Silicified magnesian limestone of the Silkstone formation in Ipswich dates from the Eocene (56-33.9MA), formed from carbonates in freshwater lakes. It is still quarried for agricultural dolomite in the region, with occurrences of hard, dense chert throughout some outcrops.Microcrystals of silica (SiO2) grow within the original carbonate sediments that eventually become limestone. Dissolved silica is also transported to the site by groundwater movement. Silica nodules and concretions grow from microcrystals and, if numerous enough, can enlarge and merge with each other to form nearly continuous layers of chert within the carbonate sediments. Dolomite from the quarry picture here also contains microscopic palygorskite, a magnesium aluminium phyllosilicate  (Mg,Al)2Si4O10(OH)·4(H2O). The palygorskite diminishes the quality of the dolomite, but can be a commodity in the right abundance with the right extraction/production technology. Interbedded basalts are recorded within the Silkstone formation. Geological records from over 50 years ago record a basaltic dyke in the vicinity of the quarry pictured here, but no accounts of basaltic rocks on the property are known. However, I recognised some rocks that could only be evidence very weathered and degraded vesicular basalt. The basaltic lava may also have contributed to the mobilisation and transport of dissolved silica, influencing the formation of the chert. 

(See also previous post, Oct 2014:


This is an excerpt from my post, ‘THRACIANS, REAPERS OF THE BALKANS

Sitalces and the Scythians:

Teres’ son and heir, Sitalces, expanded its borders north to the Danube River, west to the Strymon River (Struma) and southwest to the rich Greek trade port colony of Abdera by the northern Aegean Sea. The Greek colonies within the borders of his kingdom paid the Odrysians tribute as well as the occasional gifts of “gold and silver equal in value to the tribute, besides stuffs embroidered or plain and other articles” (Thucydides, 97.3).

By these means the kingdom became very powerful, and in revenue and general prosperity exceeded all the nations of Europe which lie between the Ionian Sea and the Euxine; in the size and strength of their army being second only, though far inferior, to the Scythians.” – The Peloponnesian War by Thucydides, 97.5.

An early threat faced by Sitalces came in the form of a nephew named Octamasades who was of mixed Thracian and Scythian descent. This Octamasades usurped the Scythian throne from Scyles, his half-brother, who was disliked for the fact that he was half Greek, could read and speak Greek, married a Greek woman, built a house in the Greek trade colony of Olbia (north Black Sea coast), as well as publicly practicing the Greek Dionysian sacred rites. Scyles fled into Thrace seeking refuge. Octamasades chased after him but was met at the Danube River by Sitalces of Odrysia who sent Octamasades a message:

Why should we try each other’s strength? You are my sister’s son, and you have my brother with you; give him back to me, and I will give up your Scyles to you; and let us not endanger our armies.” – The Histories by Herodotus, 4.80.3. Both sides agreed and Octamasades beheaded Scylas.

Peloponnesian War (431–404 BCE):

The Athenian-led Delian League succeeded in expelling the Persians from Europe and claimed the coastal regions of the northern Aegean Sea (the Hellespont, Thrace, Amphipolis and the Chalkidikian Peninsula) where they continued establishing colonies. Colonies were even founded deeper into Thrace, Amphipolis for example. One reason for their interest in Thrace was its rich and abundant gold and silver mines. With the Greek triumph over Persia, the Athenians and their allies effectively held dominion over the majority of the Aegean Sea, its coastlines and its islands. We refer to this grand Athenian hegemony as the Athenian Empire.

^ The expanse of the Athenian-led Delian League in 431 BCE, before the Peloponnesian War.

The Athenian empire was now tyrannically imposing their control over allied Greek city states and the rich trade networks of the Aegean Sea but was plagued by rebellions. Sitalces allied himself with the Athenians, promising them aid in Thrace if they helped him conquer the Chalkidikian peninsula (which had recently left the Athenian-led Delian League) which was to the east of Macedon. To this end Sitalces assembled an army of “more than one hundred and twenty thousand infantry and fifty thousand cavalry” (Diodorus, 12.50.3).

many of the independent Thracian tribes followed him of their own accord in hopes of plunder. The whole number of his forces was estimated at a hundred and fifty thousand, of which about two-thirds were infantry and the rest cavalry.” – The Peloponnesian War by Thucydides, 98.3.

