-headed truculent portrait for that of 
the fiery apostle, whose traditional type it certainly strongly resembles. 

NEP08 — RUFUS. 279 

Plutaborus. — ^Bust of Cleopatra : Marr. A forgery baaed upon the false 
reading of " Protapchus.** 

PoEMUB. — ^Achilles playing the lyre : Monttezun ; declared by R. Rochett« 
a genuine work, but Letronne condemnB it as a blundered copy of the 

PoLTCBATBB.—Priyche seated, Cupid flying away ; nOAYKPATHZ EnOIEI : 
garnet, found in the Arena at Nismes in 1743. Considered by Mariette 
as indubitably antique ; then in the possession of the Marquis de Gouyemet* 
Not now known. 

PoLTTiMUS.— Hercules holding the apples of the Hesperides. Insignificant 
work, with the legend running around. 

PoTHUB. — ^Three Masks : quoted by Millingen. 

Pbiscus. — ^Matidia: onyx. (Formerly Medina's, now ClanbrasiL) Braoci 
asserts all Medina's signed gems are forgeries [and is right as fkr as my 
experience goes]. 

Ptladbs. — Mount Argnus, on which stands an Eagle holding a wreath ; 
name in exeigne : red jasper.* 

Ptbootblb8» — Neptune and Pallas : cameo. (Naples.) UY in the exergue 
has nothing to do with this name. [Not so certain : the letters are in mono- 
gram and seem to contain more of this great name than the first two ; the 
chances, however, are that the monogram was an addition of some possessor 
after the Revival] 

Roman head, nVPrOTEAHG €nOI€l intbe exergue, and 4>nKinNOO 
in the field ; is mentioned by Vasari as a work of AL Ccwati's. Alexander's 
head covered with the lion-skin; formerly Mayenoe Coll.; is modem 
The Hercules and lolaos killing the Hydra, the antique copy mentioned by 
Visconti, is very dubious. Alexander, Head; Blacas; the most important 
of alL But Stephani thinks that, even if the stone be antique, which, to 
Judge from the cast, is not very likely, the rudely-cut letters prove that we 
must not think here about the famous artist. Medusa's head: broken 
amethyst ; Blacas. The reading of the name uncertain. 

Quiirriii. — Neptune in a car drawn by hippocampi, the name in large 
letters on a friexe below : aquamarine. (Ludovisi.) Mercury with foot on a 
prow and regarding an '' aplustre " in his right : sardonyx ; name in the 
field behind the figure. (Spilsbury.) 

QuiiTTUS. — Fragment of a cameo : the legs of a Mars Gradivus ; sardonyx. 
(Florence.) Stephani and Dr. B. consider the inscription as a forgery. But 
an ant paste— Neptune and Amymoue — ^formerly Barberini, now Brit. Mus., 
is pronounced by Pulsky indubitably antique ; which still does not remove 
Dr. B.'s doubts about this piece. 

Rurus. — ^Head of Ptolemy VIII., an Eagle above, the name divided : sard. 
(Raspe.) 2. Aurora leading the horses of the sun, POY<l>OC €nOI€l incised : 

* The Mme mountain, but flanked by two Victories, below ^PONIMOT: red 
jasper. (Hertz.) 

t Noble head of Jupiter, brought fVom India : in the field 17 — ^T. Sapphire large 
and fine coloured. (Now Rosana, Mexico.) 


Orleans ; cameo. Bat the stone, an Occidental onyx, and the modern cha- 
racter of the details, prove it a work of the sixteenth oentary. 

Seleuous. — Silenus Head, ivy-crowned : sard. (Picard, now the Hagne.) 
The work neat, hut the name added, says Eohler; yet an ant. paste of 
Stosch's, called hy Edhler a replica of this, differs, says Tolken, considerahly 
in the exjiression. But the gem does not possess any great artistic merit. 

The same may he said of all the others, viz. : — 1. Priapus-Herme : emerald; 
De llioms. 2. Cupid pUying with a Boar : paste ; Raspe. 3. Hercules, 
Head : sard ; Blacas ; decidedly modem. In all these the ahbreviation of the 
name, G€A€YK, proves it to he copied from that first quoted. 

