1700-year old ring depicting an ‘unclothed’ Cupid, discovered by a metal detector


The exquisiteness of gold artifacts is not really a rarity in humanity’s ancient history. But the depiction of a popular/mythological figure in one of those artifacts can surely be considered special. And that is exactly the case with the above pictured ring that was unearthed from England. Dating back to around 4th century AD, the ring was possibly of Roman craftsmanship – since much of Britain was ruled by the Roman Empire in that particular time period. However beyond dates and origins, the ‘special’ part pertains to its engraving of the Cupid, in his famous nude form with the nifty little wings.

Suffice it to say, Cupid is far older than your Valentine’s Day card suggests. In fact, in Roman mythological terms, Cupid (Cupido means ‘desire’ in Latin) was the son of Venus; and was depicted even back then as a young man equipped with his ‘love arrows’. The story proceeds how the amorous youth impregnated a beautiful mortal woman named Psyche, which resulted in confrontation with his mother Venus (since Psyche was considered more shapely than Venus herself in some quarters). Finally, the gods intervened and sorted out the mess, and Psyche was accepted as her daughter-in-law while also being made immortal.


Credit: K. Hinds; Copyright of K. Hinds and Hampshire Cultural Trust

Now in terms of art, Cupid has been in existence for at least 2,500 years. As for the ring in question here (pictured above), his nude image is engraved on what is known as a nicolo stone, which basically pertains to a special onyx specimen with bluish top and darker bottom. The poised figure seems to be adolescent in nature, with one of his elbows being supported on a short column. But of course, the ‘giveaway’ relates to the tiny wings affably emerging from the figure’s shoulders, which ultimately identifies him as the one-and-only Cupid.

Interestingly, the fascinating find itself was discovered quite unintentionally by a person in 2013, who was using a metal detector near the village of Tangley in the United Kingdom. The finding was at once reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme – an organization specially established for encouraging amateurs to report their historical discoveries and excavations. And the good news is – the 1,700 years ring is all about to make its public debut, with its expected display to be showcased at the Andover Museum in Andover, U.K.


Credit: K. Hinds; Copyright of K. Hinds and Hampshire Cultural Trust

Via: Live Science

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