Roman Engraved Gems in the National Archaeological Museum in Lisbon
Keywords:Ammaia, Cleopatra, intaglio, cameo, nicolo, etched carnelian, ‘prodigy scene’, foundation of Rome
The article presents the collection of Roman engraved gems in the National Museum of Archaeology, in Lisbon. Although a small cabinet, it contains a wide variety of themes and motifs. Among the intaglios, the nicolos deserve to be especially highlighted for their quantity when compared with the others, thus strenghtening the evidence for the existence of a regional quartz industry in the city of Ammaia, which particularly specialized in the manufacture of nicolo gemstones. The themes match those existing throughout the Empire, but some items deserve special attention: Eros removing a thorn from a lion’s paw (no. 3); three Satyrs performing a sacrifice (no. 1); the wounded warrior (no. 31); the ‘prodigy scene’ (no. 36); Faustulus, the Capitoline Wolf and the twins (no. 37); a possible portrait of Cleopatra (no. 42); the Jewish symbols (no. 70) and the magical amulet (no. 72).