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Apotropaic Gold and Silver Helmets of the Daco-Getian Princes 

 

North Thracian helmets followed Skythian-Dachean practice, with some very interesting gold and silver models being molded with multiple bumps on the top. These are thought to represent the hair-style of the wearer. The Aghighiol greave was found in conjunction with a similarly decorated silver-gilt helmet, roughly conical with rectangular cheek-pieces and a short neck-guard; it has eyes and eyebrows embossed and gilded above the wearer's eyes. An almost identical helmet comes from the Iron Gates area, and a gold helmet from Cotofenesti , embossed with curls to represent hair, is obviously also related. All are from Getai noble graves, but are considered to show heavy Scythian influence in their decoration. As with the greaves, they are obviously parade items, being made of such soft metal, but it is possible that less ornate items of the same general pattern may have been worn in action. 

http://badaew.narod.ru/trakian/Helmets.htm

 

POIANA COTOFENESTI HELMET , ROMANIA

 
 

Poiana Cotofenesti ceremonial gold helmet 

http://download.academic.ro/columna/polus/Coif_Cotofenesti.jpg

http://badaew.narod.ru/trakian/Helmets.htm (drawings)

 

 

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1442520 

http://art-historia.blogspot.com/2010/10/sergiu-decebal-si-coiful-de-aur.html 

 

Gold helmet  of a Getic prince at Cotofenesti, in Wallachia, 4th century BC (Berciu).  The bumps on the helmet are thought to represent the wearer's hairstyle. "Thracian Treasures...." 187; Gold helmet from Cotofenesti, alt. 25.5cm.   Item 199 from I Daci, with drawings from that book, Duncan Head, and Vladimir Dumitrescu & Alexandru Vulpe, Dacia Before Dromichaite

 

 In the small village of Poiana Cotofenesti, southern Romania, in the spring of year 1928, the very young son of a local peasant, a kid still in the elementary school, while helping his family work the field with a plow, he stopped when the blade run across what later proven to be a phenomenal archeological discovery: an ancient gold helmet. Quickly, first, the school, then, the authorities and finally the National Museum of Antiquities (founded 1834 !) were alerted and here is what the discovery really was:

A solid gold helmet made around end of 5th – beginning of 4th century B.C. by the local Thracian tribes (Geto-Dacians)* and undoubtedly it was part of the martial display regalia of a king or a powerful warlord. It is a studded cylindrical helmet (missing top, otherwise intact) with ¾ head coverage with a rectangular frontal cut for the face and side cuts for ears. Decorations are mystical sacrificial images with ancient Oriental elements, claimed by the historical experts to be of Scythian influence absorbed in that culture from Greeks or southern Thracians. The most striking decorative element are the frontal apotropaic piercing eyes. Technically, the helmet was created by repeatedly hammering a very thick gold sheet on a wooden support by the craftsman shaping it accordingly. As it is now, it stands 25 centimeters tall and 770 grams heavy.




Gold has an inferior defensive resistance (crash tested) compared to other metals known and used on a large scale by the Geto-Dacians, where the conclusion that this is more of a ceremonial parade piece rather than battle ready. It was an isolated piece, not part of a treasure or thesaurus, likely lost or hidden by its last owner and never retrieved.

 

Cotofenesti, detail

Only fragments of ceramic were found in the nearby .
The last image is another helmet, this time part of a treasure and it was made in silver, belonging to the exact same culture, exact same time found at Peretu, southern Romania.Another one and the only one outside Romania is to be found in exhibit at Detroit Institute of Arts. There is only a total of five known of these apotropaic Geto-Dacian ceremonial helmets so far, four of them displayed in Romania and discovered at Poiana Cotofenesti, Baiceni, Agighiol and Peretu.The last one at DIA was purchased from a collection in Vienna, where it previously fled the country under "arguable" conditions.

 

 http://prehistoire.e-monsite.com/album-cat-1-54609.html

 http://badaew.narod.ru/trakian/Helmets.htm

 

Treasure of Peretu
National History Museum Bucharest

In 1971 Alexander Tran from the Peretu village, Teleorman county (Southern Romania) discovered in the area called "The Springs" a Thraco-Getic tomb about 2,500 years old. In tomb it was buried a figure of the local aristocracy. The tomb had two chambers: in the first there was a human skeleton surrounded by various items of pottery, iron knives, arrowheads, gilded silver objects, bronze vessels. In the second room it was discovered that the warrior was not buried alone: ​​there were the skeletons of two horses, two hunting dogs, a cow and a car with four iron wheels. Overall more than 50 gold plated silver objects, including a gilded silver helmet about. 750 grams. Most of the pieces are currently exhibited at the National Museum of History.

 

PERETU HELMET , ROMANIA

Peretu silver-gilt helmet, 4th century BC, alt. 26.5 cm, MINR Inv No 73 865, Item 177 from I Daci 

 

 

      

http://www.cjteleorman.ro/ro/judet/harta/photos/Coiful%20de%20argint%20aurit(sec.%20IV%20i.Hr),Peretu.jpg

 

 

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_7S-0oWrx8aQ/RxzNF813xyI/AAAAAAAAADM/I-TFXt6FCQ0/s1600/peretu.jpg

 

AGIGHIOL "COTYS"TREASURE

 

The Treasure of Agighiol
National History Museum Bucharest

Found in 1931 a tomb of a Dacian prince not far form Histria (Dobruja). In the outher chamber were found the skeletons of horses, with the hammered silver plaques of their rich harness. The inner chamber contained the entire silver treasure of the prince himself. One of the vases is inscribed "Cotys", prince's name. The tomb and treasure are from 4th century BCE.

 

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1442520

 

 
Text and photos at: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=703

AGIGHIOL HELMET, ROMANIA  

 

HelmetAL.png Captain helm image by arnspac

http://media.photobucket.com/image/Thracian%20Silver%20helmets/arnspac/Dacian/HelmetAL.png

 

 

Agighiol silver gilt helmet, 5th century BC, "alt. 8cm" , MNIR inv. Nos 11181  Item 150 from I Daci 

http://badaew.narod.ru/trakian/Helmets_files/Agighiol.jpg 

http://badaew.narod.ru/trakian/Helmets_files/Agighiol.jpg

http://forums.totalwar.org/vb/showthread.php?122736-Preview-The-Getai&p=2053221708&viewfull=1

 Muzeul Naţional de Istorie a României

 Coif de argint - aurit, ciocanire, Tezaur Agighiol
Î = 270 mm, greutate / Weight: 743 g

Datare / Dating: 1/2 sec. IV a. Chr.

Calota elipsoidală, cu deschidere dreptunghiulară pentru faţă. Pe obrăzare şi apărătoarea de ceafă călăreţi suprapuşi de palmete în cârlionţi şi spirale. Pe frunte doi ochi apotropaici. La baza calotei friză de arcade, bandă îngustă şi haşurată, friză de palmete. Degradări fizico-chimice; deformare mecanică. Produşi de coroziune ai argintului. Piesa a fost restaurată prin lipirea de fragmente cu răşină; consolidarea în interior s-a făcut prin dublare cu o calotă de răşină.(apud. www.cimec.ro)


Cele două obrăzare ale coifului sunt împodobite identic cu un călăreţ avansând către fată si atacând cu suliţa. Pe apărătoarea de ceafa se află alţi doi călăreţi identici, dar orientaţi în sensuri opuse, având drept centru de simetrie o rozetă şi secondând astfel fiecare pe cel de pe obrăzar. În faţa urechilor stilizate se află câte patru şuviţe de păr lucrate în maniera podoabei capilare a pulparelor, dar net diferită de felul de redare a părului pe pulparul de la Vraţa (Bulgaria).

Natura profană a călăreţilor de pe coif mi se pare întru totul evidentă. Transformarea imaginii umane în motiv decorativ repetitiv pledează tocmai în acest sens. Pe partea exterioară a pulparului drept sunt încă două reprezentări antropomorfe. Sus, un călăreţ cu arcul în mână, iar jos poate acelaşi principe, şezând pe tron, cu şoimul în mâna dreaptă şi ritonul în formă de corn în stânga. Ritonul pare ferecat în benzi de metal preţios. Relatând întâlnirea dintre Dromihete si Lisimah, Diodor din Sicilia precizează: „În cele din urmă, puse să le toarne macedonenilor vin în cupe de argint şi de aur, pe câtă vreme el şi tracii lui beau vinul în pahare de corn şi de lemn, aşa cum obişnuiesc geţii" (XXI, 12, 5).

Chiar dacă afirmaţia lui Diodor poate fi doar un topos cu valoare moralizatoare, şi nu numai o dovadă despre tezaurele getice de veselă din aur şi argint (în acest caz e bine că ştim de eventualitatea existenţei unui tezaur princiar la nord de Dunăre, format din vase de băut, aidoma celui de la Rogozen, dar ulterior acestuia cu poate câteva decenii). Iată deci ritonurile de corn getice atestate mult mai devreme decât momentul la care se referă Diodor, ele având a dăinui, alături de alte produse de valoare ale toreuticii geto-dacice aflate în tezaurele lui Decebal, până la cucerirea romană.

apud Mihai Gramatopol

 

AGIGHIOL GREAVE, ROMANIA

 

Agighiol getian grave (details) with tattooed face

  http://www.gebeleizis.org/tracic/6.htm 

 

Getian Greave from Mogilanska Mogila-Vratsa-Bulgaria

http://heritage-key.com/site/national-museum-history-bulgaria

 

Sofia - Mogilanska Mogila Funeral Offering

Key Dates
350
BC

This Thracian greave - or cnemis, plated armour that protects the shin of the leg, from knee to ankle - was found at a the burial of a Thracian noble at the Mogilanska Mogila tumulus at Vratsa. The silver cnemis has extremely expressive eyes, and is partly plated in gold.  The burials and the knemida are dated to the 4th century BC.

The silver greave's upper part has the shape of a woman`s head - possibly the portrait a goddess, with a tatooed face. The spirals suggest she wore her hair in the Achaemenidian style. On one cheek, there are gilded stripes. The wreath of ivy leaves on the goddess`s brow is also gilded. The goddess' hair evolves into two lion figures. Beneath these, are four snakes, two with lion heads, the other two with griffin heads..

 

Thracian-Getian Greave from Golyamata Mogila-BULGARIA

Sofia - Greave from Golyamata Mogila

This silver-gilted Thracian greave - or cnemis, plated armour that protects the shin of the leg, from knee to ankle - was found at a the burial of a Thracian noble at the Golyamata Mogila tumulus.

The Big Tumulus at Golyamata Mogila is part of the Sboryanovo Archaeological Reserve, and situated between the villages of Zlatinitsa and Malomirovo in the Yambol region. 

It is dated to the mid 4th century BC.

A quite similar - although more heavily decorated - greave was discovered at the Mogilanska Mogila at Vratsa in the sixties.

http://www.kroraina.com/thracia/gk/

http://www.kroraina.com/thracia/gk/

http://download.academic.ro/columna/polus/Coif_Agighiol.jpg

 
http://heritage-key.com/world/odrysian-armour-and-helmet-golyamata-mogila

This 359 BC warrior dress was part of the burial gifts of an Odrysian Aristocrat, discovered in Golyamata Mogila. The Big Tumulus at Golyamata Mogila is part of the Sboryanovo Archaeological Reserve, and situated between the villages of Zlatinitsa and Malomirovo in the Yambol region.  

The finds are dated to the mid 4th century BC and consists of a bronze helmet of the Chalkidean type with unique decorations of coiled snake and an iron, scaled armour.

The burial also contained swords, spears and bronze arrow heads.

 

350 BC

This silver-gilded rhyton was part of the burial gifts of an Odrysian Aristocrat, discovered was found at a the burial of a Thracian noble at the Golyamata Mogila tumulus.
The Big Tumulus at Golyamata Mogila is part of the Sboryanovo Archaeological Reserve, and situated between the villages of Zlatinitsa and Malomirovo in the Yambol region.
The Thracian Rhyton  is decorated with a hunting scene. It is dated to the mid 4th century BC.

Discovered at: Sboryanovo Archaeological Reserve
On display at: National Museum of History Bulgaria
http://heritage-key.com/world/silver-rhyton-golyamata-mogila

 

 

Horseman in scale armor, from  Letnitsa -Bulgaria

 

 



Letnitsa gilt sliver applique, first half of fourth century shows in details the scale armor of the Thracian warrior.


Horseman in scale armor, from a Letnitsa -Bulgaria silver-gilt plaque c. 400 - 350 BC

 http://ancient-treasure.info/thracian-treasures/letnitsa-silver-treasure.htmltedindex=3&ccid=rsBLFREk&simid=608004624895706725&thid=JN.xg%2Fl4KL8pVXuQ6vFbSNGvQ&mode=overlay&first=1

 

 

 The Letnitsa (now in  Bulgaria) treasure was an accidental discovery.

In 1963 workers from a farm in the village of Letnitsa decided to build a new sheep house. While digging, at 50–60 centimeters, they came across a bronze vessel turned upside down. It was full of little silver items, some of them decorated with gold. They shared the treasure. Later on the curator of the museum of the near town of Lovech collected the items with the help of the doctor of the village, who witnessed the unearthing.

Save the silver items, some of which were very small, typical for the horse trappings from the 4th century BC, there was a well-preserved rein. It consisted of two iron braces, which were used to hold the bridle to the halter, and a bit-chain.

The cycle of illustrations of historic scenes on a group of plaques is very interesting. On some plaques the protagonist is represented as a horseman fighting and defeating bears and wolves, on other he is throwing his spear, followed by his servant.

The Letnitsa treasure plaques throw some light on the mythology of the ancient Thracians and their believes, which allows us to take a look at the culture and conception of world of these distant predecessors.

The Letnitsa treasure is exhibited in the National Archaeological Museum in Sofia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=Gold+treasure+from++Letnitsa+-Bulgaria&view=detailv2&&id=073137EC75E1FF6494E3AD08417FF8E9C53FA3C2&selectedIndex=6&ccid=ZXaywFi0&simid=608042613880590129&thid=JN.ljjHazkljiLxRCzbMdUgyg&ajaxhist=0

 

n.