Semon. — Water-carrier, female kneeling before a fountain issuing from a 
lion's mouth : scarabiBus found on the plain of Troy. (Gerhard.) The name, 
in old. Qreek letters, reads right upon the stone. " Excellent work of masterly 
execution, in a black agate, somewhat burnt.** 

Sbxtianus. — Head of Apollo radiated: sard; the name divided, and in 
large letters. (Winckelmann.) 

SiLVANus. — Hercules : Sellari. Bracci suspects this. 

Skymnos. — Satyr with thyrsus running, followed by a panther: sard. 
(Cades.) R. Kochette identifies the name with the delator of Pliny; but 
Dr. B. discovers in the unevenness and stiffness of the lettering, and want of 
freedom in the design, a modem style. 

Socrates. — ^Actor standing, one hand to his head, a pedum in the other : 
camea (Bar. Roger.) The name in relief. Comedian, seen in front, leaning 
on his pedum : cameo, fine Oriental sardonyx. (Bar. Roger.) Fortuna 
Panthea helmeted : red jasper, bnmt. (Borr&) The last now not known. 
The existence of the two camei of similar subjects in the same cabinet is 
very suspicious. 

Taubis(kos). — ^Phoebus seated on a mountain, holding his whip; opponte 
to him a chamois. Gori interprets this of the mountains of the Taurisd ; the 
work too mediocre for the name to denote an artist. 

Tbypuon. — [Dr. Brunn's remarks upon the lovely composition, the master- 
piece of this supposed artist, are so full of instraction as to admit of no 
abridgment; I therefore subjoin a literal trauslation of his notice.] "A 
renowned work of the Glyptic Art is the sardonyx-cameo of Tryphon with 
the Marriage of Eros and Psyche. Eros pressing a dove to bis breast, and 
with his face covered with a veil as well as Psyche's, is walking close to her, 
led along with the sacred ribbon, by a winged Hymen holding a torch. A 
Cupid lifts the covering of a sofa which is to serve as a seat for the pair, 
whilst another, to judge from the curled points of the wings, rather to be 
called Anteros, raises from behind above their heads the so-called mystic 
winnowing fan. This group was first made known by a drawing of Pirro 
Ligorio's, which Spon got from amongst the papers of Rascas de Bagarris ; 
that the stone itself was in Pirro's possession, as Edhler maintains, does not 
appear from Spon's own account Subsequently the gem came into the 
Amndel, and thence into the Marlborough Coll., out of which it has at 
preaent disappeared, Vid. Gerhard's 'Arch. Anztiger' for 1864, p. 443.* 

* An unaccountable mistake ; it still adorns the cabinet. 


An eDgraver Trypbon is known from an epigram of Addteus, where a beryl 
with the figure of Galene is extolled as a work of bis. As long as people 
regarded the poet of the Anthology as identical with the AddaBUS, the 
acquaintance of Polemo's, and consequently as a contemporary of his and of 
king Antigonus, they also believed themselves warranted in placing the 
engraver of the Arundelian cameo in the same age : against which however 
the circular furm of the € would of itself be an objection, the use of which 
character at that period at least has not yet been satisfactorily made out. 
Reiske, however, hao long ago pointed out that the epigram in question bears 
the stamp of a later epoch.* By this, at all events, should wo gain the 
possibility of holding the artist named in the epigram and the engraver of 
the gem for one and the same person. But, entirely apart from this question, 
another possibility cannot be overlooked, viz., that in modem times the 
name upon the cameo has been borrowed from the epigram. Eohler, who 
(p. 201) first utters this suspicion, and places the stone amongst those 
' the antiquity of which is dubious, as well on account of their style as of the 
inscription,' expresses himself indeed more cautiously than his wont, because 
he had only imperfect casts at his command. On the contrary, 8tephani 
decidedly condemns the inscription at least — * The cutting shows indeed a 
character essentially different firom the forgeries of the eighteenth century : 
the name is given in the usual style of his (Ligorio's) times, in letters equally 
large and sharp: the cutting of which exhibits essentially the same character 
as the name of Lorenzo de' Medici is wont to show U]xm the gems once 
belonging to him.' As for some other reasons of Stephani's, — the letters 
being in inUtglio, the placing of the legend above the design, instead'of in the 
exergue, — though I lay little weight upon them, yet am I obliged to concede 
that ' whatever comes from Pirro Ligorio's hands, no one in our days must 
take for genuine without the most weighty corroboration : ' whilst in the 
epigram of the Anthology the possible source of the forgery clearly presents 
itself to us. Since by these considerations reasonable doubt has been 
excited, I would direct suspicion fully as much against the work itself as 
against the legend merely. For the design, so highly charming and so 
graceful, yet exhibits much of what is actusdly strange. The bride certainly 
appears in antique representations of weddings, with the veil, but where with 
the /ace covered ? And the bridegroom also the same ? The dove too, which 

