8th century bc

Καλημέρα παιδιά!

The greek alphabet has been used since the 8th century BC. It has 24 letters and, besides being used to write the Greek language (both ancient and modern) it can also been found in technical symbols in several science domains. We hope it comes in handy!

Note: The GIF’S phonetic transcription and vocabulary correspond to the modern language. For more info on the International Phonetic Alphabet and its use, refer to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Phonetic_Alphabet

Tepecik Tumulus or pyramidal mound, Turkey. (570 and 530 BC)

Tepecik Tumulus is the earliest Daskyleion Tumulus that was excavated.

Daskyleion The First Age city is located at Hisartepe Mevkii in Bandırma District of Balıkesir Province. It is situated on the southeastern coast of Lake Manyas with the Bird’s Paradise. Phryg (Früg), Lyd (Lüd), Persian and Ancient Greek cultures, is an important center frequently referred to in historical records. The earliest traces of life are traceable to the third millennium BC. But a settlement was established only in the late 8th century BC when Phryg and Lydler dominated the area…

Egyptian Silver Horus Figurine, Late Period, 26th Dynasty, C. 712-525 BC

The falcon Horus is the symbol par excellence of the divine Kingship of Egypt. The ancient Egyptians believed that portrayals of the Horus falcon represented their Pharaoh. When the Pharaoh died, he turned into Osiris, Lord of the Underworld, while his son became the new Horus in this world.

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The word Trinacria (’triangle’’) refers to the shape of Sicily, largest island of the Mediterranean. Sicily was known by the Romans as Trinacrium (’star with 3 points’). The Trinacria symbol is the head of Medusa, a gorgon with a head of snakes, surrounded by 3 bent running legs, and 3 stalks of wheat. Due to the island’s distinct triangular shape, the symbol has been adopted by the Sicilian government and is part of Sicily’s flag. The shape is often referred to as a triskelion and can be found in other places around the Med such as Greece (Crete), France, the North African coast, even the Isle of Man. Triskelions found in these locations have all date back to after the 8th century BC.

On the flag, the 3 running legs represent the 3 capes of Sicily, Peloro, Passero, and Lilibeo. The 3 ears of wheat represent the fertility of the land - the Romans celebrated the extreme fertility of the island during a period when Sicily was the granary of the Roman Empire. Medusa’s head stands for the protection of the island by the goddess Athena, patron goddess of Sicily. In early mythology, when Medusa was renowned as Athena’s destructive aspect, slain and beheaded by Perseus, the Medusa head was accessorized in the center of Athena’s shield.

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Rare Luristan Master of Animals Bronze Bracelet, 10th-8th Century BC

The “master of animals,” usually found on tubular standards, is a subhuman figure standing above the heads and necks of equally stylized, somewhat leonine creatures. The figure’s arms encircle the animals in what some have seen as an image of control, but really, we have no understanding of the true meaning of this symbol - all we know is that it is a common one from Luristan. Suggestions for their interpretation tend to take in the religious - depictions of deities, idols, talismans, etc. The bracelet is very large - perhaps made for a large man.

Egyptian Polychrome Wood Mummy Mask, 25th/Early 26th Dynasty, C. 750-600 BC

From the lid of an inner coffin, wearing a broad collar, braided beard with curled tip, and wide striped tripartite wig, the face with full lips rounded at the corners, straight nose, inlaid eyes, and long eyebrows and cosmetic lines inset in bronze.

For a very similar mask see the coffin of Hor-Ankh in the Dallas Museum of Art (1994.184), the eyes and eyebrows inlaid in obsidian, calcite, and bronze.

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The Pythia – Πυθία

(Greek: Πυθία), commonly known as the Oracle of Delphi, was the name of any priestess throughout the history of Temple of Apollo at Delphi, located on the slopes of Mount Parnassus, beneath the Castalian Spring (the new priestess was selected after the death of the current priestess). The Pythia was widely credited for her prophecies inspired by Apollo. The Delphic oracle was established in the 8th century BC, although it may have been present in some form in Late Mycenaean times, from 1400 BC and was abandoned, and there is evidence that Apollo took over the shrine from an earlier dedication to Gaia. The last recorded response was given about 395 A.D. to Emperor Theodosius I, after he had ordered pagan temples to cease operation.

During this period the Delphic Oracle was the most prestigious and authoritative oracle among the Greeks. The oracle is one of the best-documented religious institutions of the classical Greeks. Authors who mention the oracle include Aeschylus, Aristotle, Clement of Alexandria, Diodorus, Diogenes, Euripides, Herodotus, Julian, Justin, Livy, Lucan, Ovid, Pausanias, Pindar, Plato, Plutarch, Sophocles, Strabo, Thucydides and Xenophon.

The name “Pythia” derived from Pytho, which in myth was the original name of Delphi. The Greeks derived this place name from the verb, pythein (πύθειν, “to rot”), which refers to the decomposition of the body of the monstrous Python after he was slain by Apollo. The usual theory has been that the Pythia delivered oracles in a frenzied state induced by vapors rising from a chasm in the rock, and that she spoke gibberish which priests interpreted as the enigmatic prophecies preserved in Greek literature.  Read More | Edit

Some English Words

delphinium (n) - a popular garden plant of the buttercup family, which bears tall spikes of blue flowers

formalin (n) - a colourless solution of formaldehyde in water, used chiefly as a preservative for biological specimens

