Plasma; 3/8 x 1/8 x 1/2 in. (0.9 x 0.4 x 1.3 cm)
Gift of John Taylor Johnston, 1881 (81.6.100)
Carved on this plasma ring stone is the Roman personification of Bonus Eventus (Success). Originally an agricultural deity who presided over the harvest, later Bonus Eventus came to represent prosperity and a good omen in a broader sense. Pliny the Elder, in his Natural History, mentions two statues of Bonus Eventus in Rome. One was a work in bronze by the artist Euphranor and the second a marble carved by Praxiteles and displayed on the Capitoline Hill together with a statue of Bona Fortuna (Good Fortune).
On this gem, Bonus Eventus is represented as a youth standing in profile and wearing a chlamys (short cloak). He is holding a dish of fruit in his right hand and a branch, probably a vine, in his left. A stylized ear of corn is depicted at his feet. It has been suggested that this iconography of Bonus Eventus might derive from the marble statue by Praxiteles mentioned in Pliny’s text. The imagery of Bonus Eventus was common in Roman times on both coins and gems, particularly beginning in the late Republican period.