Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Roman denarius of Julia Maesa reused as a finger ring bezel

Roman denarius of Julia Maesa reused as a finger ring bezel
http://finds.org.uk/blogs/lincolnshire/roman-denarius-of-julia-maesa-reused-as-a-finger-ring-bezel/

Roman denarii are fairly common finds in Lincolnshire, as are Roman finger rings, but to get a coin reworked as a setting is rather special. Take a look at LIN-A8E677.

A silver denarius of Julia Maesa reworked into a circular bezel for a finger ring; Treasure reference number 2011 T752. The edge of the coin has been raised up from the reverse to form a neat collar. The 'head' side of the coin depicting the draped bust of Julia Maesa has been used as the base of the bezel whereas the 'reverse' side of the coin has been used for display. The reverse depicts Felicitas standing left, sacrificing over altar and holding long caduceus, star in right field.

The coin is as follows:

Obverse: Draped bust right, IV[LI]A [MAESA AVG]

Reverse: Felicitas standing left, sacrificing over altar and holding long caduceus, star in right field, [SAECVLI FE]LICI[TAS]

Mint of Rome, AD 220-22. Ref: RIC 271.

Catherine Johns comments in The Jewellery of Roman Britain 1996, p.58, on jewellery set with coins, that 'To all intents and purposes the custom applies only to gold jewellery set with gold coins, and it appears to have been far more popular on the Continent than in Britain'. Only one other similar coin-bezel is recorded on the Portable Antiquities Scheme database, which is an example from Chirton, Wiltshire (WILT-B0C652) that reuses a silver denarius of Plautilla, wife of Caracalla. The reverse of this coin depicts Concordia holding a patera and sceptre, though unlike the Ulceby example the Chirton bezel uses the bust of Caracalla as the display side.