Unknown3rd century B.C.

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

A bee decorates the engraved bezel of this Greek gold ring. On either side of the insect, the Greek letters epsilon and phi signal an abbreviated form of the name of the ancient Greek city of Ephesos, in modern Turkey. In both the motif and the letters, the bezel closely copies the coins of this city.

Several other rings and gems with this design have survived; they may have been a sort of souvenir from the Sanctuary of Artemis at Ephesos, whose cult enjoyed a wide popularity and had a connection with bees. Bees appear on many surviving reproductions of the cult statue of Artemis of Ephesos, and other representations of bees have been found in the sanctuary.

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  • Title: Ring
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: 3rd century B.C.
  • Location Created: Greece
  • Physical Dimensions: 1.8 x 1.6 cm (11/16 x 5/8 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Gold
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California
  • Object Type: Ring
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 85.AM.278
  • Inscription: Inscription: On either side of head of bee: Greek letter Phi.
  • Display Location: Currently on view at: Getty Villa, Gallery 207, Women and Children in Antiquity
  • Department: Antiquities
  • Culture: Greek
  • Classification: Jewelry