GOLD RING WITH THE STANDING VIRGIN AND CHILD AND OPENWORK BAND
Early Byzantine, late 7th-early 8th century
Circumference 59.34 mm.; weight 7.5 gr.; US size 9; UK size R ¾
The oval bezel is engraved with a stylized image in repousse of the standing Virgin and Child of the Hodegetria type, flanked by two crosses. Between two beaded borders, the wide hoop (7 mm.) contains an inscription in openwork ΘΕΟΤΟΚΕ ΒΟΗΘΙ ΕVΤΑΘΙΑC, “Mother of God Help Eustatia.” The “Virgin of Hodegetria,” a revered icon kept in the Hodegon Monastery in Constantinople, was considered one of the most powerful and enduring icon types of the Byzantine world. Said to possess miraculous powers, the image was carried into battle and invoked against sickness.