Ancient Glass Horse Flacon, Syria, 7th-9th Century AD
This blown flacon was mounted so that it became part of a horse-like animal made of pinched glass. The flacon belongs to a type that is known from Syria during the Roman Era. After an interval, flacons of this kind in the shape of animal figures were made again in the early Islamic period. Unlike the Roman pieces, they were now set into a richer, lace-like decoration of pinched glass, perhaps inspired by the type of masterfully undercut Roman class called vasa diatreta. The flacon’s wide neck indicates that it was intended to hold a liquid that was to be poured – probably a fragrant oil or balsam.
Less damage to ancient Palmyra than feared, Syrian antiquities chief says
Damage to the World Heritage site of Palmyra by Islamic State militants may be less than earlier believed, Syria’s antiquities chief said on Friday.
Maamoun Abdulkarim told Reuters that video from Palmyra after it was recaptured by the Syrian army has shown less damage than archaeologists feared when pictures emerged at the beginning of the year suggesting Islamic State had smashed more monuments.
Under heavy Russian air cover, the Syrian army and allied militias drove the jihadist group out of the UNESCO world heritage site on Thursday, two months after they had seized it in a surprise advance.
Fears of a new assault on Palmyra’s heritage were raised after pictures in January showed the group had destroyed parts of the Tetrapylon, one of the city’s most iconic monuments, and the facade of the second-century Roman Theatre. Read more.
Fresco from the synagogue at the ancient city of Dura-Europos (Syria), depicting Moses and the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. Artist unknown; ca. 244-256 CE. Photo credit: Becklectic/Wikimedia Commons.
Syro-Phoenician(?) Bronze Figurine of a Man, c. Mid 1st Millennium BC
A man standing in a lively pose with his big raised hands splayed wide, the face with short projecting beard, large beaked nose, and bulging eyes with prominent brows. This perhaps represents a worshiper or a type of votive offering.
This artifact is very similar to this 8th-6th century BC figurine, found in the Caucasus region.
“Telepinu, god of farming in ancient Syrian myth, was temperamental, liable to take offence at small slights (such as a frown from his father Taru, the weather-god) and to hold back or blight the crops. On one occasion he lost his temper altogether, threw on his clothes so quickly that he put his boots on the wrong feet, and disappeared. All over the world plants died, crops failed, human beings began to starve and the gods were denied their sacrifices. Demons swarmed from the Underworld to feast on corpses. The gods quartered the universe to find Telepinu and persuade him back. The Sun smashed down the gate of his palace and ran through the corridors and courtyards looking for him, but they were empty.Then Hannahanna, Mother of All, sent a bee to find Telepinu’s hiding place and sting him into reappearing. Instead of looking in palaces and cities, the bee went where bees go, and found Telepinu hiding among the flowers of a meadow. It stung him on the nose, knees and elbows, but instead of bringing him to his senses the pain made him even angrier, and he began jumping up and down and roaring at the gods. Hannahanna sent Kamrusepas, goddess of magic healing, to poultice his stings with the herb of immortality and soothe the pain. Reluctantly Telepinu let himself be wooed back to work and the order of the universe was saved.
Gods of agriculture are often comic in myth, particularly in traditions where city-dwelling story-tellers have reworked stories from more ancient times. (Agriculture-gods in animist traditions seldom undergo such revisionism.) In Telepinu’s case, another cause of mirth seems to have been that he was not the first god in his family to indulge in frets and sulks: a similar myth (now surviving only in fragments) seems to have been told of his father Taru. Other myths, however, suggest that Telepinu was not entirely a buffoon: in one, when the dragon Illuyankas stole the gods’ eyes and hearts, it was Telepinu who seduced the dragon’s daughter and persuaded her to get them back.”
“Telepinu.” In Bloomsbury Dictionary of Myth, by Kenneth McLeish. Bloomsbury, 1996
@blackbearmagic the thing I was trying to link lol. i like this myth because it includes my favourite Hittite deity, Kamrusepas. at the very end there is mention of a myth with Telepinu and a dragon that i have not yet found! this came off my uni library search, but i haven’t read this book before lol.
Syro-Hittite Terracotta Horse and Rider, Late 2nd - Early 1st ML BC
The Syro-Hittites were Luwian, Aramaic and Phoenician-speaking political entities of the Iron Age in northern Syria and southern Anatolia that arose following the collapse of the Hittite Empire around 1180 BC and which lasted until roughly 700 BC.
As to the scene, it must be remembered that the Egypt of those
days was not Egyptian as we understand the word, but rather Greek.
Cleopatra herself was of Greek descent. The kingdom of Egypt had been
created by a general of Alexander the Great after that splendid
warrior’s death. Its capital, the most brilliant city of the
Greco-Roman world, had been founded by Alexander himself, who gave to
it his name. With his own hands he traced out the limits of the city
and issued the most peremptory orders that it should be made the
metropolis of the entire world. The orders of a king cannot give
enduring greatness to a city; but Alexander’s keen eye and marvelous
brain saw at once that the site of Alexandria was such that a great
commercial community planted there would live and flourish throughout
out succeeding ages. He was right; for within a century this new
capital of Egypt leaped to the forefront among the exchanges of the
world’s commerce, while everything that art could do was lavished on
Palmyra was one of the
most important cultural centres of the ancient world. Located in an
oasis in the Syrian desert, it was a vital caravan stop for travellers crossing the desert. Palmyra grew steadily in importance as a city on the trade route linking Persia, India and China with the Roman Empire -it was made part of the Roman province of Syria in the mid-first century AD-. In 129, Palmyra was visited by emperor Hadrian, who granted it the status of a free city.
Palmyra exerted a decisive influence on the evolution of neoclassical
architecture and modern urbanization, uniting the forms of Graeco-Roman
art with indigenous elements and Persian influeces. Unique creations
came into existence, notably in the domain of funerary sculpture.
Outside the ancient walls, along the four main access roads to the city, stood four cemeteries, Valley of the Tombs,
which feature different types of tomb. The oldest and most distinctive
group is represented by the funerary towers, tall multi-storey sandstone
buildings belonging to the richest families. Some towers had four storeys and could accommodate up to 300 sarcophagi.