ashmolean

Finger Ring Collection

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Ring

Greece

5th/4th century B.C.

Gold snake ring coiled into a spiral of three and half turns and engraved along a central rib to suggest scales

15-16 mm internal ring diameter; 8.5 g weight

Presented by Dr C.D.E. Fortnum in honour of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, 1897; ANFortnum.102

The snake, which sheds its skin, was considered a potent symbol of life and rebirth in the Graeco-Roman world. The length of the ring suggests that it may, in fact, have been worn in the hair.

Taylor & Scarisbrick, Finger Rings from Ancient Egypt to the present day, 1978, no. 79