Macedon under King Perdiccas II, which impelled the Chalkidikians into rebelling against Athens, was at odds with Athens so Sitalces invaded Macedon in 429 BCE. Sitalces was also spurred to invade Macedon with the purpose of placing Amyntas (Perdiccas’ nephew) on the Macedonian throne; Amyntas and his father were previously driven out from Macedon and sought refuge with Sitalces’ court.

And since he was at the same time on bad terms with Perdiccas, the king of the Macedonians, he decided to bring back Amyntas, the son of Philip, and place him upon the Macedonian throne.” – The Library of History by Diodorus Siculus, 12.50.4.

Sitalces ravaged the lands of both the Chalkidikians and the Macedonians, the latter feared to face this great army so some submitted to the Thracians while others gathered their crops and hid within their strongholds. The momentum waned as Sitalces saw that the Athenians had failed to fulfill their promise to aid the Odrysians with ships and an army, that the harsh winter was wearing down his men and that the Greeks (Thessalians, Achaeans, Magnesians, etc.) were assembling a vast army to repel them. Sitalces and Perdiccas II of Macedon came to terms, the Odrysians retreated and Perdiccas’ gave his sister’s (named Stratonice) hand in marriage to Sitalces’s nephew (Seuthes I). Sitalces, just like his father, died while trying to unify the Thracians (the Triballi killed Seuthes, the Thyni killed his father Teres).

^ Osprey – ‘Men-at-Arms’ series, issue 360 – The Thracians, 700 BC-AD 46 by Christopher Webber and Angus McBride (Illustrator). Plate A: The Invasion of Macedonia. A1: King Sitalces – “The Thracian king is based on archaeological evidence and wears a bronze bell cuirass, bronze Chalkidian helmet, bronze greaves, and a Thracian cloak. He carries two javelins and a kopis. His breast plate is decorated with dragons’ heads, and his helmet with a griffin and palmettos. The helmet comes from an unknown site in Bulgaria and is dated to the second half of the 5th century. The silver harness ornaments come from Binova tumulus in Bulgaria”. A2: Early Odrysian light cavalryman – “This horseman is based on a painting on a 5th century pelike from Apollonia. He carries two javelins, and a pelta is slung on his back. Greek vase paintings show Thracian light cavalry dressed the same as the peltasts, in patterned tunic, foxskin cap, fawnskin boots and long cloak. Other less sophisticated cavalry dressed very simply in a pointed hat and long flowing tunic, and they are indistinguishable from Skythian cavalry. Some 4th century Thracian metalwork shows the cavalrymen bareheaded and with bare feet, a medium-length flowing cloak and simple tunic.A3: Macedonian infantryman – “The Stricken Macedonian infantryman comes from the early 3rd century Kazanluk tomb paintings. He is thought to be Macedonian because of his location on the frieze, and his peculiar hat resembling the kausia of the Macedonian warrior nobility; but he may be Thracian, because the Macedonians do not use oval shields, and because of his similarity to the Thracian warriors on the same painting. He wears a blue cloak and carries a kopis and two javelins. His shield is oval with the top and bottom cut square, like the later Celtic thureos. A 5th century Macedonian infantryman would be carrying a circular wicker shield, animal-skin cloak and wearing sandals (or going barefoot) instead of shoes.

During the Peloponnesian War, thirteen thousand javelin-wielding swordsmen from the Dii tribe (Thracians) were hired by the Athenians to act join in the Sicilian expedition but they arrived too late. The Athenians sent them back to Thrace since they did not wish to be burdened into paying mercenaries they couldn’t make use of. This changed, however, when a series of failures befell them which pressured them into hiring the Thracian mercenaries once again as coastal raiders. When these Dii (Thracian) mercenaries arrived at the Boeotian city of Mycalessus:

“[4] The Thracians, bursting into Mycalessus, sacked the houses and temples and butchered the inhabitants, sparing neither youth nor age, but killing all they fell in with, one after the other, children and women, and even beasts of burden, and whatever other living creatures they saw; the Thracian race, like the bloodiest of the barbarians, being ever most so when it has nothing to fear. [5] Everywhere confusion reigned and death in all its shapes; and in particular they attacked a boys’ school, the largest that there was in the place, into which the children had just gone, and massacred them all. In short, the disaster falling upon the whole town was unsurpassed in magnitude, and unapproached by any in suddenness and in horror.” – The Peloponnesian War by Thucydides, 7.29.4-5.

