The treasure was accidentally discovered in 1949 in the Panagyurishte region (Central Bulgaria) at a depth of 2,20 meters by workers who were digging clay for bricks. It consists of nine vessels: a phial and eight rhytons (vessels for drinking wine). All vessels are superbly crafted by highly skilled goldsmiths who combine Hellenic motifs and stylistic techniques with Thracian and Achaemenid.

Panagyur Golden Treasure. The end of the IV - the beginning of the III century BC.

The treasure was accidentally discovered in 1949 in the Panagyurishte region (Central Bulgaria) at a depth of 2,20 meters by workers who were digging clay for bricks. It consists of nine vessels: a phial and eight rhytons (vessels for drinking wine). All vessels are superbly crafted by highly skilled goldsmiths who combine Hellenic motifs and stylistic techniques with Thracian and Achaemenid. The decoration consists of vegetal, zoomorphic (animal-like) and anthropomorphic (human-like) elements in high relief and perfect detail. Includes Greek mythological characters and scenes known in Thrace during the Hellenistic era. The phial is decorated with relief African heads, acorns and palmettes in concentric circles. It has two inscriptions showing its weight in units of weight used in the city of Lampsak (modern Lapseki, Canakkale Province, Turkey). The composition of the gold of which this vessel is made differs from that of the other eight vessels. One of the two rhytons, shaped like a stag's head, depicts the exploits of Theseus and Heracles. The other shows the Judgment of Paris - Paris seated among the goddesses Hera, Athena and Aphrodite. The rhyton ending with a protome of a male goat shows a scene including Apollo, Hera, Artemis and Nike, while the ram-headed rhyton depicts a Dionysian scene. The largest of the vessels in this hoard is the rhyton amphora. It has two holes (spouts) at the bottom, and was most likely used in a twinning ceremony. The scene on his body includes depictions of seven armed men flanking an ornate gate. The hoard is a royal ritual wine-drinking set and was discovered in territory once ruled by the Thracian king Seutus III, who founded his capital city of Seutopolis nearby.

Amphora - rhyton

The scene illustrates either the myth of the Week against Thebes or a festive procession. The plot can also be interpreted in the context of the Thracian faith as a ritual dance of five people in front of a temple where a ceremony was being prepared. It is possible that the gate, which resembles those of the Thracian tombs, was also considered an entrance to the afterlife, where death is the reviving force.

Amphora - rhyton

Fiala

The vessel is decorated with heads, acorns and palmettes in concentric circles. The method of manufacture finds several parallels, all of unknown location - an acorn phial from the Metropolitan Museum in New York, one from Sicily, etc.

Rhyton with a goat's head

In the center of the scene presented here, the goddess Hera is seen seated on a throne, holding a phial in her right hand. To the left, Apollo is represented with a bow in his raised left hand. To Hera's right is Artemis, holding a bow in her left hand. Nike is represented with outstretched wings with a ribbon in hand to crown the winners. The scene probably represents a well-known monument in antiquity - the temple of Hera in ancient Olympia.



Stag's head rhyton

On one side of the upper part of the rhyton is depicted one of the feats of Heracles - Capture of the Hind of Cyrene. On the other side, another mythical story is presented - the battle between Theseus and the Marathon bull. Only in these scenes the names of the characters are not written. Perhaps the plot was so well known that there was no need to do this.



Rhyton with ram's head

Dionysus and Eriope are represented in the center of the figural composition. The god is seated on a throne, with the mythical Eriope seated next to him. Her name is first mentioned as the mother of Ajax in Homer's Iliad. Some scholars suggest that the woman is not Eriope, but Ariadne, the wife of Dionysus. The other participants in the scene are two maenads dancing in ecstasy.



Kana-Rhyton in the shape of a woman's head

Analyzing all the elements of the decoration and all the known parallels, the scientists came to the conclusion that the woman represented was either an Amazon or the goddess Aphrodite. All jugs have the same style with slightly different iconographic elements in the face and head decoration, identifying them as Amazons or goddesses.

Cana-Rhyton in the form of a female head - Amazon or Hera

Cana-Rhyton in the shape of a woman's head - Amazon or Athena

Here, scholars are more confident in the depiction of Athena - the face, the hairstyle, the helmet have many parallels in the iconography of the goddess in Antiquity, from Thrace to Asia Minor and Sicily and even in the Parthenon in Athens.

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