Camembert (n) - a kind of rich, soft, creamy cheese with a whitish rind, originally made near Camembert in Normandy

pontificate (v) - to express one’s opinions in a pompous and dogmatic way

demur (v) - to raise objections or show reluctance

Alaric - king of the Visigoths, he invaded Italy and captured Rome

Scythia - an ancient region of SE Europe and Asia, the Scythian empire, which existed between the 8th and 2nd centuries BC, was centred on the northern shores of the Black Sea and extended from southern Russia to the borders of Persia

murex (n) - a predatory tropical marine mollusc, the shell of which bears spines and forms a long, narrow canal extending downwards from the aperture

purl (v) - (of a stream or river) flow with a swirling motion and babbling sound

Greek Bronze Incised Bracelet, Geometric Period, 8th-7th Century BC

The present bracelet hails from the Geometric period, an era of great foundation in ancient Greece. Not only was this the epoch of the epic poems of Homer, the Iliad and Odyssey, but it was the time when the Greek alphabet was developed, and when the Greek polis arose. In this period, rites and rituals became more defined, while state-sanctioned religion was further established. In turn, social classes became more distinct with wealth more influential. Archaeological material attests to the flowering of the visual arts during this period, particularly in the design and decoration of terracotta pots, and the casting and cold working of fine metal objects such as the present bracelet.

This exquisitely delicate piece is wrought from a single strip of bronze, coiled into a short spiral. The bronze is fashioned so that it widens in the centre and tapers towards the terminals, which comprise three hexagonal bead-like shapes, descending in size. The surface is richly decorated with engraved linear designs, including hatched triangles, rectangles and lozenges, as well as semicircular designs ornamented with punched dots. However, what makes this bracelet particularly special are the incised fish and horses. Bronze and terracotta votive offerings and painted scenes on vessels attest to a special interest in figural imagery at this time, both anthropomorphic and zoomorphic, with a particular focus on ritual and the heroic world of the warrior. Images of chariots and armed warriors are some of the most popular from this period, and in particular, the highly stylized horse, such as that depicted on the present bracelet, which has become of the most iconic and celebrated images from antiquity.

The horse was revered in ancient Greece and expressed wealth and prestige. It appeared in a range of artistic media, notably as a component of the Parthenon Marbles, and was also celebrated in mythology, religion and ancient texts. The Athenian philosopher Xenophon (circa 430-354 BC), also a foremost equestrian, praised the virtues of the horse in his works On the Art of Horsemanship and On the Cavalry Commander. Stylized bronze horse figurines from the geometric period are known to have been popular votives at the great temple sanctuaries of Corinth and Olympia. The presence of such fine metalwork attests to prosperity and trade as well as to the high status of the owner. This bracelet in particular, with its lyrical, graceful form and intricate detail exudes a clarity and elegance that epitomizes the art of the geometric period.

A geometric bronze bracelet featuring similar-shaped terminals, though of less elaborate form, is displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (eighth century BC). A good example of the figural style in vogue during this period, and which the designs on our bracelet emulate, can be seen on a late Geometric krater attributed to the Trachones Workshop, also in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum (inv. 14.130.15, circa 745 BC).

Ancient Art Week!

aseantoo submitted to medievalpoc:

Unknown Greek or Middle Eastern smiths

Cauldron fittings in the shapes of griffins and sirens

Greece (c. 700 BCE)

Delphi Archaeological Museum

Regardless of how xenophobic Greek politicians may be, their museums seem pretty willing to acknowledge their cultural debt to other civilisations.

In this case, the museum label says:

Relations with the East
In the late 8th century BC, together with offerings from all over Greece, the first imports from the East began arriving at Delphi, brought by Greek seafarers from the Asian hinterland via Greek trading posts and settlements in northern Syria (Al Mina, Tyre) and the intermediate islands of Crete, Cyprus and Rhodes. In the following century, the Sanctuary of Apollo was inundated with magnificent items of metalwork, featuring new techniques and strange decorative motifs, which came either from the countries of the Near East – as represented by the ancient cultures of the Assyrians, Hittites and Uratians (Armenia) – or were imitations of eastern prototypes.
 
Foremost among the eastern offerings was the new type of cauldron, which was set on a separate tripod stand of cast rods, its rim decorated with bull-heads or protomes of mythical creatures, griffins and sirens (so named because of their likeness to the winged figures described in the adventures of Odysseus). A number of finds – including shields with repoussé decoration and square stands of vessels with figures in openwork, similar to artefacts found in Crete and Cyprus, or the lion’s paw with Cypriot inscription – reveal the relations with the two islands, crossroads of Greek and Eastern cultures…
 
Other finds from Phrygia, as well as areas into which the Phoenicians had expanded, complete the picture of the relations existing between Delphi and the Eastern World, as reflected by the inscriptions and literary testimonies referring to the fabulous gifts and honours bestowed on the Sanctuary of Apollo by eastern potentates such as Egyptian pharaoh Ahmose II (Amasis), King Midas of Phrygia and King Gyges of Lydia.

Neo-Assyrian Humbaba Amulet, 8th-7th Century BC

This carnelian head is carved with the grimacing and grotesque face of the Sumerian demon Humbaba. Heads like these were used as amulets since they were believed to ward off evil. In the Gilgamesh myth, Humbaba was the doorkeeper of the Cedar Forest where the gods lived. He was raised by Utu, the Sun god and was regarded as a very dangerous and fearsome monster. In the myth, Gilgamesh decapitates Humbaba and puts his head in a sack.

The iconography of the apotropaic severed head of Humbaba is well documented from the First Babylonian Dynasty, continuing into Neo-Assyrian art and dying away during the Achaemenid rule. The severed head of the monstrous Humbaba found a Greek parallel in the myth of Perseus and the similarly employed head of Medusa, which Perseus placed in his leather sack.

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Greek Gold Roundel with Bees, 7th Century BC

The goldwork technique seen here is called granulation, in which the goldsmith uses minute spheres of gold to create texture and pattern. This method was adopted by the Greeks from the Eastern Mediterranean in the 8th and 7th century BC. This piece has affinities with a group of objects from the island of Rhodes dating to 650-600 BC.