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Seller: ancientgifts (4,452) 100%, Location: Lummi Island, Washington, Ships to: Worldwide, Item: 122911000947 From the Lands of the Scythians: Ancient Treasures from the Museum of the U.S.S.R. 3000 BC – 100 B.C. by Boris Piotrovsky, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Phillippe de Montebello, Ann Farkas, and John Richardson. NOTE: We have 75,000 books in our library, almost 10,000 different titles. Odds are we have other copies of this same title in varying conditions, some less expensive, some better condition. We might also have different editions as well (some paperback, some hardcover, oftentimes international editions). If you don’t see what you want, please contact us and ask. We’re happy to send you a summary of the differing conditions and prices we may have for the same title. DESCRIPTION: Softcover. Publisher: Metropolitan Museum/New York Graphic Society (1975). Pages: 160. Size: 11 x 8½ inches; 1½ pounds. Summary: Scythian treasures are illustrated in full color and every piece is described in detail. There are essays on the culture and history of the Scythians and the most recent archaeological discoveries, maps and bibliography, and a first-hand account by the ancient Greek historian Herodotus describing the strange customs of these still mysterious nomads who created a uniquely beautiful art. This landmark exhibition comprised 197 works of art from the ancient civilizations of the territories that were at the time of the exhibit part of the Soviet Union. This book has many gorgeous photos of the most spectacular Scythian art and artifacts known today. CONDITION: VERY GOOD. Lightly read oversized softcover. Metropolitan Museum/New York Graphic Society (1975) 160 pages. Unblemished except for for mild shelfwear to the covers, which includes some rubbing to the spine head and heel. We'd also note that the cover spine is slightly light-faded. Otherwise the covers are very handsome and presentable. Inside the pages are pristine; clean, crisp, unmarked, unmutilated, tightly bound, and seemingly only flipped through a few times. While there is one "reading crease" to the spine, fropm the inside at least it seems likely that the book was flipped through a few times while in the book store. If it was actually "read" (cover-to-cover), it was by someone with an exceedingly gentle touch. The overall condition of the book is, especially considering it is forty years old, except for the mild shelfwear and rubbing to the spine head and heel (and the slight fading to the spine), not too terribly far removed from what might pass as "new" from an open-shelf book store (such as Barnes & Noble, or B. Dalton, for example) wherein patrons are permitted to browse open stock, and so otherwise "new" books often show a little handling/shelf/browsing wear. Satisfaction unconditionally guaranteed. In stock, ready to ship. No disappointments, no excuses. PROMPT SHIPPING! HEAVILY PADDED, DAMAGE-FREE PACKAGING! #1328.1i. PLEASE SEE DESCRIPTIONS AND IMAGES BELOW FOR DETAILED REVIEWS AND FOR PAGES OF PICTURES FROM INSIDE OF BOOK. PLEASE SEE PUBLISHER, PROFESSIONAL, AND READER REVIEWS BELOW. PUBLISHER REVIEWS: REVIEW: This book chronicles the beautiful exhibit of Scythian and Sarmatian treasures that travelled to New York and to L.A. in 1975. The Scythians and Sarmatians were the original peoples who inspired the Greek legends of the centaurs and the Amazons -- the mounted Scythian warriors seeming to be one with their horses, and the female warriors of the Sarmatians stood out so much that the legend has discarded the men of the Sarmatian tribe. Both groups lived in the area bordered by the Dneipr and Ural Rivers to the east and west respectively, and by the Black Sea, Caucasus Mountains, and the Caspian Sea to the south REVIEW: The Museum's highly acclaimed and immensely popular exhibition “From the Lands of the Scythians” shown in the USA in 1975 was an early indicator of an ever-growing fascination public with the art of ancient civilizations. PROFESSIONAL REVIEWS: REVIEW: This beautiful full-color museum catalogue chronicles the beautiful exhibit of Scythian and Sarmatian treasures that traveled to New York and to L.A. in 1975. The Scythians and Sarmatians were the original peoples who inspired the Greek legends of the centaurs and the Amazons -- the mounted Scythian warriors seeming to be one with their horses, and the female warriors of the Sarmatians stood out so much that the legend has discarded the men of the Sarmatian tribe. Both groups lived in the area bordered by the Dneipr and Ural Rivers to the east and west respectively, and by the Black Sea, Caucasus Mountains, and the Caspian Sea to the south. Minimal text information is presented: this is a picture-book, and a great one. Color photos are used to document the most valuable and well-preserved artifacts, and there is a short but complete description of every piece from the exhibition included. Also includes the famous text from the Greek historian Herodotus which describes the Scythians and neighboring peoples. A gorgeous book. READER REVIEWS: REVIEW: The 1975 catalog was entitled “From the Lands of the Scythians”. It’s some of the most fantastic artwork ever created. I hope that is ebullient enough and honest enough for you. One of my friends is having a complete set of high quality Scythian garb and armor and weapons made for him. I've seen the helmet and it is very impressive. He intends to be buried in it one day. By