noted is set with a sard engraved in intaglio with the design of a shepherd seated on a rock.11
wearing, at certain religious ceremonies, of a ring set with a gem on
which was engraved a design having some fancied connection with the
ceremony, appears not to have been uncommon in the Roman world. An
instance of this is given by the historian Suetonius, who states that
when Nero was about to take the auspices (the bird-augury), Sporus gave
him a ring the gem of which represented the carrying off of
Proserpina, goddess of the infernal regions.12 The finding
of a ring with a particular design was also looked upon as a harbinger
of good fortune. Shortly after the choice of Galba as emperor (68 a.D.), there
was found in building the fortifications of a city, on the spot the
emperor had selected for a military exercising ground, a ring of
antique workmanship engraved with the figure of a Victory with a
trophy. This was accepted as a happy presage.13
tells us of a magic ring which was used by a Jew named Eleazar. In the
presence of the emperor Vespasian, of his son, and of his court, this
man cured those suffering from demoniacal possession. His method was to
introduce into the nose of the patient a ring having beneath its device
an herb designated by Solomon. The evil spirit was attracted by the
odor of the herb and immediately passed out of the man's body. After
this Eleazar exorcised it by chanting
H. Marshall. "Catalogue of Finger Rings, Greek, Etruscan, and Roman, in
the Departments of Antiquities, British Museum," London, 1907, p.
xxxiii, No. 386; see Plate ΧΠ.
13 Suetonii, " Nero," cap. xlvi.
13 Suetonii, " Galba," cap. x.