In 1920 a 4th century lead tablet was discovered in which Silvanus asked the god Nodens to curse the thief that stole his ring. The ring, interestingly, has been identified as one found 130km from the tablet 200 years prior.

Ring of Silvianus

The Vyne Ring or the Ring of Silvianus is a gold ring, dating probably from the 4th century AD, discovered in a ploughed field near Silchester, in Hampshire, England, in 1785. Originally the property of a British Roman called Silvianus, it was apparently stolen by a person named Senicianus, upon whom Silvianus called down a curse.

After its discovery in the 18th century, the ring became the property of the Chute family, whose country house was The Vyne, also in Hampshire, now a National Trust property. The ring went on display there in April 2013.

In 1929, during excavations of the site of the Roman temple of Nodens at Lydney Park, the archaeologist Sir Mortimer Wheeler discovered details of the curse. As Wheeler consulted with J. R… Continue Reading (4 minute read)

10 thoughts on “In 1920 a 4th century lead tablet was discovered in which Silvanus asked the god Nodens to curse the thief that stole his ring. The ring, interestingly, has been identified as one found 130km from the tablet 200 years prior.”

  1. Platypumpkin

    I find it so interesting that we happened to find both the tablet AND the ring. Imagine everything that had to go right for both to be found, read and properly identified!

    (I can’t help but regret the fact that nobody has taken the ring back to the temple, as the tablet specifies that it would end the curse)

  2. marmorset

    In 1929 J.R.R. Tolkien was called upon, as an expert in Anglo-Saxon, to identify the unknown god “Nodens” mentioned on the curse tablet. According to his letters, sometime within the next few years he begins writing *The Hobbit*, including the cursed ring. At first though, the One Ring is a ring of invisibility, it’s only later that Tolkien redefines the ring as evil and creates rewritten passages that were included in reprints of *The Hobbit*.

    While Tolkien doesn’t mention this ring as a direct motivation, and we know he was influenced by the *Völsunga Saga,* a Norse saga which includes a cursed ring, based on other evidence it’s very likely that the ring of Silvianus was an important factor in Tokien’s thinking, whether consciously or not.

    The site of the Romano-British temple where the ring of Silvianus was found was called “Dwarf’s Hill” and Tolkien traced the god Nodens to the Irish god Nuada Airgetlám. King of the gods, he loses his arm in battle and is then deemed unworthy of being king, but one of the other gods replaces Nuada’s lost arm with a silver one and the king regains the throne, now called Nuada Airgetlám, or Nuada “silver hand.”

    In *The Lord of the Rings* we learn that the elf Celebrimbor was the one was made the Elven rings, which were subservient to the One Ring. In Tolkien’s created language of Elvish, Celebrimbor means “silver hand.”

  3. GreenStrong

    *I can guarantee upon my unbreakable vow as a God that the ring will be found, that all men will know that it belongs to Silvanus, and they will know of the mighty curse inscribed on the tablet.*

    “Thank you, you are a wise and powerful God. When should I look for it?”

    *”Fifteen centuries from now”*

  4. jhvanriper

    Also might be the inspiration for Tolkien’s One Ring.

  5. suddenly_satire

    Is this ring common, or precious?

  6. tsunami141

    I don’t personally believe that Nodens exists but you gotta admit it’s kinda spooky that the thief that stole Silvanus’ ring has died.

  7. tsully72

    Pretty sure you have to return to the tomb with both of those items to finish the quest

  8. McCoolWoodWorks

    A lot of anuses back in the day it seems.

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