John the Baptist is portrayed with the disheveled locks and beard of a desert hermit, wearing the camel's hair clothing and leather belt described in the Gospels. His cross-shaped staff alludes to Christ's future death. The Greek inscription on the cameo identifies John as the "forerunner" or "precursor" (Prodromos) of Jesus.
John the Baptist (c. 1st century BC – c. AD 30) was a Judaean mission preacher active in the area of Jordan River in the early 1st century AD. He conducted his ministry with an eschatological authority that demanded immediate action and taught that judgment is at hand. He is one of the most significant and well-known figures in history, known to believers and non-believers alike. The canonical Gospels provide the most complete account of John's life, including details about his birth.