birth he's Sicilian, and for some strange reason I've never been able to convince him one has nothing, or very little, to do with the other. Go figure. In any event, this is an excellent read and the photographed antiquities are simply stunning. A good book to enjoy and keep on hand. Or would make a great gift for the ancient history enthusiast/reader in your life. REVIEW: If you have done any research into history of Scythian art, you will quickly find out that there is not much good literature out there, and especially no books with good illustrations. From what I have found so far, this book has the best illustrations of Scythian art from the Winter Palace's gold treasury (I went to the museum itself and they did not have a proper book available - they said they had a catalog but it is out of print.) REVIEW: This is still one of the most beautiful books in English on the Scythian treasures in Russian museums. The translations of Herodotus' and other's writings is very useful. Definitely a book for the collections of all who are interested in the ancient steppe empires. REVIEW: Gorgeous, full color images of treasured works of art. The detail in these images is stunning. The descriptions are well done as well. This is definitely a book that could be republished to a wider audience. It’s become a fairly scarce title, difficult to source in better conditions.. REVIEW: Great art of ancient people, the first cowboys. The Scythians came from the East and were continually moving westward, as if searching for something... Anyway, this book is the guide to an exhibition of USSR treasures held in 1975. REVIEW: Excellent textual material, great photography. ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND: REVIEW: Scythia was a region of Central Eurasia in classical antiquity, occupied by the Eastern Iranian Scythians, encompassing parts of Eastern Europe east of the Vistula River and Central Asia, with the eastern edges of the region vaguely defined by the Greeks. The Ancient Greeks gave the name Scythia (or Great Scythia) to all the lands north-east of Europe and the northern coast of the Black Sea. The Scythians – the Greeks' name for this initially nomadic people – inhabited Scythia from at least the 11th century B.C. to the 2nd century A.D. Its location and extent varied over time but usually extended farther to the west than is indicated on the map opposite. Scythia was a loose state that originated as early as 8th century B.C. Little is known of them and their rulers. The most detailed western description is by Herodotus, though it is uncertain he ever went to Scythia. He says the Scythians' own name for themselves was "Scoloti". The Scythians became increasingly settled and wealthy on their western frontier with Greco-Roman civilization. The region known to classical authors as Scythia included the Pontic-Caspian steppe: Ukraine, southern Russia, and western Kazakhstan (inhabited by Scythians from at least the 8th century B.C.). Genetic evidence for ranging clear across the plains (steppes) from Black Sea to Lake Baikal. The Kazakh steppe: northern Kazakhstan and the adjacent portions of Russia Sarmatia, corresponding to eastern Poland, Ukraine, southwestern Russia, and the northeastern Balkans, ranging from the Vistula River in the west to the mouth of the Danube, and eastward to the Volga Saka tigrakhauda, corresponding to parts of Central Asia, including Kyrgyzstan, southeastern Kazakhstan, and the Tarim Basin Sistan or Sakastan, corresponding to southern Afghanistan, eastern Iran, and southwestern Pakistan, extending from the Sistan Basin to the Indus River. Following successive invasions of the Indo-Greek kingdoms, the Indo-Scythians also expanded east, capturing territory in what is today the Punjab region. Parama Kamboja, corresponding to northern Afghanistan and parts of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan Alania, corresponding to the northern Caucasus region Scythia Minor, corresponding to the lower Danube river area west of the Black Sea, with a part in Romania and a part in Bulgaria. In the 7th century B.C. Scythians penetrated from the territories north of the Black Sea across the Caucasus. The early Scythian kingdoms were dominated by inter-ethnic forms of dependency based on subjugation of agricultural populations in eastern South Caucasia, plunder and taxes (occasionally, as far as Syria), regular tribute (Media), tribute disguised as gifts (Egypt), and possibly also payments for military support (Assyria). It is possible that the same dynasty ruled in Scythia during most of its history. The name of Koloksai, a legendary founder of a royal dynasty, is mentioned by Alcman in the 7th century B.C. Prototi and Madius, Scythian kings in the Near Eastern period of their history, and their successors in the north Pontic steppes belonged to the same dynasty. Herodotus lists five generations of a royal clan that probably reigned at the end of the 7th to 6th centuries B.C.: prince Anacharsis, Saulius, Idanthyrsus, Gnurus (Гнур (ru)), Lycus and Spargapithes. After being defeated and driven from the Near East, in the first half of the 6th century B.C., Scythians had to re-conquer lands north of the Black Sea. In the second half of that century, Scythians succeeded in dominating the agricultural tribes of the forest-steppe and placed them under tribute. As a result, their state was reconstructed with the appearance of the Second Scythian Kingdom which reached its zenith in the 4th century B.C. Scythia's