Their victory was short-lived however since the Thebans (Boeotians from the city of Thebes) rushed to the aid of the pillaged city and utterly slaughtered the Dii (Thracians) mercenaries. The Thebans took back the looted goods and pursued the fleeing Thracians back to their ships where the “greatest slaughter took place while they (the Thracians) were embarking, as they did not know how to swim” (Thucydides, 7.30.2).

those in the vessels on seeing what was going on onshore moored them out of bow-shot: in the rest of the retreat the Thracians made a very respectable defence against the Theban horse, by which they were first attacked, dashing out and closing their ranks according to the tactics of their country, and lost only a few men in that part of the affair. A good number who were after plunder were actually caught in the town and put to death.” – The Peloponnesian War by Thucydides, 7.30.2.

Battle of Sphacteria, 425 BCE:

The famed Athenian politician and general Cleon rallied support from his countrymen by conveying his lack of fear against the Spartans, boasting that he could overcome the Sparta’s within twenty days’ time and declaring that he would achieve this without risking the life of a single Athenian by instead employing foreigners like Thracians peltasts from Aenisas. These Thracians took part in one of the greatest triumphs over the famed Spartans. After the Athenian naval victory over the Spartans (Battle of Pylos, 425 BCE) and its succeeding skirmishes, the remnants of the Spartan forces became stranded on the nearby island of Sphacteria.

^ Osprey – ‘Campaign’ series, issue 261 – Pylos and Sphacteria 425 BC by William Shepherd and Peter Dennis (illustrator). (pg. 78-79).

Here the Spartans were besieged into starvation, dehydration and exhaustion then constantly pursued by Athenian hoplites while being harassed by enemy archers, javelinmen and slingers until they were forced to surrender.

^ Osprey – ‘Campaign’ series, issue 261 – Pylos and Sphacteria 425 BC by William Shepherd and Peter Dennis (illustrator). The Battle on the island: the Spartan last stand (pp. 82–83). “After a fighting retreat over more than half the length of the Island the main Spartan force, depleted by casualties, joined the small garrison in their naturally defended and partly walled stronghold on the highest point at the north end, overlooking the Athenian position across the narrow channel separating Pylos from the Island. For most of the rest of the day they defeated all Athenian attempts to dislodge them. They were much less vulnerable to missile attack and were at last able to do what they did best to beat off efforts to force the position with spear and shield, but they now had little or no water. However, the Athenians could not afford to wait for them to collapse from dehydration because they too had supply problems with their much larger force. Then Comon the Messenian and his mixed, non-hoplite force, managed to work their way round to the rear and scale the cliffs without being seen. They crossed the dead ground in the saddle behind the peak in the centre of the Spartan position and occupied it (1). This is the moment when the small force of about 40 archers, slingers and javelin men attack the defenders from above and behind at a range of 20–30m. ‘The Spartans were now under attack from front and rear and were in the same dire situation, to compare small things with great, as the men at Thermopylae. Just as those men were annihilated when the Persians outflanked them by taking that path, so these Spartans could not hold out any longer now, caught as they were between two fires. They were few fighting many and weakened by lack of food, and they began to fall back with the Athenians controlling every approach to their position’ (IV.37). The Spartans’ weakness would actually have been due to lack of water and probably sheer exhaustion. They may well have had nothing to eat all day but they were not actually starving; Thucydides later mentions that the Athenians discovered a stockpile of food on the Island. In the southern sector the thin Spartan line combining Spartiates (2), perioikoi (3) and Helot attendants (4) is holding firm on the natural and manmade defensive perimeter while the more numerous Athenians hang back as the first missiles find their target. The Harbour with the captured Spartan ships at anchor (5) and the Messenian mainland (6) are in the background to the east.

