ROMAN. Circa 3rd century. Gnostic Amulet (Gold, 13x19 mm, 1.07 g), chalcedony gem set into a gold pendant. XNOVBIC Coiled, radiate and lion-headed Chnoubis serpent to the left. Rev. OCOV Chnoubis sign. Cf. Bonner 89. Delatte/Derchain 57. Michel, British Museum 314. A wonderful magical gem in its ancient setting. Extremely fine.
From a European collection, formed before 2005.
The Chnoubis serpent represents the highest solar divinity. He is usually represented as a serpent with a radiate lion's head facing left, his lower body coiled up (alluding to the Agathodaimon). The seven rays radiating from his head represent the seven planets. The lion-headed serpent appears as the first Decan in the sign of Leo in the text of Hermes Trismegistus. He was associated with the stomach and amulets bearing his image and sign would therefore have had medicinal effects against all ailments of the stomach and the digestive system more broadly. Furthermore, the Chnoubis serpent was the main deity of the gnostic sect of the Ophites, who equated Chnoubis with the Demiurge.