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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

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intaglio / finger-ring

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    OA.6505

  • Description

    Intaglio; sard; wreath of two palm-branches enclosing inscription; mounted in gold ring.

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 3rdC-4thC
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 13 millimetres
    • Width: 9.5 millimetres
    • Thickness: 4 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        Greek
      • Inscription Position

        obverse
      • Inscription Language

        Greek
      • Inscription Transliteration

        ICHTHUS
  • Curator's comments

    Text from Dalton 1915, Catalogue of Engraved Gems:
    cf. Smith and Cheetham, Dict. of Christian Antiquities, i, p. 713; Garrucci, Storia dell' arte cristiana, pl. 477, figs. 20,21.
    For gems inscribed with ichthus (Greek characters) as the mystic name of Christ, see de Rossi, in Pitra's Spicilegium Solemense, iii, p. 555. For the symbolic fish in general, see F. Dölger in Römische Quartalschrift, xxiii, (1909), pp. 1ff. and 145 ff., and Das Fischsymbol in frühchristicher Zeit, Rome 1910.

    Supplementary information to Dalton 1915:
    Dalton mistakenly attributed this to the 1772 Hamilton Collection, whereas it is not marked with an H and is registered as OA. 6508.

    It may possibly come from the Townley Coll. 1815 as it is described without number in draft lists of T. gems (See Ms. Inventories of Gems in G&R Dept, pp. 7 & 12).

    Published: DCA, London, 1893, p. 713; DACL, Paris, 1924, col. 821, fig. 4962.

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • Spier 2007 149 bibliographic details
    • Dalton 1915 510 bibliographic details
    • Dalton 1901 9 bibliographic details
  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number

    OA.6505

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Object reference number: MCB92

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