- Material: Hard Stone, 18k gold marked.
- Size: 1 7/8" by 1 1/2" only cameo is 1 1/2" by 1 1/8".
- Date and Origin: Circa 1870 Italy, frame is English.
- Conditions: Immaculate. Bail on top can be also hidden on the back.
This is a Museum Quality cameo depicting Achilles the Greek hero of Troy as a beautiful youth. This fabulous subject is wonderfully carved on hard stone and framed with a simple gold ring frame. Achilles is here depicted in all of his beauty. His facial features are more feminine than masculine but, according to the legend, he was so handsome and had so delicate treats that he could look almost as a beautiful girl. In fact, at the time of the Trojan war his mother, Thetis, took him to the island of Scyros, knowing that if he participated to the war he was surely destined to die. The king of Scyros, Lycomedes. dressed Achilles in female clothes and concealed him in his harem, so feminine was the nature of Achilles beauty that he could have easily passed for one of Lycomedes' daughters. This cameo is a real beauty, carving on hard stone are more difficult to be made than on shell which is a softer material. This one is very finely carved and each detail is wonderfully made. Look at the winged dragon on the top of Achilles' helmet, simply amazing. His curly hair, the face carved on the front of the helmet, everything is masterly rendered in this fabulous cameo which can't be missed. A real treat for any collector.
A bit of History
In Greek mythology, Achilles was a Greek hero of the Trojan War, the central character and the greatest warrior of Homer's Iliad
. Achilles also has the attributes of being the most handsome of the heroes assembled against Troy, as well as the best. Later legends (beginning with a poem by Statius in the first century AD) state that Achillies was invulnerable in all of his body except for his heel. Legend states that Achilles was semi-immortal, however his heel was vulnerable. Since he died due to a poisoned arrow shot into his heel, the "Achilles' heel" has come to mean a person's principal weakness. Achilles was the son of the nymph Thetis and Peleus, the king of the Myrmidons. Zeus and Poseidon had been rivals for the hand of Thetis until Prometheus, the fire-bringer, warned Zeus of a prophecy that Thetis would bear a son greater than his father. For this reason, the two gods withdrew their pursuit, and had her wed Peleus. As with most mythology there is a tale which offers an alternative version of these events: in Argonautica
(iv.760) Hera alludes to Thetis's chaste resistance to the advances of Zeus, that Thetis was so loyal to Hera's marriage bond that she coolly rejected him.
Tethys also had other daughters with the great, earth-encircling, fresh-water stream Okeanos and they were:
THE OKEANIDES (or Oceanides) were three thousand goddess Nymphs who presided over the sources of earth's fresh-water, ranging from rainclouds to subterranean springs and fountains. Their numbers included theNephelai (Cloud-Nymphs), Aurai (Breeze-Nymphs), Naiades (Spring and Fountain Nymphs), Leimonides (Pasture Nymphs), and Anthousai (Flower Nymphs). The eldest among them were numbered among the Titanides - Styx, Dione, Neda, Metis, Klymene, Eurynome, Doris, Elektra, and Pleione.