A Rare Roman Cornelian Intaglio of a Warrior Consulting an Oracle

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 A rare subject based on the 1st C. BC writing of Dionysius of Halikarnassos (Ant.Rom. I. 14, section 5):

"Again, as one goes from Reate by the road towards the Listine district, there is Batia [Vatia], thirty stades distant; then Tiora, called Matiene, at a distance of 300 stades. In this city, they say there was a very ancient oracle of Mars, the nature of which was similar to that of the oracle which legend says once existed at Dodona, only there a pigeon was said to prophesy, sitting on a sacred oak, whereas amongst the Aborigines [i.e., the local people of Tiora], a heaven-sent bird which they call picus [woodpecker] appearing on a pillar of wood did the same…"


1st - 2nd Centuries AD


Height: 12.15 mm.     (0 1/2 in.)

Width: 10.50 mm     (0 7/16 in.)


ex: private American collection, before 2000





Antiquarium Ltd.; Ancient Treasures XIV. (New York, 2016) p.26


Henig, M; The Lewis Collection of Engraved Gemstones in Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (Oxford, 1975) p. 43, no. 185 (A 26)