'Tolkien's inspiration' ring goes on show

02nd April 2013 - Fine Cut

A ring that might have been the inspiration behind JRR Tolkien's 'Lord of the Rings' and 'The Hobbit' books has gone on display in Hampshire, guardian.co.uk reports.

While historians are not absolutely certain, it is believed that the large gold Roman thumb ring, which weighs 12g, was discovered around the year 1785 by a farmer ploughing his field, close to the abandoned Roman town of Silchester in what's now Hampshire.

The ring features a 'peculiar spiky head wearing a diadem', the news site says. Into the band, in precision engraving, is a Latin phrase which translates as 'Senicianus live well in God'. It was assumed that the ring was sold to a family who lived at nearby mansion, The Vyne.

The Tolkien connection began in 1929, when the author, then an Anglo-Saxon professor at Oxford, was asked to advise on Roman findings at another settlement in Gloucestershire. Inscribed on a tablet by a Roman called Silvianus was a curse to the gods, asking for ill health to a man called Senicianus - the thief that stole his ring.

Tolkien associated the tablet with the ring in Hampshire and it's thought that this inspired the ring found by Bilbo Baggins in Gollum's cave.

Now, a new exhibition at The Vyne explores the possibility that the curse and the engraved ring were Tolkien's inspiration for his stories. It also comprises memorabilia from The Tolkien Society and a signed first edition, dailymail.co.uk writes. Visitors are asked to vote on whether they believe the Roman ring is 'the original' Hobbit ring.

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