* He pretends it is in the taste of the late Bjzantine epigrammatists, bat this is 
a mere piece of hypercriticism. As for the somewhat forced conceit forming its 
point, it eiactly agrees with King Polemo's '* On the Herd of Cows on a jasper," and 
with Antipater's on Cleopatra's amethyst, engraved with MiBri. The genuine 
antiquity of these two epigrams has never been disputed. But it does not by any 
means follow as a necessary consequence that Tryphon's ^* Galene " bore his signature, 
if Addcus was celebrating the production of a famous contemporary artist. Dio- 
dorus also has left one in praise of a certain Satyrius for hb 9ai9a\oy (bust 7) of 
Arsinoe in crystal, so it is clear that it was quite the fashion at the court of the 
Ptolemies for the poets to take these miniature works of art as the theme for .their 
muse. The earliest eiample now to be found are the two of Plato the younger 
(B.C. 300), ** On the Herd of five Cows on a jasper," and " On Bacchus engraven on 
an amethyst." (Anth. ix. 747, 748) 


Eroe proMeatohis ba«i>m,liaa ootyet been pointed ontln a aimllarGotmexioti. 
Betides, where do ne find the wedded coapio chained bother bf the ncred 
ribbon iiiid led along by this ribbon ? when also the myatio bn in m wedding 
•cene? 'And this fiw, too, without any hint of the phallus? Evan in an 
ortiatic point of view must the daaign awake luajiicion, moving aa it doea 
in two parallel lines npon an oral groDDd. To all theee difficultiea baa atten- 
tion bwo already called by Jahn (AnL BdtAge, p. 173) ; and It ia therefore 
perhaps less bdd and haaardoua than it may at firnt aight appear, if I (with 
reference at the aame time to the doubts raised before as to the legend) sbonU 
be inclined to r^ard the whole as a work of the siiteenth century. Fivciaely 
at that period hid the taiAe of Cnpid and Psyche glTfn divernlfied employment 
to the most eminent artists — as Ra&telle ami Oinlio Romsno. And if thera 
be Dotbing that controverts the opinion that the design of this cameo was com- 
posed by some such artist, bat employing antique 'motives,' so will its, in 
other rtepects, gieet artistic merit apfiear safficiently honoured under such a 
JudgmenL" * 

The same subject, but intaglio. (Naples.) Pronounced by Visconti a copy 
of the furegoing. 

[Another fine copy has lately come to my knowledge. It Is by a Clnqne- 
cenlo hand, on a German topaz, the size of the original. (Carter.)] 

Cupid on the Lion : modern, (The Hague.) 

Hemules and Antnus. (The Hague.) In this the name aecsns « recent 

"Triumph of a Victor in a car drawn by elepban's. (HarlborougL) [A 
paste taken either from a bad Cinque-cento work, or else coming, witbont any 
original, direct from a wax model of Sioecb's fabrique ; the latter most probalile, 
the work being rounded and blurred as though the mould bad been formed on 
the sufter substance.] 

