Skylla. Hellenistisk-romersk paste

Graeco-Roman paste, 30 BC-150

Glass. 2,2 x 1,7 cm
Inventory number: I755

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The signet shows the sea monster Scylla, who together with the monster Charybdis guarded a narrow strait. On his way home from the Trojan War, Odysseus sailed through the strait, and Scylla killed six of Odysseus’s men. The upper part of Scylla’s body is that of a woman, while the lower part is in the form of two fish tails entwining the bodies of two men. The monster holds a ship’s rudder in her hands, swinging it at the men in order to crush them. This signet is a so-called paste, i.e. a cast of a gem or a cameo in molten glass. Pastes were used in signet rings as a replacement for the more expensive precious stones or as objects to be incorporated into collections of gems. This example dates from the two first centuries of the Roman Imperial Age. The motif is designed in the Hellenistic-Roman style, which took its inspiration from the Classical and Hellenistic periods of Greek art.