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LOT 0162

GBP (£) 4,000 - 6,000
EUR (€) 4,670 - 7,000
USD ($) 5,160 - 7,740

Opening Bid
£3,600 (EUR 4,200; USD 4,643) (+bp*) Add to Watch list

Roman Gold Ring with Ant Intaglio

3rd century AD

A gold finger ring with elaborate foliage shoulders, plaque with inset ellipsoid onyx plaque bearing intaglio ant motif. 13.14 grams, 27mm overall, 12.18x18.12mm internal diameter (approximate size British A 1/2, USA 0, Europe -, Japan 0) (1"). Fine condition.

Property of a North London gentleman; formerly in a German private collection, Munich.

Despite its rather humble place in the modern imagination, the ancient world respected the ant as a relentless and industrious force of nature. In Homer's Iliad, the contingent of warriors led by Achilles at the siege of Troy was known as 'Myrmidons' (Μυρμιδόνες) whose name refers to 'black ants'; legend tells that their ancestor was Myrmidon, king of Phthiotis and a son of Zeus fathered on Eurymedousa, a princess of Phthiotis. Zeus seduced her in the form of an ant and their offspring retained ant-like qualities.
Elsewhere, in Ovid's work Metamorphoses the Myrmidons were simple worker ants on the island of Aegina which became depopulated through plague. Because the ants of the island were immune to the disease, Zeus transformed them into a race of humans (the Myrmidons) who were as fierce and hardy as ants, and loyal to their leader.

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Lot No. 0162

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Auction Catalogue

Auction Venue:
The May Fair Hotel London
Stratton Street
Mayfair London, W1J 8LT

Viewing from noon Monday 25th November 2019
Champagne Reception: 6pm - 9pm

Tuesday 26th November 2019 (Day 1)
Lots 1-660 (Antiquities)

Auction Venue:
The Court House
363 Main Road
Harwich, CO12 4DN

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