The Ancient Library

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Antonius Musa, a physician. (Dion Cass. xlviii. 48, liii. 30.) In a. d. 22 the emperor Tiberius ordained that a gold ring should only be worn by those ingenui whose fathers and grandfathers had had a property of 400,000 sestertia, and not by any freedman or slave. (Plin. H. N. xxxiii. 8.) But this restriction was of little avail, and the ambition for the annulus aureus became greater than it had ever been before. (Plin. Epist. vii. 26, viii. 6 ; Suet. Galb. 12. 14 ; Tacit. Hist. i. 13 ; Suet. Vitdl. 12 ; Stat. Silv. iii. 3. 14.3, &c.) The emperors Severus and Aurelian conferred the right of wearing gold rings upon all Roman soldiers (Herodian. iii. 8 ; Vopisc. Aurel. 7) ; and Jus­tinian at length allowed all the citizens of the em­pire, whether ingenui or libertini, to wear such rings.

The status of a person who had received the jus annuli appears to have differed at different times. During the republic and the early part of the em­pire the jus annuli seems to have made a person ingenuus (if he was a libertus), and to have raised him to the rank of eques, provided he had the requisite equestrian census (Suet. Galb. 10, 14 ; Tacit. Hist. i. 13, ii. 57), and it was probably never granted to any one who did not possess this census. Those who lost their property, or were found guilty of a criminal offence, lost the jus an­nuli. (Juv. Sat. xi. 42 ; Mart. viii. 5, ii. 57.) Afterwards, especially from the time of Hadrian, the privilege was bestowed upon a great many freedmen, and such persons as did not possess the equestrian census, who therefore for this reason alone could not have become equites ; nay, the jus annuli at this late period did not even raise a freedman to the station of ingenuus: he only be­came, as it were, a half ingenuus (quasi ingenuus}^ that is, he was entitled to hold a public office, and might at any future time be raised to the rank of eques. (Jul. Capitol. Macrin. 4.) The Lex Visel-lia (Cod. 9. tit. 21) punished those freedmen, who sued for a public office without having the jus annuli aurei. In many cases a libertus might through the jus annuli become an eques, if he had the requisite census, and the princeps allowed it ; but the annulus itself no longer included this honour. This difference in the character of the u:mulus appears to be clear also from the fact, that •\vomen received the jus annuli (Dig. 40. tit. 10. s. 4), and that Alexander Severus, though he allowed all his soldiers to wear the gold ring, yet did not admit any freedmen among the equites. (Lamprid. AL Sev. 9.) The condition of a libertus, who had received the jus annuli was in the main as follows : — Hadrian had laid down the general maxim, that he should be regarded as an ingenuus, salvo jure patroni. (Dig. 40. tit. 10. s. 6.) The patronus had also to give his consent to his freed­man accepting the jus annuli, and Commodus took the annulus away from these who had received it without this consent. (Dig. 40. tit. 10. s. 3.) Hence a libertus with the annulus might be tortured, if, c. g. his patron died an unnatural death, as in case of such a libertus dying, his patron might succeed to his property. The freedman had thus during his lifetime only an imago libertatis, he was a quasi ingenuus but had not the status of an in­genuus (Cod. 6. tit. 8. s. 2 ; Dig. 40. tit. 10. s. 5), and he died quasi libertus. In the reign of Jus­tinian these distinctions were done away with. 'Isidorus (xix. 32) is probably alluding to the pe-


riod preceding the reign of Justinian, wiien ha says, that freemen wore gold, freedmen silver, and slaves iron rings.

The practical purposes, for which rings, or rather the figures engraved upon them, were used at all times, were the same as those for which we use our seals. Besides this, however, persons, when they left their houses, used to seal up such parts as contained stores or valuable things, in order to secure them from thieves, especially slaves. (Plat. de Leg. xii. p. 954 ; Arisloph. ThesmopJi. 414, &c. ; Plaut. Gas. ii. 1. 1 ; Cic. ad Fain. xvi. 20, de Oral. ii. Gl ; Mart. ix. 88.) The ring of a Ro­man emperor was a kind of state-seal, and the em­peror sometimes allowed the use of it to such persons as he wished to be regarded as his repre­sentatives. (Dion Cass. Ixvi. 2.) The keeping of the imperial seal-ring was entrusted to an especial officer (euro, annuli, Just. Hist, xliii. 5). The signs engraved upon rings were very various, as we may judge from the specimens still extant: they were portraits of ancestors, or friends, subjects con­nected with the mythology, or the worship of the gods ; and in many cases a person had engraved upon his seal symbolical allusions to the real or mythical history of his famil3r. (Cic. in Catil. iii. 5 ; Val. Max. iii. 5. 1 ; Cic. de Finib. v. 1 ; Suet. Tib. 58. G3 ; Plin. //. N. ii. 7, &c.) Sulla thus wore a ring with a gem, on which Jugurtha was represented at the moment he was made prisoner. (Plin. If. N. xxxvii. 4 ; Pint. Mar. 10.) Pompey used a ring on which three trophies were represented (Dion Cass. xliii. 18), and Augustus at first sealed with a sphinx afterwards with a portrait of Alexander the Great, and at last with his own portrait, which was subsequently done by several emperors. (Plin. H. N. xxxvii. 4 ; Suet. Aug. 50; Dion Cass. Ii. 3 ; Spartian. Hadr. 26.) The principal value of a ring consisted in the gem framed in it, or rather in the workmanship of the engraver. The stone most frequently used wag the onyx (crap5a?i/os, crap$6vv£).) on account of its various colours, of which the artists made the most skilful use. In the art of engraving figures upon gems, the ancients in point of beauty and execution far surpass every thing in this depart* ment that modern times can boast of. The ring itself (<r(£ej/8oV7?), in which the gem was set, was likewise in many cases of beautiful workmanship. The part of the ring which contained the gem was called pala. In Greece we find that some persona fond of show used to wear hollow rings, the inside of which was filled up with a less valuable sub­stance. (Artemid. I. c.)

With the increasing love of luxury and show, the Romans, as well as the Greeks, covered their fingers with rings. Some persons also wore rings of immoderate size, and others used different rings for summer and winter. (Quinctil. xi. 3 ; Juv. i. 28 ; Mart. xi. 59, xiv. 123.)

Much superstition appears to have been con­nected with rings in ancient as well as in more modern times ; but this seems to have been the case in the East and in Greece more than at Rome. Some persons made it a lucrative trade to sell rings, which were believed to possess magic powers, and to preserve those who wore them from external dangers. Such persons are Eudamus in Aristo­phanes (Pint. 883, with the Schol.), and Phertatus in Antiphanes (ap. A then. iii. p. 123). These rings were for the most part worn by the lower

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