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Listed 16 sub titles with search on: Archaeological findings for destination: "MYCENAE Mycenean palace ARGOLIS".

Archaeological findings (16)


Mycenaean Public and Funerary Architecture

Mycenaean Pictorial Art and Pottery

Mycenaean Residential Architecture

Mycenaean Tholos Tombs & Early Settlements

Mycenaean & Cycladic Religious Architecture

Beazley Archive Pottery & Sculpture

Casts from the Mycenae Acropolis

Perseus Sculpture Catalog

Metopes from Mycenae

Collection: Athens, National Archaeological Museum, Subject: Battle scenes, perhaps the Iliupersis. Found at (Temple of Athena) Mycenae (from 1886 to 1897)

Metope from Mycenae

Collection: Athens, National Archaeological Museum. Subject: Helmet and hand of a warrior. Excavated at Mycenae (in 1955)

Painted Female Head

Collection: Athens, National Archaeological Museum, Excavated at Mycenae


Electum (elektron)

Electrum elektros or elektron. Lepsius has maintained (Ueber die Metalle in den Aegypt. Inschriften, Appendix) that the early Greek usage was to employ the masculine form when the mixture of gold and silver was intended; the neuter form when the mineral which we call amber was meant. It is likely that the Greeks were acquainted in very early times with the use of amber, trade in this mineral having taken place in pre-historic days between North and South Europe. They must also have been early acquainted with the compounded metal, since gold alike in Asia and Europe is commonly found mixed with silver. Which of the two substances therefore was first called electrum is a matter quite open to dispute. We will speak of them in turn.
(1) Amber.
  Beads of amber were found in the royal tombs at Mycenae; and chemical analysis (Schliemann, Tiryns, p. 370) has proved that this amber came from the Baltic, and not from elsewhere. Similar beads have also been found in the very early Greek tombs at Ialysus in Rhodes. At a later period amber is mentioned in the Odyssey (xv. 460; xviii. 295) as a material of necklaces, which are said to be held together elektroisi, by beads of amber. In one of these passages the necklace is spoken of as an import from Phoenicia. It is also stated (iv. 73) that the walls of the palace of Menelaus were adorned with amber, as well as gold, silver, and ivory. The author of the Shield of Herakles, ascribed to Hesiod, speaks of that shield (141) as adorned with electrum, in which case, however, the metal may be meant. In South Italy amber was in the archaic period used as a material for statuettes and reliefs; many specimens of this kind of work are in the British Museum. But the amber used in Italy seems to differ in many respects from that of the Baltic, and is more like the amber still found in small quantities in Sicily.
  Many writers have maintained that there was a regularly used trade-route across Europe from the banks of the Baltic to the shores of the Euxine or Adriatic, by which amber was brought to the south in exchange for other wares, and that this route was used without intermission from prehistoric days onwards. But the only facts on which this view is based are the occasional discovery in Central Europe of the coins and art-products of Greece and Etruria, and the above-mentioned presence of pieces of amber in early Greek tombs. These facts are, as Furtwangler remarks (Goldfund von Vettersfelde) not conclusive. It is more probable that the amber of early Greece was imported by the Phoenicians who sailed round the coast to the north of Europe, especially in view of the fact that after the Homeric age amber disappears from Greek tombs, and does not again figure until Roman times, when a regular trade with the Baltic coast had sprung up.
(2) Mixed gold and silver.
  The earliest certain mention of this mixed metal as electrum (rather elektros) is in Sophocles' Antigone, 1037, where the substance is said to come from Sardes: for Sardes by the Pactolus was noted in antiquity as the place whence came the river-gold, mixed when found with a considerable percentage of silver. Herodotus, however, speaking of this same Sardian metal in connexion with the donaria of Croesus to Delphi (i. 50), calls it white gold, leukos chrusos. Pliny remarks (H. N. xxxiii.80) that gold is invariably found mixed with silver (which is true), and that when the proportion of silver reaches a fifth, the metal is called electrum. He adds that electrum was made by art as well as found. This white gold or electrum is used on the sword-blades found at Mycenae for purposes of inlaying. In later times it was used, as being a harder material than gold, for objects in which hardness was desirable. By far the most important use to which it was put was as a material for coins.
In the 7th century B.C., or possibly late in the 8th, the kings of Lydia began to issue stamped. money of electrum, using probably the metal in its natural state, and the maritime cities of the Asiatic coast and of Euboea adopted the idea. Information as to the standards of weight used in these issues is given under Pondera.
  For some time, until silver was first minted at Aegina, all the coinage of the world consisted of stamped pellets of electrum, though no doubt unstamped bars of gold and silver circulated with them. It is observed by Mr. Head (Numismatic Chronicle, 1875, p. 254), in his excellent account of early electrum coins, which is mainly based on the researches of Brandis (Munz-Mass-und Gewichtswesen), that the mixed metal had two advantages over pure gold in circulation: (1) it was more durable; (2) the proportionate value of gold to silver being 13 1/3 to 1 (Herodotus says 13), and electrum being of three-fourths the value of gold, each coin of electrum would pass as the equivalent of ten silver bars of equal weight. It is considered that this proportion is shown to have actually held by the fact that everywhere electrum was minted on the standards of weight in use for silver, and not on the (different) standards in use for gold, which seems to show that the proportionate values of electrum and silver were very simple. It must, however, be cited as an objection to the views of Brandis and Head, that in the cases in which the proportion of gold to silver in electrum coins has been determined by chemical analysis or specific gravity, a far less proportion of gold than three to one has been discovered, a proportion indeed sometimes less than one to one, so that it is difficult to see how electrum can have been considered as of three-fourths of the value of gold. On this subject further investigations are necessary.
  It is believed that Croesus first introduced in Asia, in place of the coinage of electrum, money of gold and of silver. The conquering Persian kings adopted the Lydian currency and imitated it, and coins of electrum went rapidly out of use. But at a somewhat later time, about B.C. 500, electrum was again issued by a few cities, more especially Cyzicus, Phocaea,and Lampsacus. The staters and hectae (sixths) of those cities were current in the Euxine, Asia Minor, and Greece. They are mentioned in Attic inscriptions from B.C. 434 onwards. Cyrus the younger paid his Greek mercenaries a Cyzicene stater a month (Xenoph. Anab. vii. 3, 10), and Demosthenes states in his speech against Phormio (B.C. 333) that in Pontus Cyzicene staters passed as equivalent to 28 Attic drachms of silver. (See Stater)
  We possess the text of a curious commercial treaty concluded between Phocaea and Mytilene, for the issue in common by the two states of hectae or sixths of electrum. For the details, see Newton in Trans. Roy. Soc. Lit. viii. p. 549. Each of the cities was in turn for the space of a year to mint these coins, which were to be in both a legal tender, and provisions were made for punishing any person who debased the currency below the normal standard. But the paleness of these hectae, which still exist in large numbers, proves that they did not contain a high proportion of gold. In the fourth century, electrum coins were largely used at Carthage, and in the time of Timoleon at Syracuse.

