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Dr. Ivaylo Lozanov: Ancient gold in ritual and historical context: the Panagyurishte treasure from Thrace (modern Bulgaria)
In 1949, workers at a brickyard, while digging the ground to extract clay, 2 km from the town of Panagyurishte, in modern Bulgaria, discovered nine gold vases - a libation bowl, an amphora and seven rhytons -, together weighing more than six kilograms. These vases are decorated in relief with figures and scenes borrowed from Greek mythology. The discussion surrounding the place of manufacture and the owner of the set is still open. Considering the decorative style, on the one hand, and the type of the rhytons and the amphora, on the other hand, most commentators have agreed to date the vases to the last third of the 4th century BC and to locate the place of manufacture on the borders of the Asian world - for example in Thrace or in Aeolid. The parallels available for these forms as well as the rich iconographic repertoire, including relief compositions of many characters, allow this set to be dated to the Early Hellenistic period, i.e. around 300 BC. The author presents new arguments to attribute the gold set as an offering to the sanctuary of Athena Ilias in Troy made by a famous royal person – king Lysimachus of Thrace, one of the Successors of Aleaxander the Great. The decorated scene on the largest vase – the amphora, apparently derives from the monumental sculpture of a temple or an altar with representation of the First Sack of Troy by Heracles. The scene has been elaborated by introducing the figure of Alexander the Great, thus implying the political and ideological importance of his historically recorded visit at Illion (334 BC) and his promised benefactions to the city and the festival of the goddess. The promise itself has been fulfilled a generation later by Lysimachus, who built a new temple and organised a splendid regional festival hosted by the League of Athena Ilias that was to give the cities in Troad sense of self-pride and identity. Eventually, it is suggested that the precious crockery has been plundered after the death of Lysimachus

Feb 26, 2021 10:30 AM in Vancouver

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