  CUCUTENI-BAICENI HELMET 

 

     

http://art-historia.blogspot.com/2010/10/sergiu-decebal-si-coiful-de-aur.html

http://art-historia.blogspot.com/2010/10/sergiu-decebal-si-coiful-de-aur.html 

 Cucuteni Baiceni Getian gold helmet: 

drawing of a gold helmet from Baicheni, Romania, Fig. 16 from "Ancient Gold..." by Vladimir Dumitrescu & Alexandru Vulpe, Dacia Before Dromichaites, Bucharest, 1988, figure 33at: http://badaew.narod.ru/trakian/Helmets.htm
 Tezaurul de la Băiceni este deci getic prin însăşi existenţa coifului de aur (piesă de armură caracteristică exclusiv traco-geţilor). Coifurile de luptă getică din bronz, de o tipologie aparte, şi-au sporit în ultima vreme numărul exemplarelor cunoscute, începând cu cel de la Mastiughino, descoperit pe cuprinsul marii enclave getice din sudul Ucrainei si continuând cu cel de la Găvani (Brăila), ambele din sec. IV î.e.n., şi coiful de la Popeşti (sec. II-I î.e.n.). Este firesc ca în zonele de contact geto-scitice sau daco-celtice să existe unele contaminări stilistice de amănunt, dar este tot atât de firesc, după cum am mai spus, ca aceste „influenţe" anistorice să fie lipsite de repercusiuni în faţa prestigiului şi puternicei realităţi a iradiaţiei elenice şi a fenomenului creaţiei interpretative de tip istoric pe care aceasta îl generează.



Figuraţia zoo- şi antropomorfă a coifului de la Băiceni suscită cel puţin două precizări. Prima ţine de domeniul gramaticii decoraţiei. Editorii tezaurului (M. Petrescu-Dâmboviţa şi M. Dinu în Arheologia Moldovei..) au văzut pe obrăzarul stâng doi şerpi cu capete de pasăre, dar capetele sunt în acest caz orientate de aceeaşi parte cu cozile, fapt ce contravine principiilor generale ale decora-tivisticii. Partea superioară a obrăzarului fiind deosebit de deteriorată, este foarte posibil ca şerpii să aibă capete de dragon, ciocurile (mai mult de „zburătoare de balcon" decât de răpitoare) să fie de fapt urechi, iar boturile căscate să se constituie în modalitate de continuitate a acoladei de deasupra bucraniului (craniului de bou).
A doua precizare se referă la personajul masculin reprezentat şezând, pe obrăzarul drept. In mâna dreaptă el ţine o cupă conică cu fundul rotunjit (mastos), exemplar premergător al celor lucrate în argint, similare şi foarte frecvente în tezaurele geto-dacice târzii (sec. I î.e.n. - sec. I e.n.). Atare cupe rituale îşi au nenumărate replici miniaturale în lut (cam de două ori mărimea unui degetar), descoperite în aşezările dacice contemporane tezaurelor târzii. Ritonul ţinut în mâna stângă are protomă de bovideu şi corpul lis (necanelat nici transversal, nici longitudinal). El ar fi de obârşie greacă, de tipul celui de la Poroina (decorat într-o fază mult ulterioară de toreutul traco-get, cu patru personaje feminine realizate în manieră artizanală, două din ele ţinând în mână câte un riton cu cap similar, dar cu caneluri longitudinale).
Atitudinea personajului de pe coiful de la Băiceni ar fi, după cum s-a mai spus, apoteotică. L-am vedea deci pe însuşi principele tronând în faţa supuşilor, învestit cu atributele preoţiei supreme. In general reprezentările antropomorfe de pe piesele de armură ale marilor tezaure timpurii (cu puţine excepţii certe) nu sunt susceptibile de a fi interpretate ca imagini ale unor divinităţi.

apud Mihai Gramatopol


 

Idol from Gumelnita culture with apotropaic eyes decorum

 

 

http://cercetati.blogspot.com/2011/06/muzeul-national-de-istorie-camera.html 

 


 

DETROIT INSTITUTE OF ART GETIAN HELMET

 

http://www.enciclopedia-dacica.ro/armata_daca/coifuri_05.jpg

Portile de Fier Silver Helmet, now at the Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, Michigan, SUA

http://badaew.narod.ru/trakian/Helmets.htm
North Thracian-Getic  Silver Helmet, ca. 400 B.C.; ; height 24 cm (9 1/2 in.), Detroit Institute of the Arts
 
 
 


(Text from the DIA web site): The richly ornamented helmet was fashioned for a wealthy member of a northern Thracian tribe living near the Danube river in modern Romania or Bulgaria. It was hammered from one sheet of silver with a high dome to accommodate the top-knot of hair worn by many Thracians.

The main elements of the design are in low relief; the details were chased and engraved. On the brow piece fierce eyes with bushy eyebrows stare out. One cheek piece bears a horned animal, the other a huge bird of prey with a fish in its beak and a rabbit in its claws. The back and upper edges are embellished with linear designs of rosettes, vines, feathers and scallops. The interpretation of the imagery is uncertain, but the motifs may refer to traditional myths well known to contemporary Thracians and appropriate to the elaborate armor of a warrior
 
Coiful de la Institutul de artă din Detroit, ca si vasul-riton de la Metropolitan Museum, New York, au intrat în respectivele muzee americane din binecunoscuta colecţie vieneză Trau. 

 

 
 


Text for Skythian images from The Skythians 700-300 BC by Dr E V Cernenko & Angus McBride, Osprey Men-at-Arms Series, London, 1986
 
 
 
 
Beaker with birds and animals, 4th century b.c.
Thraco-Geti style
Lower Danube region, Thrace
Silver
H. 7 3/8 in. (18.7 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1947 (47.100.88)

The ancient land of Thrace encompassed a large area now divided into Bulgaria, southern Romania, eastern Yugoslavia, northeastern Greece, and parts of European Turkey. The first inhabitants of Thrace came from the northern part of Europe and appeared at least as early as the second millennium B.C. Thracian tribes of the mid-first millennium B.C. adopted some of the decorative traditions and nomadic habits of their Scythian neighbors to the east, but they had closer cultural relations with European prehistoric peoples and preserved many of the traditions of the European Bronze Age. From the mid-first millennium, such objects as ceremonial helmets, armor, cups, and ornamental gear for horses—worked from silver and sometimes gilded—have been discovered in graves and in chance finds that must have been the buried hoards of Thracian princes and chiefs.

This silver beaker is a fine example of fourth-century B.C. Thracian workmanship. It probably was made in the region of present-day Romania or Bulgaria, as similar beakers have been found in a princely tomb at Agighiol, near the delta of the Danube in eastern Romania. The beaker is raised from a single piece of silver with stamped, chased, and repoussé decoration. A horned bird of prey holds a fish in its beak and clutches what seems to be a hare in its claws. The bird is flanked by one horned and two antlered animals, and, facing the large bird, a tiny bird of prey hovers over the horned animal. Almost opposite the large bird is a staglike creature with eight legs. His antlers extend into a border of tines ending in bird heads that circle the upper portion of the cup. Around both the rim and the base of the beaker runs a pattern of overlapping semicircles; below, the pattern is fringed with scrolling that suggests waves. On the bottom of the cup a winged, griffinlike monster chews an animal leg and grasps a small beast in its clawed feet.

Although certain contemporary Scythian and Iranian stylistic influences can be seen, the iconography of these scenes is clearly Thracian and probably refers to a native myth or legend. The monstrous bird of prey with land and water creatures in its grasp appears to symbolize dominance over land and water, while the eight-legged stag probably represents a fabulous capacity for speed. Scholars have suggested that its placement on the side of the cup opposite the bird of prey may indicate that the stag is always free from the bird's domination. Though a precise interpretation of the iconography remains uncertain, scholars also have suggested that these animals were symbols associated with a heroic ruler and served as protective spirits, avatars, and tribal totems.



Source: Beaker with birds and animals [Thraco-Geti style] (47.100.88) | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art 
 
 http://www.eliznik.org.uk/EastEurope/History/treasure&tombs.htm
 
 
 

Style and Subject Matter in Native Thracian Art

by AE Farkas - 1981 - Cited by 2 - Related articles
cup in The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Figures 1-. 5) and a silver helmet in the Detroit Institute of Arts. (Figures 6-10).4 These splendid objects (and a ...
www.jstor.org/stable/1512767
 

 

Figure 20: Two views of a Thracian helmet, bronze, 4th century. after my own sketches of no. 247 in the British Museum Thracian Treasures exhibition of 1976

 

Thracian helmet from Moldavia, plate 6 from JGP Best, Thracian Peltasts and their Influence on Greek Warfare.  (Moldavian Museum of History and Regional Geography)

 Left: bronze Thracian  Helmet, plate 101 (page107) from Hoddinott, found in Kovachevitsa, east of the upper Nestos valley.  Height overall 39cm, helmet only 23.7cm. "The form follows the style of Thracian headgear, perhaps a legacy of the Otomani flame symbol."

Above: Thracian helmet from the Kazanluk plain - the 'Sashova mogila' Tomb, late 2nd c. B.C. The helmet is somewhat earlier- of 3rd c. BC, possibly.

 

Dacian Helmets

Dacian helmet design was influenced heavily from the East. The more wealthy soldiers often wore Phrygian style helmets.

        

 Reprezentarea unui razboinic geto-dac pe un sigiliu.

O incercare de traducere a textului de pe sigiliu o gasim la Branislav Stefanoski si AL.Dabija ,, Din arhivele Daciei,,

 

 

These were characterized by a foreward facing knobby projection at the top. Their allies, the Sarmatians, were fond of dome-shaped helmets formed from several strips of metal welded together. Presumably, this helmet could also have been worn by the Dacians. The helmets above are depicted on the the base of Trajan's Column.

 

 

GAVANI

Bronze attic helmet and silver applied harness ornaments, discovered in a princely tomb; the Geto-Dacian period; cca 350-300 BC. Braila Muzeum, Archeology

 

 

 

Military Organization

 The Holy Men

Getai did not go to war without music:

Thereupon those priests of the Goths (Getai) that are called the Holy Men suddenly opened the gates of Odessus and came forth to meet them. They bore harps and were clad in snowy robes, and chanted in suppliant strains to the gods of their fathers that they might be propitious and repel the Macedonians. When the Macedonians saw them coming with such confidence to meet them, they were astonished and, so to speak, the armed were terrified by the unarmed. Straightway they broke the line they had formed for battle and not only refrained from destroying the city, but even gave back those whom they had captured outside by right of war. Then they made a truce and returned to their own country.

 The Generals

The kings and nobles of the Thracian tribes were followed into war by a bodyguard of fierce, well equipped warriors recruited from among the nobility of the Thracian tribes. In the Hellenistic Period these are heavy cavalry, modelled on the hetairoi of the Hellenistic kingdoms. Like them, these heavy cavalry form an elite cavalry to be deployed as a reserve, or in the decisive moment of battle. The Getai and Odrysai were famed for having the best and most numerous cavalry, unlike the warlike hill tribes like the Dioi and Bessoi, which relied upon their infantry. The traditional formation of these cavalry was the wedge, which the Macedonians famously adopted in their own cavalry in the time of Phillip II and Alexander the Great.

 

Heavy cavalry

The Getai heavy cavalry were equipped in a manner akin to the Sarmatians, with a lance somewhat like the Sarmatian "kontos", and lorica as armour or a bronze cuirass. This reflects the great influence that the Scythian-Sarmatian peoples of the Steppe had upon the Getai of northern Thrace. The Getai lorica was different from that of the Sarmatians, however, as the armour resembled a shirt covering only the chest and the arms to the elbow and belly going down to the knees. These cavalrymen wore helmets made of metal or hard leather. The forward part of the helmet was inclined towards the front. Some of them had in their back an extension that covered part of the back of the neck. The helmets had also lots of drawings and ornaments.

Light cavalry

The Getai light cavalry were used as skirmishers and in ambushes. They were ideal for hit and run tactics and as scouts. They were lightly armed, carrying only a bundle of javalines and a sword and small shield for protection they relied mainly on speed and mobility.
 
The Horse Archers
 
 The Getai were master archers with the composite bow, another indicator of the influence of the neighbouring Scythians and Sarmatians upon the Getai. By the third century BC, the composite bow was spreading around the mouth of the Danube brought here by the Scythian tribes. As a secondary weapon, these men carry only a knife or a short "sica" for close fighting, a situation they try and avoid.
 
The Falxmen

The falxmen were the shock troops of the Getai army. Often half naked and carrying such a fearsome weapon that can cut a man in two, these warriors armed with the dreaded falx were used to carve a way through their opponents’ lines and inspire fear amongst the enemy.

Chosen Warriors

The Getai  “Chosen Warriors”, were the best troops available to a tribal chieftain. They were not nobles but arose from a humble status to become a feared warrior by proving themselves in combat. Supplied by the nobles, whom they served, or from raids they were equipped in full panoply of war, with items such as greaves, helmets, shields, a long sword or a sica, javelins, and a spear. Their experience and equipment made them a good match for any enemy they encountered.
 
The Komati Swordsmen
 
They  represent the first attempt to create a professional state army. These warriors were recruited from among the Komati and were trained and supplied by the Geto-Dacian state. Although not heavily armed they carried a shield for protection, a couple of javelins, and a curved sword. And even if they were not the best of the warriors, they formed a reliable line of infantry.

The Slingers

Getai slingers were in many ways typical to their counterparts in the Ancient world. Being at the lowest level in their society they were part of the Komati class. They carried little importance in their society, but on the battlefield even the tiniest pebble can turn a battle. They usually carried several slings used for various distances and projectiles either from lead or stone, the lead projectiles being usually sharpened at both ends. For protection they usually had only a small leather or wooden shield, and a knife for close combat. They were best used to pin down an enemy line and then rapidly withdrawn, as they were very vulnerable in melee combat.

Although the Getai Warband lacked discipline, they did form a capable unit, being determined to defend their homes and families: “… here the unfortunate peasant is holding in one hand a plough and in the other the weapon, the shepherd has a helmet on his head and he is singing from his two whistles stuck with resin and here the poor flock are scared more of wars than of wolves …” (Ovidius).
 
 
The Javelinemen
 
Like all Thracians the Getai had a strong tradition in light infantry warfare. The Peltastai followed the same patterns as their southern Thracian counterparts in terms of weaponry and deployment. Their ranks were made up of Komati, the poorer class in Getic society so they were lighly armed, usually carrying several javelines, and a knife or a sword for close combat. They wore no armor except their shields so were at a great disadvantage if caught in melee. These warriors' greatest defence was their speed and mobility, which made them ideal for hit and run tactics or ambushes.
 
The Draco Bearer
 

The Draco was one of the best known symbols in the Geto-Dacian era. The earliest evidence of the Draco in Dacia was found on a pottery piece from Prahova county in Romania, dating from the 4th century BC. The Draco had a wolf’s head and the body of a snake. The head was made from bronze and the body from linen and held on a rod. It probably made a whistling sound that resembled a wolf’s howl.