This text is from: A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890) (eds. William Smith, LLD, William Wayte, G. E. Marindin). Cited June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Aurum (Gold)

Aurum Gold, from its malleability and the circumstance that it is found lying in lumps, was one of the earliest of metals used by man, and among the most primitive resources of civilization. This was suspected by the ancients, who make the earliest age of the world's history an age of gold. In the Heroic age, we find that gold was put to a great variety of uses. Homer speaks of the houses of Menelaus and Alcinous as full of silver and gold; the armour of Glaucus was of gold (Il. vi. 236), so were the handmaids of Hephaestus (Il. xviii. 417), and the doves on Nestor's cup (Il. xi. 632). So in the decoration of the shield of Achilles, the chest of Cypselus, and other works of art, much gold was employed. And that this plenty of gold was not a mere figment of the poet, we know from the best testimony, that of graves. At Mycenae, which is in Homer called poluchrusos, Dr. Schliemann has dug up a prodigious quantity of gold, cups and jugs and masks and ornaments of all sorts. The graves of the Crimea (though these are of later date) also yield abundance of gold; the corpses which are discovered in them being covered from head to foot with gold, beaten into the shape of animals, rosettes, and designs of all kinds.
  The use of gold as a concomitant of luxury for personal decoration was associated specially by the Greeks with the wealthy nations of Asia Minor, such as the Lydians and Phrygians, from which notion arose the story of Midas the Phrygian, who turned everything he touched into gold, and the belief that the wealth of the Pelopid princes of Southern Greece was brought by them from their native Phrygia. In the use of gold, the wealthy Ionians of Asia Minor copied these neighbours, even binding their hair with it, in which custom the Athenians are said to have followed them (Thuc. i. 6).
  There can be no question that to the smiths of early time gold must have been the metal which gave most scope for the artistic faculty. Its extreme softness and malleability enabled even workmen who had no more elaborate tools than a hammer and nails, to work it into any given shape. All the vessels of Mycenae are thus hammered out and joined into shape by nails, and the earliest statues of the gods were produced by the same method, which was called by the ancients sphurelatein. They did indeed sometimes, instead of welding two surfaces of gold together, unite them by a solder of borax (Schliemann's Mycenae, p. 231), but practically this process was unusual. Casting in hollow moulds belongs to a later period.
  In the preparation of gold, the ancients used only the simplest processes of melting and refining. When gold occurred mixed with silver (Electrum), they frequently did not separate the silver, but treated the mixed as a simple metal. Asia was the source of gold, from the days when the Argonauts sailed to Colchis in search of the golden fleece, to the days when Alexander and his captains seized and dispersed the enormous hoards, laid up during many generations by the Babylonian kings and their Persian successors. Arrian and Diodorus give us accounts which might well seem fabulous of the quantities of gold seized in the great cities of Asia.   According to Diodorus (xvii. 71) in the city of Persepolis alone, Alexander captured a treasure in gold and silver of 120,000 talents. The wealth in gold of Croesus is testified by his gift to Delphi (Herod. i. 50) of above 100 solid bricks of the metal. A private individual, Pythius, in the reign of Xerxes, possessed three millions of gold Darics (Herod. vii. 27). The sources whence the gold of Asia was drawn were various: India was one of the chief, the north part of that country paying tribute to the Persian king. In Arabia also abundant gold was found and freely exported (Strabo, xvi. 3, 4). Lydia supplied great quantities of river-gold, both pure and mixed with silver (Electrum).
  But the richest source of all in the opinion of the ancients was the country of the Arimaspi, where the gold was guarded by griffins, and with difficulty won from them by the hardy natives. Most modern writers suppose that the reality which gave rise to this fable was the gold mines of the Caucasus, whence gold penetrated through the country of the Scythians to Persia. A similar story was told or invented in regard to the Indian gold (Herod. iii. 102), namely, that it was found in a country infested by huge ants (murmekes), from whose pursuit men could only escape when riding on swift camels. The motive of these stories for deterring adventurers is very manifest.
  The gold mines of Europe were also important. The Carthaginians, and after them the Romans, obtained their main supply from Spain, in the rivers of which country was a rich deposit of gold, notably in the Tagus. Both in Gaul and in Spain, at the time of the Roman conquests, whole districts were covered with rich auriferous deposits, yielding nuggets to the inhabitants on the application of the simplest systems of washing. In the provinces of Asturia and Lusitania, according to Pliny (H. N. xxxiii.78), the workmen went through the laborious process of undermining whole hills by their excavations, and then turning on rivers to wash the fallen earth and separate the particles of metal. Gold was also found in the Italian Padus, in the Hebrus in Thrace, and other rivers. Polybius states (xxxiv. 10) that in his time great quantities of gold were found on the surface of the ground in Pannonia.
  In Greece proper gold was found in small quantities in the islands of Siphnos and Thasos, and in larger quantities in the mountains of Thrace. These last, however, seem not to have yielded their full supply until they fell into the hands of Philip of Macedon, who procured from them, it is said, 1000 talents a year (Diod. xvi. 8),--in fact such large stocks of gold as to alter completely the degree of its rarity in Greece. In earlier days the metal had been decidedly rare in Hellas and Sicily. When the Laconians wished to procure gold to gild a votive statue of Apollo, they had to apply to Croesus for it (Herod. i. 69), and Hiero I. of Syracuse had much difficulty in procuring gold for a votive offering to Delphi of a gold Victory and tripod (Athen. vi. p. 232). But in course of commerce this poverty disappeared, and gold was poured into Greece in still increasing quantities, until the overflowings of Macedonian wealth made it comparatively common. It was then again used as in pre-historic days for the vessels and ornaments of the rich. It also became a custom for cities to bestow crowns of gold of great weight and value upon their benefactors, and even sometimes to set up their statues in gold. The horns of oxen offered in sacrifice were gilt, both in Greece and Rome.
  Diodorus informs us (iii. 12) that in Upper Egypt, on the confines of Aethiopia, were gold mines which were worked from the time of the early kings of Egypt onwards for the benefit of the state. But here the gold was not found as elsewhere on the surface of the ground, but extracted from the heart of the mountains by a number of miserable slaves. Diodorus describes the process, which appears to be that of extracting gold from quartz. The stone, he says, which contained the metal was softened by fire, and then detached in masses by wedges of iron. These masses were brayed in stone mortars and ground to the fineness of sand. Finally, the gold was detached by washing, the workmen aiding the process with their hands and with fine sponges. The metal was purified by being placed, together with a certain quantity of lead, salt, tin and bran, in jars hermetically sealed, and exposed for five days to the heat of a fire, after which time the foreign substances were found to have evaporated.
  In his 33rd book, Pliny traces the history of the use of gold in Rome from earliest times. He says (c. 5) that when the Gauls sacked the city, no more than 1000 pounds' weight of gold could be found in it for ransom. The stock of gold in the treasury had increased seven years before the Third Punic War to 17,410 pounds; and after the successful termination of that war, the metal came into commoner use for decoration, as for covering ceilings and walls, as well as for vessels. The custom of wearing gold rings was so late in Rome, that even Marius wore one of iron. The great influx of the metal and its use for all purposes of luxury dated in Rome as in Greece from the time of Oriental conquest. For ancient testimonies as to gold mines see Sabatier, Production de l'or, de l'argent et du cuivre chez les anciens.

