Representations of Animals on Greek and Roman Engraved Gems

Meanings and interpretations

By Idit Sagiv

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A comprehensive study of the depictions of animals and their significance on Greek and Roman gems. The work examines the associations between animal depictions and the type of gemstone and its believed qualities. The study also compares the representation of animals on gems to other, larger media, and analyses the differences.



Introduction; Engraved gems: a survey: 1. The Uses of Engraved Gems, 2. The materials used for ancient gems, 3. The themes depicted on gems, 4. References to gemstones in ancient literary sources, 5. Dating methods, 6. Carving technique, 7. Artists and workshops; Animal images and their meaning: Mammals, Cattle, Deer, Goats, Horses, Boars and sows, Predatory animals, Panthers, Lions, Birds, Birds of Prey, and Fowl, Eagles, Parrots, Roosters, Geese, Swans, Insects, Ants, Marine creatures, Dolphins, Seashells, Hybrids, Sphinx, Pegasus, Capricorn, Hippocamp, Gryllos (Hippalectryon); Interactions between animal depictions in various media and their depictions on gems; Associations between animal depictions and the type of gemstone and its believed qualities; Summary; Bibliography

About the Author

Dr. Idit Sagiv is a researcher of Classical Art. She completed her MA and PhD studies at Tel Aviv University. Her research and publications focus on Greek and Roman engraved gems. Since 2016, she is an academic member of the History of Art Department, Tel-Aviv University, where she teaches courses on Classical Art.