It was originally developed by the Steppe people such as the Sarmatians and Alans and was adopted by the Roman cavalry sometime after they conquered the Dacians.

http://forums.totalwar.org/vb/showthread.php?128038-RTR-VII-Preview-II-(The-Balkans-Part-One-and-The-Getai) 

 

Three Silver Objects from Thrace: A Technical Examination

 
 
PIETER MEYERS
Senior Research Chemist, Conservation Center, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art 1982
METROPOLITAN MUSEUM JOURNAL 16
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve, and extend access to
Metropolitan Museum Journal
www.jstor.org
 
THE MAIN PURPOSE of the technical examination, arried out in New York at The Metropolitan Museum f Art, was twofold: first, to confirm the authenticity
of a Thracian silver helmet in the collection f the Detroit Institute of Arts (Figure 1);second, to compare the technical characteristics of the helmet
with those of a silver cup in the collection of the Metropolitan
Museum (Figure 2).
1 The decorations on these objects are sufficiently similar to suggest a relationship,one that might be proved or disproved on the basis of the technical evidence. A third object, a silver vase from the Detroit Institute of Arts (Figure 4), was also examined, mainly because it had been acquired
along with the helmet and was thought to have been part of the same treasure.
The study consisted of two parts: the determination of the methods of manufacture and surface haracteristics through visual and microscopic examination; and the determination of the elemental composition
through neutron activation analysis of small amples extracted from the objects.
For the latter purpose, samples were obtained by hand drilling, using
a small, high-speed, stainless-steel drill bit. After he surface drillings were discarded, samples weighing bout 1 milligram were collected.
1. At the time the examination was undertaken, the writer
was Senior Research Chemist at The Metropolitan Museum of
Art. A discussion of the helmet, cup, and related Thracian objects
precedes this article; see A. E. Farkas, "Style and Subject
Matter in Native Thracian Art," MMJ 16/1981 (1982) pp. 33-8.
HELMET
The Detroit Institute of Arts, 56.18
Dimensions
WEIGHT: 811 gm.
HEIGHT: 24 cm.
Figure 1
DEPTH: measured at exterior surfaces, from back to front: 20.1 cm.
WIDTH: measured at exterior surfaces, from ear to ear: 18.7 cm
THICKNESS OF METAL: at bottom edge: 3.8-4.9 mm., on average 4.4
mm. just above edge: 0.98-1.43 mm.
at 5 cm. above edge: 0.42-0.52 mm.
at o1 cm. above edge: 0.50-0.58 mm.
at io cm. below top: 0.52-0.62 mm.
near top: 0.55-0.62 mm.
Method of Manufacture
The helmet is hammered from one piece of silver; original hammering marks are still visible on the interior   surface. The bottom edge is thickened over the entire area. The decoration is produced by chasing  and engraving on the outside; some areas of decoration appear to be slightly raised above the surface by repousse.
Most lines were made with a pointed chasing tool. Chisel marks are visible in the curved lines. A pointed engraver was used to produce the elongated punches that indicate the hair of the animals. Other chasing marks that can be identified are solid dots with a diameter of 1.1 millimeter and squares framing open circles. The latter tool mark (1.2 x 1.2 mm.) appears
in the horns of the goatlike animal on the left side of the helmet (Figures 1, 5, 6), and will be discussed  further below.
1. Helmet, Thracian, 4th century B.C. Silver, H. 24 cm.
The Detroit Institute of Arts, Sarah Bacon Hill Fund,
56.18 (photo: Detroit Institute of Arts)
Condition
The helmet has suffered various losses as a result of mechanical deformation and embrittlement of the silver metal. There is a large loss on the forehead;
two smaller losses have occurred on the proper right side near the ear, and two on the proper left side in he area near the ear and between the ear and forehead respectively. Many large and smaller cracks occur in various places on the helmet.
The deformations have been restored in recent times, when solder repairs were also made at breaks  and major cracks. These repairs are clearly visible on the inside of the helmet.
Of interest are the repairs on and around the break across the proper right cheekpiece, from the top of the space reserved for the ear to the space reserved for the eyes. Two repairs can be seen, each consisting of a roughly cut support strip of silver (2.5 x 1.3 cm., approximately 1 mm. thick). Each strip is fastened to the helmet by two rivets, one on each side of the break.
These repairs may well be ancient and were probably made relatively soon after the helmet was manufactured.
They are certainly quite different from the recent older repairs, which in parts have been applied over them.
The metal shows clear evidence of a long-term process of natural corrosion. In many areas the surface is etched and pitted, exhibits small cracks, and
contains numerous scratches in random directions.
Evidence of wear can be observed, in particular at the  edges of lines and tool marks. It is evident that the
surface has been extensively cleaned, probably by
mechanical means. Traces of black corrosion remain
visible in lines of decoration.
A circular hole (diameter, varying from 4 to 5 mm.)
exists in each of the cheekpieces, located in the lower
portion just in front of the space reserved for the ear.
They are conical in shape with a diameter decreasing
from exterior to interior. Their function is unknown
but it may be worth noting that the edges of these
holes are worn uniformly, not in any particular direction.
Elemental Analysis
The following samples were extracted for neutron
activation analysis:
SAMPLE 1: from interior, proper left side, near
edge of space reserved for left ear, 4 cm. above
bottom edge;
SAMPLE 2: from corresponding area on proper
right side;
SAMPLE 3: in ancient repair on interior of proper
right cheek, from lower rivet, below ear;
SAMPLE 4: from supporting strip, next to site of
sample 3.
The results are given in Table i.
50
7
'
'F
~- A
14
2. Cup, Thracian, 4th century B.C. Silver, H. 18.7 cm.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund,
47.100.88
CUP Figure 2
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 47. 10.88
Dimensions
WEIGHT: 506.8 gm.
HEIGHT: 18.7 cm.
DIAMETER: at rim: 14.8-15.2 cm.
at bottom: 11.5-11 .8 cm.
at 6 cm. above bottom: approx. 8.3 cm.
WIDTH OF RIM: 0.5-0.6 cm.
THICKNESS OF METAL: on average 0.42 mm.
Method of Manufacture
The cup is hammered from one piece of silver. The
rim has been thickened by folding the upper edge and
hammering down the double layer of silver (Figure
3).
The relief decoration is produced by repousse; the
design is applied by chasing and engraving. The
chased semicircles in the band just below the rim were
repunched over a similar, partly obliterated design,
whose initial misalignment may have been the cause
for redecoration.
Tool marks include a centering mark in the bottom
(diameter, 1.3 mm.), chisel marks in curved lines, solid
dots (diameter, 1.3-1.5 mm.), elongated punches by
a pointed engraver (used to indicate the hair of animals),
and squares framing open circles (discussed
below). There are crudely incised Greek letters,
probably modern, on the underside of the vessel.
Condition
The silver is in relatively good condition, except for
losses which have probably resulted from mechanical
deformation. These losses occur in the bottom and in
the center and upper part of the vessel. Many breaks
and cracks can be observed, especially in the areas near
missing metal. Deformation, breaks, and major cracks
have been restored. Solder repairs are visible on the
inside of the cup.
The surface of the metal is not seriously affected
by corrosion, although evidence of a long-term natural
corrosion process is apparent (slight pitting, randomly
distributed scratches, and wear, especially on
the edges of tool marks). The exterior of the vessel
has been cleaned, probably by mechanical means.
Traces of black corrosion still remain, predominantly
in the lines of decoration. The interior exhibits a thin
brownish-gray layer of corrosion.
Elemental Analysis
The following sample was extracted for neutron activation
analysis:
SAMPLE 5: from inside rim.
The results are reported in Table i.
<0.5-0.6cm>
INTERIOR EXTERIOR
3. Cross-section of rim of cup (drawing: Meyers)
51
4. Vase, Thracian, 4th century B.C. Silver, H
The Detroit Institute of Arts, William H.
Fund, 58.160 (photo: Detroit Institute of Al
VASE
The Detroit Institute of Arts, 58.160
Dimensions
WEIGHT: 233 gm.
HEIGHT: 17 cm.
DIAMETER: at top: 9.2-9.4 cm.
LARGESTD IAMETERa:t 6 cm. from bottom: 1
THICKNESS: at rim: 2 mm.
at 3 cm. below rim: 0.22-0.30 mm.
Condition
The metal is thin but only slightly corroded and
moderately brittle. It appears that before restoration
the vase was considerably deformed and probably
broken. Its shape has been restored, although small
irregularities still exist; a break around the entire circumference
at the base of the neck has been soldered.
The surface has been cleaned, probably mechanically.
Black corrosion still remains visible in the
lines of decoration and in small patches on the surface.
Elemental Analysis
The following sample was extracted for neutron activation
analysis:
SAMPLE 6: from inside rim.
The results are reported in Table i.
CONCLUSIONS
The technical evidence produced in this investigation
strongly supports the authenticity of the helmet, the
cup, and the vase. The nature and extent of the corrosion
of the silver, together with the wear and randomly
distributed scratches visible on the surface, are
indicative of a long-term natural process. The elemental
compositions are consistent with the suggested
period of manufacture and not with modern
silver alloys. There is no evidence of a recent date of
manufacture, nor is there any indication that any part
17 cm. of the decoration was applied recently to an ancient
Murphy vessel
~rts) vessel.
A metallographic study of cross-sections of the metal
could conceivably have provided further evidence of
the method of manufacture, the nature of the corro-
Figure 4 sion, and the presence of slag particles and other impurities.
The majorjustification for such a study would
be for authentication purposes by the examination of
discontinuous precipitation of copper in the silver.
However, owing to the low concentration levels of
copper,2 this phenomenon is not expected to have occurred,
and therefore no metallography was performed.
1c4m . A careful examination of the tool marks leads to
the conclusion that at least one common tool was used
in applying decoration to the helmet and the cup. The
mark in question appears on the helmet in the horns
of the goatlike animal (Figures 5, 6) and more abun-
2. F. Schweizer and P. Meyers, "A New Approach to the Authenticity
of Ancient Silver Objects: The Discontinuous Precipitation
of Copper from a Silver-Copper Alloy," Archaeo-Physika
o1, Proceedings of the 18th International Symposium on Archaeometry
and Archaeological Prospection (Bonn, 1978) pp.
287-298.
52
5-7. Details of Thracian helmet and cup showing the
marks made by a single chasing tool, with a nicked
corner on the outside square and a pointed nipple
on the inside circle, evidence that both objects were
made in the same workshop
5, 6. Details of horns of animal on Thracian helmet
(Figure 1); cf. Figure 7
7. Detail of border of bird heads
(Figure 2); cf. Figures 5 and 6
on Thracian cup
dantly on the cup in the border of bird heads (Figure
7), on the large bird, and on the antlers and feet of
the animals. Each mark is roughly square on the outside
(1.2 x 1.2 mm.) and round on the inside (diameter,
approximately 0.95 mm.). The mark shows two
imperfections: a nicked corner of the square, and a
pointed nipple on the circle, 135? counterclockwise
from the nicked corner (see arrows in Figures 5 and
7). There is no doubt that a single tool produced the
marks on both objects. Other marks, such as those
used for the hair of the animals on the helmet and
the cup, are very alike and may indeed be identical;
but they do not exhibit sufficiently distinct characteristics
for us to state with confidence that they were
produced by the same tool. However, the fact that at
least one common tool was used indicates that both
helmet and cup were made in the same workshop,
possibly but not necessarily by the same person. In
favor of the attribution to a single silversmith is the
similarity of workmanship, evident in the execution
of the design, inaccuracies in chasing and engraving
of lines and in other elements of the decoration,
overlapping punches, and so on. On the other hand,
there are differences, such as the much higher relief
in the cup, to suggest that more than one person may
have been involved in the manufacture of the two
objects.
Further evidence of their relationship is found in
the elemental compositions (Table 1). The silver of
both the helmet and the cup is characterized by low
copper contents, virtually identical gold contents, and
53
TAB L E Elemental Compositions
Elemental compositions of samples weighing approximately 0.5 milligrams were determined
by neutron activation analysis at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Concentrations of silver,
copper, and gold were obtained by instrumental methods; the reported concentrations for
these elements are based upon the assumption that silver, copper, and gold are the only elements
present in significant concentrations. The elements iridium, zinc, tin, arsenic, antimony,
selenium, iron, cobalt, and mercury were determined by a neutron activation analysis technique
that included chemical separations. A more detailed description of the analytical techniques,
with discussions of the accuracy and significance of the reported data, can be found in
the literature.
extremely low iridium contents.4 The similarity in
elemental compositions, especially in the gold and iridium
concentrations and to a lesser extent in the
concentrations of other elements, provides a strong
indication that the silver was produced from a common
ore source. Evidence that the silver used for the
vase, the third object examined, also originated from
the same source is found in the remarkable similarity
between its elemental composition and the compositions
of the helmet and the cup.
Although the vase does not exhibit sufficiently
characteristic technical properties to claim a connection
with the helmet and the cup, its method of man-
3. P. Meyers, L. van Zelst, and E. V. Sayre, "Determination
of Major Components and Trace Elements in Ancient Silver by
Thermal Neutron Activation Analysis," Journal of Radioanalytical
Chemistry 16 (1973) pp. 67-78; idem, "Major and Trace Elements
in Sasanian Silver," Archaeological Chemistry, ed. C. Beck,
Advances in Chemistry Series, 138 (Washington, D.C., 1975) pp.
ufacture and the execution of its design are sufficiently
similar to those of the other two objects to
suggest the possibility of a common date and place of
manufacture.
The elemental compositions of the rivet and the
repair strip in the helmet (samples 3 and 4) differ
considerably from the composition of the helmet itself.
All that can be said is that their moderately low
amounts of copper and relatively high amounts of gold
are unlike modern silver alloys. Although these repairs
were not made from the same silver as the helmet,
their compositions support the suggestion that
they are ancient.
22-33; P. 0. Harper and P. Meyers, Silver Vessels of the Sasanian
Period: I. Royal Imagery (MMA, New York, 1981) pp. 150-163.
4. The iridium concentrations for the helmet, the cup, and
also the vase are below the detection limits of the analytical
method used.
 

Thracian, Getian and Dacian Horses

 
 
 
 
 
 
Thracian horses are usually described as being special in some way or other, contrary to what Snodgrass says in the introduction above.  In the texts below you can read how they were prized for their beauty, and also that they would help bring victory.  Horses were trained and bred for racing, a prerequisite for successful cavalry warfare.

Horse riding epitomized the Thracians. Euripides and Homer called the Thracians "a race of horsemen", and Thrace, the land of the Thracian horsemen (Hecabe p63 Penguin); horses were very important to Thracians, and seem to have been of good quality.
 
Studies of Thracian horses from fourth century tombs show that they were larger than steppe ponies and at least comparable to the breeds on the Greek mainland, which reached 1.34m or 13 hands. The biggest would have been between 1.36 and 1.44m, or 14 hands at the withers, similar to stallions of the Przewalski horse.
 
