New Historian

Ancient Ring Featuring Roman God of Love Discovered in UK

Cupid and the Psyche

<![CDATA[An ancient ring featuring the cherubic, winged visage of the Roman love god Cupid, dated to the time when the Roman Empire spread across the English Channel, has been discovered in the South East of England. Uncovered by an amateur metal detectorist in the village of Tangley, Hampshire, the intricate golden ring has an onyx-like stone known as nicolo set in its center. The stone itself was carved with the nude image of an adolescent boy with wings sprouting from his shoulders, one of the traditional depictions of the Roman god of erotic love. In a research paper written on the ring by King’s College London senior archaeology lecturer John Pearce and the Portable Antiquities Scheme’s National Finds Advisor Sally Worrell, the age of the ring was estimated to be approximately 1,700 years old, placing it firmly in the time period that Rome was in control of southern England. The researchers were able to make the determination of the piece of jewelry’s age from several of its design elements, which include spiral designs that incorporate bead-like spheres. Additionally, the way Cupid is depicted –his lack of clothing, the wings, the way his legs are crossed and how he’s seen holding a torch in one hand while resting his other arm on a short, spiral column – all provided clues to the identity of the mythological figure carved into the stone. This isn’t the first example of jewelry being adorned with the pagan god of love. In fact, graven images of Cupid (or Eros as he was known before the Romans appropriated the Greek pantheon) were common. Originally discovered in December 2013 by the metal detectorist, the find was reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme, an initiative designed specifically to make it easier to report artifact discoveries voluntarily; it goes hand-in-hand with regulations in both England and Wales that allow amateurs to make use of a metal detector for any and all antiquity searches, provided they have been granted permission from the owner of the land they’re visiting and that they steer clear of any archaeological sites under government protection. The golden ring is slated to be placed on display in the Andover Museum in Hampshire in the wake of its acquisition by the Hampshire Museums Service. The story of Cupid is at least 2,500 years old according to the oldest existing records. The pagan god is said to roam the world at night, looking for women to prick with his arrows in order to seduce them. That, and his penchant for nudity, eventually get him into trouble when he impregnates the mortal woman Psyche against the wishes of his mother Venus (or Aphrodite in the Greek versions of the myths). ]]>

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