A Roman green stone intaglio Circa 1st Century A.D. The pale green stone intaglio engraved with a bust of Sokrates, set in a modern gold ring, 11mm length of intaglio; finger size 'O'
Provenance: Danish private collection, purchased on the UK market in the 1980s.
Literature: There are two surviving portrait types of the Greek philosopher Sokrates (c.469-399 B.C.): one is an early post-mortem bust (possibly for Plato's Mouseion), the other a later statue by Lysippos (placed in the Pompeion in Athens). The soft features of this portrait suggests that it copies the Lysippan bust with its expressive eyes and a more flowing beard. Cf. G.M.A. Richter, Engraved Gems of the Romans, London, 1971, no. 429. Sokrates was often compared to a Silenos because of his stocky body (Plato, Symposium, 215a-b), his large neck (M. Tullius Cicero, De Fato 5), his baldness (Sidonius Apollinaris, Epistulae, 9.9.14), his belly, prominent eyeballs, broad nose and thick-lipped mouth (Xenophon, Symposium, 2.19 and 5.7).