15thC Medieval Byzantine 55½ct Lebanese Amber Ancient Roman Gladiator Sex Amulet

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Seller: ancientgifts (4,605) 100%, Location: Lummi Island, Washington, Ships to: Worldwide, Item: 382372440711 Gorgeous 15th Century Fifty Five and Three Quarter Carat 500 Year Old Medieval - Byzantine Disk Semi-Precious Amber Gemstone Pendant. CLASSIFICATION: Barrell Lebanese Amber Pendant, hand drilled, hand crafted, molded. Contemporary gold tone chain. ATTRIBUTION: Constantinople (Ancient Turkey), 15th Century A.D. SIZE/DIMENSIONS: Diameter: 29 millimeters. Length: 22 millimeters. Weight: 55.75 carats. Chain: Contemporary gold or silver electroplate 60 centimeters (24 inches). A wide variety of other chains are available upon request in sizes from 16 to 30 inches, and in metals ranging from gold and silver electroplate to sterling silver and solid 14kt gold and sterling silver as well as a bronze-toned copper chain. The default chain (absent contrary instructions) is gold electroplate, 24 inches. For a more authentic touch, we also have available handcrafted Greek black leather cords. CONDITION: Very nice! Cracked. Minor porosity (surface pitting caused by contact with earth while buried). Minor scuffing and scratches. DETAIL: In ancient Rome it was believed that an amber talisman protected the body from physical harm, so Gladiators would often carry such a charm for protection in the arena. Amber was also worn to prevent insanity and to arouse sexual desire. One first century Roman historian credited the source of amber to the urine of the lynx. For the better part of a thousand years Rome was the undisputed center of the ancient amber industry. The first century historian/naturalist Pliny wrote that even the smallest amber figurine was worth more than the price of a healthy slave. Not until the third century A.D., when wars with the Goths made such trade in luxury items unsustainable, did the Roman domination of the amber industry come to an end. Here's a beautiful ancient amber gemstone pendant, mounted onto a contemporary chain. The amber pendant was hand-crafted (shaped, drilled, and polished) by a medieval Byzantine artisan. It was shaped into a barrel shape. Throughout the Byzantine and Mediterranean world amber gemstones were widely employed in the construction of jewelry. Amber pendants were principally manufactured in the "Holyland" from Lebanese amber and traded throughout the Mediterranean and Byzantine Empire. More often than not they were crafted from softened amber pressed into molds. Archaeological evidence suggests that amber has been used as jewelry for at least 10,000-15,000 years, picked up by beach-combing Neolithic peoples of the Baltic and Black Seas, and along the shores of the Mediterranean. The very earliest Mesopotamian cultures, later to include especially the Sumerians and Babylonians, and eventually even later the Phoenicians, traded extensively in amber gemstones. The ancient Greeks and Romans as well enjoyed the beautiful tones of amber, and it was extensively used in jewelry. And of course from the (Western) Roman Empire to the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire the passion for amber was passed forward, into even then medieval and Renaissance worlds. This gorgeous memento of a world long past comes mounted free of charge onto a contemporary 14kt gold or silver electroplated chain for your enjoyment. If you prefer, we also have chains available in sterling silver and solid 14kt gold, as well as authentic, high-quality Greek leather cords. BYZANTINE HISTORY: The Byzantine Empire was the eastern remainder of the great Roman Empire, and stretched from its capital in Constantinople (present-day Istanbul, Turkey) through much of Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, and small portions of North Africa and the Middle East. Prior to the fifth century collapse of the Western Roman Empire, one of Rome’s greatest emperors, Constantine the Great, established a second capital city for the Roman Empire in the East at Byzantium, present day Turkey. Constantine The Great sought to reunite the Roman Empire, centered upon Christian faith, by establishing a second "capital" for the Eastern Roman, away from the pagan influences of the city of Rome. Established as the new capital city for the Eastern Roman Empire in the fourth century, Constantine named the city in his own honor, “Constantinople”. After the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, the Eastern Roman Empire, the “Byzantine Empire”, lasted for another thousand years as the cultural, religious and economic center of Eastern Europe. At the same time, as a consequence of the fall of the Western Roman Empire, most of the rest of Europe suffered through one thousand years of the "dark ages". As the center of the Byzantine Empire, Constantinople was one of the most elaborate, civilized, and wealthy cities in all of history. The Christian Church eventually became the major political force in the Byzantine Empire. In Byzantine art, God rather than man stood at the center of the universe. Constantine the Great is also credited with being the first Christian Roman Emperor, and was eventually canonized by the Orthodox Church. Christianity had of course been generally outlawed prior to his reign. Under the Byzantine Empire, Christianity became more than just a faith, it was the theme of the entire empire, its politics, and the very meaning of life. Christianity formed an all-encompassing way of life, and the influence of the Byzantine Empire reached far both in terms of time and geography, certainly a predominant influence in all of Europe up until the Protestant Reformation. In Byzantine art, God rather than man stood at the center of the universe. Representations of