GOLDEN TREASURE: GREEK COLONIES ON THE BLACK SEA

GOLDEN TREASURE: FROM THE GREEKS TO KYIVAN RUS SECTIONS:

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GREEK COLONIES ON THE BACK SEA

Ancient Greek myths abounded in tales of fabulous lands lying beyond the mist-shrouded entrance to the Black Sea. The Argonauts sailed across the sea in their quest for the Golden Fleece; Prometheus was chained to a rock in the Caucasus; and far to the north, ferocious griffins guarded streams of gold. Marvels of this far-off land lured travelers and merchants to explore the foreign shores.

Early Greek settlers called the Black Sea Pontos Axeinos (Inhospitable Sea), because of raging storms and fearsome nomads roaming the vast Pontic-Caspian steppeland. In the 7th century BC, enterprising Greeks from Miletus settled the northern coastline and began to trade with the nomadic Scythians, renaming the sea Euxeinos (Hospitable). In exchange for finely crafted jewelry, wines and olive oil, the resourceful Greek colonists received shiploads of golden wheat, as well as honey, fish and slaves, that were exported to Athens at considerable profit.

In the 5th century BC, Greek colonies in eastern Crimea and the Taman Peninsula united to form the Bosporan Kingdom. The wealthy Kingdom rivaled Egypt in grain exports. Commerce prospered, supporting the ostentatious tastes of local Greek and nomadic elites whose treasures are still being unearthed from numerous tombs and kurgans found in modern-day Ukraine.

Fusing classical and local motifs, Bosporan goldsmiths created exquisite works of art. Intricate ornaments were manufactured with simple tools by hammering gold into thin sheets or melting gold dust and ingots over charcoal fires. Granulation and filigree were widely used to embellish gold objects.

In the 1st century BC Roman forces under Pompey the Great conquered the Bosporan Kingdom, which remained subordinate to Rome for nearly half a millennium.

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IMAGE CITATION

1.  Diadem with rosettes, 3rd Century B.C.

Gold: forging, punching, soldering, turning of wire

2.  Diadem with rosettes, 3rd- 2nd Centuries B.C.

Gold: soldering, forging, dragging of wire, granulation

3.  Necklace, 5th Century B.C.

Gold: molding in a cast, engraving

4. Chain with pendant, 3rd-2nd Centuries B.C.

Gold, glass, turquoise: chasing, filigree, enamel

5. Chain with Medallion, 5th-4th Centuries B.C.

Gold, garnet: hammering, soldering, granulation

6. Fibula, 4th- 3rd Centuries B.C.

Gold: forging, soldering, punching

7. Fibula, 4th Century B.C.

Gold: hammering, soldering, granulation, stamping

8. Rosettes, 4th-2nd Centuries B.C.

Gold, bronze: hammering, soldering, granulation

9.   Earrings-pendants, 6th-7th Centuries A.D.

Gold: hammering, stamping, brazing, granulation

10. Pin, 3rd-1st Centuries B.C.

Gold: hammering, soldering, stamping

11.  Pyxis (compass box), 3rd-2nd Centuries B.C.

Gold: stamping, engraving, soldering

12.  Medallion, 4th Century A.D.

Gold, destructed pearl, bone: hammering, soldering, granulation

13. Statuette of Pan, 3rd- 2nd Centuries B.C.

Bronze: molded in a form

14. Amulet covering, 1st-2nd Centuries A.D.

Gold, glass: hammering, brazing, filigree, granulation

15.  Bead, 2nd- 1st Centuries B.C.

Gold, agate: hammering, filigree, soldering

16. Cup, 2nd-1st Centuries B.C.

Gold, transparent glass: blowing, hammering, soldering, repousse, polishing

17.  Pyxis (compass box), 3rd-1st Centuries B.C.

Gold: molding, hammering, soldering, granulation, filigree

18.  Balsamarium, 2nd- 1st Centuries B.C.

Gold, glass: hammering, brazing, granulation, filigree

19.  Rhyton, date unknown

Gold, transparent blass: blowing, glass forming, hammering

20. Finger Ring, 5th-3rd Centuries B.C.

Gold, glass: hammering, stamping, soldering

21. Finger Ring, 4th-3rd Centuries B.C.

Gold: hammering, brazing, granulation

22. Finger Ring, 4th-3rd Centuries B.C.

Gold: molding, hammering, soldering, engraving

23. Finger Ring, 1st Century B.C.- 1st Century A.D.

Glass, gold: molding in a cast, hammering

24. Buckle, 5th-4th Centuries B.C.

Gold, bronze, paste: hammering, soldering, stamping, wicker-work

25.  Earrings with pendants, 4th Century B.C.

Gold, enamel: granulation, filigree