Horses were trained and bred for racing, a prerequisite for successful cavalry warfare. Xenophon’s On Horsemanship VIII rates Thracian horses to be as good as Persian and Greek horses, and says that the Odrysians habitually ran their horse races downhill.
 

File:Rhesos krater Antikensammlung Berlin 1984.39.jpg

Odysseus and Diomedes stealing the horses of Rhesus. Side A of the “Rhesos krater”Apulian red-figure krater, ca. 340 BC. Darius Painter. Altes Museum, Berlin, Germany

 
In the Iliad a Trojan spy reports that the Thracian king Rhesus has the finest and strongest horses he has ever seen, "whiter than snow and fleeter than any wind that blows." Nestor later agrees, saying he never yet saw or heard of such horses; surely some god must have brought them (Homer, Iliad, X). Theocritus (Idyl xiv. 48) says that the Megarians asked an oracle who were better then they. The extraordinary reply received was: "Better than all other land is the land of Pelasgian Argos, Thracian mares are the best, and the Lacedaemonian women."
 
In Vergil’s Aeneid (12.132), Aneas sought out Thracian horses. At his approach they toss their heads on high, and, proudly neighing, promise victory. Vergil describes three Thracian horses: One had white fetlocks and "a snowy star" on the forehead; another was a piebald, while a third was dappled with white. Horses in the Kazanluk paintings do not have any markings and are different shades of brown, except for a single white horse.
 
 
 

Detail of the delightfully animated Chariot horses on the dome of the Thracian or Getian king at Kazanlik
http://www.flickr.com/photos/23711843@N02/2499069822
 

The horse trappings were well crafted and highly decorative, and horses wearing all the items discovered in Thracian tombs must have made a fine sight. Saddles were not generally used, but the Kazanlik paintings show some brightly colored and patterned Saddle-cloths.
 
http://alex.eled.duth.gr/Istoria/thrace_english/Thracee1_2.htm 

Trajan's Column, Rome: Dacian horse and rider 

http://dacia.org/Dacian_Virtual_Museum/The_Dacians/the_dacians.html

 

 

 

 

  

 

 http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/image?img=1991.08.1004&type=vase&redirect=true

 Mounted warrior at left

Photograph by Maria Daniels, courtesy of the Tampa Museum of Art, October 1991

Tampa 1986.41

Perseus Digital Library Image Copyright Policy

Left: Attic Black Figure Oinochoe from Vulci, Etruria, 510 B.C. Click on the written link at left to see more pictures of this vase at the Perseus site, or click on the picture for a closer view.  Early Thracian heavy cavalry probably looked like this, with the addition of Thracian boots.  The rider is armed with two javelins and wears a Thracian cloak.

Thracian kings and their bodyguard fought as javelin-armed heavy cavalry, with breastplates, helmets, and greaves.  They would charge in wedge formation.  The equipment of northern Thracian cavalry varied markedly from their southern cousins.   There were very few heavy cavalry in Thracian armies.

Xenophon Anabasis 7.4.19 (Loeb)

[7.4.19] Meanwhile, Seuthes came to their aid with seven horsemen of his front line and his Thracian trumpeter. And from the instant he learned of the trouble, through all the time that he was hurrying to the rescue, every moment his horn was kept sounding; the result was, that this also helped to inspire fear in the enemy. When he did arrive, he clasped their hands and said that he had supposed he should find many of them slai

 

 

 

Bubuieci Thesaurus

Bubuieci

Bubuieci Thesaurus 

Studia Antiqua et Archaeologica, VII, Iaşi, 2000

CONSIDÉRATIONS SUR UNE DÉCOUVERTE FAITE AUX ALENTOURS DU VILLAGE BUBUIECI (RÉPUBLIQUE DE MOLDOVA)

TUDOR ARNĂUT, RODICA URSU NANIU (Universite d’Etat de Chişnău)   

 

 

Dans la partie inferieure de ces plaques, on observe des figures humaines (trois – dans le cadre de la premiere de ces plaques, on observe des figures humaines (trois – dans le cadre de la premiere garniture et deux – dans la deuxieme) (pl. 1/1 a). C’est l’image d’un homme avec un visage bien expressif, un peu allonge, avec une barbe accentuee, le nez et la bouche en ligne droite, les yeux en amandes. Le meme visage apparait egalement sur les appliques circulaires. Sur son front il y a une bande en relief, couverte de lignes paralleles, qui pourrait bien representer un ruban pour les cheveux ou une parrure torsionnee. C’est ainsi qu’on a traite la coiffure du personnage central des chemides d’Agighiol (BERCIU 1969 46-48, pl. 13, 14, 15; MARAZOV 1973, 13-19; ALEXANDRESCU 1974, 273-281) et de Vratza (VENEDIKOV 1966, 2-6; 1975), ainsi que celle de la figure humaine sur le sceptre-rython de Peretu (MOSCALU 1986, pl.5; 1989, pl. 46-47; MOSCALU, VOIEVOZEANU 1980, 313). A ce qu’il parait, toutes ces figures humaines ont ete executees d’apres la meme matrice. Au fond, la maniere de representation des animaux et de la figure humaine differe beaucoup de la maniere des Scythes, s’approchant plutot de celle thracique. Des elements decoratifs caracteristiques pour l’art getique et celui sud-thracique s’y ajoutent egalement, comme sont par exemple les bandes hachurees, les cercles en lignes radiales, les demicercles, les boutons, tout comme les similitudes dans la presentation de la figure humaine, ci-dessus mentionnee.  Mais les réprésentations humaines enregistrent des analogies plus proches avec celles de l’art celtique. Elles etaient différentes par raport à celles de l’art thracique ou scythique (le visage allongé, la bouche rectiligne, les yeux en amandes, le menton accentué), ce qui suppose la décoration d’un artiste celte.
Les mêmes traits du visage sont caractéristiques aussi pour le masque humain du Ocniţa, qui date d’une periode plus tardive (BERCIU 1981, 100-101). La présence des Celtes dans la région n’est pas attestée directement dans les sources écrites, mais dans le contexte de la situation sociale –politique de l’espace nord-ouest pontique de la fin du IIIe siècle av. J.-C. et du IIe siècle av. J.-C., ce facteur ne peut pas être négligé (ZIRRA 1976,
175-182; TEODOR 1999, 101-116). Qui était Rhemaxos, qui provoquait aux Thraces de Zoltes tant de peur et quelles populations étaient sous son autorité? Où est localisé sa domination? – ce sont les questions qui ont généré de discussions contradictoires pendant un demi-siècle. En suivant le déroulement logique des événements (le départ de la mission histrienne dirigée par Agathoclés, à la recherche d’une aide, nous sommes disposés de croire que le règne de Rhemaxos se trouvait dans la steppe du Bugeac au sud de Basarabi selon la démonstration incontestable d’I.I. RUSSU (1967, 131-136), de H.DAICOVICIU (1967, 445-446) et de P.O. KARYŠKOVSKIJ (1971, 38-42).D’un autre point de vue, le règne de Rhemaxos a été localisé au Sud de l’interfleuve Dniestr-Danube; il n’est pas exclu que ce soit le roi des Galatai (d’origine celtique ou bastarne) (Ibidem, 48-49) qui ont exercé une grande influence sue l’espace nord-ouest pontique pendant la période entre la chute du royaume celte de Balcani (l’année 216 av. J.-C.) et l’invasion des Bastarnes sur Danube (179 av. J.-C.) (Ibidem, 49-50). On ajoute à tout cela la découverte d’un imposant nombre de fibules celtes dans cette région (ŠČUKIN 1994, 122-139; REDINA 1993, 50-52). Parallèment on atteste la présence d’autres éléments ethniques, qui ont exercité dans cette periode une influence beaucoup plus reduite. D’ailleurs, comment s’explique la pratique de l’inhumation dans le tombeau du Bubuieci, parce que nous connaissons que les Celtes, comme les Gètes pratiquaient l’incinération? Le même rite est attesté également dans les tombeaux tumulaires du IIIe siècle av. J.-C. sur le Dniestr –inférieur, Semjonovka, Velikoploskoe, tombeaux qui sont considérés par les spécialistes comme scythiques.
Il faut signaler aussi la présence du même type d’appliquespendentifs dans les tombeaux du Bubuieci. Si l’attestation de ce type n’est pas un argument notoire pour déterminer l’ethnie du défunt, la pratique d’un certain rite funeraire peut être un élément definitif pour une ethnie. Pour l’instant, on ne peut pas préciser qui a été enterré dans le tombeau de Bubuieci, peut-être que les nouvelles découvertes vont le faire.
Pour conclure, nous voulons mentionner que le tresor du Bubuieci doit etre etudie dans le contexte de la situation ethno-politique dans le bassin de Tyras aux IVe-IIIe siecles av.J.-C., lorsqu’on peut parler d’une cohabitation des  elements getes et scythes.

 There is little doubt concerning the existence of a common ideology for the Getae aristocracy in the area in question, given the existence of a set of common items, images and figurative scenes. Moreover, the way these three types of findings show up on the map, namely in higher numbers in particular areas, suggests the presence of centers of power and authority in those areas.  

 

Rhytonul de la Poroina Mare

 

The silver rhyton from Poroina in Oltenia.

 

Muzeul Naţional de Istorie a României - BUCUREŞTI
Nr. inventar / Accession number
11335
Tip / Type
Rhyton
Titlu/Subtip / Title/Subtype
Rhyton zoomorf
Epoca/Perioada / Epoch/Period
Hallstatt
Etnia/Cultura / Ethnic Group/Culture
Geto - dacică
Material
argint; aur
Tehnică / Technique
batere; au repoussé; placare
Dimensiuni / Dimensions
TL: 916‰; Dmin: 8,60 cm
Greutate / Weight
278,15 g
Datare / Dating
Sec. IV-III a.Chr.
Loc de descoperire / Discovery area
com. Poroina

 

Dacian Swords of Malaya Kopan in Free Dacia

 Mihok L. (Technical University, Košice, Slovakia)

Kotigoroshko V.G. (Uzhgorod National University, Ukraine)

Metallografy of Iron Objects Found on Dacian Settlement Malaya Kopan

 

Dacian hill-fort Malaya Kopan. In present from many archaeologic sites of the Upper Tisza region the most intensive archaeologic research was performed at Dacian settlement found by the village Malaya Kopan, Vinogradovo county.

See location on Google map at:

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ll=48.149138,23.113861&spn=0.157595,0.298691&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=23.875,57.630033&vpsrc=6&t=h&z=11 

http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=48.149138,23.113861&spn=0.175004,0.441513&t=h&z=11&vpsrc=0&lci=com.panoramio.all

http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=48.170779,23.090258&spn=0.021866,0.055189&t=h&z=14&vpsrc=6&lci=com.panoramio.all 

 During 31 years of research of 2,1 h area tens of units of inhabitation and economic character were excavated, but, importantly, many production units allowing to reconstruct economic life of the settlement.

Among them the most important were smithies, glass and jewellery production shops. The finds documented existence of many different crafts in Malaya Kopan settlement on the beginning of the 1st millennium A.D. (Котигорошко, 1989; Kotigoroshko, 1995, p.78-80). Numerous different kinds of ceramics, objects from iron and non-ferrous metals, glass and stone (hand-mills) show rich sortiment of local shops production.

Visual determination of the objects can serve as a base for their selection into the groups and sub-groups concerning their functions. Analysis of forms and construction features of the objects, determination of their genetic roots can allow to speak about production level in Malaya Kopan, the centre of Dacian culture in the Upper Tisza region.

The finds of the objects need the second, very important information related to technological methods of their production. Glass objects were analysed and evaluated in Leningrad Institute of Physics (Kotigoroshko, 1995, p.174-175). Metallic, mostly iron objects were analysed by archaeometallurgy group working at the Technical University in Košice (Mihok, Kotigoroshko, Hollý, Pribulová, Cengel, 1995, p.65-88; Mihok, Fečková, Kotigorosko, 2007, p.75-100).

During recent ten years growing importance was laid on analysis of weapons because of very rich collection of them in Malaya Kopan finds. Among them very important was sword type “Machain”, found in excavation XХVI in 2002 and four two-edged swords found in excavations on the periphery of the settlement, in sites “Srednij Grunok” and “Tschellenica” (Fig.1). In the first site eight crematory burial graves were found. The site was partly destroyed by previous agricultural works.

 

 

In 1936 spear-head, iron cover of shield and ring mail were found on Srednij Grunok site. Expedition of Uzhgorod National University in 2002 – 2003 excavated there seven graves, in which iron covers of shields (graves 2, 3-4), bended two-edged swords (graves 2, 6) and spear-heads (grave 2) were found. Next, the fragment of sword (central part) was found on the periphery of the site. Weapons and ceramics allowed to date the burials to the end of the 1st and beginning of the 2nd centuries A.D.

In 2007 new excavation started in site Tschellenica, 200 m north-west from central part of the settlement. Here was the place, where seven earthen walls guarded the Malaya Kopan settlement from the side of “Chust gate”, through which foreign tribes entered south of the Upper Tisza region and the Carpathian basin as a whole.

In course of the site research six fire burial graves were discovered and rich material was found. Basically, the material contained iron objects - clasp, belt buckle, knives, curbs. Special group of finds contained sword three times bended, heads of rods and darts. Stratigraphy of the site showed the necropolis was destroyed. Chronologically, the graves were dated to the first half of the 1st century B.C.

Sword no.1  – Tschellenica. Metallographic analysis of the sword no.1 is in Fig.5. The sample was taken by cross-section cut. On the metallographic surface prior to etching thin and long bands of smithy inclusions were observed. Etching revealed next distribution of structures. On the one end of the metallographic surface ferritic-pearlitic structure of mildly carburized iron was found, photo 1. Lower down from the upper end it was easy to recognize that by the one side of the metallographic surface ferritic-pearlitic structures of carburized iron were found. Carbon content decreased to the other side, where only ferritic structures of non-carburized iron was found, photographs 2, 3, 4. Near the other end of the metallographic surface carburization of iron by the one side of the metallographic surface was more intensive, photo 5, at the very end of the metallographic surface only pearlitic structure of deep carburized iron was found, photo 6. The edge of the sword was probably formed in this place.

The sword was produced from non-carburized iron semi-products. After finishing forming of the shape the sword was carburized from one side, but more intensively on the edge. From analysis follows the sword was one-edged, its quality was good.

Fig.5. Metallographic analysis of sword no.1.

 

Method of iron objects analysis. Five iron objects were selected for metallographic analysis, three swords from site Srednij Grunok, one sword and one rod-head from site Tschellenica. Photographs of analysed objects are included in Fig.2 to 6, results of metallographic analysis. All five analysed objects contained suitable amount of solid metal, ready for sample taking. The objects were sampled by cross-section cuts enabling to study distribution of iron metal structures.