Gold as coin.
  In many parts of the East and in Egypt, gold wedges and rings of fixed weight passed as currency before the invention of coins properly so called. The earliest gold coins, which however belong to a later date than the Lydian and Milesian electrum, were issued by Phocaea (Pondera). For a long period, beginning with the reign of Darius Hystaspis, the gold coinage of the world consisted almost exclusively of the Persian Darics, which not only circulated throughout Asia, but came over to Europe in large quantities, and were laid up in the treasuries of Greek cities. About B.C. 400, Syracuse and other Sicilian cities began to issue small coins of gold, but the earliest Greek coinage of any importance in this metal was that of Philip of Macedon. The gold pieces of Philip and Alexander were issued in enormous quantities, both during the lives and after the deaths of those monarchs. The Philippi circulated in Hellas, Italy, and the West, where they became the prototypes of the abundant gold coinages of Gaul and Britain (Evans, Coinage of the ancient Britons). The Alexandri, on the other hand, succeeded the Darics in Asia, and continued for many years to furnish the bulk of the gold circulation of the Seleucid and Ptolemaic kingdoms. Contemporary, however, with them, during the life of Alexander, were issues of gold by Athens, Rhodes, Cius, Panticapaeum, and other wealthy cities, which minted in their own names; and after the death of Alexander these coins gradually gave way to the gold money issued by the Macedonian kings of the East, especially the very wealthy Ptolemaic princes.
  Aristophanes appears to speak of an issue of gold money at Athens, about the year B.C. 407 (Ran. 719). We say appears, because it is not impossible that the poet may be using the term chrusion generally for money, and here may even apply it to copper coin. But it is probable that the gold coins of Athens which have come down to us, which are numerous and of all denominations, belong to a later period, not earlier than the middle of the 4th century. At Rome gold was used in making payments as early as the 4th century B.C., but it was kept only in bars, the adulteration of which was punished by a law of Sulla. Gold coin proper was first issued at Rome in B.C. 217, but never in Republican times, except on the occasion of military expeditions.
  The Greeks, when they speak of chrusion, quite as often mean coin of electrum as of pure gold: which is intended, must in each case be judged by the context. Gold coin among the ancients, unless intended to pass as electrum, was usually very pure. The gold pieces of Alexander and Philip are almost without alloy; and Augustus, in his monetary reforms, fixed the margin of alloy, under severe penalties, at 002. It is only among barbarous peoples that we find gold, the true measure of value in nearly all countries, debased. Thus in Gaul gold rapidly deteriorated, as it was copied from tribe to tribe, and the kings of Bosphorus, who continued in Roman times to issue their own gold, continually debased it until it was finally no better than copper gilt.

This text is from: A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890) (eds. William Smith, LLD, William Wayte, G. E. Marindin). Cited June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Agentum (silver)

Agentum (silver).The use of silver among the Greeks, although no doubt later introduced than that of gold, dates from pre-historic times. In the archaic tombs opened by Dr. Schliemann at Mycenae were several vessels and ornaments of silver. Homer mentions on several occasions vessels of silver, sometimes as coming from Sidon (Il. xxiii. 743), sometimes as imported from Egypt (Od. iv. 125), sometimes as of home manufacture (Od. xix. 57). Our museums exhibit numerous specimens of all these kinds of ware. The method of manufacture in early times was the same for silver as for gold and copper: the material was beaten out with a hammer and fastened either with nails or solder, or else cast in moulds. . .

