Banded agate ring stone

Period: Hellenistic

Date: 3rd–2nd century B.C.

Culture: Italic

Medium: Agate, banded

Dimensions: Other: 5/16 x 1/16 x 1/2 in. (0.8 x 0.2 x 1.3 cm)

Classification: Gems

Credit Line: Gift of John Taylor Johnston, 1881

Accession Number: 81.6.28


This banded agate ring stone represents Hermes wearing a chlamys, a winged cap and holding the kerykeion. The god is pulling a bearded figure from the ground, presumably a soul emerging from the shades. The image has been interpreted as a representation of Hermes in his role of Psychopompos (guide of the souls), escorting the souls of the dead to the banks of the River Styx.