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Ancient Greek Wheat Sheaf Signet Ring


Ancient Greek Wheat Sheaf Signet Ring



DATE: Ancient, c.3rd Century BC

This gold signet ring, remarkably, pre-dates the birth of Christ (!!). Dating from 3rd century BC Greece, it bears a wheat sheaf engraving on the face, which I'd say means one of two things: it was either worn as a fertility amulet in reverence of Demeter, the goddess of grain, agriculture, and fertility; or it's from Lucania, the Greek district in Southern Italy, who's emblem was the wheat sheaf, occupied from the mid 5th century BC to 272BC when it became a subject of Rome.

The Lucanians were effectively a southern branch of the Samnite people, sharing a common language, Oscan, who founded powerful coastal colonies in the south of Italy from the Tyrrhenian Sea to the Gulf of Taranto. The mountainous interior of the region was inhabited by the Oenotrian and Choni tribes, who will almost certainly have fallen under the protection of the Lucani. They operated under a democratic constitution (except in times of war) and throughout the 4th and 3rd centuries gradually expanded into the whole of the "boot" of Italy. When Pyrrhus, one of early Rome's strongest adversaries, landed on the peninsula in 281BC the Lucanians quickly offered him an alliance... a move the ultimately proved fatal as, on Pyrrhus's departure from Italy, they experienced the full wrath of the Roman war machine, eventually subjugating in 272BC.

Whether Demeter or Lucania, it's an incredible piece, crafted in +22k and probably the oldest human-made thing I've ever handled.


Head: 7.7 x 5.4mm

Width of band: 2.1mm




No marks present, tests as 22k gold minimum, possibly higher


Very good, with signs of wear commensurate with age


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