social development at the end of the 5th century B.C. and in the 4th century B.C. was linked to its privileged status of trade with Greeks, its efforts to control this trade, and the consequences partly stemming from these two. Aggressive external policy intensified exploitation of dependent populations and progressed the stratification among the nomadic rulers. Trading with Greeks also stimulated sedentarization processes. The proximity of the Greek city-states on the Black Sea coast (Pontic Olbia, Cimmerian Bosporus, Chersonesos, Sindica, Tanais) was a powerful incentive for slavery in the Scythian society, but only in one direction: the sale of slaves to Greeks, instead of use in their economy. Accordingly, the trade became a stimulus for capture of slaves as war spoils in numerous wars. The Scythian state reached its greatest extent in the 4th century B.C. during the reign of Ateas. Isocrates believed that Scythians, and also Thracians and Persians, are "the most able to power, and are the peoples with the greatest might." In the 4th century B.C., under king Ateas, the tribune structure of the state was eliminated, and the ruling power became more centralized. The later sources do not mention three basileuses any more. Strabo tells that Ateas ruled over the majority of the North Pontic barbarians. Written sources tell that expansion of the Scythian state before the 4th century B.C. was mainly to the west. In this respect Ateas continued the policy of his predecessors in the 5th century B.C. During western expansion, Ateas fought the Triballi. An area of Thrace was subjugated and levied with severe duties. During the 90 year life of Ateas, the Scythians settled firmly in Thrace and became an important factor in political games in the Balkans. At the same time, both the nomadic and agricultural Scythian populations increased along the Dniester river. A war with the Bosporian Kingdom increased Scythian pressure on the Greek cities along the North Pontic littoral. Materials from the site near Kamianka-Dniprovska, purportedly the capital of the Ateas’ state, show that metallurgists were free members of the society, even if burdened with imposed obligations. Metallurgy was the most advanced and the only distinct craft speciality among the Scythians. From the story of Polyaenus and Frontin, it follows that in the 4th century B.C. Scythia had a layer of dependent population, which consisted of impoverished Scythian nomads and local indigenous agricultural tribes, socially deprived, dependent and exploited, who did not participate in the wars, but were engaged in servile agriculture and cattle husbandry. The year 339 B.C. was a culminating year for the Second Scythian Kingdom, and the beginning of its decline. The war with Philip II of Macedon ended in a victory by the father of Alexander the Great. The Scythian king Ateas fell in battle well into his nineties. Many royal kurgans (Chertomlyk, Kul-Oba, Aleksandropol, Krasnokut) are dated from after Ateas’s time and previous traditions were continued, and life in the settlements of Western Scythia show that the state survived until the 250s B.C. When in 331 B.C. Zopyrion, Alexander's viceroy in Thrace, "not wishing to sit idle", invaded Scythia and besieged Pontic Olbia, he suffered a crushing defeat from the Scythians and lost his life. The fall of the Second Scythian Kingdom came about in the second half of the 3rd century B.C. under the onslaught of Celts and Thracians from the west and Sarmatians from the east. With their increased forces, the Sarmatians devastated significant parts of Scythia and, "annihilating the defeated, transformed a larger part of the country into a desert". The dependent forest-steppe tribes, subjected to exaction burdens, freed themselves at the first opportunity. The Dnieper and Southern Bug populace ruled by the Scythians did not become Scythians. They continued to live their original life, which was alien to Scythian ways. From the 3rd century B.C. for many centuries the histories of the steppe and forest-steppe zones of North Pontic diverged. The material culture of the populations quickly lost their common features. And in the steppe, reflecting the end of nomad hegemony in Scythian society, the royal kurgans were no longer built. Archeologically, late Scythia appears first of all as a conglomerate of fortified and non-fortified settlements with abutting agricultural zones. The development of the Scythian society was marked by the following trends: An intensified settlement process, evidenced by the appearance of numerous kurgan burials in the steppe zone of North Pontic, some of them dated to the end of the 5th century B.C., but the majority belonging to the 4th or 3rd centuries B.C., reflecting the establishment of permanent pastoral coaching routes and a tendency to semi-nomadic pasturing. The Lower Dnieper area contained mostly unfortified settlements, while in Crimea and Western Scythia the agricultural population grew. The Dnieper settlements developed in what were previously nomadic winter villages, and in uninhabited lands. In the 4th century B.C. in the Dnieper forest-steppe zone, steppe-type burials appear. In addition to the nomadic advance in the north in search of the new pastures, they show an increase of pressure on the farmers of the forest-steppe belt. The Boryspil kurgans belong almost entirely to soldiers and sometimes even women warriors. The bloom of steppe Scythia coincides with decline of forest-steppe. From the second half of the 5th