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Large Roman Intaglio of Caracalla?.


This is a very large intaglio of Roman date set into a plate brooch very probably reset later in roman antiquity. Proffessor Martin Hennig of Oxford University has told me it could well be of Caracalla in the guise of Hercules. The main thinking of the character being an emperor is the radiate style crown on the head. Martin thinks the gem is of third century date. Septimus severus and his sons did campaign in scotland in 209-210ad and were resident in York where royal ingravers could have also been based at that time. If anyone has any thinking on this I would be greatful. Does it resemble any coin die? or does hercules have the rays coming from his head on any other coin?.

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Roman Artefacts

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That is a wonderful intaglio.


Is this the intaglio cited in the Oxford Journal of Archeology?


Volume 21 Issue 4 Page 419 - November 2002

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I don't know as I have never been told if they were going to write anything on it!. I will certainly try to find the article to validate one way or the other.
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Post this as a new topic on the board. Then folks like Curtis, Barry, Phil, Zach, Roma etc can see it and answer back. They have probably seen every and any Roman coin ever struck.


I found a link to an intaglio with Hercules considered to be Carcalla, but no radiate crown.

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Again, this is evidence that I need to get one of those metal detectors...and a country with a classical civilization extended beyond 900 years. :)
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another great item :eek: ! As a collector of intaglios, I can say that this one is of excellent style, especially for a 3rd cent. AD gem, this could be indeed consistent with the fact that some imperial engravers were present in Britain.

Martin Henig is a great scholar and has published a number of interesting works on engraved gems, so his opinion is very important. Could you maybe make a zoom on the portrait of Hercules (both stone and impression), I seem to see a radiate crown; is the face bearded?

In any case, I've never seen any other intaglio featuring Hercules with a radiate crown (nor do I know a coin or medallion type; Curtis Clay probably would be of great help to confirm this).



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I don't think the head is radiate. It looks more like curls to me. This engraver was pretty precise in his work . If those details around Hercules head are supposed to be radiates"spikes" they would look like spikes. He was too good an engraver in my opinion.



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The guise of Hercules would be even more appropriate to Maximianus or Constantius Chlorus who were styled as Herculii within the Tetrarchy set up by Diocletian. There were campaigns in Scotland at that date too and the style of Victory on your intaglio is very similar to that on coins of this period (late third century).
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i think this suggestion is a good shout and not just campaigns in Scotland Constantius Chlorus defeated the usurper Allectus in Britain which would have been massive for Britain so i can see awards to generals being given out then.
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