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Mark D. Fullerton

(fl ?2nd century bc).

Greek sculptor and metalworker. His signature occurs on a bronze archaistic herm (Tunis, Mus. N. Bardo) from the Mahdia shipwreck that supported a statue of a winged youth identified as Eros or as Agon, the personification of athletic contests. Though the lettering of the inscription suits a date in the 3rd century bc, the eclectic classicizing features of the youth and the one-sidedness of the group favour a century later, when ‘Boethos of Chalkedon’ signed the bases of a portrait of Antiochos IV (reg 175–164 bc) on Delos and of a portrait at Lindos (c. 184 bc; see Marcadé, p. 28). This Boethos was probably also the famous engraver mentioned by Pliny (Natural History XXXIII.lv.155) and Cicero (Against Verres IV.xiv.32), and the sculptor of a bronze group of a Boy Strangling a Goose (Pliny: Natural History XXXIV.xix.84). This work is probably reproduced by various Roman copies (e.g. Rome, Mus. Capitolino; ...

Article

J. V. S. Megaw and M. Ruth Megaw

Style of European Iron Age art (see also Prehistoric Europe, §VI). The term is used to describe the distinctive art produced by the La Tène culture (named after the site of La Tène in Switzerland), which flourished c. 450–c. 50 bc in temperate continental Europe, extending to c. ad 600 in Britain and Ireland. (The Iron Age or Celto-Iberian art of Spain and Portugal is not considered here; see Iberian art.) The term Celtic art is also sometimes considered to include the later phase of the Hallstatt culture (c. 750–c. 450 bc) and the much later Early Christian art of Britain and Ireland (c. ad 450 onwards), which was greatly influenced by prehistoric La Tène art (see Insular art).

The Celts, according to Greek and Roman writers, were one of the great barbarian peoples of Europe. They cannot be easily defined on a racial or linguistic basis; indeed, the very name Keltoi was imposed on them by outsiders and not generally used by themselves. Although it is usually assumed that the material culture of the ...

Article

Jessica Savage

Hoard of late 4th-century silver objects discovered in the year 1793 by workmen digging at the foot of the Esquiline Hill in Rome. In 1930, the first reliable inventory of the treasure was taken. What is currently identified as the Esquiline Treasure remains split between three museums—in London (British Museum), Naples (Museo Archeologico Nazionale), and Paris (Musée de Petit Palais)—with a speculative corpus of 61 objects. The greater part of the treasure, 59 objects, was acquired by the British Museum in 1866 (all items discussed are in the British Museum).

The principal components of the treasure are thought to be wedding gifts, or perhaps a dowry, for the high-ranking Roman couple Turcius Secundus and Projecta Turcii. These include a silver-gilt repousée toilet casket, known as the Projecta Casket, decorated with the busts of the couple and pagan themes. A Latin inscription on the lid translated as ‘Secundus and Projecta, live in Christ’ proves the casket was made for a Christian union. The dome-shaped Muse Casket, an elaborate silver repousée circular container, was likely made for holding perfume bottles and is decorated with figures associated with the arts and learning. Four furniture ornaments, or ...

Article

Timothy Taylor

Silver vessel of the 2nd–1st centuries bc, found in 1891 in a peat bog at Gundestrup, Jutland, Denmark. The Gundestrup Cauldron (Copenhagen, Nmus.) is arguably the finest and most fascinating example of toreutic (chased or repoussé) silverwork in the Thracian and Dacian art tradition. A large, partly gilded silver vessel measuring 400 mm high×690 mm in diameter, the cauldron comprises a hemispherical bowl with vertical sides constructed from 13 plates covered with detailed figural scenes executed in the Thracian ‘Animal style’, its surfaces densely packed with representations of elephants, lions, dolphins, stags, snakes, griffins, hunters and deities. There are five long rectangular inner plates with inward-facing scenes and seven squarer outer plates; these do not enclose the entire circumference, and a missing eighth plate is presumed. A circular plate generally known as the base plate was probably once part of a lid.

