true scarab the flat underside bore the engraved design or characters.
Occasionally ring-stones had been originally pierced for suspension.
The flattened scara-boid marked a transition to the flat ring-stones;
but few, if any, examples of these antedate the beginning of the fourth
of the theories given by Macrobius to explain the wearing of rings on
the fourth finger, attributes this usage to the desire to guard the
precious setting of the ring from injury. He states that rings were
first worn, not for ornament, but for use as signets, and in the
beginning were made exclusively of metal. However, with the increase of
wealth and luxury, precious stones were engraved and set in the metal
ring, and it became necessary to place such a ring on the
best-protected finger. The thumbs were most constantly used; the index
was too exposed; the third finger was too long, and the little finger
too small, while the right hand was much more frequently used than the
left hand. Hence the choice fell upon the fourth finger of the left
hand as the best fitted to receive a precious ring.81 Pliny
declares that while at first, in the Roman world, the ring was worn on
the fourth finger, as was shown in the statues of the old kings Numa
Pompilius and Servius Tullius, it was later on shifted to the index and
finally to the little finger,82 this being in accord with our modern custom, for men's seal-rings especially.
of Seville, in his brief chapters on rings, cites the words spoken by
Gracchus against Masnius, before the Roman Senate, as a proof that the
wearing of many rings was then considered to be unworthy of a man.
81 Macrobii, " Saturnalia," Lipsise, 1868, p. 446, lib. vii, cap. 13.
82 " Historia Naturalis," liber xxxiii, 24.