intaglio

Roman Intaglio Ring with Head of Alexander the Great as Heracles, 2nd-Early 3rd Century AD

Engraved in this Roman intaglio is the effigy of Alexander the Great wearing a laurel wreath and portrayed as his role model, Heracles, with a lion skin tied around his neck with by its paws. Alexander saw himself as the son of Zeus or Heracles (Hercules), who was famously known for his strength and the twelve labors, often depicted in Western art. Here Alexander wears the hide of the Nemean lion, the vicious monster slain by Heracles. The image probably signified bravery and strength to the wearer.

Often, if an intaglio was incomplete or slightly damaged along the edge from the removal from an earlier mount the gaps would be filled with gold. The modern gold setting dates from the late eighteenth century, when wearing cameos and intaglios was fashionable.