At the end of this so-called Battle of Sphacteria, 292 Lacedaemonians (Greeks living under the Spartan state) were taken captive, 120 of which were Elite Spartiates (“Spartans”, full citizens of the Sparta) and the rest being either perioikoi (non-Spartan inhabitants of Lacedaemonia) or Helot attendants (serfs). Athens threatened to kill the captives if the Spartans were to set foot in Attica (region around Athens), holding this over their heads until a series of military setbacks and deaths of high leading commanders on both sides (Sparta’s Brasidas and Athens’ Cleon) opened the path to peace in 421 BCE (Peace of Nicias).

^ Osprey – ‘Men-at-Arms’ series, issue 360 – The Thracians, 700 BC-AD 46 by Christopher Webber and Angus McBride (Illustrator). Plate C – Attack on the Triballi Hill Fort, 424 BC. CI: Triballi peltast – “In 424 Sitalkes attacked the Triballi, and died fighting them. Thracians retreat to their hill forts when attacked; Tacitus (Annals, XLVII) later described the bolder warriors singing and dancing in from of their ramparts. Here a Triballi peltast armed with a long spear wears an unusual dappled cow-hide outfit that only partially covered his body, this is taken from an example of Greek illustrated pottery.C2: Odrysian archer – “The costumes on this plate are partially based on a scene on a 6th century Attic amphora showing peltasts, an archer, and a cavalryman in combat. This figure is also based on a 4th century silver belt plaque from north-western Thrace showing an archer with beard, plain conical cap, composite bow, and pattern-edged tunic. He would also have a quiver hanging from the waist belt, and possibly a dagger. The quiver would have held around 100 arrows, and would probably have been made from leather. The decomposed remains of quivers made of some organic material, probably leather, have been found at a tomb near Vratsa.C3: Dii peltasts – “This warrior is armed with a machaira. Many types of curved swords have been found in Thrace, and this example is based on a weapon now on display in a Bulgarian museum. He also carries a circular pelte – as discussed in the text, not all peltai were crescent shaped.

Head over to my post, ‘THRACIANS, REAPERS OF THE BALKANS’, to learn about their culture, religion, weaponry, armors, battle tactics, and their influence on the ancient world. Their history as well, from the tales in the Iliad to the era of the Greco-Persian Wars, the rise of Macedon under Philip II and his son Alexander the Great, and the Roman conquests of the Balkans.


Temple of Artemis Leukophryene

Magnesia on the Maeander

2nd century BCE

The temple of Artemis Leukophryene wasconsecrated to a local deity, Artemis Leukophryene, the goddess “with white eyebrows,” known only to the Magnesians. Some people consider her to be the descendant of an ancient Phrygian mother goddess. Others compare her with the Artemis honored at Ephesus. She probably had the general features of Artemis (huntress, mistress and protector of animals, etc.) but was also considered the founder and benefactress of the town.

Vitruvius mentioned the Temple of Artemis Leukophryene, an Ionic building with eight columns along the façade, as one of the major works of the architect and theoretician Hermogenes.



(Greek: Κένταυρος, Kéntauros) is a mythological creature with the head, arms, and torso of a human and the body and legs of a horse. In early Attic and Beotian vase-paintings, they are depicted with the hindquarters of a horse attached to them; in later renderings centaurs are given the torso of a human joined at the waist to the horse’s withers, where the horse’s neck would be. This half-human and half-horse composition has led many writers to treat them as liminal beings, caught between the two natures, embodied in contrasted myths, both as the embodiment of untamed nature, as in their battle with the Lapiths (their kin), or conversely as teachers, like Chiron.

The centaurs were usually said to have been born of Ixion and Nephele (the cloud made in the image of Hera). Another version, however, makes them children of a certain Centaurus, who mated with the Magnesian mares. This Centaurus was either himself the son of Ixion and Nephele (inserting an additional generation) or of Apollo and Stilbe, daughter of the river god Peneus. In the later version of the story his twin brother was Lapithes, ancestor of the Lapiths, thus making the two warring peoples cousins. Centaurs were said to have inhabited the region of Magnesia and Mount Pelion in Thessaly, the Foloi oak forest in Elis, and the Malean peninsula in southern Laconia. They continued to feature in literary forms of Roman mythology. A pair of them draw the chariot of Constantine the Great and his family in the Great Cameo of Constantine (c314-16), which embodies wholly pagan imagery. Read More | Edit | 1st picture Artwork for Saturnian Poetry by Dehn Sora. | More Greek Mythology