A Roman Glass Gnostic Abraxas Intaglio, ca. 4th century AD

The rooster-headed, snake-legged deity clad in a Roman chestplate (cuirass). He holds an Egyptian flail in his right hand and a small round shield in his left.  This mysterious anguipede (snake-legged) figure is common on magical gems.

Background:  Abraxas is a Deity in the Gnostic faith. In Gnostic cosmology, the 7 letters spelling its name represent each of the 7 classic planets—Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.It was engraved on certain antique gemstones, called on that account Abraxas stones, which were used as amulets or charms. As the initial spelling on stones was ‘Abrasax’ (Αβρασαξ)
Opinions abound on Abraxas, who in recent centuries has been claimed to be both an Egyptian god and a demon.The Swiss Psychologist Carl Jung wrote a short Gnostic treatise in 1916 called The Seven Sermons to the Dead, which called Abraxas a God higher than the Christian God and Devil, that combines all opposites into one Being.

Condition:  Chips to the intaglio edge otherwise intact with good irridescence.

Dimensions: Height: 2 cm (3/4 inches) 

Provenance:  Paul Ilton private collection, acquired prior to 1958.


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