YTRii.tJk— Mars seated. (Cortona.) A blundered and sUHpicious inscription. 

Zkhio. — SerapiH Head : nicolo, (Beugnot'a Collection.) The name, running 
around the stone, must therefore indicate the owner merely. 

* Carerul iDd rtpMlcd eumtDatlen of th« cameo Itwlf fbrcea tat, with regret, to 
endone tfaia judgment of Dr. Brann'i ; still, howcTsr, placlDg the work. Tor beaalf, 
grace, led CHcntion, at the heed of ill clan, whether setique or CinqaC'Ceiito. 


' A de Charlemague/ the, 1 1 1 


Abraxas-^ms, 72 

Accademia di San Marco founded, 19 

Agamemnon, ring of, 2 

' Agathe de Tib^re,' 43 

AIH on a charm, 65 

Alaric, signet of, 150 

Albans, shrine of St., 106 

Alexander of Apelles, 33 

Alexander's portrait, a talisman, 139 

Alexander's signets, 138 

Alphabet, Pelasgic, 28 

Alyattea, crater-stand of, 187 

Amazon, seal-device, 148 

Amazon-stone, 6 

Amethyst, British, 152 

Amphitryon, signet of, 140 

Amphora, raft of, 28 

Anuzazel, the angel, 1 

Ancestral portraits in signets, 145 

Ancestral portraits, 53 

Anne, St., Byzantine gem, 244 

* Annins,' Pope's, 156 

Apotheosis of Angnstus, 44 

Areius, seal of King, 140 

Aristion, signet of, 141 

Armorial bearing^ antique, 157 

Ajmorial bearings, Norman, 157 

Amnlphns, ring of, 136 

Artists' signatures, 180 

Assyrian designs, 9 

Ateius Oapito, 38 

Augustus, various signets of, 147 

Avitus, signet of, 78 

Aztec cameo, 215 


Bactrian gem, 8 
BAI, legend, 228 
Baphometio figures, 97 
Basilidan figures, 59 

B.B.P.P.N.E.N.A., charm, 117 

Beriin, Cabinet of, 178 

Bemanl, seal of St., 82 

Berri, Duo de, 105 

Bird-oIiimsBra, 65 

Blacas Gems, the, 165 

Black Prince, ring of the, 223 

Bonus Eventus, paste, 56 

Bosanquet jewel of St. George, the, 125 

Bottiger, on chimerae, 65 

British Musenm Gems, 159 

Brito-Roman Gems 219 

Brown, G. and W., 131 

Burch, artist, 131 

Byzantine camei, 42 

Byzantine orthography, 81 


•Camde de la Ste. Chapel W 42 
Camei with inscriptions, 77 
Camei of Byzantine date, 76 
Camei, historical, 42 
* Cameo,' derivation of, 36 
Camillus Leonardi, 115 
Canachua, ApuUo of, 33 
Canterbury siirine, 115 
Capricorn, sigil, 119 
Caracalla, frequent on gems, 54 
Carlo di Durazzo, seal of, 89 
Carpegna cameo, the, 48 
Cassianus, martyr, 69 
Castellani Gems, the, 164 
Catharine II., collects gems, 129 
Caylus, on the gems at Troyes, 107 
Cesati, Alcssandro il Greco, 123 
Ciiarlemagne, I'escrain de, 112 
Charlemagne, seal of, 104 
Charlemagne's monogram, 78 
Charlc 8 the Bold, seal of, 86 
Childeric, ring of, 153 
Childerley, seal found at, 95 
Christ, portrait of, 75, 244 
Christian Sassanian signets, 205 
Christian symbolism, 73 



Cinque-oento, camel of the, 123 
Claudian, 142 
Clauditifl, triumph of, 47 
Claudius's loye of gems, 41 
Clearchus, signet of^ 138 
Clemens Alexandrinus on signets, 73 
Coffer of Cypselus, 28 
Coin and gem-engraven, 81 
Coins, gryUi on archaic, 67 
Coins, with the engiavers' names, 186 
Colder^ 127 

