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Belt with Central Medallion

Unknownabout 385 - 400

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

This ornate belt is composed of three elements: a central ornament, connecting links, and an adjustable hook fastening. A roughly circular gold setting forms the central medallion, which consists of a large triangular sapphire surrounded by emeralds, garnets, and green glass. Three pendant chains, now missing their original pearls, hang from the medallion. The back of the gold setting is decorated with a repoussé acanthus rosette. The connecting links of the belt are formed by twenty-three square gold settings holding gold coins framed by green glass. The coins were issued by several emperors in the late 300s A.D., the latest being issued by Theodosius I, who ruled from A.D. 379 to 395; they come from various mints in the eastern portion of the Roman Empire, probably indicating an eastern origin for the belt. Coins used for jewelry, especially pendants, became popular in the 200s A.D. Coin belts, however, were not common, and this is one of the earliest known examples.

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Details

  • Title: Belt with Central Medallion
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: about 385 - 400
  • Location Created: Roman Empire
  • Physical Dimensions: 79.1 cm (31 1/8 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Gold, enamel, sapphire, emerald, garnet, and glass
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California
  • Object Type: Belt
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 83.AM.224
  • Inscription: Inscription: 1a. Obv:"FL CL IULIA-NUS PP AUG"; Rev:"VIRTUS EXERCI-TUS ROMANORUM / ANTE"1b. Obv:"DN VALENS PF AUG"; Rev:"RESTITUTOR REI PUBLICAE / CONS" 2a. Obv:"DN VAL-ENTINI-ANUS PF AUG"; Rev:"RESTITUTOR REI PUBLICAE / CONS" 2b. Obv:"FL IUL CON-STANS PER AUG"; Rev:"VICTORIA AUGUSTORUM / VOT V/MULT X" 3. Obv:"DN VALENS PF AUG"; Rev:"RESTITUTOR REIPUBLICAE / SMNE" 4a. Obv:"DN VAL-ENTINI-ANUS PF AUG"; Rev:"RESTITUTOR REIPUBLICAE / SMNM" 4b. Obv:"DN VAL-ENTINI-ANUS PF AUG"; Rev:"RESTITUTOR REIPUBLICAE / SMNE" 5a. Obv:"DN VALENS AUG"; Rev:"RESTITUTOR REI PUBLICAE / ANT" 5b. Obv:"DN VALENS AUG"; Rev:"RESTITUTOR REI PUBLICAE / ANTH" 6a. Obv:"DN VAL-ENTINI-ANUS PF AUG"; Rev:"RESTITUTOR REIPUBLICAE / ANTE" 6b. Obv:"DN THEODO-SIUS PF AUG"; Rev:"VICTOR-IA AUGG / COM / A-Q" 7. Obv:"DN VALENS PF AUG"; Rev:"RESTITUTOR REIPUBLICAE / SMNM" 8. Obv:"DN VALENS PF AUG"; Rev:"RESTITUTOR REIPUBLICAE / SMNE" 9. Obv:"DN VAL-ENTINI-ANUS PF AUG"; Rev:"RESTITUTOR REIPUBLICAE / SMNS" 10. Same as 4b, 11. Obv:" DN VALENS PF AUG"; Rev:"VOTA PU-BLICA / S N E", 12. Obv:"DN VALEN-S PF AUG"; Rev:"VICTORIA AUGG / SMTES", 13. Same as 5a, 14. Obv:"FL CL IULIANUS PP AUG"; Rev:"VIRTUS EXERCI-TUS ROMANORUM / SIRM",15. Same as 7, 16. Same as 4b.
  • Display Location: Currently on view at: Getty Villa, Gallery 212, Coins, Gems and Jewelry
  • Department: Antiquities
  • Culture: Roman
  • Classification: Implements

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