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the Persian conical and hemispherical seals in the same material. Some of these latter have their sides flattened and ornamented with divers patterns, and thus assume the form of a signet-ring, with an enormously massy shank, and very small opening, sufficient, however, to admit the little finger. And this theory of their origin is corroborated by the circumstance that all these Eoman examples belong to the times of the Lower Empire, none being ever met with of an early date. Of these most collectors must have seen examples. Two very interesting ones, procured in France, came under my notice last summer (1858). Both were of precisely the same form, much resembling the Calcedony ring figured in Dr. Walsh's Gnostic gems, the shank being very stout and three-sided, and the head a long oval. One of them bore intaglio portraits of a man and woman facing each other, with letters and numerals; the other a bust of the bearded Bacchus, of excellent Boman work; and both intagli apparently from the same hand. An acquaintance of mine possessed another, found at Aries, made of Crystal, with a very thick cable-formed shank, and a small opening, evidently only meant for suspension, like the Sassanian stamps. It was engraved with the favourite type of a youth drinking from a bowl after the exercises of the gymnasium. In the Herz Collection was a very massy one in Calcedony, covered on all sides with Gnostic legends. I have also seen lately another, still more bulky, of green Jasper, but with a round shank, the head oval and engraved with a serpent twisted round a wand, surrounded by the usual legend. The head of a third, belonging to the same class, in mottled Jasper, once in my possession, represented Osiris in the sacred boat, above liim the sun'and moon, and the inscription Iaw underneath. Under the head of "Pastes" we have already noticed the numerous rings of coloured glass in imitation of Agate. But
the most curious thing of the kind that has ever come in my way was a ring of a material like red Amber, only elastic, so that when the shank, which had been divided, was pulled open, it immediately resumed its shape. This elasticity was no doubt due to the mode in which the substance, whatever it was, had been prepared. The ring was said to have been brought from Egypt, and certainly was the same in form as some Carnelian rings found on the fingers of mummies. But, even allowing it to be a modern forgery, the elasticity of the Amber remains a most curious fact. A large Amber cup, holding half a pint, has lately been discovered, deposited in a tumulus in Ireland, and from its size could hardly have been cut out of a single block of that substance. It has been ascertained by experiment that bits of Amber boiled in turpentine can be reduced to a paste, united, and moulded into any form desired; and this is supposed to have been the manner in which the vessel in question was manufactured. This fact may throw some light upon the strange story about malleable glass told by Petronius in his account of Trimalchio's Feast, and thus alluded to by Pliny :—" It is said that in the reign of Tiberius the art of tempering glass was discovered so as to make it flexible, but that the entire establishment of the workmen was exterminated (abolitam), lest the value of bronze, silver, and gold, should suffer diminution in consequence." It must be remembered that Pliny was born in the reign of Tiberius, and would hardly have thought this story worth inserting in his 'Natural History' had not its truth been very generally believed.
Oriental rings, exactly like the ancient in shape, and made of Carnelian, Calcedony, and Agate, with legends in Arabic upon the face, for the use of signets, are "by no means uncommon in collections. They are of large size, being designed to be worn on the thumb of the right hand, in order to be used in drawing the bowstring, which the Orientals pull with the bent thumb, catching it against the shank of the ring, and not with the two first fingers, as is the practice of Engbsh archers. I have seen finger-rings of ivory, even of the Egyptian period, their heads engraved with sphinxes, and figures of eyes, cut in low relief, as camei, and originally coloured. Of the Roman times they are quite common; the Mertens-Schaafhausen Collection alone contains the following, the description of which I extract from the Catalogue, as illustrative of the style of work, and the devices, to be found in reliques of this class:—
A ring with an aged head in high relief. Do. with a Siron in high relief, with a human head covered with a helmet; armed with a lance and a buckler ornamented with a Medusa's head. (This is the Stymphalian Bird, the device of the Valeria family). Found near Castell in 1854. A ring with Caks in relief. Do. with Am in relief: found at Aries in 1853. Do. with two interlaced triangles. A large ring engraved with the monogram of Christ between A and LI, with the legend Abpacaz, also found at Aries.
I give Trimalchio's account of the invention of Flexible Glass at length; his appreciation and knowledge of art so forcibly reminds one of many a rich collector of the present day:—
"While Agamemnon was attentively examining this dish of Corinthian bronze, Tramalchio says, 'I am the only person in the world who possess the real Corinthian.' I was expecting that, with his usual absurdity, he was going to say, that he had his vessels imported direct from Corinth; but he did still better. 'Perhaps you ask why I alone have Corinthian bronzes? Because the brazier's name of whom I buy them is Corinthus; now, pray, what else is Corinthian, but what Corinthus keeps. But, that you may not take me for a know-nothing, I understand quite well how Corinthian bronzes first came about. At the sack of Troy, Hannibal, a cunning fellow and a great rogue, heaped up all the gold, silver, and bronze statues into one great pile, and set fire to it The metals mixed, and all ran together. From this mass the workmen took and made pots, dishes, and statues. So arose the Corinthian metal—one thing out of several, but neither this nor that. You will pardon what I am going to say. I prefer glass; others do not. If glasses were not so brittle, I would rather them than gold; as it is, they are of little value. Yet there was once an artist who made a glass bowl that would not break. He was admitted before the Emperor with his present: he then made Caesar give it him back, and dashed it down on the pavement. The Emperor could not help being frightened almost out of Iris wits; but my man picks up the bowl from the ground, and lo! it was only bruised, just as a brass one would have been. He takes out a little hammer, and leisurely makes all right again. Having done this, he thought himself already in heaven, especially when the Emperor said to him, "Does any one else know of this mode of tempering glass?" Now see—as soon as lie replied "No," the Emperor ordered him to be beheaded; for if the invention had become public, we should look u|>on gold like so much clay. In plate I am quite a connoisseur: I have bowls that will hold some eight gallons, more or less. How Cassandra kills her children, and the boys lie there dead, that you would think it real! 1 have a flagon which Romulus bequeathed my late patron, on which is Daedalus shutting up Niobe inside the Trojan horse. I have, too, the battles of Henneros and Petrax (Hector and Patroclus) on a tankard, all massy plate; for I would take no money for my knowledge.'"
The name Cameo has been derived by some from the Arabic Camaa, an amulet, for which purpose engraved gems were universally used in the Middle Ages. Camillo Leonardo, writing in 1502, speaks of "gemma? chamainas"5 in the sense of camei, or gems engraved with figures in relief: this is the earliest instance of the use of the term that I have met with. He also mentions a stone called Kaman and Kakaman, a name which he derives from the Greek Kaupx, "heat," as being found in hot and sulphureous places. It was white, striped with various colours, and often mixed with the Onyx, and derives all its virtue from the nature of the figures engraved upon it—a description which seems to support the
• Were not x"/"1' to° Attic a word to have been used in the common parlance of the times of the Greek Exarchs, when the spoken Latin became naturally much intermixed with the language of their officials, one might be tempted to
guess that chamaina meant nothing but a gem discovered in the ground of a garden, &c, by accident—the only mode by which the jewellers of that degenerate epoch could have been supplied.