Christ, the Virgin, and various saints predominated the coinage of the era. The minting of the coins remained crude however, and collectors today prize Byzantine coins for their extravagant variations; ragged edges, "cupped" coins, etc. Other artifacts such as rings, pendants, and pottery are likewise prized for their characteristically intricate designs. In the ancient world valuables such as coins and jewelry were commonly buried for safekeeping, and inevitably the owners would succumb to one of the many perils of the ancient world. Oftentimes the survivors of these individuals did not know where the valuables had been buried, and today, thousands of years later caches of coins and rings are still commonly uncovered throughout Europe and Asia Minor. Throughout history these treasures have been inadvertently discovered by farmers in their fields, uncovered by erosion, and the target of unsystematic searches by treasure seekers. With the introduction of metal detectors and other modern technologies to Eastern Europe in the past three or four decades, an amazing number of new finds are seeing the light of day thousands of years after they were originally hidden by their past owners. And with the liberalization of post-Soviet Eastern Europe, new markets have opened eager to share in these ancient treasures. HISTORY OF AMBER: Amber is fossil tree resin from long-extinct coniferous (pine) tress. Amber has been found throughout the world, but the largest and most significant deposits occur along the shores of the Baltic Sea in sands between 40 and 60 million years old. Fossilized amber started as blobs of resin exuded from a tree, which eventually were covered over and buried in the earth before being weathered out of the soil, then released into the sea where they drifted to shores as far as England. The oldest fossilized amber deposits discovered contain amber which is approximately 360 million years old. Amber has been treasured and used for millennia; beads, necklaces, buttons, and other ornamental carved objects have been made from this gemstone. Stone Age peoples believed that amber contained the resting place of the spirit, or soul, and that amber possessed supernatural properties. For this reason it was a very powerful material from which to fashion magical amulets. Archaeologists have found amber pendants, beads, brooches and statuettes of people at excavation sites of Stone Age settlements, and believe that the statuettes and amulets represented protectors - world rulers - of those times. Two noteworthy discoveries have included Paleolithic-era beads from 11,000 B.C. found in Southern England in an ancient cavern known as “Gough’s Cave”; and a human-form amber pendant from about 7,000 B.C. discovered in an ancient peat bog in Denmark. An enormous collection of ancient amber amulets was discovered in 1860. The amulets dated back to the 3rd millennium B.C., and were known collectively as the "Juodkrantë Treasure". Consisting of 434 pieces, all were described in the book "Stone Age Amber Adornments" published in 1882. Unfortunately the entire collection disappeared during World War II, and has never been located. The Greek name for amber is electron, and amber was thought to be pieces of the sun, broken off and fallen in the ocean. In Greek Mythology amber was the tears of the Heliade Sisters, who had been turned in to black poplars by Zeus who was furious over the fact that they were crying over the death of their brother, Phaethon, son of Helios, who was killed by Zeus for driving his sun chariot too close to earth, and setting it ablaze. The ancient Greeks attributed to amber the power as a cure for deafness (when mixed with rose oil and honey) and eyesight improvement (when mixed with honey alone). The fourth-century B.C. Athenian statesman Callistratus stated that insanity or wild and irrational behavior could be cured by the administration of powdered amber in wine. In addition to the ancient Greeks, amber had great value and significance to the Assyrians, Egyptians, Etruscans, Minoans, and Phoenicians. The fossilized resin gives a pine tree aroma when burned and in ancient Egypt as well as in India amber was used as an incense to in religious ceremonies to purify the surrounding area. The ancient Egyptians also often utilized amber in the mummification process. In Chinese amber is translated to "the soul of the tiger" from the ancient belief that amber was the spirit of a tiger. Another ancient Chinese legend has it that amber was formed from drops of Dragon's blood which solidified when they hit the ground. It is known from written records that amber was coming to China through India early in the Han Dynasty, perhaps as early as the second century B.C. In Norse Mythology, Amber is sacred to the Goddess Freya, whose magic girdle “Brisingamen” was carved from the stone. It was widely used in rituals to encourage passion or fertility. During the Bronze Age (perhaps as early as the fourth millennium B.C.), amber was partly responsible for a network of roads built to facilitate the trade. The first trade roads archaeologists have evidence for are from the ancient Biblical/Mesopotamian city of Ur (home of Abraham). By 1700 B.C., the Minoans had established jealously-guarded trade routes from Knossos (Crete) to Turkey, Cyprus, Egypt, Afghanistan, and Scandinavia where they traded amber, as well as copper, ivory, amethyst, lapis-lazuli, carnelian, gold, and other important commodities. By about 1500 B.C. many of the roads in eastern and central Europe had linked together into an extensive trading network known as the “Amber Routes”. The ancient amber trade route ran from the Baltic Sea, down the Elbe River, and on to the Danube. When the Minoan civilization was destroyed around 1200 B.C., it was the Phoenicians who filled