Previous First Next
SALAMIS IN THE ISLAND OF CYPRUS.
BY ALEXANDER PALMA DI CESNOLÀ, F.S.A.,
tombs, it is evident that a large proportion of these relics were designed for mortuary service only, and not for personal use. The exception to this is that kind which shows on the tablet punctures or indentations of a small tool, which have been grouped so as to produce a Greek inscription1 or benediction on the part of the giver to the owner (figs. 45-47). Another bears in intaglio two winged infant Genii embracing; being small, solid, and somewhat worn, this appears to have been used on the finger of a Salaminian lady. The style of the figures informs us that the jewel was made by a Greek
1 Fig. 33 reads ΨΕΦΛΥ; fig. 34, ΕΡΩ2 AMOΡ, in letters which appear to be of the first century after Christ.
artist of a fine period, if not of the best of all the phases of Greek art in gold. 2. Another class of finger-rings is more numerous and important than the first. The sculptures exhibited by the relics which it comprises are mostly human figures. In the collection there is a cornelian ring, which shows a man dancing, and holding an implement, which resembles a fir-cone or thyrsus. Another (fig. 48), of black and blue onyx, bears the effigies of a man standing and holding in one hand a patera with offerings of fruit, and, in the other hand, nondescript objects, which resemble pine apples, but are, doubtless, fir-cones. Four examples of interest exhibit sculptures of the same order, which, being in intaglio, were doubtless designed for the private signets of the owners. An onyx shows a Discobolus in the attitude of the Townley statue, and an illegible inscription (fig. 49). The reader will observe with interest the position of the head of this disk-thrower, and consider it in reference to the attitude of the head in the famous statue in the British Museum, and he will thus be able to acquire light on a subject which has been freely and laboriously discussed by many antiquaries, who have maintained that the restoration of the head of the statue is wrong, and shows defect of perception on the part of the modern sculptor who " restored" the figure. Several rings are enriched with settings of scarabǽi, such as were worn during many ages by the people of the Mediterranean countries, who were more or less influenced by Egyptian fashions, and who employed the sacred Nilotic emblem in jewellery without attaching any sacredness to the gems they affected. The scarabǽus (fig. 50) is one of those reproductions of this famous symbol, which, owing to their inexact and perfunctory sculpturing, are supposed to be of Phœnician manufacture for exportation, and designed to serve as personal ornaments, without regard to the sacred significance of the emblem itself. This scarabǽus is set on pivots, and the prettily-designed gold hoop to which it is attached is moulded to resemble a double braid of twisted wire, and very tastefully modelled at the pivots, on which the stone was intended to turn. Another ring consists of an oval carbuncle, set in concentric mouldings of gold, and very bulky. It appears to be of the Assyrian type, although its general character reminds us of rings which have been found with episcopal and other interments of mediaeval dates (fig. 51). Primitive types of personal ornaments survived in use from age to age, and during enormous periods of time. Apart from this, it is no uncommon thing for jewels of extreme antiquity, having been found in tombs, to have been worn again by members of nations who were almost wholly ignorant of the very names of the races to one of which the resuscitated relics belonged. Antique gems are often found in mediaeval service, and curious legends attributed magical virtues to Egyptian, Greek, or Roman' onyxes, cornelians, or sards, which were innocent of anything beyond incontestible power to charm antiquaries by means of their historical associations, artists on account of their artistic merit. Signets of Carlo-vingian and Frankish monarchs, and wonder-
Previous First Next