SEMANTICS AND FUNCTION OF THE SILVER THRACIAN ANTHROPOMORPHIC ARTIFACTS, TRADITIONALLY DEFINED AS GREAVES Cover Image
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СЕМАНТИКА И ФУНКЦИИ НА СРЕБЪРНИТЕ ТРАКИЙСКИ АНТРОПОМОРФНИ АРТЕФАКТИ, ОПРЕДЕЛЯНИ ТРАДИЦИОННО КАТО НАКОЛЕННИЦИ
SEMANTICS AND FUNCTION OF THE SILVER THRACIAN ANTHROPOMORPHIC ARTIFACTS, TRADITIONALLY DEFINED AS GREAVES

Author(s): Dilyana Boteva
Subject(s): History, Archaeology, Cultural history, Social history, Ancient World
Published by: Институт за балканистика с Център по тракология - Българска академия на науките

Summary/Abstract: With the following text I once again turn my attention to issues which have attracted my interest for many years, namely the functions and semantics of the four silver Thracian anthropomorphic artifacts that are traditionally defined as greaves. They all are found as singular finds (not in pairs) in rich tumular graves: one in Vratsa in Northwestern Bulgaria, two close to the village of Agighiol in Northern Dobrudja (Southeastern Romania) and one – between the villages of Malomirovo and Zlatinitsa (Yambol region) in Southeastern Bulgaria. In an article published in the volume 45-46/1 (2008-2009) of Acta Musei Napocensis, I tried to reason my scepticism towards their labelling as greaves, because many of their features were showing strong differences from the bronze greaves normally found in pairs. Shortly after the appearance of my article, a book was published with a detailed report on the excavations of the tumulus near the villages of Malomirovo and Zlatinitsa, where one of the four items was found. In the book, the excavator Daniela Agre notes the following highly important observation which became possible only due to the relatively good condition in which the item was unearthed: “It should be noted that this type of greaves were intended solely for mounted warriors as they may be used on a leg bent in the knee only – it is difficult to straighten the leg with the greave fixed on” (Agre 2011: 71). This observation provoked my new analysis on the matter as it is more than obvious that greaves “intended solely for mounted warriors” is an impossible interpretation. If “it is difficult to straighten the leg with the greave fixed on”, then – in my opinion – the item in question was most obviously not intended to be a greave at all. That is why my scepticism reasoned back in 2009 is now turning into a strong conviction. However, the question about the functions of these four items still remains; here I offer one possible answer, connecting them with some specific funerary believes and practices.

  • Issue Year: 2016
  • Issue No: 21
  • Page Range: 223-237
  • Page Count: 15
  • Language: English, Bulgarian