Cologne Shrine, the, 108 
Commodus and Bfarcia cameo, 60 
Commodus, seal of, 148 
Comnenos, si^ct of, 151 
Conques, Tresor de, 111 
Constans, cameo, 51 
Constantine, Triumph of, 42 
Constantius II., sapphire of, 150 
Constantins II., caroco, 51 
Cornucopia set with gems, 137 
Coronation of Augustus, cameo. 45 
* Cre^ cite et Multiplicamini,' 82 
Cruciform signatures, 78 
Cuflo seals, 80 


Bagobert, King, 76 
Dante's Lucifer, 63 
Darius, signet of, 138 
Decline of the art, second, 126 
Decline of Ari, 57 
Demetrius and Laodice, 36 
Denys, Tr6M>r de St., 107 
Devonshire, Duke of, 128 
Didius Julian, cameo, 49 
Dilettanti, the Age of, 127 
Diosoorides, 40 
Dog on prow, deyioe, 147 
Domenico dei Camei, 91 
Duve, why sacred, 74 
Drunken Hercules, The, 26 

Eagle, nature-picture, 142 
Edgar, seal of, 104 
Edwaid the Confessor, shrine of, 113 
Egyptian signets, 5 
Elephant, fantastic. 66 
Elephant m snail-shell, 156 
Elizabeth, shrine of Si, 98 
Elizabeth, camei of Queen, 124 
Eloi, seal of St, 86 
Emerald, Christ's head in, 75 
English artists, 131 
Enoch quoted, 1 
Edsex, ring of Lord, 124 
Etruscan masterpieces, 25 

Etroaean deitiea, 24 
Etruscan gems, their subjects, 20 
Etruscan tegends, 15 
Etruscan oinlization, 14 
Etruscan art, 10 
Euphranor, his style, 31 
Extinction of the art, 132 
EieUel quoted, 7 


Fabius Pictor, 34 

Famous signets, 134 

Faun, in gems, 22 


Finlay's ScarabiBus, 13 

« Fish and Ring,' 135 

Fish, why sacx^d, 74 

♦ Five Heroes, The,' 17, 19 

Florence, Cabinet oU 166 

Forgery of signatures, 129 

Foigeiy, the Age of, 131 

Francesco U., Grand Duke, 122 

Frankish kings, seals o(^ 104 

French artists, 131 

Frog, Etruscan gem, 30 


Galba, signet of, 147 

Gamier, Bishop, 107 

Gem-engravers, recorded in history, 37 

Gtem-engraving, first revived, 88 

Gem-engraving, inventor of, 1 

* Gemma Augusteo,' 42 

Gems on the Marburgh shrine, 110 

Gifford, seal of Archbishop, 221 

Giovanni delle Gomiuole, 90 

Gladiator's Helmet, gem, iii 

Gnostic gems, their origin, 71 

Gnostic Gorgon, 244 

Orafiii on gold rings, 18 

Greek scarateei, 13 

Greek archaic legends, 13 

Grylli, Chimtera, Symplegmata, 59 

Gryllus-larva, 69 

Gyges, ring of, 134 


Hadrian's gems, 42 

Heads, combinations of, 63 

Helen, ring of, 134 

Heliodorus quoted, 152 

Helmet, fantastic, 66 

Henri IV., 127 

Henry VI., in ruby, 93 

Henry VIII., cameo of, 99, 125 

Heraclius sends a cameo to Dagobert, 

Heraldry, origin of, 157 



Hercales, hood of, 37 

Hercules, sigil, 119 

Hezcales, EtrnscaD, 21 

HenneB, Asiatio Greek gem, 3 

Herodias, 101 

Hindoo jugglers, 64 

Hippias, ring of, 35 

Historical oamei, 42 

Homeric jewelry, 2 

Horns, childish head of, 55 

Hjdaspes, signet o^ described, 152 


IXOTC ffem inscribed, 70 
Imperial gem-oabinets, 41 
Imperial portraits, talismanic, 53 
" Impronte Gtenmiarie," 25 
Indian origin of grylli, 64 
Innocent VIII., rope, 76 
Investitnie, rings of, 223 

