Indiana University Bloomington IU Bloomington IUB

Necklace with Eros within a Herakles-Knot Clasp

The figure-eight presented here as an elaborate clasp is known as a Herakles knot. The knot takes its name from the manner in which the mythic hero tied his lion-skin cloak about his neck. The cloak brought invincibility to Herakles and, presumably, transferred some of that power to the owner of this necklace. The knot motif was also associated with fertility. This extremely fine example is richly ornamented with volutes, blossoms, and leaves, and is embellished with filigree and glass enamel. Amidst this luxuriant vegetation, Eros reclines, lazily strumming his lyre. His presence, as god of love, further supports the knot’s connection to marriage and fertility.

Necklace with Eros within a Herakles-Knot Clasp
Hellenistic period, ca. 300–250 BC
Gold and glass
Necklace: L. 14 3/16 in. (36.3 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Burton Y. Berry Collection, 70.105.14 G