A roman carnelian intaglio. Military emblem. In the center there is a decorated altar, upon which we can see a female owl between two spears; on the left there is a decorated shield, with a helmet above, and on the right there is a scorpion. Ground line. Interesting allegorical iconography, which can be related to the military ambit. In this rare intaglio we can notice the sacred books of Athena, goddess of wisdom, arts and war, patroness of virtuous fighters and heroes (the female owl as her sacred animal, and the panoply; the altar adds to the scene a sacral and votive value). During the Roman Empire the scorpion, zodiacal symbol, was referred to the praetorian guard, a military unit, made of chosen men, formed to protect the emperor. Under Tiberius, the praetorians in Rome were united in one big camp on the Viminale, the Castra Praetoria, and all the members of this union got the scorpion as symbol, since it represented Tiberius' zodiac sign. The presence of the scorpion in this military emblem, also seen the stylistic coherence (Jiulio-claudian age), can be referred to the famous praetorian militia. A work carried out with artistry, employing small globular elements of a late-republican influence. Wear marks. Attractive stone colour. First half of the 1st century A.D.
9 x 10 x 2 mm.