Arcus (arch, kamara)

Arcus (fornix, kamara). An arch suspended over the head of an aperture, or carried from one side of a wall to another, and serving as the roof or ceiling to the space below. An arch is formed of a series of wedge-like stones or of bricks, supporting each other, and all bound firmly together by the pressure of the centre one upon them, which latter is therefore distinguished by the name of keystone.
It would seem, at first sight, that the arch, as thus defined, and as used by the Romans, was not known to the   Greeks in the early periods of their history, otherwise a language so copious as theirs, and of such ready application, would not have wanted a name properly Greek by which to distinguish it. The use of both arches and vaults appears, however, to have been known to them even before the Trojan War, and its use is exemplified in two of the earliest buildings now remaining -the chamber built at Orchomenus by Minyas, king of Boeotia (Pausan. ix. 38), and the treasury of Atreus at Mycenae (Pausan. ii. 16). Both of these works are constructed underground, and each of them consists of a circular chamber formed by regular courses of stones laid horizontally over each other, each course projecting towards the interior, and beyond the one below it, till they meet in an apex over the centre, and thus resemble the inside of a dome. Each of the horizontal courses of stones formed a perfect circle, or two semicircular arches joined together, as the subjoined plan will render evident.
  The principle of the construction is that of an arch-shaped mass resisting a great superincumbent weight, and deriving its strength and coherence from the weight itself. Thus it seems that the Greeks did understand the constructive principle on which the arch is formed. They made use of a contrivance, even before the Trojan War, by which they were enabled to gain all the advantages of our archway in making corridors, or hollow galleries, and which in appearance resembled the pointed arch, such as is now termed Gothic. This was effected by cutting away the superincumbent stones in the manner already described, at an angle of forty-five degrees with the horizon. The mode of construction and appearance of such arches are represented in the annexed drawing of the walls of Tiryns from Sir William Gell's Argolis.
  The principle of the true arch was known to the Egyptians, but it is remarkable that they did not make use of it in their most massive works. The Assyrians used it in subterranean buildings (Layard, Nineveh, i. 167; ii. 260). There are also a few specimens of the true arch in ancient Greece. At Oeniadae, in Acarnania, is a postern of a perfect arch in the polygonal walls of the city; and at Xerokampo, in the neighbourhood of Sparta, is a bridge on the true arch-principle, though the latter, in the opinion of many archaeologists, is of Roman construction (Dennis, Etruria, ii. 250 seq.). But these are rare instances; and the Etruscans are the first people who employed the true arch extensively. Hence the use of the arch passed into the architecture of buildings. The Romans probably borrowed it from the Etruscans. Thus the Cloaca Maxima, long held to be the oldest instance of the arch at Rome, and attributed to the Tarquinii (see Cloaca =hyponomos), closely resembles the canal of the Marta (Dennis, Etruria, i. 430 seq.)

This text is from: A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890) (eds. William Smith, LLD, William Wayte, G. E. Marindin). Cited June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Imagines. The Roman portrait-masks of deceased members of a family; they were made of wax and painted, and probably fastened to the busts. They were kept in small wooden shrines let into the inner walls of the atrium. Inscriptions under the shrines recorded the names, merits, and exploits of the persons they referred to. The images were arranged and connected with one another by means of coloured lines, in such a way as to exhibit the pedigree (stemma) of the family. On festal days the shrines were opened, and the busts crowned with bayleaves. These portrait-masks must have been originally used for covering the faces of the dead, like the light metal masks of Ph?nicia, Carthage, and Mycenae. (See Persona below) At family funerals, there were persons specially appointed to walk in procession before the body, wearing the masks of the deceased members of the family, and clothed in the insignia of the rank which they had held when alive. The right (ius imaginum) of having these ancestral images carried in procession was one of the privileges of the nobility, and distinguished the nobilis from the novus homo. If a person died not being in the possession of full civic rights, his image could not be exhibited, as in the case of Brutus and Cassius (Polyb. vi. 53; Pliny H. N.xxxv. 2. 6; Pliny H. N., 7; Tac. Ann.iii. 76)

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Mask (prosopeion)

