Ring with Military Saints
This ring depicts two military saints on its bezel. The saint on the left holds a staff or spear with his right hand and the saint on the right holds a shield in his left hand. The maker of this ring ..more »
This ring depicts two military saints on its bezel. The saint on the left holds a staff or spear with his right hand and the saint on the right holds a shield in his left hand. The maker of this ring likely used a cast or mold to form the bronze into a ring and then hammered it to the shape and size specified by the wearer. A similar ring at the British Museum (no. AF.229) features on its bezel a military saint holding a staff topped by a cross in his right hand, a shield in his left hand, and is fully dressed in military attire. This ring lends further support to the claim that the figures on the ring listed above represent military saints, given that all three saints appear to be holding similar objects. These rings were likely worn for their apotropaic properties, that is for their ability to ward off evil and provide protection to the wearer. In the early Christian world, it was believed that religious icons, such as the ones depicted on the bezels, provided a spiritual connection between the wearer of the icon and the religious figures it depicted. Given that the ring depicts two military saints, it can be suggested that the wearer was a young man of military age who wore this ring into battle in the hopes that the saints on his ring would watch over him and keep him safe. Sources Consulted Alexis Castor, "Etruscan Jewelry and Identity," in A Companion to the Etruscans, eds. Sinclair Bell, and Alexandra A. Carpino (Malden, MA: Wiley, 2016), 275–292. Anna Kartsonis, “The Responding Icon,” in Heaven on Earth: Art and the Church in Byzantium, ed. Linda Safran (University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998). 58–80. Asen Kirin, ed. Sacred Art, Secular Context: Objects of Art from the Byzantine Collection of Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, DC (Athens, GA: Georgia Museum of Art, 2005). Eunice Dauterman Maguire, Henry Maguire, and Maggie J. Duncan-Flowers, Art and Holy Powers in the Early Christian House (Urbana: Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1989). Gary Vikan, “Sacred Image, Sacred Power,” in Late Antique and Medieval Art of the Mediterranean World, ed. Eva R. Hoffman (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2007), 135–146. Jimmy Clark ('22) for ARHS 110 Introduction to Western Art (Spring 2021).
Purchase by the Department of Art History, 2018
Diameter (bezel): 0.59 in. (1.5 cm)
Diameter (ring): 0.79 in. (2.0 cm)
0.22 oz (6.3 g)