Ring of Leontios

Date: ca. 1000

Culture: Byzantine

Medium: Gold, niello

Dimensions: Overall: 11/16 × 7/8 × 7/8 in. (1.8 × 2.2 × 2.3 cm)
Bezel: 11/16 in. (1.8 cm)
Inside circumference: 2 1/8 in. (5.3 cm)
Thickness of band: 1/4 in. (0.7 cm)

Classification: Metalwork-Gold

Credit Line: Purchase, Rogers Fund, and Rogers Fund, by exchange, 1982

Accession Number: 1982.282


Byzantine court officials often wore massive gold rings inscribed with religious invocations and their titles. This ring, weighing 30 grams (1.1 oz), is inscribed on its face (bezel) in Greek: "Lord, help Leontios, patrikios and count of the God-guarded Opsikion." Opsikion was one of the four original themes (regions) of Byzantium; by this date, its capital was Nicaea (modern Iznik in Turkey). Patrikios was a title granted to important governors and generals.