Persona (prosopon and prosopeion). A mask; an artificial covering for the face worn among many peoples in all ages of history and for different purposes, but more frequently in Greece and Italy
(1) for covering the faces of the dead and
(2) by actors in theatrical performances.
Death-masks of gold have been found in tombs at Mycenae and elsewhere; at Carthage masks of clay were also similarly used. In Egypt they were placed upon the case containing the mummy. (See also Imagines in URL below).
  For theatrical purposes, masks were made of linen, of bark, of leather, and sometimes of wood. Their introduction in dramatic performances is ascribed to Choerilus of Samos about B.C. 500, and to Aeschylus; but their use really goes back to the mummery in honour of Dionysus, at whose festivals in early Greece the face was painted with the lees of wine or covered with leaves. The opening for the eyes was not larger than the pupil of the actor's eyes behind the mask. The masks themselves sometimes merely covered the face, like masks in modern times; but sometimes, also, they covered the whole head down to the shoulders. The wig worn by the tragic actors was usually if not always a part of the mask. Phrynichus is said by Suidas to have first made comic masks. The varieties of masks were very numerous, representing every possible sort of character, age, sex, and condition. Pollux (iv. 133, etc.) enumerates twenty-eight typical kinds of mask, six for old men, eight for young men, eleven for women, and three for slaves. Gellius thinks that the mouth of the mask was arranged so as to intensify the sound of the actor's voice (v. 7); but this is doubtful.
  At Rome masks were not used in early times, but only wigs. They were probably first introduced in B.C. 110 by Roscius, who was homely and had a squint. When the audiences hissed an actor he was obliged to remove his mask, except when acting in the Atellanae fabulae (Macrob. Sat.ii. 7).

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Caelatura (toreutike)

