The Ancient Library

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On this page: Gems (continued)



into use, it would seem, in the time of Alexander the Great, and were used for or­nament. For cameos precious stones of various colours were used, especially the onyx. The layers of the stone were so


(Xaples Museum.)

treated, that the figures stood out bright on a dark ground, Mnesarchus of Samos, the father of the philosopher Pythagoras (about 600 b.c.) is the oldest Greek jeweller whose name has come down to us. In the 4th century b.c. the most celebrated master was Pyrg5teles, the only artist whom Alexander the Great would allow to cut his likeness. In the age of Augustus we hear of Dios-cSrides, who cut the emperor's likeness on a stone which was used as a seal by the suc­ceeding Caesars. The Etruscans and Romans took up the art very early, but never attained the same perfection as the Greeks.

ter being mainly taken from mythology. Among the remaining Greek cameos an important place, both for size and beauty, must be given to the Gonzaga Cameo in St. Petersburg. This, it has been conjectured, represents the bust of Ptolemy Philadelphus and Arslnoe, his sister and wife; [but it more probably commemorates Nero and Agrippina, fig. 7.] The largest and most

ameo, nkko and agrippina.


(Sardonyx of 3 strata, 6x6 inches, Russian Imperial Cabinet.)

splendid of the cameos which have come down from the Roman period are those at Vienna (fig. 8) and Paris, representing, in groups and figures, the family of Augustus.

CAMEOS. (Naples Museum.)

The fancy for making collections of beauti­ful gems arose as early as the 1st century b.c. The intaglios, or cut stones, have come down to us in greater numbers than an}' of the monuments of ancient art. Those which belonged to the advanced periods of style present examples of the most beautiful workmanship, the most original composition, and the most interesting subjects, the lat-

Augustus and Livia receiving Drusus and Tiberius on their return from thnir Vindelic and Rhretian campaigns. (Sardonyx of 2 strata, 9x8 inches, Vienna cabinet.)

Whole vessels were sometimes made of single stones, and adorned with reliefs An instance is the Mantuan vase now at

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