Price upon request


Period / Age: Roman, Imperial Period, ca. 1st - 3rd Century A.D.

Provenance: Private British Collection. Ex-Private Canadian Collection. Ex-Artemis Gallery. Ex-New York, USA Collection. Ex-Jan Krugier collection, New York, USA, acquired in the 1990s


Width: 2.4cm
Height: 3cm

A big intaglio depicting Mercury and Fortuna, two gods seemingly engaged in discussion, is carved onto a piece of gorgeous translucent agate that has amber and cream colours. The goddess of luck and fortune, Fortuna, is shown standing opposite and bearing her characteristic crown. Mercury, the god of trade, poetry, and voyages, is facing her from a profile, his characteristic headdress is very visible.

Mercury was the Roman god of commerce, often serving as a mediator between the gods and mortals, his winged feet giving him the advantage of speed. Mercury is sometimes represented as holding a purse, symbolic of his business functions.

The cult of Mercury is ancient, and tradition has it that his temple on the Aventine Hill in Rome was dedicated in 495 B.C. There Mercury was associated with Maia, who became identified as his mother through her association with the Greek Maia, one of the Pleiades, who was the mother of Hermes by Zeus. Both Mercury and Maia were honoured in the Mercuralia festival on May 15, the dedication day of Mercury’s temple on the Aventine.

Fortuna, in Roman religion, goddess of chance. As such she resembles a fertility deity, hence her association with the bounty of the soil and the fruitfulness of women. Frequently she was an oracular goddess consulted in various ways regarding the future. Fortuna was worshiped extensively in Italy from the earliest times. At Praeneste her shrine was a well-known oracular seat, as was her shrine at Antium. Fortuna is often represented bearing a cornucopia as the giver of abundance and a rudder as controller of destinies, or standing on a ball to indicate the uncertainty of fortune.

Within Roman mythology, Fortuna held a crucial role. She was believed to possess the power to bestow both good and bad fortune upon mortals, influencing their lives in unpredictable ways.

Accompanied by the Certificate of Authenticity.

CONDITION: Good condition. Small chip. The item has been described to the best of our knowledge. If you have any questions, please refer to the photographs and send an email.