Caelatura (toreutike). Both the Greek and the Roman name come from the words denoting in the two languages "the graver's tool" (caelum, toreus); and in its general sense caelatura may be taken as meaning the arts employed in the production of ornamental works in metal, both in relief and in intaglio, including repousse work, chasing, and engraving, but excluding statuary.
  The chief literary source of our information regarding the toreutic art is Pliny ( Pliny H. N.xxxiii. 154-157); and a complete list of the passages in the ancient writers, referring to this art, has been made by Overbeck in his Antiken Schriftquellen, "Toreutik". It is, however, from the artistic remains of antiquity that its history can best be studied -remains that are magnificently represented in the great museums of Europe.
  The earliest specimens of ornamental metalwork discovered on Greek soil are those found by Dr. Schliemann at Hissarlik in the Troad, consisting of a large number of objects in gold, such as bracelets, ear-rings, and diadems. Among the specimens, of which a detailed description will be found in Schliemann's Ilios (London and N. Y., 1880), may be mentioned the following: bracelets, consisting of a thick gold plate piped with wire and adorned with spiral ornaments of gold wire soldered on the plate; a diadem, composed principally of hexago nal leaves of gold; hair-pins, consisting of a quadrangular plate ornamented with spirals of gold wires soldered on like the bracelets just mentioned; gold disks, of which one represents a flower of star form, in repousse work. The appellation "Treasure of Priam" given by the discoverer to a large class of these objects is misleading, inasmuch as the art described in the Homeric poems is quite certainly of a more advanced character. The Hissarlik metal-work is, in fact, the product of a halfbarbarous people, and its simple and unambitious character may be discerned in the preference for such ornamentation as the spiral (a form which is naturally suggested by the curling of gold wire) and in the infrequent representations of animal forms.
  An early though more advanced style is represented by the objects discovered by Schliemann at Mycenae, which may be approximately assigned to a date not later than B.C. 1000. The Mycenaean objects are, on the whole, the work of rude local artists, scarcely touched as yet by Oriental influence. The specimens in gold, which are extremely numerous, consist principally of plaques in repousse work, bowls, diadems, and sepulchral masks rudely imitating the human countenance. Round bosses and other circular patterns, and especially combinations of spirals, are the basis of most of the patterns, but floral forms and imitations of insects and of marine life are also employed. Among the most instructive objects may be mentioned the following:
(1) Gold diadems found on the heads of corpses. The diadems are generally piped with copper wire to give them greater solidity.
(2) Lozenge-shaped buttons of wood plated with gold, ornamented with intaglio and repousse work.
(3) Perforated ornaments of gold with engravings in intaglio.
(4) Gold cylinder adorned with rock crystal; a dragon of gold with scales of rock crystal.
(5) Scabbards of swords, representing a lion-hunt, winged monsters, fish, and plants. The manes of the lions are of red gold, the bodies of a paler tint in the same metal. A distinction of colour is also observed between the sea and the fish swimming in it, and further variety is obtained by the use of enamel in the background.
  The next important epoch in the history of our subject has been denominated the Graeco-Phoenician, an epoch when the rude genius of the Greeks set itself to learn in the comparatively advanced artistic school of the Phoenicians. This is the period of art described, though with some poetic embellishment, in the Homeric poems, in which compositions the higher works of metallic art are spoken of as coming from a foreign and especially a Phoenician source. Thus it is from the king of Cyprus that Agamemnon receives the present of his cuirass (Il.xi. 19), and from Egypt that Menelaus brings back tripods and the basket of Helen (Od.iv. 126 foll.). The crater destined by Menelaus for Telemachus comes to him from the king of the Sidonians (Od.iv. 616; Il.xxiii. 741), and it is the Sidonians who made the silver crater given by Achilles as a prize at the Funeral Games. Even the elaborate Homeric description of the shield of Achilles may be shown to have had a tangible basis in works of Phoenician art. This Phoenician art, as revealed to us by the archaeological discoveries of recent years, was not in itself original, but was formed by a curious blending of the art of the Egyptians and the Assyrians. It may best be studied in the numerous metal bowls that have been found in several localities, especially Cyprus and Italy, which had in early days relations with the Phoenician traders. The epoch generally assigned for the execution of these bowls is the seventh or eighth century B.C., though the manufacture of them according to traditional patterns may have continued to a later period. In the artistic designs of these vessels it is especially important to note the arrangement of the subjects in concentric zones, and the frequent mingling of Assyrian and Egyptian elements (see Cyprus).
