Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Ring from The Hobbit is Real!

The Ring of Silvianus was 1 inch in diameter

I was doing a little research into curses on jewelry. The most popular curse is The Hope Diamond, but there are of course various pieces that have supposed curses. All of them having their own special meaning and significance. While doing this research I happened upon the story of the Ring of Silvianus or the Vyne Ring. The Ring of Silvianus is a gold ring from the 4th century that was found in a Hampshire England field in 1785.

It's now on display in England

The ring became known as the Vyne Ring because the Chute family owned the nearby property and purchased the ring from the farmer who found it; their country house was called The Vyne. Around 1929 another site was being excavated about 80 miles from the site where the ring was discovered. This was the site of a Roman Temple dedicated to the god Nodens. At this site a lead plaque was found, this plaque was known as a curse tablet.

The movie version of the cursed ring

The archeologist at this excavation was Sir Mortimer Wheeler, a friend of J.R.R. Tolkien. Wheeler was the one who made the connection between the ring known as the Vyne Ring and the curse tablet found at the Roman Temple. Wheeler needed a little help with meaning of the name Nodens, who was this god, and went to Tolkien. It is theorized that Wheeler told Tolkien about the ring and of course the curse. This curse is in itself an interesting story.

J.R.R. Tolkien had quite the imagination

The curse stated “For the god Nodens, Silvianus has lost a ring, and has donated one half (its worth) to Nodens. Among those named Senicianus, permit no good health until it is returned to the temple of Nodens.” So this was a real ring whereby the owner lost it, cursed the thief and then wanted it returned to a temple of a god. Sound familiar? While obviously Tolkien fleshed out the story a lot more, one can see the seeds of an idea planted by a ring with a curse tablet and it seems the ring from The Hobbit was actually real.

"Oh my precious"

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