When discovered, the cauldron was in a dismantled state, with the plates stacked together inside the bowl, and it was ascertained that it had been left on solid ground and that the bog had grown over it. These two observations suggest that, rather than having been a ritual or votive deposit in the manner of much prehistoric Scandinavian metalwork, the cauldron had been hidden, perhaps in long grass, by someone who intended to return for it. The cauldron has been the subject of controversy since the time of its discovery, although its date of manufacture is generally agreed to lie within the period ...

Article

Gordon Campbell

Treasure hoard consisting of more than 15,000 coins (both gold and silver), gold jewellery, and silver tableware, mainly from the 4th century AD, found in 1992 at Hoxne (pronounced ‘Hoxon’), in Suffolk, and now in the British Museum, London. The latest datable coins in the hoard were minted in AD 407/8, so the treasure must have been buried in the closing years of the Roman period, early in the 5th century. The treasure seems to have been buried in a wooden chest and small caskets, for which small silver padlocks survive. The jewellery consists of a necklace, a body-chain, finger rings, and bracelets. The silverware consists of some 100 spoons and ladles; the only indication of the larger pieces that must have been part of the collection (like the plates in the Mildenhall Treasure) is a silver handle (in the shape of a female tiger) that must have been one of a pair attached to a large vessel such as a silver amphora or vase....

Article

Timothy Taylor

Terms used principally to describe the figural toreutic (chased and embossed) metalwork of the Eurasian steppes in the 1st millennium bc. The designation ‘Scythian’ or ‘Scytho-Siberian’ covers the artistic production of a vast region, stretching from the northern Black Sea area to China. A key element in the so-called Animal style, the art is associated with a martial nomadic élite known to the Greeks as Scythians and to the Persians as Shaka (8th–4th century bc). The mobility of these nomadic groups played a significant role in the transmission of motifs between Europe, India and China. Scythian art is closely connected to Thracian, Iranian (see Luristan), Hellenistic and Central Asian art, and also to the so-called ‘Northern’ culture of China (see Ordos). The later phase of the art is more closely associated with a specific people (the Sarmatians), a shorter period (3rd–1st century bc), a more limited geographical region (the steppelands north of the Black and Caspian seas) and is closely connected to Dacian art (...

Article

In its most general sense, spolia (pl., from Lat. spolium: ‘plunder’) denotes all artifacts re-employed in secondary contexts, from building blocks reused in a wall to pagan gems mounted on a Christian reliquary. It is a matter of debate whether this broad application of the term is justified, or whether it should be restricted to the relatively small subset of reused objects that were taken or ‘stripped’ (like spoils) from their original context, rather than found, purchased, inherited or otherwise acquired by non-violent means. It is likewise debated when the use of spolia should be considered meaningful, if at all. Arnold Esch defined five possible motives for using spolia: convenience, profanation, Christianization, political legitimation and aesthetic attraction. Michael Greenhalgh has argued for reducing the motives to three (at least with regard to marble): pragmatism, aesthetics and ideology; while Finbarr Barry Flood cautioned against reductive interpretations generated by any taxonomy, insisting that reused objects are mutable in meaning and capable of multiple interpretations during their life cycle....

Article

Timothy Taylor

Terms applied principally to types of figural toreutic metalwork produced in south-east Europe between the 7th century bc and 1st century ad.

Thracian art dates from the 7th–1st centuries bc and is closely connected to Scythian and Sarmatian art. Dacian art represents the later manifestation of Thracian art (1st century bc–1st century ad), particularly in regions north of the Danube where Roman conquest came late. However, it can also be grouped with Sarmatian art as ‘Daco-Sarmatian’. Information on the Thracian and Dacian peoples and their various subgroups comes from Classical texts, epigraphy, place name evidence and archaeological remains. According to classical authors the Thracians occupied a region extending from Greek Thrace northwards to the Danube River and the Carpathian Mountains, and eastwards into Asia Minor (modern Bulgaria, part of Romania, western Turkey, Moldavia and northern Greece). To the east, the steppe extended directly to southern Siberia and the borders of China, and from it came groups of invading Scythian nomads. The Persians invaded from the east ...