  As specimens of early jewelry we may refer to the objects of gold (now in the Louvre and the British Museum) found by Salzmann at Camirus in Rhodes, which may be regarded as products of Phoenician art in the eighth century B.C. As an example of these we may take the pale gold plaques which belonged to a necklace and which are embossed with the alternate designs of a Centaur of primitive type with Egyptian head-dress, seizing a hind, and a winged female figure (the goddess Artemis or Anaitis) holding a lion and a panther. Another plate is ornamented with a recumbent lion of Assyrian style: the mane is formed by massing together minute granules of gold, while the ears are marked out by lines formed of similar granules. On the same plaque is the head of an eagle, adorned, like the lion, with granulated designs. From the plaque itself are suspended pomegranates, chainlets, and heads of Egyptian style. Of early jewelry found in Greece proper we may notice the gold studs or ear-rings discovered in 1860 at Megara: they are decorated in repousse, with human heads of Egyptian character, facing. Another interesting specimen of archaic jewelry, stated to have been found at Athens, and belonging probably to the first half of the sixth century B.C., is an ear-ring published in the Journal of Hellenic Studies (vol. ii. p. 324), on the oblong pendant of which is represented side by side a pair of female figures, beaten out in relief. The arms of both these figures are straightened closely to their sides, and their dress and attitude, though very archaic, present a resemblance to the Canephori of the Erechtheum.
  Our knowledge of the jewelry of the fine period of Greek art is mainly derived from two great sources -the excavations in the tombs of southern Russia and in those of Etruria. Of the Etruscan jewelry, the Louvre, the Vatican, and the British Museum possess numerous and choice examples. The objects from southern Russia, which belong to a great extent to the fourth century B.C., are now in the Museum of the Hermitage, and may be studied in the elaborate Comptes Rendus de la Commission Archeologique de St.-Petersbourg, and in the Antiquites du Bosphore Cimmerien. The great European jewel-collections contain specimens, unrivalled in workmanship, of all the various objects of personal adornment -necklaces with pendants, ear-rings, bracelets, brooches, etc. The main effect in this jewelry is due to the combination of small figures and flowers in repousse work, with fine filigree, grannlated patterns, and vitreous inlays. Precious stones, such as garnets, are sometimes introduced, but in the best age the jeweller made comparatively little use of them. The ancient jeweller is distinguished by his delicate manipulation of the gold, his mastery of modelling, his extraordinary minuteness of work, and by the technical skill which produced the granulation (i.e. the soldering of extremely minute particles of gold on a leaf of gold) which is especially noticeable in the jewelry of Etruria. This Etruscan jewelry in its earlier period betrays an Oriental influence, but is in its later and finest stage so thoroughly Greek in character as to be a fair exponent of the capabilities of the Greek jewellers. For details as to the form of the various objects of personal ornament, the reader is referred to the separate articles in this dictionary; but as furnishing a sample of the fertile invention and surpassing skill of the Greek workman, we may here refer to two classes of ear-rings, of which there are good specimens in the Gold Ornament Room of the British Museum. The first class, which is the simpler and perhaps somewhat the earlier in date, consists of ear-rings formed of twisted wire and terminating at one end in the head of an animal, especially a lion. The second class consists of the specimens attached to the ear by a hook, which is covered by a round disk. The disk itself is generally adorned with some subject suitable for a medallion, such as a full face in relief, and beneath it are suspended one or more small figures. For these pendants Victories are often chosen, and an especial favourite is a tiny figure of Eros holding various objects, such as a scroll or a musical instrument. As exquisite specimens may be noticed a pair (Comptes Rendus de la Comm. Arch. de St.Petersb., 1870-71, pl. vi., figs. 11, 12) composed of a rosette, from which hang three chains, the two outermost terminating in pendants: from the middle chain hangs a goose, inlaid about the feathers with granulated work. In the centre of the rosette is a garnet, from which radiate leaves in blue enamel, forming a star pattern.
