Amulets were meant to protect the owner from evil. This amulet takes the form of the head of Hercules, one of the most famous heroes of Classical mythology. In Egypt during the Roman period (30 BC-AD 639), Hercules was a symbol of power as well as of protection during times of war.
The turquoise glaze on this amulet was popular in the pre-Islamic Middle East. In Egypt, turquoise was associated with good fortune as the colour of the life-giving River Nile. Under Islam, the lucky associations of the blue-green colour persisted in an informal way.