* Ira Begia,' on seal, 100 
Iron, rings of, 38 
Ismenias, 143 

Italian artists, early, 121 


Jean sans Penr, seal of, 89 
Joseplune, the Empress, 130 

* Jugnrtha, the surrender of,' 144 
Julia Titi, beryl, how set, 112 
Jnlius Oesar, a gem-collector, 39 
Julius CiBsar, signet of, 143 
Jnlius CSssar, portrait of, 160 

* Keeper of the goms,' 40 
Kirchmann * De AnnuUs,* 135 
Koraoy All's copy uf, 80 


LAYS. MED, cut on gems, 52, 162 

Lanthier of Aiz, 155 

Leonardo, artist, 121 

Lioinius, Triumph of, 50 

Lion and Bull, gem, 33 

Lombard King, un a gem, 92 

Lotharius, seal of, 85 

Lotharius, crystals of^ 85 

Louis, seal of St, 89 

Louis Vm., seal of, 105 

LoverB* portraits in gems, 55 

Ii. 8. signature, 131 

Ludovico Sforza, 91 

Lnpns, signet of, 39 

Luynes, Due de, 172 

Lyre, fantastic, 70 

Lysippns, style of ,31 

Harbodns, on gem-en^vings, 88 
Marburg shrine described, 109 
Marburg shrine, the, 98 
Marcellus, signet of, 146 
Marlborough, Duke of, 128 
Martial's chorus of Nereids, 65 
Marzocco, 22 
< Mask,' derivation of, 62 
Masks, serving for amulets, 62 
Mauritius, signet of^ 151 
Mec»nas, his love of gems, 149 
MecflBnas, signet of^ 149 
Medallions replace camel, 58 
Mediaeval art, peculiarities of, 87 
Mediaeval seals in metal, 82 
Mediaeval gem -engraving, 83 
Mediaeval value of antiques, 106 
Mediaeval versions of antique types, 101 
Michael Angelo, seal of, 155 
Mitbridates, portrait of, 141 
Mithridates, cabinet of, 39 
Modern artists, famous, 130 
Monogram, sijicnatures in, 78 
Motto-camei, 77 
Miiller, on the style of gems, 31 
Musde de Thermes, 115 
Musicians, their rings, 143 
Mystic powers of gems, 116 


Names, inscribed, 55 

NaplesL cabinet of, 173 

Natural pictures in gems, 142 

Nausias, gam-engraver, 37 

Nazzaro, Matteo del, 123 

Nero, frequent on gems, 54 

Nero, ring of, 148 

Noah entering the Ark, cameo, 52 


Noyon, treasury of, 86 


Odesoalchi cameo, The, 49 
Official signets, 35 
Official seals, mediaeval, 81 
Onias, 140 

Onyx, German, early use uf, 86 
Orpheus quoted, 66 
Orphic Cosmogony, 60 
Orthography, Etruscan, 30 
Oswald, seal of St, 102 
Ovid, signet of, 150 
Ovid, portrait of^ 55 
Owl, type of Athens, 61 


