Friday 22 July 2011

Double axe found in Bugaria

A double axe of the ancient Thracians was discovered in Bulgaria.

It is 22 cm long and was found near the hill called Kozi Gramadi.

From: To Vima, 15.07.2001.

A ceremonial double axe, dated to c. 600 B.C. was brought to light by archaeologists in Bulgaria during excavations carried out in the palace of the rulers of the Kingdom of the Odryses, who were the strongest tribe of ancient Thrace. The iron axe, 22 cm long was discovered near the main gate of the fortified living place of the kings - today's hill of Kozi Gramandi - and, although it is the second that comes to light in an archaeological site of the region, it is considered an especially important discovery, as archaeologists are still trying to understand its exact use.

The double axe found in the digs of Kozi Gramadi.

"The Lavrys, as it was called by the Greeks, was used more for certain ceremonies and less for military purposes or as a household item", explains the head of the dig Ivan Kristoff. Another hypothesis, based on representations in tombs of ancient Macedonia and of the tomb discovered in the Haskovo region, is that the double axe was used in the royal hunt.

Didrachme of Pixodaros (340-334 B.C.), Carian Satrap, bearing the head of Apollo on the obverse and Zeus Labrandos standing r. on the reverse. Künker 136 (10.03.2008), 653.

"If not by the ruler himself, maybe by his comrades", says the archaeologists. "In this sense, the discovery of the iron weapon in the ancient Thracian palace is not a coincidence", he adds. He explains that the lavrys in ancient Greek mythology was the double axe of Zeus Labrandos, who was worshiped in Labranda of Karia, and is represented standing and holding a lavrys over his right shoulder.

Coin of Amadokos I (400-386 B.C.) showing a horse on the obverse and a double axe surrounded by the inscription AMA[Δ]OKO. G. Hirsch 271 (17.02.2011), lot 1801.

It must be noted that the first representations of a lavrys are dated to the 2nd millennium B.C., while in ancient Thrace the oldest are dated to the Bronze Age. In the Balkan region it appears for the first time as a royal symbol on the bronze coins of the king of the Odryses Amadokos at the end of the 5th century B.C. The new find will be added to the exhibition of the National Historic Museum of Bulgaria.

Note of A.M.: It must be noted that the double axe, the lavrys, was a central symbol of the Minoan civilisation on the island of Crete. This, then, is the oldest use of the symbol in the Balkan region, unless the term is used to the exclusion of what is today Greece.

Note 2 of A.M.: The double axe is found on coins of the island of Tenedos (Turkish: Bozcaada), in the entrance to the Dardanelles, dated to 450/387 B.C.

Coin of Tenedos (450/387). 0,48 g. It bears an ianomorphus head (female l., male r.) on the obverse and a double axe with the letters T-E on either side on the reverse. The heads on the obverse might be those of Tenes and his sister Hemithea. Künker 136 (10.03.2008), 628.

The presence of the double-axe is interpreted either as related to local myths of the island related to its eponymous hero Tenes, or a symbol of Dionysus. This last interpretation is interesting, as the presence of the lavrys on the coins of the Thracian-Skythian ruler Amadokos I and his successors is also likely to be related to the worship of Dionysus, who is known to have held special importance in the religious practices of the area (see for example the myth of King Lycourgos of Thrace). It is thought that the worship of this god was transmitted to Greece from the Thracian tribes.

No comments:

Post a Comment