Diameter: 2.500 cm
Weight: 24.000 g
Britain, Europe and Prehistory
Room 41: Europe AD 300-1100
Gold ring inscribed with the names Dromacius and Betta
Merovingian, late 6th - early 7th century
Found in a river near Mulsanne, Sarthe, France
A betrothal ring?
The figures of a man and a woman are engraved on the square bezel of the ring. They are presumably Dromacius and Betta, named in the inscription round the edge. The significance of the scene is unclear, but it may be intended to show a betrothal. The only clue we have is that Dromacius holds a spear, indicating that he is a free man, and not a slave. On each shoulder of the ring is a pair of birds’ heads in profile.
The ring weighs a little over twenty-four grams, the equivalent of between five and six standard Byzantine solidi. At this time a cow could be bought for just one of these gold coins, which gives us a fair idea both of the value of the ring and the wealth of the owner.
H. Tait (ed.), 7000 years of jewellery (London, British Museum Press, 2006)
R. Hadjadj, Bagues mérovingiennes: Gaule d (Paris, 2007)