Discussion of results. Metallographic analysis of four swords from Malaya Kopan sites enables to describe and compare the blacksmiths technique used for production of the swords. Moreover, the results of the research can be compared with similar ones following from analysis of sets of contemporary iron objects found on the teritory of Slovakia.

Two swords were found in graves no.78 and 108 of the Zemplin cemetery, dated to the same period (Mihok, Miroššayová, Veselovská, 1993; Budinský-Krička, Lamiová, 1990). The swords were not analysed by the metallography method. Only one sword suitable for comparison purposes is Roman sword from Varín (Mihok, Pieta, 2004). The other sets of Roman and LaTéne iron objects did not contain swords but other types of iron weapons and mostly economic objects (Mihok, Olexa, 1999; Mihok, Pribulová, Pieta, Olexa, 2005; Mihok, Pribulová, Pieta, 2000; Mihok, Pieta, Mosný, 2006).

All four analysed swords from Malaya Kopan sites were produced by different blacksmiths methods. One of the swords from Srednij Grunok site was made from iron semi-product carburized up to 0,25% C. No additional carburization of the edge(s) was made. The sword was single-edged, its quality was not exceptional. The second sword was made by smithy welding of three iron semi-products with different pre-prepared properties. Both edges of the sword were prepared on carburized iron material. The sword was double-edged, its quality was extraordinary. The third sword was prepared by very different way. It was made of deep carburized homogeneous iron. After finishing the final shape the sword was re-heated, quenched and tempered. The production method was sophisticated, the quality of this double-edged sword was very high.

The sword from Tschellenica site was made from non-carburized iron semiproducts, next the sword was carburized from one side of the blade, the most intensive carburization was on the edge. The aim of the one-side carburization of the blade is not clear. The one-edged sword was of good quality.

The sword from Varín, north-west Slovakia, dated to the 2nd century A.D., was constructed by welding of a few iron semi-products. The most intensive carburized semi-products were placed on both sides of the sword, where the edges were made. The sword was double-edged. The handle and part adjoining to the handle were made of low-carburized iron. After finishing the final shape the sword was re-heated, lower part of the blade was quenched and tempered. The quality of the sword, dated to Púchov culture, was very high.

Concerning the rod-head, its construction from mildly carburized iron material with following surface carburization was very good solution, utility value of the rod-head was high. LaTéne spear-head from Horná Lehota was produced from non-carburized iron material and only very little surface carburization was observed. The prong of the harrow, dated to the LaTéne period, found in Liptovská Mara archaeological site, was produced from deep carburized iron material.

The author had in disposition five analysis of iron swords dated to the same period. The results of metallographic analysis were unlike showing different methods of iron swords production. It was easy to understand when comparing the Roman sword from Varín with the ones from Malaya Kopan sites. But why so big differences among Malaya Kopan swords? Status of the person who ordered the sword? Change of production technologies? Or simply the purposes for which the swords were produced? Continuing research probably can answer these questions............

Conclusions. The paper presents results of metallographic analysis of four iron swords and one rod-head, found in archaeological excavations of Malaya Kopan sites. Three swords were found in Srednij Grunok site, one sword and rod-head in Tschellenica site. The results are as follows:

1. Each from analysed swords was produced by different blacksmiths method. The sword no.KS from Srednij Grunok was made from mildly carburised iron, no next carburisation of edge was found. The sword no.2 from Srednij Grunok was made by welding of a few iron semi-products, next both edges were deep carburised. The sword no.6 from Srednij Grunok was made from carburised iron, next the sword was quenched and tempered.

2. The sword no.1 from Tschellenica was carburised on one side of the blade and the most intensively on the edge.

3. It was not clear why the swords found in one complex around Malaya Kopan settlement were produced by different methods. Probably only analysis of more finds of swords from Malaya Kopan can solve the problem. Analysis of Púchov culture sword from Varín, Slovakia, used for comparison purposes, showed also very different method of production, unlike the swords from Malaya Kopan sites.

4. The rod-head was produced from mildly carburized iron, next the surface layers were hardened by carburization. The method of production was very satisfactory.

 

Mihok L. (Technical University, Košice, Slovakia),
Kotygoroshko V.G. (Uzhgorod National University, Ukraine)
METALLOGRAPHIC ANALYSIS OF DACIAN AND LATÉNE IRON
OBJECTS FOUND IN MALAYA KOPAN ARCHAEOLOGICAL
COMPLEX

with drawing and photos

 In 2007 - 2008 archaeological expedition of
the Uzhgorod National University made excavations in the site Tschellenica.
The site is situated on the top of the hill 200 m north-west from the Malaya
Kopan Dacian settlement, Vinogradovo district, Transcarpathian Ukraine. In
course of excavations on the square more than 2000 m2 twelve cremation
graves were discovered. Rich material was found in the graves. Basically, the
material consisted of adornments and objects persistent to clothes-fibulae,
buckles and clasps, bracelets, little chains. Special group of finds consisted of
weapons (swords, fighting sicas, spearheads, darts, fighting axe, etc.). Big
amount of chronoindicators enabled to relate the graves with Dacian
necropolis of the first half of the Ist century B.C. and to the first years of the
Ist millennium A.D.
In 2007 one sword was excavated and in 2008 ten swords followed. It
formed very broad collection of attacking weapons used by inhabitants of the
Malaya Kopan complex. Next, the swords were classified and submitted for
metallographic analysis.

method of sample taking is in Fig.37. The sketch of metallographic
surface is in Fig.38.
Fig.36. Object 6. Laténe sword.
Fig.37. Object 6. Laténe sword. Method of sample taking.
Fig.38. Object 6. Laténe sword. Analysed metallographic surface.
Observation of the metallographic surface prior to etching showed very
clean iron material with only one band of scales and smithy inclusions. After
etching, fine grained ferritic-pearlitic structure of low carburised iron was
found in the body of the sword (Fig.39, spot 1). Lower down to the edge deep
carburised iron, represented by ferritic-pearlitic and pearlitic-ferritic
structures, appeared along one side of the metallographic surface (Fig.40,
spot 2). Low carburised ferritic-pearlitic iron was observed along the other
side and in the centre of the metallographic surface. Structures in spot 3 are
nearly similar, but carburised iron with pearlitic-ferritic structure is not
situated along the one side of the metallographic surface, but near it. Iron
along the other side was very low carburised. The structures in spot 3 are
depicted in Fig.41. Similar situation was found in spot 4 near the edge. Only
one side of the metallographic surface, i.e. sword surface was deep
carburised. The other part contained low-carburised iron (Fig.42).
Fig.39. Ferritic-pearlitic structure of low-carburised iron in spot 1. Sample 6.
Fig.40. Deep carburised iron by the surface. Spot 2. Sample 6.
Fig.41. Deep carburised iron near one surface. Spot 3. Sample 6.
Fig.42. Distribution of structures near the edge. Spot 4. Sample 6.
The way of sword construction was not very positive for its properties.
Deep carburised surface of the sword around and on the edge was needed.
Sample 7. Laténe sword. The object 7, Laténe sword, is in Fig.43.
The object was found in two fragments, the sample was taken from the
smaller one (Fig.44). The sketch of metallographic surface is in Fig.45.
Fig.43. Object 7. Laténe sword.
Fig.44. Object 7. Laténe sword. Method of sample taking.
Fig.45. Object 7. Laténe sword. Analysed metallographic surface.
Observation of the metallographic surface prior to etching showed
bands of smithy inclusions and scales particles. Etching visualised in spot 1
coarse grained ferritic-pearlitic structure of mildly carburised iron, but carbon
content, i.e. intensity of carburisation, was much higher along one side of the
metallographic surface (Fig.46). Down to the edge more intensive
carburisation of the whole iron material appeared, spot 2, moreover, one side
of the metallographic surface, the same as in spot 1, was deep carburised with
resulting pearlitic-ferritic structures (Fig.47). Similar situation was observed
in spot 3, but broad band of deep carburisation up to 0,8% C stretching from
the surface was observed (Fig.48). Similar situation was found in spot 4,
where band of deep carburised iron material finished on the very edge
(Fig.49).
Fig.46. Distribution of structures in spot 1. Sample 7.
Fig.47. Deep carburisation by one side of the surface. Spot 2. Sample 7.
Fig.48. Deep carburisation by one side of the surface. Spot 3. Sample 7.
Fig.49. Distribution of structures near the edge. Spot 4. Sample 7.
It was very interesting that the sword was carburised only from one
surface. Carburisation covered the edge(s). Nevertheless, high quality of the
sword resulted from above described way of construction.
Sample 8. Laténe sword. The object 8, Laténe sword, is in Fig.50.
As can be seen from the Figure, fragment of the sword was found and
sampled, Fig.51. The sketch of metallographic surface is in Fig.52.
Fig.50. Object 8. Fragment of Laténe sword.

Tattooed Getai

 

 

Agighiol grave (details) with tattooed face

  http://www.gebeleizis.org/tracic/6.html

 

The Thracians also wore tattoos. "To be tattooed is a sign of birth; to bear no such marks is for the baser sort." (Herodotus V, 6) "It was in special favour with the women, and the more nobly born they were, the richer and brighter coloured were the designs they used. Agathyrsi painted both their faces and their limbs with indelible designs (distinctive tribal marks), while the nobles also died their hair blue." The stripes and other designs on the woman's face of the Agighiol greave (found near Vratsa, dated around 380 BC) may represent tattoos. Levi says, "The strange ornaments, the parallel stripes on the woman's head, represent tattooing. Thracian witches who could enchant the moon out of the sky, and the tattooed faces of Thracian women had been proverbial in Athens in the 5th century"(8) The Scythian had similar customs. A frozen Scythian king, dug out of the Siberian permafrost, was covered in spirals and animal tattoos. The Getai, being under heavy Scythian influence, probably followed this practice. (Chris Webber)

M.E. Durham Some Tribal Origins, Laws and Customs of the Balkans. London: Allen & Unwin, 1928. See especially Section III, pp.101-143: "Tattooing and the Symbols Tattooed." This is a mine of information on Balkan tattooing customs, and includes one or two minor references on the Thracians which appear not to be included in your website. The section noted here also has many figure diagrams of the style of tattoo still worn by some women in rural areas - and the designs follow very closely on those preserved on Greek pottery for Thracian women.  Another section of the book describes and illustrates traditional Albanian hairstyles. Interestingly, one of the styles appears completely shaved at the front - and could perhaps preserve something of the appearance of the Thracian Abantes hairstyle noted by Plutarch. 

 

 TattoosThe Agighiol greave

Tattooed leg (from a Greek vase) - Casson, p 165The Thracians also wore tattoos. "To be tattooed is a sign of birth; to bear no such marks is for the baser sort." (Herodotus V, 6) "It was in special favour with the women, and the more nobly born they were, the richer and brighter coloured were the designs they used. Agathyrsi painted both their faces and their limbs with indelible designs (distinctive tribal marks), while the nobles also died their hair blue." The stripes and other designs on the woman's face of the Agighiol greave (found near Vratsa, dated around 380 BC) may represent tattoos. Levi says, "The strange ornaments, the parallel stripes on the woman's head, represent tattooing. Thracian witches who could enchant the moon out of the sky, and the tattooed faces of Thracian women had been proverbial in Athens in the 5th century"(8) The Scythian had similar customs. A frozen Scythian king, dug out of the Siberian permafrost, was covered in spirals and animal tattoos. The Getai, being under heavy Scythian influence, probably followed this practice. (Chris Webber)

 Picture of the greave at: http://www.losttrails.com/media/ThracoGetae/romania003-19tn.jpg

 

Dausdava or the City of the Wolves, Sboryanovo-Isperih, now Bulgaria

Sofia - Odrysian Wreath from Golyamata Mogila

http://heritage-key.com/category/tags/national-museum-history

Gold Wreath from Golyamata Mogila

Sofia - Odrysian Wreath from Golyamata Mogila

A golden wreath and ring from the burial of an Odrysian Getae Aristocrat at the Golyamata Mogila tumulus (part of the Sboryanovo Archaeological Reserve), situated between the villages of Zlatinitsa and Malomirovo in the Yambol region.

The burial, wreath and signal rign are dated to the mid 4th century BC


The Sboryanovo archaeological reserve is located near the town of Isperih, NE Bulgaria. The reservation covers one of the greatest concentrations of archaeological sites in the country from Prehistoric, Thracian, Roman and Early Christian periods. One of the most sensational discoveries of the Thracian archaeology - the Sveshtari tomb, a Unesco World Heritage Site - is located here. Sboryanovo reserve now is one of the biggest and best studied Thracian religious and political center dated to the 1st millenium BC.

Sboryanovo was founded at a strategic cross road between Europe and Asia, it became the capital of the Thracian Getae (or Getes) tribes in the 4th to 3rd centuries BC.

The complex of sanctuaries, the Hellenistic town and the hypothetical kings residence were surrounded in a radius of about 2000 m. by five tumular cemeteries, which in total contain over 150 mounds. The center could be identified with Dausdava, or the"City of the wolves" on the map of the Roman geographer Ptolemaios.

The Thracian - Getian Tomb of Sveshtari (Свещарската гробница) is located 2.5 km southwest of the village of Sveshtari, on the Sboryanovo Archaeological Reservine, in the northeast of Bulgaria. Discovered in 1982 below the Ginina Mogila mound, this 3rd century BC Thracian tomb reflects the fundamental structural principles of Thracian cult buildings.

The tomb's architectural decor is considered to be unique, with polychrome half-human, half-plant caryatids and painted murals. The ten female figures carved in high relief on the walls of the central chamber and the decorations of the lunette in its vault are the only examples of this type found so far in the Thracian lands. It features a scene of deification of the deceased ruler, and a massive decorative stone door (naiskos) hid the burial bed from the eyes of the mortals.

A second humbler bed was designed for the rulers wife, who followed the deceased in his afterlife, while his favorite horses were laid in the lateral chamber and in front of the entrance to the antechamber.

The Sveshtari Tomb is a remarkable reminder of the culture of the Getae, a Thracian tribe who were in contact with the Hellenistic and Hyperborean worlds, according to ancient geographers.

 

Archaeoastronomical analysis shows that that the axis of the Sveshtari tomb was directed to the first sun ray on December 22nd in 4th c. BC and the astronomic orientation of the other tombs were determined by the sun as well. The tumuli clusters were constructed as mirror images of part of the brightest stars in the constellations Canis Major, Canis Minor, Orion, Taurus, while the location of those from the Western cemetery coincides with the double mirror image of Saggitarius - a mirror reflection of the celestial order, following the Orphism beliefs. 

