ELECTRUM (OR POSSIBLY SILVER GILT) RING WITH EAGLE AND MONOGRAM
Early Byzantine, c. 550-600 AD
Electrum (or possibly Silver Gilt)
Circumference 63.46 mm.; weight 4.6 gr.; US size 10.5; UK size U ½
A hammered cylindrical hoop joins the underside of a round bezel in this ring composed of electrum, or possibly gilt silver. Engraved on the bezel is a frontal eagle turned slightly to the left, its wings spread fully to the edge of the bezel and holding a snake in its claws. A block monogram in the upper portion of the bezel with the letters E, M, N, O, C, V, and W most likely resolves as Σνρεων or Σνρεωιος or Σνρεωνης, or (of) Symeon. Universal symbol of the struggle between good and evil, the image of the eagle devouring a snake was a popular one in Byzantium.