Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Roman gold ring that inspired J.R.R Tolkien

In 2016 the UK National Trust and the Tolkien Society put an artifact on display for fans of "The Lord of the Rings" to decide for themselves whether this was Tolkien's precious ring of power. The Vyne Ring or the Ring of Silvianus is a gold ring, dating to the 4th century, discovered in a field in Hampshire, England, in 1785.
It was originally the property of a British Roman called Silvianus. The gold ring is inscribed in Latin, "Senicianus live well in God," and inset with an image of the goddess Venus. It is larger than average, weighing about 12 grams. The ring is believed to be linked to a curse tablet found separately at the site of a Roman temple dedicated to a god named Nodens in Gloucestershire.
The tablet says a man called Silvianus had lost a ring, and it asks Nodens to place a curse of ill health on Senicianus until he returns it. An archeologist who looked into the connection between the ring and the curse tablet asked Tolkien, who was an Anglo-Saxon professor at Oxford University, to work on the etymology of the name Nodens in 1929.