The ancient ring depicts Jesus as a shepherd with a sheep on his shoulder.
(More photos of the historical find are at the end of the article)
Israeli scientists exhibited a gold ring from the Roman Empire on Wednesday. On the green gemstone that adorns the jewel was a shepherd engraved with a sheep on his shoulder. According to experts, this is an early Christian symbol of Jesus, the AFP agency reports.
The jewel was found in a shipwreck near the ancient port of Caesarea among third-century Roman coins. Among the treasure were bronze figurines, bells to ward off evil spirits, pottery and other items. This was stated by the Israeli Monuments Authority (IAA) in a statement.
The thick octagonal gold ring with a green gem has an engraved figure of a young shepherd in a tunic, who has a ram or a sheep thrown over his shoulder. It is to express the Christian symbol of the “good shepherd”.
In the relatively shallow waters, a red gemstone with a lyre carved on its surface was found, as well as the remains of a wooden hull and other parts of the wrecked ships.
The main node
According to IAA expert Helena Sokolova, Caesarea was the local capital of the Roman Empire in the third century. The city port at that time served as the main hub for various activities of the empire.
The expert also examined the ring and explained that the image of Jesus as a caring shepherd caring for his flock and leading those in need existed in early Christian symbolism, but it was rare to find him on the ring.
According to Sokolov, the presence of such a symbol on the ring, which may have been owned by the Romans of Caesarea or its surroundings, makes sense given the ethnically and religiously heterogeneous character of the port city in the third century. At that time, Caesarea was one of the first centers of Christianity in the world.
Christianity in the beginning
“It was still a time when Christianity was in its infancy. However, its importance has definitely grown and developed, especially in cities like this, “the expert explained. She added that the fact that the ring itself was small suggests that it may have belonged to a woman.
Christianity was practiced only in secret forums at that time. However, according to Sokolov, the Roman Empire was relatively tolerant of new forms of religion, including the worship of Jesus. That is why, according to her, it was acceptable for a rich citizen of the empire to wear such a ring.
In addition to the above-mentioned findings from the Roman era, divers from the IAA discovered a second wreck near the treasury, which contained about 560 coins from the 14th century.