century B.C., importing of antique goods to the Middle Dnieper decreased because of the pauperization of the dependent farmers. In the forest-steppe, kurgans of the 4th century B.C. are poorer than during previous times. At the same time, the cultural influence of the steppe nomads grew. The Senkov kurgans in the Kiev area, left by the local agricultural population, are low and contain poor female and empty male burials, in a striking contrast with the nearby Boryspil kurgans of the same era left by the Scythian conquerors. Growth of trade with Northern Black Sea Greek cities, and increase in Hellenization of the Scythian aristocracy. After the defeat of Athens in the Peloponnesian war, Attican agriculture was ruined. Demosthenes wrote that about 400,000 medimns (63,000 tons) of grain was exported annually from the Bosporus to Athens. The Scythian nomadic aristocracy not only served a middleman role, but also actively participated in the trade of grain (produced by dependent farmers as well as slaves), skins and other goods. Scythia's later history is mainly dominated by sedentary agrarian and city elements. As a result of the defeats suffered by Scythians, two separate states were formed, the 'Lesser Scythias': one in Thrace (Dobrudja), and the other in the Crimea and the Lower Dnieper area. Having settled this Scythia Minor in Thrace, the former Scythian nomads (or rather their nobility) abandoned their nomadic way of life, retaining their power over the agrarian population. This little polity should be distinguished from the Third Scythian Kingdom in Crimea and Lower Dnieper area, whose inhabitants likewise underwent a massive sedentarization. The interethnic dependence was replaced by developing forms of dependence within the society. The enmity of the Third Scythian Kingdom, centred on Scythian Neapolis, towards the Greek settlements of the northern Black Sea steadily increased. The Scythian king apparently regarded the Greek colonies as unnecessary intermediaries in the wheat trade with mainland Greece. Besides, the settling cattlemen were attracted by the Greek agricultural belt in Southern Crimea. The later Scythia was both culturally and socio-economically far less advanced than its Greek neighbors such as Olvia or Chersonesos. The continuity of the royal line is less clear in the Lesser Scythias of Crimea and Thrace than it had been previously. In the 2nd century B.C., Olvia became a Scythian dependency. That event was marked in the city by minting of coins bearing the name of the Scythian king Skilurus. He was a son of a king and a father of a king, but the relation of his dynasty with the former dynasty is not known. Either Skilurus or his son and successor Palakus were buried in the mausoleum of Scythian Neapol that was used from c. 100 B.C. to c. 100 AD. However, the last burials are so poor that they do not seem to be royal, indicating a change in the dynasty or royal burials in another place. Later, at the end of the 2nd century B.C., Olvia was freed from Scythian domination, but became a subject to Mithridates I of Parthia. By the end of the 1st century B.C., Olbia, rebuilt after its sack by the Getae, became a dependency of the Dacian barbarian kings, who minted their own coins in the city. Later from the 2nd century AD Olbia belonged to the Roman Empire. Scythia was the first state north of the Black Sea to collapse with the invasion of the Goths in the 2nd century AD (see Oium). At the end of the 2nd century AD, King Sauromates II critically defeated the Scythians and included the Crimea into his Kingdom of the Cimmerian Bosporus, a Roman client state. Scythian art is art, primarily decorative objects, such as jewellery, produced by the nomadic tribes in the area known to the ancient Greeks as Scythia, which was centred on the Pontic-Caspian steppe and ranged from modern Kazakhstan to the Baltic coast of modern Poland and to Georgia. The identities of the nomadic peoples of the steppes is often uncertain, and the term "Scythian" should often be taken loosely; the art of nomads much further east than the core Scythian territory exhibits close similarities as well as differences, and terms such as the "Scytho-Siberian world" are often used. Other Eurasian nomad peoples recognised by ancient writers, notably Herodotus, include the Massagetae, Sarmatians, and Saka, the last a name from Persian sources, while ancient Chinese sources speak of the Xiongnu or Hsiung-nu. Modern archaeologists recognise, among others, the Pazyryk, Tagar, and Aldy-Bel cultures, with the furthest east of all, the later Ordos culture a little west of Beijing. The art of these peoples is collectively known as steppes art. In the case of the Scythians the characteristic art was produced in a period from the 7th to 3rd centuries B.C., after which the Scythians were gradually displaced from most of their territory by the Sarmatians, and rich grave deposits cease among the remaining Scythian populations on the Black Sea coast. Over this period many Scythians became sedentary, and involved in trade with neighbouring peoples such as the Greeks. In the earlier period Scythian art included very vigorously modelled stylised animal figures, shown singly or in combat, that had a long-lasting and very wide influence on other Eurasian cultures as far apart as China and the European Celts. As the Scythians came in contact with the Greeks at the Western end of their area, their artwork influenced Greek art, and was influenced by it; also many pieces were made