  The beautiful gold necklace shown in the illustration given below forms part of the Castellani Collection in the British Museum. It consists of a circlet of roses bearing alternate pendants of vases and female heads, all exquisitely modelled. The roses are each composed of three rosettes of diminishing sizes superimposed. Of the pendants, the centre head is simply that of a beautiful girl, while the two on each side of it have cows' horns and ears, and represent Io, who was changed by Zeus into a cow.
  A very fine specimen of jewelry not intended for wear is the votive gold crown found at Armento, and now at Munich. It is composed of branches of oak intertwined with garlands of flowers, while winged figures are placed amid the foliage.
  Another important branch of the toreutic art is constituted by the production of gold and silver vases, elaborately adorned -generally with reliefs in repousse, or with ornaments separately made and soldered or riveted to the vessel. With the increase of luxury under the successors of Alexander, this branch of art began to assume especial prominence. Among the more important vessels in the precious metals now extant should be mentioned the following:
(1) The magnificent silver vase in the Hermitage Museum, which was found in the tomb of a Scythian king at Nicopolis. It has the form of an amphora, and on its upper part are friezes of Scythians and animals, in high-relief; leaves and flowers adorning the body of the vessel. The decoration is partly in repousse, and partly consists in ornaments, like the lion-masks and the head of a winged horse, separately made and gilded and then soldered on. This vase has been assigned to the fourth century B.C.
(2) Silver vase in the Antiquarium of Munich, ornamented externally with a circular frieze, in which are represented Trojan captives, in low relief.
(3) The Corsini vase, on which see the memoir by Michaelis, Das Corsinische Silbergefass.
(4) Specimens in the Berlin Museum from the silver treasure found near Hildesheim (Hanover) in 1885, some of which go back to the time of Augustus or earlier. They have much executional merit, but present the Roman characteristics of exuberant ornament and exaggerated.
(5) Specimens in the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, from the treasure discovered at Bernay in France. The vases are of varying merit, and differ in date -one class being ornamented in very prominent repousse, the other in lower relief with slight and delicate lines.
(6) The gold patera of Rennes, into which are inserted gold coins ranging from Hadrian to Geta. The bottom of the vase is adorned with a large medallion executed in repousse, and bordered by a wreath of laurel leaves in low-relief.
(7) Silver vases found at Pompeii, and now in the Museum at Naples. This list may be concluded with a reference to the specimens in the celebrated silver treasure discovered at Rome in 1793, and now in the British Museum. It consists of caskets, vases, trappings, and ornaments of silver, and was probably executed for the most part about the end of the fifth century A.D. The figures and ornaments on most of the objects are generally embossed and chased, and gilding is applied to the salient parts. The figures, as might be expected at so late a period, are coarsely executed and of clumsy proportions.
  To the examples of ornamental metal-work which have now been mentioned in this article, and which are principally in gold and silver, must be added certain specimens in bronze which are adorned
(1) with engraved designs,
(2) with figures in relief.
  A remarkable specimen of archaic Greek engraving is found on the bronze cuirass discovered in the bed of the Alpheus, and photographed in the Bulletin de Corr. Hell. (1883). Besides figures of animals, the design shows a group of six human figures. Engraved designs occur most frequently upon the circular metal disks used as mirrors by the ancients, the largest class of which comes from Etruria. Though on some of the Etruscan mirrors the drawings are of a masterly character, the greater number are executed loosely and without much regard to beauty of composition (See Speculum =mirror, katoptron).
  The covers of the mirrors of box-like form -mostly found in Greece proper- offer favourable specimens of reliefs executed in bronze. Several of them belong to a good period of Greek art; their subjects, as a rule, are borrowed from the cycles of Aphrodite and of Dionysus. Fine examples of Greek repousse work in bronze are also to be seen in the plaques with figures in relief, which once served to ornament armour or other objects.
  Engravings on mirrors of purely Greek work are rare. Among the most beautiful examples may be cited the mirror representing the Genius of the Cock Fights (Musee de Lyon), and the specimen with the hero Corinthus crowned by a woman who personifies the Corinthian colony of Leucas.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

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