Authentic Ancient Roman Onyx Intaglio 1st-2nd century AD 18 Kt Gold ring depicting a "Marsus" in the act of capturing a Snake
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This 18 Kt gold ring showcases an authentic Roman intaglio from the 1st to 2nd century AD, etched on onyx. It portrays a "Marsus," a snake charmer, captivating a serpent—a practice revered in ancient Rome. These "marsi" were seen as magicians with the extraordinary ability to tame reptiles.
The Marsi, famed for their bravery during the Social War (91-88 BC), commanded deep respect in Rome. They were believed to possess magical prowess and were renowned healers, utilizing herbs from nearby mountains to treat the sick. Legend traces their lineage to Marsyas, a devotee of Cybele, the goddess of freedom—a heritage fitting for a people who defiantly resisted Rome's dominance.
Another tale links the Marsi to Marsus, the son of Circe, Cybele's sister, and Angizia, known for practicing magic in the Pinna woods of Lake Fucino. Emperor Heliogabalus, it's said, commanded Marsi charmers to release snakes into a crowded Circus during gymnastic events, causing panic as not all snakes were venomous.
Muzio Febonio, an Italian historian, chronicled the Marsi, detailing their region's abundance of snakes descending from mountains to the Fucino lake area. The earth from these mountains, termed "sealed earth," was believed to possess miraculous qualities, countering poison and repelling snakes, mice, and insects.
Febonio noted Don Paolo Ciarallo, an Archpriest of Bisignano from the ancient Marsi lineage, and his family's reputed ability to handle snakes and cure bites using saliva, bearing a snake effigy on their shoulders.
The snake, with its profound symbolism, bridges the realms of the living and the dead, dwelling in both. It inhabits the earth's moist depths, rocky crevices, tree branches, and water—symbolizing renewal through shedding its skin. Its hibernation aligns with the Earth's cycle—slumber leading to rejuvenation, darkness to light—an emblem of healing and rebirth.
Our jewelry store, Serra Roma, proudly presents an exquisite collection that beautifully honors the ancient traditions of Greek and Roman civilizations. Each piece in our collection, including authentic ancient Roman and Greek coins and intaglios, is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity, providing proof of its historical significance and origin.