Painting and Glyptics, 33 
Painting, Greek schools of, 34 



Painting, ouliivated in Greece, 34 

Falio di 8ant Ambrogio, 106 

Palombna and Venns, 151 

Pantheistic oljarms, 65 

Paris, Cabinet of, 169 

Parrhasins, * Demos' of, 61 

Parthian gems, 79 

Pastes, antique, 56 

Panl II., Pope, 121 

Pearls, artificial, 114 

Pelasgio alphabet, 28 

Pepin, seal of, 104 

Peruzzi, early artist, 89 

Pescia, P. M. do^ 156 

' Petrus, civis Romanus,* 113 

PhaBdra, ring of, 3 

PhiUppe le Bel, 45 

PhUoeophers, gems of, 51 

Phoenicmn art. 10 

Pichlers, the, 128 

Pichon, Baron, 223 

' Pierres d'israel,' 81 

Pistruod, 132 

Plate, set with antique gems, 105 

Polemo, King, 37 

Polyorates, ring of, 135 

Poniatowsky gem, 133 

Portraits in gems, 36 

Precioas stones, first notice of, 8 

Prices paid for gems, 129 

Prometheus, ring of, 12 

Pygmy and Crane, 69 

Pyrgotelee, 35 

Pyrrhua, agate of, 141 

Quatrem^ de Quincy, 61 
Quattro-oento, copies of antiques, 120 
* Queen of Sheba,' cameo, 113 
Quintus Cicero, 35 

Bape of Proserpine, signet, 148 

Rebus, on Roman names, 144 


Ricardi Palazzo, bas-reliefs in, 120 

Rings, invention of, 12 

Roman rings, early, 38 

Roman spelling of Greek names, 30 

* Rowers of Cups,' 23 

Rudolf II., 97 

Russia, Cabinet of, 741 


Sandonidn, 14 
Sapphire, engraved, 40 
Sapphire of Constantius II.. 15 
Sapphire, mediieval engraving on, 95 

Saasaiiian gems, 93 
Savonarola, portrsiit of,* 122 
Scarabffii, collection of, 161 
Scambni, use of, 11 
Scarabflsus, typical sense of^ 19 
Scipio Africanus, 146 
Sculpture, progress of, 31 
Seffrid, seal of, 103 
Sennacherib, signet of, 6 
Servatius, seal of St, 82 
Sevems, Alexander, 34 
Shell-camei, 132 
Shorthand, Roman, 68 
Sicily, art in, 31 
Sigils, list of, 116 
Signatures in relief, 58 
Signets, early mention of, 4 
Simon, Thomas, 131 
Siries, Louis, 131 
Sphinx, Assyrian gem, 11 
Statues, gem-copies of, 33 
Stones used for signets, 7 
Stosch Cabinet, the, 129 
Stosoh, theft of Baron, 156 
Stymphalian Bird, 67 
Subjects, why selects, 23 
Sulla's signets, 144 
Synmiachus, sigil of, 78 

Tagliacama, artist, 121 
' Talamaska,' bugbear, 62 

* Tash-Raq ' alphabet, 208 
Theodoms of Samos, 136 
Three Kings, the, 108 
Townley Cabinet, the, 161 
Townlev Gems, the, 160 

Tr^sor de St Den^s, gems in, 112 
Trezzo, 123 
Triplets, fantastic, 63 
Trivulzio, seal of, 94 
Troyes, shrine at, 107. 

* TujBcanica, Signa,' 10 

* Twenty Martyrs, the,* 135 
Tyrian trade in gems, 7 


Ulysses, brooch of, 2 
Ulysses, head of, 141 
Uzielli Biadouna, the, 97 


Vahrahran Kermanshah, 80, 200 
Yttlentinian, 34 
ValeriH, coin-type of, 67 
Valeric) il Yiccntiuo, 123 
Yasari on the Revival, 88 

Vatican EmeTald, the, 7S 
VeiiDB, enchanted rtatun ot, IM 
VeiiuB Victm, sifcnet, H3 
Vezor, noTH of Abbot of, 83 
VicDDa, Cabinet of, 174 
Virgin, ebponnal ring uf the, 102 
Von Uuniner'B theoi7, 97 

Walter Fiti-Alan, nal of, 103 
Wntminiter •briDO. gem in, 114 
William of Halineabury quoted, 15 
Winckelnunn, on Etnisoan ut, 16 
Winged deities, S4 
Winged aow, 67 
Wraj, 181 

Xeraea, Bigiiet of, 139 

Yarmouth, N.S. 

Zachaliu of Babylon, S7 
ZHCEC AKAKI, nmeo, 77 
Zimlsaes, art auder,8S 
Ziiim, 76. 244 
Zodiacal lalinmans, 60 
Zoroaatrian Qnoeticlfui, 71 






















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XXXIII. medIjEval use of antique gems.