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date: 21 November 2019


  • Timothy Taylor


Iron Age burial mound in Dobrogea, Romania. It is important for a collection of figurally decorated, partly gilded silver objects that accompanied a Getic chieftain in death. The Getae had affinities to both Thracians and Scythians (see Thracian and Dacian art and Scythian and Sarmatian art). Imported Greek Red-figure pottery dates the burial to c. 350 bc, but the precious metalwork shows traces of wear and repair and was probably manufactured in the early 4th century bc.

The body armour recovered includes two sheet-silver greaves with knees in the form of human faces. Although their design is clearly adopted from Greek models with Medusa-head knees, the treatment is distinctively Thracian; one of the faces is covered with bands of gilding, probably representing the tattoos that both Thracians and Scythians are known to have had. One greave depicts a mounted huntsman holding aloft his bow and a seated huntsman drinking from a horn, with a hawk perched on his wrist, a motif clearly derived from representations of Zeus on Greek coinage. Hunting scenes also adorn the neck and cheek guards of an elaborate partly gilded silver helmet—one of only five known—which is remarkable for the dramatic representation of a pair of eyes, bordered by feathers, directly above the eyes of the wearer (...

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