Friday, 19 July 2019

Treasures of Thrace

Thrace is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe, centered on the modern borders of Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey. In antiquity, it was also referred to as Europe, prior to the term to describe the whole continent.

Thrace designates a region bounded by the Balkan Mountains on the north, Rhodope Mountains and the Aegean Sea on the south, and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara on the east. The areas it comprises are southeastern Bulgaria (Northern Thrace), northeastern Greece (Western Thrace), and the European part of Turkey (Eastern Thrace). The biggest part of Thrace is part of present-day Bulgaria. The population of Thrace was a people called the Thracians, divided into numerous tribal groups. The region was controlled by the Persian Empire at its greatest extent, and Thracian soldiers were known to be used in the Persian armies. Later, Thracian troops were known to accompany Alexander the Great when he crossed the Hellespont.
Some of Bulgaria’s famous Thracian treasures were part of a major exhibition at the Louvre Museum in Paris in 2015.

The exhibition brought together more than 1,600 objects from 17 Bulgarian museums and several international museums including the Louvre and the Prado Museum, giving visitors an opportunity to see in one place some of the most significant Thracian artifacts that have ever been discovered.
The Odrysian kingdom was mostly on the territory of present-day Bulgaria but also included parts of modern Greece and Turkey. It was a regional power which was involved in the struggle with the Macedonian kingdom and with Athens and Sparta. One of the exhibition highlights is the bronze head of Seuthes III.

Hilt with gold inlay of Seuthes III's sword. ca. 331 BC.
Another highlight was the Panagyuriste gold treasure, which was excavated in 1949 and consists of gold drinking vessels that are elaborately decorated with mythological scenes and images, showcasing the artistic skills of the Thracians.

Rare gold hemidrachm from Thasos, Thracian islands.
Gold and silver greave (knee-piece)