The Sboryanovo Archaeological Reserve contains amongst others the Unesco World Heritage Site 'Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari', the Demir Baba Teke mausoleum,  the Thracian town of Chelis and the Golyamata Mogila burial mounds.

Military Organization and Weaponry

Dacian troop types and organization

Infantry and Cavalry

The Dacian tribes, were part of the greater Thracian family of peoples. They established a highly militarized society and, during the periods when the tribes were united under one king (82 BC-44 BC, 86-106) posed a major threat to the Roman provinces of Lower Danube. Dacia was conquered (except for the Free Dacians) and transformed into a Roman province in 106 after a long, hard war.

File:Dacian Scale Armour.JPG

 

Dacian Scale Armour from the base of Trajan's Column in Rome

The most important weapon of the Dacian arsenal was the falx[citation needed]. This dreaded weapon, similar to a large sickle came in two variants: a shorter, one-handed falx called a sica[6], and a longer two-handed version. The shorter falx was called sica (sickle) in the Dacian language. The two-handed falx was a polearm. It consisted of a three-feet long wooden shaft with a long curved iron blade of nearly-equal length attached to the end. The blade was sharpened only on the inside, and was reputed to be devastatingly effective. However, it left its user vulnerable because, being a two-handed weapon, the warrior could not also make use of a shield. Alternatively, it might used as a hook, pulling away shields and cutting at vulnerable limbs.

 

File:AdamclisiMetope32.jpg

Tropaeum Traiani depicting a falx in battle. AdamclisiMetope32

 
Using the falx, the Dacian warriors were able to counter the power of the compact, massed Roman formations. During the time of the Roman conquest of Dacia (101 - 102, 105 - 106), legionaries had reinforcing iron straps applied to their helmets. The Romans also introduced the use of leg and arm protectors (greaves and manica[citation needed]) as further protection against the falxes.

A typical falx.
Sica,a small version of the falx

The Dacians were adepts[citation needed] of surprise attacks and skilful, tactical withdrawals using the fortification system. During the wars with the Romans, fought by their last king Decebal (87-106 ), the Dacians almost crushed the Roman garrisons South of the Danube in a surprise[citation needed] attack launched over the frozen river ( winter of 101-102 ). Only the intervention of Emperor Trajan with the main army saved the Romans from a major defeat. But, by 106 the Dacians were surrounded[citation needed] in their capital Sarmizegetusa.The city was taken after the Romans discovered and destroyed[citation needed] the capital's water supply line.Dacians decorated their bodies with tattoos like the Illyrians[7] and the Thracians[8].The Pannonians north of the Drava had accepted Roman rule out of fear of the Dacians[9].

As a result, the king committed[citation needed] suicide and Dacia became a Roman province until 271.

Marcus Annaeus Lucanus[10] 39 - 65 wrote of Dacian hordes;

Have poured her captains, and the troops who guard the northern frontier from the Dacian hordes

Dacians that could afford armor wore customised Phrygian type helmets with solid crests(intricately decorated), domed helmets and Sarmatian helmets.[11].They fought with spears,javelins,falxes, one sided battle axes and used "Draco" Carnyxe's as standards.Most used only shields as a form of defense.Cavalry would be armed with a spear, a long bronze La Tene sword and an oval shield.

Most[citation needed] of the infantry would wield a falx and perhaps a sica and would wear no armor at all even shunning shields.

 

 

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4041/4630360603_9275756984.jpg

 

Mercenaries

Dacian mercenaries were uncommon in contrast to the Thracians and the Illyrians but they could be found in the service of the Greek Diadochi[12] and of the Romans[13].

Nobility

A 2nd century chieftain would wear a bronze Phrygian type helmet,a corselet of iron scale armor,an oval wooden shield with motifs and wield a sword.[14]

Navy

There was no[citation needed] Dacian navy except perhaps boats to cross the Danube that don't qualify as navy

 

File:057 Conrad Cichorius, Die Reliefs der Traianssäule, Tafel LVII (Ausschnitt 02).jpg

 Dacian Weaponry captured at the end of the first war with the Romans

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:057_Conrad_Cichorius,_Die_Reliefs_der_Traianss%C3%A4ule,_Tafel_LVII_(Ausschnitt_02).jpg

 

 Ovid, in his "The Sorrowful" speaks about the Geto-Dacians in the following words:
* You can see them on horseback, riding in midroad.
* Among them you won't find anyone who does not carry a quiver, bow and arrows whose spikes are yellow with the viper's poison.
* Their voices are hoarse, their faces wild and they look like the most genuine embodiment of Mars.
* They have never had their hair or beard cut.
* Their right hand is always ready to thrust the knife that they have fastened to their hip

Sica

 

http://cheiron.humanities.mcmaster.ca/~trajan/images/hi/6.16.h.jpg 

The most important weapon of the Dacian arsenal was the falx[citation needed]. This dreaded weapon, similar to a large sickle came in two variants: a shorter, one-handed falx called a sica[6], and a longer two-handed version. The shorter falx was called sica (sickle) in the Dacian language.

The English word dagger might come from Vulgar Latin daca, a Dacian knife, and it also may be related with the medieval Romanian word daga, a kind of knife with three blades, used only for assassination.

 http://www.theancientweb.com/explore/content.aspx?content_id=25

 Mihok L. (Technical University, Košice, Slovakia),
Kotygoroshko V.G. (Uzhgorod National University, Ukraine)
METALLOGRAPHIC ANALYSIS OF DACIAN AND LATÉNE IRON
OBJECTS FOUND IN MALAYA KOPAN ARCHAEOLOGICAL
COMPLEX

http://www.nbuv.gov.ua/portal/Soc_Gum/karpatyka/2009_38/mihok.pdf 

Results of metallographic analysis. Sample 1. Dacian fighting sica.
The object 1, Dacian sica, is in Fig.1. The method of sample taking is in
Fig.2. As can be seen from the Figure, the sample was taken from one edge
and body of the sica blade. The sketch of analysed metallographic surface is
in Fig.3. The numbers in the sketch show spots where different structures
were observed.
Fig.1. Object 1. Dacian fighting sica.
Fig.2. Object 1. Dacian fighting sica. Method of sample taking.
Fig.3. Object 1. Dacian fighting sica. Analysed metallographic surface.
Bands of smithy inclusions and scales (Fig.4) were observed on the
metallographic surface of the sample prior to etching. Etching by nital
revealed only coarse grained ferritic structure of non-carburised iron in the
body of the fighting sica (Fig.5, spot 1). Down to the edge not very deep
(about 0,2% C) carburisation, documented by ferritic-pearlitic structure,
appeared only on one side of the metallographic surface. It is shown in Fig.6,
taken from the spot 2. Fig.7 shows situation near the edge (spot 3). The
situation is very similar to the one in the spot 2. The band of not very deep
carburised iron stretches through the centre down to the very edge.
Carburised iron is surrounded by non-carburised iron with coarse grained
ferritic structure. Very sharp boundary between carburised part and noncarburised
ones evidences of intentional welding of carburised and noncarburised
iron semi-products in form of plates or bars, when the carburised
one was positioned on and near the edge.
Fig.4. Bands of smithy inclusions and scales. Sample 1.
Fig.5. Ferritic structure of non-carburised iron. Spot 1. Sample 1.
Fig.6. Carburisation on one side of the metallographic surface. Spot 2.
Sample 1.
Fig.7. Distribution of structures near the edge. Spot 3. Sample 1.
The fighting sica no.1 had satisfactory quality. Because of noncarburised
iron in the body it gained sufficient toughness. The edge was
carburised, not too much, but enough for sufficient hardness of this part. No
special construction features were found by the analysis.
Sample 2. Dacian fighting sica. The object 2, Dacian fighting sica, is in
Fig.8, the method of sample taking is shown in Fig.9. Also in this case the
sample covered the edge and part of the body of the sica. The sketch of
metallographic surface is in Fig.10.
Fig.8. Object 2. Dacian fighting sica.
Fig.9. Object 2. Dacian fighting sica. Method of sample taking.
Fig.10. Object 2. Dacian fighting sica. Analysed metallographic surface.
A lot of smithy inclusions, mostly in form of bands, were found on the
metallographic surface in non-etched state. A band of big smithy inclusions is
depicted in Fig.11.
Fig.11. Band of smithy inclusions in sample 2.
Etching revealed ferritic-pearlitic structure of carburised iron with
about 0,3% C in the spot 1 in the body of the sword (Fig.12). Down to the
edge, the spot 2, ferritic-pearlitic structure of carburised iron with lower
carbon content about 0,25% was found (Fig.13). In parts near the edge
carbon content in iron decreased to about 0,1% (Fig.14, spot 3). It is the
opposite situation as should be. Low carbon content on the edge and higher
carbon content in the body? Probably not the edge, but the back of the
fighting sica was sampled. There is no sharp edge around the spot 3 on the
sketch of metallographic surface (Fig.10). Probably the body is around the
spot 3 and the spot 1 is in position towards the edge.
Fig.12. Ferritic-pearlitic structure of carburised iron. Spot 1. Sample 2.
Fig.13. Ferritic-pearlitic structure of carburised iron. Spot 2. Sample 2.
Fig.14. Low carburised iron near the edge. Spot 3. Sample 2.
When taking into account the situation described above, the fighting
sica was prepared with proper method, with low carbon tough iron in the
body and carburised iron on the edge.
Sample 3. Dacian fighting sica. The object 3, Dacian fighting sica, is in
Fig.15, the method of sample taking is in Fig.16. The sample, that was taken,
covers the edge and a part of the sica body. Fig.17 presents the sketch of the
metallographic surface prepared on the sample.
Fig.15. Object 3. Dacian fighting sica.
Fig. 16. Object 3. Dacian fighting sica. Method of sample taking.
Fig.17. Object 3. Dacian fighting sica. Analysed metallographic
surface.
A lot of smithy inclusions and particles of scales were observed on the
metallographic surface in non-etched state. Etching visualised following
distribution of structures. In the body of the fighting sica, spot 1, fine grained
ferritic-pearlitic structure of not very deep carburised iron was found
(Fig.18). Down to the edge, spot 2, feritic-pearlitic structure with carbon
content similar to spot 1 was found only by one side of the surface, the other
iron material in this spot had lower carbon content (Fig.19). On the very
edge, spot 3, fine grained ferritic-pearlitic structure of iron with very low
carbon content (about 0,1%) was observed (Fig.20).
Fig.18. Ferritic-pearlitic structure of low carburised iron. Spot 1. Sample 3.
Fig.19. Ferritic-pearlitic structure of low carburised iron. Spot 2. Sample 3.
Fig.20. Very low carburised iron on the very edge. Spot 3. Sample 3.
It is probably the same situation as in analysis of the sample 2, back
and body of the sword were sampled, not the edge. From this point of view
analysis of spot 1 in the body proves growing content of carbon towards the
edge that was in opposite position. Taking this fact into account, the way of
the sword manufacturing was proper.
Sample 4. Fighting axe. The object 4, fighting axe, is in Fig.21, the
method of sample taking is in Fig.22. As can be seen from the Fig.22, the
sample covered the edge and the body of the axe. The sketch of
metallographic surface prepared on the sample is in Fig.23.
Fig.21. Object 4. Fighting axe.
Fig.22. Object 4. Fighting axe. Method of sample taking.
Fig.23. Object 4. Fighting axe. Analysed metallographic surface.
Bands and clusters of big particles of smithy inclusions were observed
on the metallographic surface prior to etching (Fig.24). Etching revealed two
kinds of structures in spot 1 in the body of the axe. One of them was coarse
grained ferritic structure of non-carburised iron, the second one was fine
grained ferritic-pearlitic structure of mildly carburised iron. Both structures
are depicted in Fig. 25. Boundary between both structures is formed by the
band of smithy inclusions. All other parts of the metallographic surface are
characteristic by structures of carburised iron. In spot 2 down to the edge two
different carburised structures were observed, one was deep carburised, the
second one mild carburised, both were fine grained as a result of intensive
hammering (Fig.26). Sharp boundary between the two structures is very
interesting. Special situation is depicted in Fig.27, spot 3. Here also two
bands of differently carburised iron are visible, but, moreover, the structure
by one side of the metallographic surface (one surface of the axe) has ferritic
character of non-carburised iron. Probably it resulted from secondary
decarburisation in a flame. Structure on the very edge, spot 4, is in Fig.28.
The structure represents deep carburised and quenched iron.
Fig.24. Smithy inclusions in sample 4.
Fig.25. Distribution of structures in spot 1. Sample 4.
Fig.26. Two structures of carburised iron in spot 2. Sample 4.
Fig.27. Distribution of structures in spot 3. Sample 4.
Fig.28. Structure of deep carburised and quenched iron on the edge. Spot 4.
Sample 4.
From results of metallographic analysis followed the body of the
fighting axe was made from non-carburised tough iron. Broad part of the axe
near the edge was carburised, or, probably, prepared by welding of carburised
iron semi-products, as documented by sharp boundaries between the
structures. The edge itself was deep carburised and quenched. By described
way of manufacturing local smiths prepared high quality weapon - the
fighting axe.
Sample 5. Laténe sword. The object 5, Laténe sword, is in Fig.29,
the method of sample taking is in Fig.30. The sample covered the edge and
part of the body of the sword. The sketch of metallographic surface of the
sample taken from the sword, is presented in Fig.31.

 

 

Dacian Shields

 

 Base of Trajan's Column, with Dacian weaponry

 http://employees.oneonta.edu/farberas/ARTH/Images/109images/Roman/imperial_sculpture/column_trajan/column_base.jpg

 


http://www.legionsix.org/Equipment/Real%20Gear/real_gear_3.htm 

 

 

 Pair or iron shield facings, probably late Macedonian or Dacian, ca. 3rd-1st century BC. Each has a diameter of 35 cm and a thickness of 3-5 mm.

 

 Iron Geto-Dacian shield facing, depicting a bull in the tondo. 

 

Geto-Dacian iron shield facing depicting griffin (or gryphon). All probably

3rd-1st century BC.

 O  pereche de scuturi din fier forjat furate de la Sarmisegetuza

 http://www.mediasinfo.ro/artefacte-furate-de-la-sarmizegetusa-regia-recuperate/2011/05/12/



 

 

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3021/2997149348_6be1b4fa2d.jpg

 

Dacian Falx

Dacian falx

  http://www.enciclopedia-dacica.ro/armata_daca/falx_dacica.htm (Romanian only but with very nice photos of Falxes)

 
Detail of a falx on the Tropaeum Traiani trophy

The Dacian falx came in two sizes: one-handed and two-handed. The shorter variant was called sica[1] (sickle) in the Dacian language (Valerius Maximus, III,2.12).

