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933. **SOLD**Amazing workmanship in Roman gold gryllos bezel

 
 
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This is a superb little thing.  A circular flat gold disc which must be from a ring; worked incredibly well in the form of the gryllos. It is not an embossed piece, it is engraved!
11 mm
Difficult to date but probably 1st cent BC - 1st cent AD
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Grylloi have a long and interesting history (Boardman 2003a). The first items of this kind that we know turn up in the eastern part of the Mediterranean at various dates within the 5th century B.C. John Boardman believes that these compositions constitute one of the earliest instances of Greek art motifs borrowed into Eastern (more specifically Persian) art, in the sphere of which they enjoyed great interest and much popularity (Boardman 2003a, 130). In fact, a series of related icons came to light with a discovery of a sarcophagus, whose owner was buried with a numerous collection of impressions of such minor items of Greek and Hellenistic art as seals, coins, or pieces of fine tableware, at The deceased was probably laid to rest some time around the middle of the 5th pre-Christian century (Boardman 2003a, 128-129). The voyage of these themes from west to east - or vice versa, for that matter - is well marked by occurrences on Phoenician scarabs (Boardman 2003b, 112-113, Nos. 37/1-37/32 and 37/X1-37/X4; Zazoff 1975, text pp.15-16, Pl. 4). 

In Roman Imperial times, in the West, the stonecutters favoured the hippalectryon, "cock-shaped" compositions on bird's legs (Gaul: Guiraud 2003, 189-191, Nos. 895-920; Dalmatia: Middleton 1991, 131-132, Nos. 253 and 254, one single example is also known from Anatolia: Middleton 2001, 52, No. 29, with a list of find sites pointing westward). On the other hand, wherever we can point to a more precise provenance of any of these pieces, they would invariably belong to the art of the eastern littoral of the mare nostrum.

 Naturally, there are other parallels without provenance (cf. Brandt et al. 1972, 98-99, No. 2748, Pl. 258; Hennig 1975, 41, No. 150; Zazoff 1975, 220. No. 1114, Taf. 150). 

 With thanks to  William Y. Adams
Price: sold GBP

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