by Greek craftsmen for Scythian customers. Although we know that goldsmith work was an important area of Ancient Greek art, very little has survived from the core of the Greek world, and finds from Scythian burials represent the largest group of pieces we now have. The mixture of the two cultures in terms of the background of the artists, the origin of the forms and styles, and the possible history of the objects, gives rise to complex questions. Many art historians feel that the Greek and Scythian styles were too far apart for works in a hybrid style to be as successful as those firmly in one style or the other. Other influences from urbanized civilizations such as those of Persia and China, and the mountain cultures of the Caucasus, also affected the art of their nomadic neighbours. Scythian art especially Scythian gold jewellery is highly valued by museums and many of the most valuable artefacts are in the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. Their Eastern neighbours, the Pazyryk culture in Siberia produced similar art, although they related to the Chinese in a way comparable to that of the Scythians with the Greek and Iranian cultures. In recent years, archeologists have made valuable finds in various places within the area. The Scythians worked in a wide variety of materials such as gold, wood, leather, bone, bronze, iron, silver and electrum. Clothes and horse-trappings were sewn with small plaques in metal and other materials, and larger ones, including some of the most famous, probably decorated shields or wagons. Wool felt was used for highly decorated clothes, tents and horse-trappings, and an important nomad mounted on his horse in his best outfit must have presented a very colourful and exotic sight. As nomads, the Scythians produced entirely portable objects, to decorate their horses, clothes, tents and wagons, with the exception in some areas of kurgan stelae, stone stelae carved somewhat crudely to depict a human figure, which were probably intended as memorials. Bronze-casting of very high quality is the main metal technique used across the Eurasian steppe, but the Scythians are distinguished by their frequent use of gold at many sites, though large hoards of gold objects have also been found further east, as in the hoard of over 20,000 pieces of "Bactrian Gold" in partly nomadic styles from Tillya Tepe in Afghanistan. Earlier pieces reflected animal style traditions; in the later period many pieces, especially in metal, were produced by Greek craftsmen who had adapted Greek styles to the tastes and subject-matter of the wealthy Scythian market, and probably often worked in Scythian territory. Other pieces are thought to be imports from Greece. As the Scythians prospered through trade with the Greeks, they settled down and started farming. They also established permanent settlements such as a site in Belsk, Ukraine believed to the Scythian capital Gelonus with craft workshops and Greek pottery prominent in the ruins. The Pazyryk burials (east of Scythia proper) are especially important because the frozen conditions have preserved a wide variety of objects in perishable materials that have not survived in most ancient burials, on the steppes or elsewhere. These include wood carvings, textiles including clothes and felt appliqué wall hangings, and even elaborate tattoos on the body of the so-called Siberian Ice Maiden. These make it clear that important ancient nomads and their horses, tents, and wagons were very elaborately fitted out in a variety of materials, many brightly coloured. Their iconography includes animals, monsters and anthropomorphic beasts, and probably some deities including a "Great Goddess", as well as energetic geometric motifs. Archaeologists have uncovered felt rugs as well as well-crafted tools and domestic utensils. Clothing uncovered by archaeologists has also been well made many trimmed by embroidery and appliqué designs. Wealthy people wore clothes covered by gold embossed plaques, but small gold pieces are often found in what seem to be relatively ordinary burials. Imported goods include a famous carpet, the oldest to survive, that was probably made in or around Persia. Steppes jewelry features various animals including stags, cats, birds, horses, bears, wolves and mythical beasts. The gold figures of stags in a crouching position with legs tucked beneath its body, head upright and muscles tight to give the impression of speed, are particularly impressive. The "looped" antlers of most figures are a distinctive feature, not found in Chinese images of deer. The species represented has seemed to many scholars to be the reindeer, which was not found in the regions inhabited by the steppes peoples at this period. The largest of these were the central ornaments for shields, while others were smaller plaques probably attached to clothing. The stag appears to have had a special significance for the steppes peoples, perhaps as a clan totem. The most notable of these figures include the examples from: the burial site of Kostromskaya in the Kuban dating from the 6th century B.C. (Hermitage); Tápiószentmárton in Hungary dating from the 5th century B.C., now National Museum of Hungary, Budapest; Kul Oba in the Crimea dating from the 4th century B.C. (Hermitage). Another characteristic form is the openwork plaque including a stylized tree over the scene at one side, of which two examples are illustrated here. Later large Greek-made pieces often include a zone showing Scythian men apparently