In Latin texts the weapon was described as an ensis falcatus (whence falcata) by Ovid in Metamorphose or falx supina by Juvenal in Satiriae.

The two-handed falx was a pole-arm. It consisted of a three-feet long wooden shaft with a long curved iron blade of nearly-equal length attached to the end. The blade was sharpened only on the inside, and was reputed to be devastatingly effective. However, it left its user vulnerable because, being a two-handed weapon, the warrior could not also make use of a shield. It may be imagined that the length of the two-handed falx allowed it to be wielded with great force, the point piercing helmets and the blade splitting shields - it was said to be capable of splitting a shield in two at a single blow. Alternatively, it might used as a hook, pulling away shields and cutting at vulnerable limbs.

Dacian Weaponry including falx exhibited in Cluj National History Museum

[2]

The time of the conquest of Dacia by Trajan is the only known instance of the Roman army adapting personal equipment while on campaign; it seems likely that this was a response to this deadly weapon. Roman legionaries had reinforcing iron straps applied to their helmets - it is clear that these are late modifications because they are roughly applied across existing embossed decoration. Roman armour of the time left limbs unprotected; Trajan introduced the use of leg and arm protectors (greaves and manica).

The Roman monument commemorating the Battle of Adamclisi clearly shows Dacian warriors wielding a two-handed falx.

Trajan's column is a monument to the emperor’s conquest of Dacia. The massive base is covered with reliefs of trophies of Dacian weapons and includes several illustrations of the two-handed falx. The column itself has a helical frieze that tells the story of the Dacian wars. On the frieze, almost all the Dacians that are armed, have shields and therefore cannot be using a two-handed falx. Unfortunately, the exact weapon of those few shown without shields cannot be determined with certainty.

The frieze of Trajan's column also shows Dacians using a smaller, sword sized falx.

Thracian falx

The Thracians also made use of the falx. They also used the rhomphaia, a weapon very similar to the two handed falx but much less drastically curved.

Development

The two handed falx is clearly related to the Thracian rhomphaia. It is a derivative of both the sword and the spear, having evolved from a spear to a polearm before becoming more drastically curved to facilitate a superior cutting action. This drastic curve rendered the falx a purely offensive weapon to be used against a broken or routing force. Typically, an enemy would be broken by a sustained hail of missile fire from javelin, dart, bow, sling, and stone throwing troops before being chased down and cut to pieces by the falx wielders.

The ancestor of the two handed falx may have been a farming implement used as an improvised weapon, in a manner analogous to the bill-gisarme. However, the scythe did not appear until the 12th and 13th centuries. The single-handed falx might have been inspired by the sickle, although agricultural sickles of the time were typically quite small—no more than 30 cm or so in length.

At the time of the Dacian wars, producing a long, sharp blade was technically challenging. As such, it might be that the two-handed falx was a high-status weapon and used only by the best warriors.

Gallery

Image:[[3]]| Dacian Falx blades discovered at Sarmisegetuza

See also

References

  1. ^ Rome's Enemies (1): Germanics and Dacians (Men at Arms Series, 129) by Peter Wilcox and Gerry Embleton,1982,page 35
  2. ^ http://htmlimg1.scribdassets.com/2hese98dfklolqk/images/14-ae2a3f7922/000.jpg
  3. ^ http://htmlimg1.scribdassets.com/2hese98dfklolqk/images/14-ae2a3f7922/000.jpg

External links

Dacian or Thracian Falx and Sica

First, both Cornelius Fronto who use the name "Dacorum Falcibus" for dacian swords in his Principia Historiae and Publius Papinius Statius in hiw work called "Achilleis" where he said the "Falx" is representative weapon of the Getae, relate this kind of sword just with Dacians. There is no mention anywhere in ancient world who relate the sword with Bastarnae

As well, archeological findings of Falx are just in the middle of the Dacia (today Transylvania/Romania), in the interior of Carpathian Mountains arch, with an exception of one find in south of Danube (close to the river) in Moesia (teritory inhabited as well by Dacians (Getae more exactly). It was never find any curved swords (Falx or Sica) in any sites related with Bastarnae (which btw are mostly in today Ukraine or even Rep. of Moldova).

Falx was in my opinion just a development of a family of curved knives and short curved swords, and even the shape of some Sica (or even shorter knives) resemble in generaly the much bigger Falx. Falx apeared more likely after the first encounters with Romans (middle of I century BC) and their fighting style and equipment (big shields and armour) and was developed from an already know (similar or close) desing to by-pass that shield and armour .

This are some images of curved knives, Sica (who contrary to some believes doesnt have an exact standard of all exmplaires) and Falxes

First, some short battle knives of Dacians (there is a shield too)

Image

Then Sica (from the teritories of today Romania, Bulgaria and even Serbia, former inhabited by Dacians, Getae (Dacians was a branch of Getae) or Moesii, (a Thraco-Dacian tribe)

http://www.enciclopedia-dacica.ro/armat ... a_pl_9.jpg

http://www.enciclopedia-dacica.ro/armat ... a_pl_2.jpg

http://www.enciclopedia-dacica.ro/armat ... a_pl_8.jpg

http://www.enciclopedia-dacica.ro/armat ... _pl_10.jpg

http://www.enciclopedia-dacica.ro/armat ... _pl_13.jpg

http://www.enciclopedia-dacica.ro/armat ... a_pl_9.jpg

This are from Traian Column

Image

This are signs and incisions make on many Sica blades

Image

And this are the images of Falx blades finded until now (again, just in inner Carpathian Dacia and in or close to capital Sarmisegetuza). On one of the swords (second from top in the left) is an incision sign as ones find on some Sica's

http://img138.imageshack.us/img138/9814/sabiifalx.jpg


Image
On that roman coin a female representing Dacia can be observed as well handling a two handed Falx


And this is the article of that historian about Falxes, with dimensions and descriptions (it have a smaller part in english too)

http://www.scribd.com/doc/33876270/Bora ... bus-I-2009
Razvan A.


Satu-Mare archaeologists working in an archaeological site in Ukraine’s Malaia Kopania, 20 kilometers from the border with Romania, have discovered the largest cemetery in the Dacian area.

Robert Gindele, the head of the Archaeological Section within the Satu Mare County Museum, has stated on Tuesday that the cemetery in Malaia Kopania represents the largest Dacian discovery until now.

He pointed out that the women’s graves contained fibulas, jewels, buckles, rings and chain loops, while the men’s graves contained weapons, some of them spectacular, such as falxes, a special one-bladed sword called ‘fica’, spurs, spear tips and other objects.

 

Was the Thracian Rhomphaia a Falx?

The Rhomphaia Lives!

by Duncan Head

 

Psellus in the passage just quoted speaks of the rhomphaia as a sword, in another he differentiates between the two. Describing the troops in the army of Isaac Comnenus, he says, "Some were armed with swords, others with the heavy iron rhomphaia, others with lances" (p287). Ian Heath (p73) says that other Byzantine sources describe the rhomphaia as a "curved sword"; it would be interesting to have confirmation that the word "curved" is actually used, and not just inferred from, say, the word machaira, which usually means a curved sword but is frequently used for straight ones. Also worth noting here is that two English-modern Greek dictionaries give the meaning "sword" for rhomphaia.

While on the Byzantine evidence, a problem. Phil Barker (in Military Modelling, July 1974) gives as one reason for identifying the rhomphaia with the Dacian falx, that both hung from the shoulder when not in use. Now we have seen that Psellus says this of the rhomphaia; but where is the falx shown thus hung? I know of no instance. Now what can we deduce from these references? The rhomphaia is generally treated as a sword; I this is true in the Septuagint version of the Bible - which dates to before the references to the Thracians using the weapon - in the Byzantine sources, and in modern usage. But Psellus can treat the rhomphaia as a I sword in one breath, and as something to be distinguished from a sword in the next; and Valerius Flaccus says that it had a wooden shaft the same length as the head. This does not sound like a conventional sword at all, but does sound like the falx with its sword-like blade, and, as we shall see, related to and probably developed from, more conventional swords. Psellus speaks of rhomphaia as single-edged, which rules out the Celtic sword, which has been proposed. The falx is single-edged, and is also heavy, which is stressed, and long enough to be caught in hanging branches; and its iron head is the-same size as its head.

Figure 3: Dacian noble with cap and single-handed falx from Trajan's column. Rossi, pl23.

Figure 4: Sword from Birdoswald. Russell Robinson, '' Hadrianis Wall", p35.

Figure 5: Mourning Dacian chief, symbolising the defeat of Dacia, from a denarius of Trajan. Rossi, p40.

The main problem with identifying the two is that the falx is not straight, which Plutarch states the rhomphaia to have been. The Byzantine references to it as curved would be more appropriate. But could the falx be termed straight? A possible explanation is that the rhomphaia at Pydna which Plutarch described were straighter than those normally in use, and that was why he emphasised the fact. Certainly the curvature of the Dacian falx blades varies considerably; contrast the blades in figures 1 and 2. Another possibility is that "straight" refers primarily to the wooden haft; this might be particularly intended as a contrast to curved hafts such as that illustrated by lan Heath (fig 23a), though I am not sure whether this is based on an actual representation, or is merely a hypothetical transitional type. In any case, the overall axis of a falx such as that in figure 2 is fairly straight, with most of the length of the blade in line with the hilt, and only the last third or less of the blade curved.

It may be suggested that the falx is not long enough to get caught in branches; after all the Roman legionaries whom the Thracians at Pydna were fighting apparently had no such trouble, so it might seem that the rhomphaia should be longer than the pila they were using, which the four-to-five-foot falx is not. But the way the falx was used, swung in both hands, would make it far more vulnerable to obstruction than even a longer thrusting weapon. It could cover an arc of about seven feet radius from the torso of the wielder the length of the weapon plus the man's arm - both to either side and overhead. Particularly when swung above head height, it could be very easily obstructed by branches. This argument, of course, would apply to any cutting weapon, not just the falx

So what conclusion can we reach from the texts? The rhomphaia is generally treated as a sword, but even one of the authors who calls it sword can treat it as a different weapon in another passage (Psellus); it is straight (Plutarch) or curved (unknown Byzantine sources), with a one-edged (Psellus), heavy, iron (Psellus and Plutarch) head the same length as its wooden shaft (Valerius Flaccus), and long enough to get caught up in tree-branches (Livy). The only weapon I can think of that meets this description is the Dacian falx. The Celtic sword is two-edged, not single- edged; the conventional machaira is probably not long enough; and neither of these, nor any conventional sword, has a long wooden haft. The "six-foot pike, half of which consisted of a heavy iron double-edged blade" of Professor Gawril Kazarow (Cambridge Ancient History, 8, p 545) fits the description a bit better. But it could not have been thrown, or else the Thracians, with such a heavy missile weapon, could hardly have failed to be at least as effective as the Cretan archers. Yet if the rhomphaia were a thrusting spear, long enough to catch in branches, it would need to be considerederably longer than six feet - which would give point to the comparison with the sarissa - and for a spear of such great length to have an iron head taking up half its length would make it incredibly unwieldy. In fact I doubt if it could be used at all. But the main case against this identification must be that there is not a shred of archaeological evidence, as far as I know, that spears with such enormous heads were ever used.

There is, by contrast, evidence that weapons similar to the falx if not the falx itself, were in use by the Thracians. I will pause here to refute one of the arguments commonly used against the rhomphaia falx identification - that one of our most important sources of archaeological evidence about the Thracians, Greek vase-paintings, show no evidence of the falx. Surely, the argument goes, if the Thracians used this striking, unusual, and effective weapon, then Greek artists, fascinated as they were by other aspects of the outlandish Thracian costume, would not have failed to show it. No doubt they would, if they had lived to see it. Depictions of Thracians on Greek vases date to the sixth and 'fifth centuries BC; vase-painting as a source for costume and arms dies out about the end of the fifth century, except in Greek Italy - and probably few Italiote painters ever saw a Thracian warrior. The earliest reference to the rhomphaia, as we have seen, refers to 200 BC, and the earliest piece of archaeological evidence that might be relevant dates to 348. So the reason for the absence of rhomphaia on Greek vases is quite simple - it hadn't been invented yet.

Let us turn to the Dacian falx itself. It comes in three varieties, or rather two, plus a related sword. The best known is shown on the reliefs set up by Trajan's troops at Adamklissi in the earliest years of the second century AD. It was between four and five feet long, with blades of varying shapes, and was I wielded in two hands; see figures 1 and 2. The second, smaller type was used in one hand only, in conjunction with a shield, but was of the same general shape. It is shown on the reliefs from Trajan's forum (Russell Robinson, Armour of Imperial Rome, pl.238) and on Trajan's column (fig. 3). Figure 4 shows the third form, which has a blade of falx form fitted to a conventional sword hilt. This example comes from a 3rd or 4th century stone slab erected by cohors I Aelia Dacorum at Birdoswald on Hadrian's Wall. According to Rossi I (p64) the ordinary falx was also used by Roman auxiliary units, since it is shown on the column of Marcus Aurelius. Figure 5 shows a curious variant, belonging to a mourning Dacian on a Roman coin; it recurves near the point, like the conventional machaira shape (shown in fig. 6) but, like the falx-sword, the blade is the same width throughout, whereas the machaira characteristically broadens at the point of impact.

««Figure 6: The conventional machaira shape. A fragmentary example from Thrace, 82 cm long, from the Golyana tumulus at Douvanli. Ivory decoration on the hilt. Hodinott, p63, figure 4.

««Figure 7: The central pair of foot soldiers from the east wall of the passage at Kazanluk. Shivkova, pl. 14.

The earliest indication that the falx was known to the Thracians south of the Danube is a blade found at Olynthus, the Greek city on the south coast of Thrace, which probably dates to the city's capture by Philip 11 of Macedon in 348 BC. The excavator is uncertain whether it is a tool or a weapon (Robertson p340). However the blade (fig. 9) is of similar shape to the Dacian falx (compare it to those in figures 2 and 4) and has a tang for affixing a wooden haft. It is quite different from two blades found on the same site which are certainly tools (one is at fig. 10). The possible weapon is 39 cm long - about the right length for the single-handed falx A similar blade, the excavator notes, was found at Merakleia Lynkestike in Macedon .

»»Figure 8: Horseman, possibly Seuthes 111, and foot soldier, from the west wall of the Kazanluk. passage. Zhivkova, pl. 17.

The next evidence comes from Kazanluk, near the city which Seuthes III built as his capital and named Seuthopolis, is a magnificent Thracian tomb. It dates to the early third century BC, and contains some of the few original Hellenistic paintings which survive. The departure scene in the main chamber, with its portraits of the deceased noble, his wife and his servants, has been quite frequently reproduced, but the battle scenes in the outer passage are much less well known. The important point for this article is that the infantry carry curved blades, coloured blue to represent iron. The blades (figs. 7 and 8) curve forward in a shape not unlike the falx but totally different from the machaira. The hilts are not clear, but are probably fairly simple sword hilts, though they could be short wooden shafts of falx type. The weapon is therefore comparable to the Birdoswald sword (fig. 4).