the void, prospering as a sea-trading power from 1200 to 800 B.C. Amber was one of the Phoenician’s more significant trade commodities. By the time the Roman Empire arose, the roads of the “amber route” led overland from the Danube through the Brenner Pass into Italy, the heart of the Roman Empire. From Rome the roads wove throughout the far-flung empire. One principal route ran all the way from Italy to Spain via Marseille and nearby Heraclea, close to present-day Avignon. These roads were constructed of multiple layers of logs, and remnants of some of these roads dating back to before 1,500 B.C. still exist. In ancient Rome amber was worn to prevent insanity and to arouse sexual desire. It was also believed that an amber talisman protected the body from physical harm, so Gladiators would often carry such a charm for protection in the arena. One first century Roman historian credited the source of amber to the urine of the lynx. However first century Roman historian and naturalist “Pliny the Elder” correctly identified the source of amber as being the resin of pine trees, and also correctly identified the origin of amber as being north of Germany. For the better part of a millennium, Rome was the undisputed center of the amber industry in the ancient world. The Romans sent armies to conquer and control amber producing areas. Exotic ornaments made of amber were in great demand. The Romans apparently valued amber even more than the Baltic slaves who harvested the amber. During the reign of Nero, who was himself a great connoisseur of amber, Pliny wrote that the price of an amber figurine, no matter how small, exceeded the price of a living healthy slave. Not until the third century A.D., when wars with the Goths made such trade in luxury items unsustainable, did the Roman domination of the amber industry come to an end. After the fall of the Roman Empire and the ensuing “dark ages”, for 700 years all traces of the amber trade disappeared from written history. Nonetheless during this time Anglo-Saxon and Celtic crafts people produced some of the most beautiful and exquisite amber pieces despite the barbarity of times. By the twelfth century, as Europe rebounded from Rome’s collapse and headed into the High Middle Ages, the Baltic region was under the rule of the Dukes of Pomerania and, later, the Teutonic Knights, and the amber trade resurfaced. Both the Dukes of Pomerania as well as the Teuronic Knights exercised absolute control over all aspects of the amber trade. They even prohibited the unsupervised collection of amber on beaches under penalty of hanging, and required fishermen to swear an oath that they would not retain the amber that came up with their nets. Even the mere possession of raw amber was illegal in most of Europe by the year 1400. As the Knight's power waned, monopolistic trade guilds became increasingly important players in the amber trade. The amber guild established in Danzig in 1477 still exists today. During the Middle Ages, especially within the Byzantine Empire, amber was considered the best material for rosary beads due to its smooth silky feel. The Germans burned amber as incense, so they called it bernstein, or "burn stone." In Medieval Europe the demand for amber was not only for its value as a gemstone, but also for its medicinal uses. According to one Medieval text amber was used for childbirth, to treat excess stomach acid as well as throat disorders, and was used as a poison antidote. It was believed that the smoke from burning amber drove poisonous insects away and the same smoke was recommended as a fumigation to protect against the plague (“Black Death”). It was even recorded in this same source that amber, “if laid on the breast of a wife when she is asleep, it makes her confess all her evil deeds.” Medieval shamans believed that amber could stimulate visions containing glimpses of ancient knowledge. The art of skillfully working amber into beautiful objects d'art flourished in Europe from the late sixteenth century to the mid-eighteenth century, especially in the Northern Germany, Prussia, Poland and the Baltic countries. During the succeeding Victorian Age, due to the belief that amber could impede the transmission of diseases, it was used to produce stem-pieces for cigarette holders and pipes. Amber has also sometimes been used as an ingredient in perfume, and since the fifteenth century has been used as a flavoring agent in the Scandinavian akvavit liquor. From ancient times through the Victorian Era, most amber has been gather along the shores of the Baltic Ocean after violent storms which dislodge the amber from the ocean floor, whereupon it is cast onto the shore. A seventeenth century book on the subject describes amber divers who carried a wooden spade to dislodge amber from the ocean floor, as well as surf riders who on horseback gathered amber in nets mounted to poles. Contemporarily, the largest mining operation for amber in the Baltic region is in Russia, west of Kaliningrad, which produces about 90% of the world’s best gem-grade amber. Baltic amber is also found in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Poland; and occasionally washes up on the shores of the Baltic Sea as far away as Denmark, Norway, and England. Other amber sources include Burma (Myanmar), Lebanon, Sicily, Mexico, Romania, Germany, and Canada. Amber gained a great deal of popularity recently after the release of the movie “Jurassic Park”. You’ll recall that “dino dna” was extracted from mosquitoes which had “dined” on “dino blood”, and then been trapped within amber. Far-fetched? In 1994, a molecular biologist at Cal Poly extracted DNA from a weevil that was trapped in amber 120 to 135 million years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth. The amber, which was from the Lower