going about their daily business, in scenes more typical of Greek art than nomad-made pieces. Some scholars have attempted to attach narrative meanings to such scenes, but this remains speculative. Although gold was widely used by the ruling elite of the various Scythian tribes, the predominant material for the various animal forms was bronze. The bulk of these items were used to decorate horse harness, leather belts & personal clothing. In some cases these bronze animal figures when sewn onto stiff leather jerkins & belts, helped to act as armor. The use of the animal form went further than just ornament, these seemingly imbuing the owner of the item with similar prowess & powers of the animal which was depicted. Thus the use of these forms extended onto the accoutrements of warfare, be they swords, daggers, scabbards, or axes. The primary weapon of this horse riding culture was the bow, & a special case had been developed to carry the delicate but very powerful composite bow. This case, "the gorytus", had a separate container on the outside which acted as a quiver, & the whole was often decorated with animal scenes or scenes depicting daily life on the steppes. There was a marked following of Grecian elements after the 4th century B.C., when Greek craftsmen were commissioned to decorate many of the daily use articles. Scythian art has become well known in the West thanks to a series of touring loan exhibitions from Ukrainian and Russian museums, especially in the 1990s and 2000s. Kurgans are large mounds that are obvious in the landscape and a high proportion have been plundered at various times; many may never have had a permanent population nearby to guard them. To counter this, treasures were sometimes deposited in secret chambers below the floor and elsewhere, which have sometimes avoided detection until the arrival of modern archaeologists, and many of the most outstanding finds come from such chambers in kurgans that had already been partly robbed. Elsewhere the desertification of the steppe has brought once-buried small objects to lie on the surface of the eroded land, and many Ordos bronzes seem to have been found in this way. Russian explorers first brought Scythian artworks recovered from Scythian burial mounds to Peter the Great in the early 18th century. These works formed the basis of the collection held by the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg. Catherine the Great was so impressed from the material recovered from the kurgans or burial mounds that she ordered a systematic study be made of the works. However, this was well before the development of modern archaeological techniques. Nikolai Veselovsky (1848-1918) was a Russian archaeologist specializing in Central Asia who led many of the most important excavations of kurgans in his day.[11] One of the first sites discovered by modern archaeologists were the kurgans Pazyryk, Ulagan district of the Altay Republic, south of Novosibirsk. The name Pazyryk culture was attached to the finds, five large burial mounds and several smaller ones between 1925 and 1949 opened in 1947 by a Russian archeologist, Sergei Rudenko; Pazyryk is in the Altay Mountains of southern Siberia. The kurgans contained items for use in the afterlife. The famous Pazyryk carpet discovered is the oldest surviving wool pile oriental rug. The enormous hoard of "Bactrian gold" discovered at Tillya Tepe in northern Afghanistan in 1978 comes from the fringes of the nomadic world, and the objects reflect the influence of many cultures to the south of the steppes as well as steppes art. The six burials come from the early 1st century AD (a coin of Tiberius is among the finds) and though their cultural context is unfamiliar, it may relate to the Indo-Scythians who had created an empire in north India. Recent digs in Belsk, Ukraine uncovered a vast city believed to be the Scythian capital Gelonus described by Herodotus. Numerous craft workshops and works of pottery have been found. A kurgan or burial mound near the village of Ryzhanovka in Ukraine, 75 mi (121 km) south of Kiev, found in the 1990s has revealed one of the few unlooted tombs of a Scythian chieftain, who was ruling in the forest-steppe area of the western fringe of Scythian lands. There at a late date in Scythian culture (c. 250 - 225 B.C.), a recently nomadic aristocratic class was gradually adopting the agricultural life-style of their subjects. Many items of jewelry were also found in the kurgan. A discovery made by Russian and German archaeologists in 2001 near Kyzyl, the capital of the Russian republic of Tuva in Siberia is the earliest of its kind and predates the influence of Greek civilisation. Archaeologists discovered almost 5,000 decorative gold pieces including earrings, pendants and beads. The pieces contain representations of many local animals from the period including panthers, lions, bears and deer. Earlier rich kurgan burials always include a male, with or without a female consort, but from the 4th and 3rd centuries there are number of important burials with only a female. The finds from the most important nomad burials remain in the countries where they were found, or at least the capitals of the states in which they were located when found, so that many finds from Ukraine and other countries of the former Soviet Union are in Russia. Western European and American museums have relatively small collections, though there have been exhibitions touring internationally. The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg has the longest standing and the best collection of Scythian art. Other museums including several local ones in Russia, in Budapest and Miskolc in Hungary, Kiev in Ukraine, the National Museum of Afghanistan and elsewhere have important holdings. The Scythian Gold exhibition came from a number of Ukrainian exhibitions including the Museum of Historical Treasures of Ukraine, the Institute of Archaeology in Kiev and the State Historical Archaeological Preserve at Pereiaslav-Khmel'nyts'kyi. REVIEW: Russian scholars from the State Hermitage Museum have concluded that a discovery of Scythian gold in a Siberian grave last summer is the earliest of its kind ever found and that it predates Greek influence. The find is leading to a change in how scholars view the supposed barbaric, nomadic tribes that once roamed the Eurasian steppes. The dig near Kyzyl, the capital of the Siberian republic of Tuva, revealed almost 5,000 decorative gold pieces -- earrings, pendants and beads -- that adorned the bodies of a Scythian man and woman, presumably royalty, and dated from the fifth or sixth centuries B.C. In addition to the gold, which weighed almost 44 pounds, the archaeologists discovered items made of iron, turquoise, amber and wood. "There are many great works of art -- figures of animals, necklaces, pins with animals carved into a golden surface," said Dr. Mikhail Piotrovsky, director of the Hermitage Museum. "It is an encyclopedia of Scythian animal art because you have all the animals which roamed the region, such as panther, lions, camels, deer, etc. This is the original Scythian style, from the Altai region, which eventually came to the Black Sea region and finally in contact with ancient Greece, and it resembles almost an Art Nouveau style." Russian and German archaeologists excavated a Scythian burial mound on a grassy plain that locals have long called the Valley of the Kings because of the large number of burial mounds of Scythian and other ancient nomadic royalty. The fierce nomadic Scythian tribes roamed the Eurasian steppe, from the northern borders of China to the Black Sea region, in the seventh to third centuries B.C. In the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. they interacted with the ancient Greeks who had colonized the Black Sea region, which is now in Ukraine and southern Russia. Not surprisingly ancient Greek influence was evident in Scythian gold previously discovered, but the recent find dates from before contact with the Greeks and from the heart of Siberia where, scholars say, contact with outsiders can almost be excluded. Research on the Tuva burial mound, known as Arzhan 2, began in 1998, and to the amazement of scholars the grave was discovered to be untouched, though failed attempts by grave robbers to locate the burial chamber were evident on the sprawling, 185-foot-long, 5-foot-high mound. This was the first such discovery since the early 1700's, when Russian explorers brought Scythian treasures to Czar Peter the Great, a find that became the State Hermitage Museum's collection of Scythian gold. All burial mounds explored since then had been robbed. To avoid contamination and disturbing the items stored in the grave, the Russian and German archaelogists entered it first with a small remote-control video camera to study how burial items were originally arranged and to reconstruct the burial rituals. The discovery was made by Russian scholars from the Hermitage Museum and the St. Petersburg branch of the Russian Institute of Cultural and Natural Heritage, led by the Russian archaeologist Konstantin Chugonov, who has been studying Bronze Age and Scythian sites in Tuva for 20 years. German scholars also took part in the dig and were led by Herman Parzinger and Anatoli Nagler from the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin. "Tuva's Valley of the Kings has long been a major area of interest for archaeologists because it contains the largest burial mounds in the region of Tuva and in all of the Altai region," Mr. Chugonov said. "We chose to work on those mounds in greatest danger, and we chose this one because of all the major mounds it is the most damaged." About 25 percent of the excavated burial mound, which is stone slate, was destroyed when Soviet authorities built a road through the area in the 1960's. Over the years, residents walked off with pieces of the stone to use in building their houses. After its discovery, the treasure was sent to the Hermitage Museum for storage and restoration, and it will stay there until Tuva can build a museum to house the items. This is in accordance with Russian Federation law stating that items be displayed in their place of discovery so long as local authorities provide the proper conditions. Building such a museum is years away, however, Dr. Piotrovksy said. Until then they will remain in the Hermitage, and at some point will be put on display. Though the Russian-German dig began last May, preparations took almost three years. Scholars first approached the burial mound in 1998, studying it with geophysical equipment allowing them, without excavating, to determine the presence of almost 200 items inside. The first reconnaissance dig was made in the summer of 2000. "The find was not an accident, because scholars know there are burial mounds in that area, but most were robbed, and empty," Dr. Piotrovsky said. "Their success in actually finding something was a combination of hard work and luck." REVIEW: A team of archeologists led by Anton Gass