One more weapon, of uncertain date, belongs to the same series. Figure 11 shows a sword from Vinograd in Bulgaria, 40 cm long. It has a simple sword hilt, and while the inner, cutting edge curves quite smoothly the back has a distinct angle.

All this shows that the Thracians used weapons related to the falx and if the Olynthus blade ;is indeed a weapon, then they used the falx itself. (How many other such blades might have been excavated, only to be unhesitatingly identified as agricultural implements?) It seems likely that the falx proper developed from the falx-bladed swords, though it could have been adapted directly from agricultural sources. Certainly if the sword come first, it probably shares a common ancestor with the machaira-kopis, the only other forward-curved weapon known in the Balkan area. All the examples quoted are of the shorter variants; but the two-handed one must have been developed by 200 BC, since Livy's emphasis on length and Plutarch's on weight could not have applied very well to the short variants. Even if the Olynthus blade is not a weapon, and we thus have direct proof only of the Thracians using the related swords, the circumstantial evidence points strongly in their direction; the Thracians had the likely ancestor of the falx before they are said to have had the rhomphaia; later, the Dacians, a Thracian tribe, used both the falx itself and the sword which was its likely ancestor. So somewhen in the intervening period, the falx proper was developed; and since the rhomphaia is described as possessing all the basic characteristics of the falx it seems extremely likely that they were one and the same. If, of course, the Olynthus blade is accepted as a weapon, which seems to me the more likely identification since it is of virtually identical shape to the blade of the falx then the case is even stronger.

There is, of course, nothing intrinsically unlikely in a weapon being used by the Thracians south of the Danube and then adopted by the Dacians. The Dacians were Thracians themselves, one tribe of several north of the Danube, whose culture was basically the same as that of the southern tribes. As Hodinott observes, (p24) the Danube "served as a unifying link between the Thracians living to the south and those whose territories reached into the Carpathians and the north-west hinterland of the Black Sea".

Well, that is why I am convinced that the falx and the rhomphaia are one and the same; there seems no better interpretation of the texts, and the archaeological evidence supports the same conclusion. I would be interested to see if this has converted any unbelievers (such as Russell King, and present and former editors of this journal).

««Figure 9: Iron blade, probably a weapon, from Olynthus, 39 cm long. Robertson, pl. CIV.

««Figure 10: Iron blade, 10 cm long, possibly a pruningknife, or for cutting tray. Robertson, pl. CIV.

Figure 11: Iron curved sword from near Vinograd, northern Bulgaria. 40cm long. Cambridge Ancient History, Vol. of plates III, S6c.

A Note on the Kazanluk Paintings
As I have said, the battle paintings from Kazanluk. are not widely produced, at least outside of Bulgarian journals. I have found a book in English that shows parts of them, however; it is "The Kazanluk Tomb" by Lyudmila Zhivkova. I got my copy from the British Museum bookshop, and I've not seen it any where else It costs £8.60, which may seem a lot, but is worth it for a large (15" by 10 1/2") book with 118 pages and 37 plates, and beautifully produced. The only other source I know which might contain reproductions of these paintings is an article by C. Verdiani, "Original Hellenistic Paintings in a Thracian Tomb", American Journal of Archaeology, 49, 1945. I have not seen this, so cannot say how much of the battle- | scenes are shown.

The paintings show both infantry and cavalry. All the cavalry wear tunics, cloaks and Thracian helmets, and carry spears. They are shieldless, and no swords are shown. Only one - possibly a portrait of Seuthes 111 - has the traditional Thracian beard, and only one the equally traditional high boots. The rest wear low shoes, usually yellowish but sometimes dark brown.

All the infantry wear tunics and shoes, to which one adds a cloak. They carry one or two spears, or javelins, about 5 feet long. Their shields are Gallic, oval with in some cases straight ends - the thureos which Perseus' Thracians carried at Pydna. While these shields were white, however, these are a variety of pale hues, ochre or yellow. Headgear of the infantry is odd. One (fig. 8) is bareheaded; one, the sole cloaked foot soldier (fig. 7, left) has a very odd helmet, which seems to be unique. I certainly have never seen anything like it, and nor, it seems, has Mme. ZhivRova. The other infantry wear helmets of a rather odd type, with crests of fairly normal Greek style - though the crest in figure 7 is pale blue, which is unusual. The helmets themselves have a tongue over the centre of the forehead, in the right position for a nasal, but too small. It appears to be part of a brow plate apparently connected to cheek pieces and neck-guard. I am inclined to think that they represent a rather inaccurate rendering of an Attic helmet. These often had such vestigial nasals, either in the form of small tongues, or slight points where the arches over each eye meet. They also have an inverted 'V' shaped ridge above this, which in some examples is the upper edge of a separate brow plate. This ridge can continue right around the skull, which could have inspired the shape shown at Kazanluk. Such helmets have been found in Thrace, though-they date slightly earlier than Kazanluk. (figs. 12 and 13). Some Chalcidian helmets are similar, but with a full nasal, and sometimes with the cheekpieces in one piece with the skull.

««Figure 12: Bronze helmet from an unknown site in Bulgaria, second half of the 5th century BC. "Thracian Treasures.... " pl. 188.

««Figure 13: Helmet from near Nova Zagora, Bulgaria, 5th century BC. Thracian Treasures...." 187.

Colours of tunics and cloaks in the paintings vary, red and red-brown are common, but blue, pale rose and pale green are also shown. In the main painting, in the tomb itself, servants and grooms have tunics of blue so pale that it looks at first glance to be white; it may be intended to represent the off-white of natural wool. Noticeably absent are the black tunics recorded at Pydna, which, we thus see, were obviously not a regular part of Thracian national costume. They may have been a uniform for this one unit, or the costume of the tribe from which it was raised. Apart from one tunic decorated at sleeves and hem with a single stripe, and one servant in the main tomb who wears a red-brown tunic with one white stripe around each sleeve and two down each side of the tunic, under his arms, all the garments are plain. So patterned cloaks join high boots, foxskin caps and beards among the traditional elements of Thracian costume not shown at Kazanluk. This probably-represents the gradual Hellenisation of the Thracians, the absorption of their distinctive culture into the wider civilisation of the Hellenistic world.

I am grateful to Thomas Richardson for pointing out to me the blades from Olynthus.

Bibliography
Anna Comnena, "The Alexiad", Penguin Classics, 1969.
Ian Heath, "Armies of the Dark Ages", WRG 1976.
H.F. Hodinott, "Bulgaria in Antiquity", 1975.
Gawril Kazarow, "Thrace ", in Cambridge Ancient History, vol. 8.
Livy, in Penguin Classics as "Rome and the Mediterranean", 1976.
Plutarch, "Lif e of Aemilius Paullus " .
Michael Psellus, "Chronographia", in Penguin Classics as "Fourteen Byzantine Rulers", 1966. H. Russell Robinson, "The Armour of Imperial Rome", 1975.
H. RusseII Robinson, "What the SoIdiers wore on Hadrian's Wall", 1976.
David M. Robertson, "Excavations at Olynthus", vol. X, Baltimore, 1941.
Lino Rossi, " Tra jan's Column and the Dacian Wars", 1971 .
A.M. Snodgras, "Arms and Armour of the Greeks", 1967.
"Thracian Treasures from Bulgaria", the catalogue of the 1976 Thracian exhibition at the British Museum. Lyodmila Zhivkova, "The Kazanluk. Tomb", trans. from BuIgarian by Nevena ZheIiazkova, pubIished by Verlag Aurels Bongers Recklinghausen, of W . Germany, 1975.

 

SPURS BELONGING TO THE DACIAN KINGDOM PERIOD

 SPURS BELONGING TO THE DACIAN KINGDOM PERIOD

PINTENI DACICI DIN EPOCA REGATULUI
Cristian Dima

Sargetia XIII, p.175

http://muzeu.geomatic.ro/publicatii.htm

Fig. I. Răspândirea pintenilor în Dacia: 1. Ardeu (jud. Hunedoara) 2. Bâtca Doamnei
(jud. Neamţ) 3. Brad (com. Negrii, jud. Bacău) 4. Braşov 5. Cândeşti (jud. Vrancea)
6. Călan (jud. Hunedoara) 7. Căpâlna (jud. Alba) 8. Costeşti (jud. Hunedoara) 9. Cugir
(jud. Alba) 10. Jigodin (jud. Harghita) 11. Lunca Ciurei (jud. Iaşi) 12. Măgura
Moigradului (jud. Zalău) 13. Medişorul Mare (com. Simioneşti, jud, Harghita)
14. Mereşti (jud. Harghita) 15. Ocniţa (jud. Vâlcea) 16. Piatra Craivii (jud. Alba)
17. Pietroasele - Gruiu Dării (jud. Buzău) 18. Poiana (jud. Galaţi) 19. Popeşti (jud.
Argeş) 20.Dubova (jud. Mehedinţi) 21. Racoş (jud. Braşov) 22. Râşnov (jud. Braşov)
23. Răcătău (jud. Bacău) 24. Sighişoara 25. Tilişca (jud. Sibiu).

 

 

 Pl. I. 1-2. Răcătău (apud Glodariu); 3. Răcătău (apud Căpitanu); 4. Poiana (apud
Vulpe); 5. Pietroasele – Gruiu Dării (apud Sârbu); 6. Poiana (apud Vulpe); 7. Răcătău
(apud Căpitanu); 8. Poiana (apud Vulpe);9. Brad (apud Ursachi);

 Pl. II. 1. Piatra Craivii (apud I. Berciu); 2. Căpâlna; 3. Pietroasele - Gruiu Dării (apud
Sârbu); 4. Costeşti – Cetăţuie (apud Glodariu); 5. Porolisum (apud Macrea); 6. Braşov
(apud Roşca); 7. Măgura Moigradului (apud Matei, Pop); 8. Mereşti (apud V. Crisan);
9. Costeşti-Cetăţuie (apud Glodariu); 10. Dubova (apud Spânu); 11. Pietroasele – Gruiu
Dării(apud Sârbu); 12. Costeşti-Cetăţuie (apud Glodariu);

 

 

Abstract
The spurs are harness pieces that belong to the equipment of a knight. Made
from metal, they are attached to the heels of the bearer, and play an important role in
transmitting some of the commands to the horse, though prick fixed to their ends. The
spurs from Pre-Roman Dacia were discovered in a funerary context, but at the same
time they have been found in civil and fortified settlements (see the map in Pl. II). They
have been dated to a very wide period of time, from the middle of the second century
B.C. to the end of the first century A.D. An aspect that the archaeological researchers
observed is that the spurs from Dacia have many analogies with Celtic spurs.
In this study I have attempted to discuss aspects of terminology as well as
attempting to create a typological classification of the spurs from Pre-Roman Dacia
because these tasks have never been carried out in our scientific literature. We must
observe the fact that in combination with Tracian harness pieces, the use of horses in an
attach campaign was very efficient, the animal having been trained for this purpose
probably responded instantaneously to the commands given by the rider.
Table of Illustrations
Fig. I – Spurs spreading map;
Fig. II – Terminological figure;
Pl. I. 1-2. Răcătău (according to Glodariu); 3. Răcătău (according to Căpitanu);
4. Poiana (according to Vulpe); 5. Pietroasele – Gruiu Dării (according to
Sârbu); 6. Poiana (according to Vulpe); 7. Răcătău (according to Căpitanu);
8. Poiana (according to Vulpe);9. Brad (according to Ursachi);
Pl. II. 1. Piatra Craivii (according to I. Berciu); 2. Căpâlna; 3. Pietroasele - Gruiu Dării
(according to Sârbu); 4. Costeşti – Cetăţuie (according to Glodariu);
5. Porolisum (according to Macrea); 6. Braşov (according to Roşca); 7. Măgura
Moigradului (according to Matei, Pop); 8. Mereşti (according to V. Crisan);
9. Costeşti-Cetăţuie (according to Glodariu); 10. Dubova (according to Spânu);
11. Pietroasele – Gruiu Dării(according to Sârbu); 12. Costeşti-Cetăţuie
(according to Glodariu);
Pl. III. 1-2. Pietroasele – Gruiu Dării (according to Sârbu); 3. Mereşti (according to
V. Crişan); 4. Jigodin (according to V. Crişan); 5. Piatra Craivii (Craiva,
according to I.Berciu); 6. Căpâlna (according to Rustoiu); 7. Costeşti-Cetăţuie
(according to Daicoviciu); 8. Ocniţa (according to Berciu); 9. Poiana (according
to Silvia Teodor).

 

 

 

Getian Bow and Arrow

 Jordanes - The Origin and Deeds of the Goths
 They were the first race of men to     43
string the bow with cords, as Lucan, who is more of a
historian than a poet, affirms:

"They string Armenian bows with Getic cords."

Horace (Horatius Flaccus), Odes 3, 6 13-16 writing in the time of Augustus, 
spoke of the Dacians’ skill in archery:

Our city (Rome), torn by faction's battles,

Was almost destroyed by Dacian and Ethiopians,

These with their dreadful navy, those

For archer-prowess rather praised.

The distinguished first century AD politician Silius Italicus says of Hannibal in his Punica that he “shot from his bow arrows soaked with viper venom […] which he constantly [took] out from his perfidious quiver, as a Dacian does from the war-torn lands of the Getae.”

 
 

Trajan;s Column in Rome, XVI 24 4b 61,62  This magnificent panel is another fragment of  “The battle in the Thunderstorm”, in which the Dacian army formed in majority by Comati (common people) and some Tarabostes- the noblemen or pileati (the wearer of caps) had among them a detachment of archers.  One part of the army is engaged in the combat , another part is waiting in the coniferous woods with their standards: a Labrarum and a Draco. On top right Trajan is playing with a captured Dacian bow.

The Dacian God Zalmoxis was the God of the open sky. When the sky was clouded the Dacians used to shoot arrows at it and considered it a bad omen.

24 32, 5b, 77,78,79 This could be Dinogetia - a Geto-Dacian settlement conquered by the Romans and transformed into a border fortress. The fort was defended by auxiliaries. The Dacian army tried to liberate it. Interesting is the cross on the fortress gate. Dacians are using battering ram and bow and arrows during the attack.

 

 

 

 

 

Scythians shooting with bows, Kertch antique Panticapeum Ukraine 4th century BCE. Musée du Louvre
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Scythians_shooting_with_bows_Kertch_antique_Panticapeum_Ukrainia_4th_century_BCE.jpg

 

 

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