Roman Chalcedony Phalera with Sleeping Hound

Roman · 2nd century A.D.




Dia: 3.90 cm, Depth: 20.8 mm.





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This disc-shaped piece perforated on both its horizontal and vertical axes is a phalera, a decorative element with cross-like perforations to receive the suspension straps. It could have served as an amulet worn by a civilian or as a military ornament, a mark of honor (sets of phalerae could adorn a soldier’s cuirass); it could also have been worn with horse trappings. Gorgoneia and heads of Erotes are the most common subjects employed for phalerae; a sleeping dog is a very rare one. Modeled in high relief, the hound rests with his head between his outstretched forepaws. The curving line of his spine and long tail follows the curved edge of the stone. Several parallel and wavy incision lines mark the details of the fur on both sides of the spine.


Art market, prior to 2002;

Ex – Private collection; Christie’s New York, 13 December 2002, lot 613.


Christie’s New York, 13 December 2002, lot 613;

ARGOS: The Dog in Antiquity, Phoenix Ancient Art 41, 2022, no. 12, pp. 48-51

Museum Parallels

The British Museum

London, United States

The J. Paul Getty Museum

Los Angeles, California, United States

The Hermitage Museum

Saint Petersburg, Russia