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A Roman Shell Pendant, ca 1st century AD - Sands of Time Ancient Art
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A Roman Shell Pendant, ca 1st century AD

Representing Aphrodite, the Roman “Venus,” goddess of love, this is a fine gold pendant in the form of a scallop shell. The scallop shell is a traditional symbol of the goddess’ birth, for after she “arose from sea foam a fully grown woman” in the middle of the ocean, she floated ashore on a scallop shell. This iconic representation of Aphrodite as a mature “Venus rising from the sea” has been made famous by many artistic representations throughout history; most notable is Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus.”

The pendant would have originally been one component from a necklace of many. It is shaped from high karat sheet gold and has a small loop at the top for attachment. 

Condition: Intact and in excellent condition overall.

Dimensions:  17mm (5/8 inch)

Provenance:  Forming part of the James Stephan Snr. collection, assembled in the 1950's to early 1960's and then by descent.  Dr. Stephan was a US intelligence officer who also held a degree in archaeology.  He was posted in the Anatolian region of Turkey with the US government during this time, and acquired his collection from dealers and villagers throughout the region.

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