A hero of the Iliad

Antique brooch with layered agate cameo of Ajax in gold, around 1860

The great epics of the ancients are full of violence, great emotion, love, tragedy and death. War and despair are experienced in close proximity to great love and happiness. Quickly the tide can turn and every day brings something new, beautiful and terrible. No wonder then that these dramas have never been forgotten by mankind since they were written. Be it the Iliad, the Odyssey or the many other stories of the gods of Olympus: their representation in the arts has been legion since antiquity. Especially in classicism and historicism their themes were taken up again and reinterpreted and depicted in all arts. The present brooch shows as a fine layered agate cameo a well-known hero of Greek antiquity: Ajax, the Telamonian. The king's son from Salamis was considered the most powerful Greek fighter before Troy, surpassed only by Achilleus. Especially his strength and courage distinguished him and helped him to victory in numerous battles. However, towards the end of the war, Ajax was defeated by Odysseus in a speech contest. That same night he fell into a frenzy and killed a flock of sheep which, deceived by the goddess Athena, he thought were enemies. When he regained consciousness, he threw himself on his sword because of the double humiliation. Since antiquity, there have been numerous depictions of heros in art; we show here as an example a painting by the Italian Baroque painter Pietro della Vecchia, which is kept in the Musée des Beaux Artes in Bordeaux. In the painting Ajax is depicted, as in our cameo, with helmet, shield and luxuriant curly beard. The cameo is cut from bicoloured layered agate and is held in place by a plain gold setting. The brooch from the years around 1860 is very well preserved and a beautiful collector's item with a rare motif.

We want you to be 100% satisfied! For that reason, we examine, describe and photograph all of our jewellery with the utmost care.

You can rely on our years of experience in the trade and our expertise as a professional art historians for reviews of the antique jewellery. As a member of various trader organisations and the British Society of Jewellery Historians, we remain committed to the highest possible degree of accuracy. In our descriptions, we always also indicate any signs of age and defects and never hide them in our photos – this saves you from any unpleasant surprises when your package arrives.

Should you for some reason not be satisfied, please don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can begin to find a solution together. In any case, you can return any article within 30 days and we will refund the full purchase price.


We want you to be 100% satisfied! That’s why we examine, describe and photograph all our jewellery with the utmost care.

If for any reason you are still not satisfied, contact us and we will find a mutual solution immediately. Regardless, you can return any item within 30 days and we will refund you the full purchase price.