Thracian Art

The ethnoname "Thracians" denotes the multi-composite and multitudinous population that inhabited the territory up to the Carpathians on the north, reaching the Black Sea on the east, up to the Vardar river on the west and down to the Aegean Sea on the south. It was Homer who first mentioned the Thracians in line 434 of the Tenth song in his "Ilyad". That name is also found in various Cretan-Mycenaean written records.

Herodotus (V, II) wrote: "The Thracian ethnos is the most numerous one after the Indian. The Thracians are differently named in each separate region but the manners and customs of the whole nationality remain just the same everywhere."

The Thracian tribe called Odryssaes inhabited the region of Plovdiv in the V - I  c. B. C. It was the only one among all the 46 known Thracian tribes that set upa form of government headed by a Royal institution. The Odryssian state included the present territory of Bulgaria, the northwestern part of Turkey and the northern regions of Greece. The representatives of the Thracian aristocracy were buried in huge mounds or stone sepulchres, of various layout, architecture and interior. The earliest sepulchres featuring cyst layouts and multi-colored paintings dating from V c. B. C. were found in the region of Kaloyanovo. They are related to the heirs of the first Odryssian tsar Teres I (480 - 440). Under the reign of the Thracian tsar Kotis I (383 - 359), in the beginning of IV c. B. C., the monumental masonry-built tombs with antechambers (dromos) and burial chambers equipped with a door for multiple visits were first introduced. Such kind of tombs were found in the vicinity of Perushtiza, Brestoviza and Plovdiv, as well as near the village of Starossel, Hissar region.

The Panagyurishte Gold Treasure

The Treasure collection, produced in the town Lampsakos in Asia Minor, consists of nine gold vessels with a total weight of 6.100 kg, discovered in 1949 near Panagyurishte.

The gold beverage set includes a phiale (a dish) and eight rhytons (cups) in the form of different zoomorphic and anthropomorphic figures. The treasure used to be the possession of an unknown Thracian ruler of the Odryssian tribe who reigned at the end of IV c. and the beginning of III c. B. C.

  Phiale (a dish), adorned with relief images of black men’s heads and acorns, situated in concentric-circle forms.  
  Gold Aries-shaped rhyton. The handle of the vessel ends in a lion figure. Relief figures of the sitting Dionysus and the bacchante Eriope are depicted on the neck of the rhyton. Dancing bacchantes are represented around them.  
  Gold deer-shaped rhyton. The figures of Athena, Paris, Hera and Aphrodite are represented on its neck.  
  Gold deer-shaped rhyton. Its handle ends with a lion figure. Two mythological scenes of fightings are represented on the neck - Heracles against the doe of Cerynia and Theseus against the bull of Marathon.  
  Amphora-rhyton with centaurs-formed handles. Three compositional scenes are depicted on the vessel. The central scene represents five warriors in a battle. The second scene depicts two warriors in the fortune-telling ritual of predicting the future on a liver. The third one, in the lower part of the amphorae, represents the figures of Silenus and the little Heracles in his cradle killing two snakes.  
  Gold rhyton with a goat-protome-shaped lower part. The relief figures of Hera, Arthemis, Apollo and Nike are presented on its neck.  
  Amazon-head-shaped gold rhyton. The amazon has a veil over her well-arranged hair and a necklace on her neck. The handle of the rhyton ends in the figure of a flying sphinx.  
  Gold rhyton in the form of an Amazon head with a helmet on. The two sides of the helmet bear the relief figures of flying sphinxes.  
  Amazon-head-shaped gold rhyton. The amazon has a veil over her well-arranged hair and a necklace on her neck. The handle of the rhyton ends in the figure of a flying sphinx.
     Gold breastplate - V century BC., Chernozem, Municipality Kaloyanovo