Mike Aquilina

By the Time I Get to Phoenix

Tuesday November 13th 2007, 3:02 am

Phoenix Ancient Art, an antiquities dealer, has posted a fascinating solid-gold Byzantine wedding ring for sale. They’re estimating it’s fifth or sixth century. Go look at the picture. “The square bezel of the ring is engraved with a cross between the face busts of a groom and a bride. The couple is blessed by the bust of Christ above them and the Greek inscription ‘concord in God’ (”®EOY OMONOIA).” If they’re right about the date, this may testify to a transitional period in wedding customs. In the olden days, “Roman marrigae contracts were signed before the Emperor’s image.” On this ring and in other fifth-century items, the image of Christ has replaced the emperor.

While you’re at Phoenix, check out this bronze weight depicting an archangel and a bagfull of Christian symbols (sixth or seventh century). It’s only $28,500. I don’t know if that price includes postage.

As for the solid-gold ring, they don’t bother posting a price. If you have to ask …