Cretaceous period, was mined in the mountains of Lebanon south of Beirut. The amber was part of a collection of amber pieces containing 700 insects, including termites, moths, caterpillars, spiders, scorpions, and midges, which did suck dinosaur blood. Throughout the history of the ancient world, gemstones were believed capable of curing illness, possessed of valuable metaphysical properties, and to provide protection. Found in Egypt dated 1500 B. C., the "Papyrus Ebers" offered one of most complete therapeutic manuscripts containing prescriptions using gemstones and minerals. Gemstones were not only valued for their medicinal and protective properties, but also for educational and spiritual enhancement. In the ancient world it was believed that amber was a “healing” stone, capable of disinfecting and encouraging the healing of wounds. Turns out that amber contains succinite acid, which has anti-bacterial properties. Science finally acknowledged what our ancestors thousands of years ago knew. Even ancient baby-teethers made of amber have been uncovered by archaeologists. Other attributes given in the past have included the calming of nerves a spirited disposition. Amber has in many cultures been believed to bring both good luck and long life to the wearer. Amber was also believed to encourage bravery and self-confidence. On the metaphysical plane amber was believed to stimulate intellect and creativity. Modern-day practitioners believe that the bright healing energy emitted from amber draws out negative energy, counteracts belligerent and aggressive behavior, purifies the heart and spirit, and helps in making difficult choices by the removal of self imposed obstacles. Domestic shipping (insured first class mail) is included in the price shown. Domestic shipping also includes USPS Delivery Confirmation (you might be able to update the status of your shipment on-line at the USPS Web Site). Canadian shipments are an extra $15.99 for Insured Air Mail; International shipments are an extra $19.99 for Air Mail (and generally are NOT tracked; trackable shipments are EXTRA). ADDITIONAL PURCHASES do receive a VERY LARGE discount, typically about $5 per item so as to reward you for the economies of combined shipping/insurance costs. Your purchase will ordinarily be shipped within 48 hours of payment. We package as well as anyone in the business, with lots of protective padding and containers. We do NOT recommend uninsured shipments, and expressly disclaim any responsibility for the loss of an uninsured shipment. Unfortunately the contents of parcels are easily “lost” or misdelivered by postal employees – even in the USA. If you intend to pay via PayPal, please be aware that PayPal Protection Policies REQUIRE insured, trackable shipments, which is INCLUDED in our price. International tracking is at additional cost. We do offer U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail, Registered Mail, and Express Mail for both international and domestic shipments, as well United Parcel Service (UPS) and Federal Express (Fed-Ex). Please ask for a rate quotation. We will accept whatever payment method you are most comfortable with. If upon receipt of the item you are disappointed for any reason whatever, I offer a no questions asked return policy. Send it back, I will give you a complete refund of the purchase price (less our original shipping costs). Most of the items I offer come from the collection of a family friend who was active in the field of Archaeology for over forty years. However many of the items also come from purchases I make in Eastern Europe, India, and from the Levant (Eastern Mediterranean/Near East) from various institutions and dealers. Though I have always had an interest in archaeology, my own academic background was in sociology and cultural anthropology. After my retirement however, I found myself drawn to archaeology as well. Aside from my own personal collection, I have made extensive and frequent additions of my own via purchases on Ebay (of course), as well as many purchases from both dealers and institutions throughout the world – but especially in the Near East and in Eastern Europe. I spend over half of my year out of the United States, and have spent much of my life either in India or Eastern Europe. In fact much of what we generate on Yahoo, Amazon and Ebay goes to support The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, as well as some other worthy institutions in Europe connected with Anthropology and Archaeology. I acquire some small but interesting collections overseas from time-to-time, and have as well some duplicate items within my own collection which I occasionally decide to part with. Though I have a collection of ancient coins numbering in the tens of thousands, my primary interest is in ancient jewelry. My wife also is an active participant in the “business” of antique and ancient jewelry, and is from Russia. I would be happy to provide you with a certificate/guarantee of authenticity for any item you purchase from me. There is a $2 fee for mailing under separate cover. Whenever I am overseas I have made arrangements for purchases to be shipped out via domestic mail. If I am in the field, you may have to wait for a week or two for a COA to arrive via international air mail. But you can be sure your purchase will arrive properly packaged and promptly – even if I am absent. And when I am in a remote field location with merely a notebook computer, at times I am not able to access my email for a day or two, so be patient, I will always respond to every email. Please see our "ADDITIONAL TERMS OF SALE." Condition: Lebanese Amber Pendant, hand drilled, hand crafted, molded., Material: Gemstone, Shape: Disc Cracked, Jewelry: Pendant

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