of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation has unearthed a small trove of gold objects left behind by a people known as the Scythians, a group of fierce nomads that thrived for over a thousand years in the environs of what is now southern Russia. The Scythians are believed to have been a warring people, occupying the steppes of central Eurasia from the ninth century B.C. to the fourth century AD—but they did not leave behind much evidence of their existence, much less their history—they built no cities and kept on the move. They did however, create grave mounds called kurgans (Slavic for tumulus, or a particular type of grave where a mound of dirt is heaped over a chamber). One particular kurgan stood in the path of a power line construction, which caused utility officials to contact Gass to investigate. He brought a team to the site expecting to find nothing but dirt, clay and sand—it had been combed over by looters many times already. But, as it turns out the looters had missed something—deep inside a layer of clay was a chamber lined with stone, inside of which lay artifacts made of gold: two vessels shaped like buckets sitting upside down. Inside the buckets were three gold cups, a finger ring, a gold bracelet and two neck rings—taken together the find adds up to seven pounds of riches. In speaking with the press, the researchers described how the vessels had intricate inscriptions on them, one depicting an elderly man slaying a younger man, and another showing griffons killing a stag and a horse. Both are so well done that the researchers were able to make out details such as hair styles, clothing types, etc. They reported also that they had found sticky dark residue on the insides of the vessels, which after analysis turned out to contain both cannabis and opium. The researchers believe the opium was used in a tea of sorts and consumed, while the cannabis was smoked. The find corresponds to the writing of Greek historian Herodotus, who described occasions where the Scythians burned a plant to produce a smoke that made them shout out loud. REVIEW: The Scythians were a much-feared, barbaric group of pre-common era tribes that ruled the Eurasian grasslands for over a thousand years. Said to be of Iranian origin, they left no cities behind, only huge burial mounds called kurgans. Solid gold artefacts discovered in a Scythian burial mound in southern Russia include two bucket-shaped vessels, three gold cups, a heavy finger ring, two neck rings, and a gold bracelet. The kurgans of the Scythians dot the Eurasian steppes from Mongolia to the Balkans, and through Ukraine and on to the Black Sea. It is from the artifacts uncovered in the kurgans that archaeologists have learned much about Scythian life and art. A massive kurgan was discovered in Stavropol, a territorial district in Southern Russia, by workers clearing the way for a power line project. Stavropol-based archaeologist Andrei Belinski began excavating the kurgan, called Sengileevskoe-2, the summer of 2013, and his finds prompted authorities to keep the site a secret until now. Solid gold artifacts, including two bucket-shaped vessels, three gold cups, a heavy finger ring, two neck rings, and a gold bracelet were unearthed. In all, the artifacts when cleaned, weighed about seven pounds (3.2 kilos). "It's a once-in-a-century discovery," says Anton Gass, an archaeologist at the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation in Berlin. "These are among the finest objects we know from the region." When the excavation of the kurgan began, the archaeology team didn't have great expectations of finding much because it was apparent the kurgan had been looted some time in the past. But after several weeks of digging, the team came across a thick layer of clay. After careful digging, underneath the clay they came across a large rectangular chamber lined with broad, flat stones. Inside the chamber, the team found a 2,400-year-old treasure the looters had missed. "It was definitely a surprise for us," Belinski says. "We weren't expecting to find anything like this." Once the residue was removed from the gold vessels, ornate decorations, showing great detail were revealed. One vessel shows an old bearded man slaying young warriors. The other vessel shows griffons, mythological creatures ripping apart a horse and a stag. The bleak background depicted on the vessel led Belinski to think this was a representation of the Scythian underworld. Inside the vessels, Belinski discovered a black, sticky substance. Samples were sent to a forensics laboratory for identification. The images on the vessels are an exciting find. The vessel depicting the shoes, haircuts and clothing of the old man and the warriors is amazingly lifelike. "I've never seen such a detailed representation of the clothing and weaponry of the Scythians," says Belinski. "It's so detailed you can see how the clothing was sewn." Gass thinks the vessel depicting the old man slaying young warriors is a representation of the "bastard wars" as described by the Greek historian Herodotus. As Herodotus tells the story, the Scythians were engaged in a 28-year war with their neighbors. the Persians. When the Scythians finally returned home, they found intruders in their tents. They were the bastard children of the Scythians lonely wives and their slaves. Gass believes the slaughter that ensued was important enough that it was described in detail on the vessel. Herodotus writes that the grown bastard children went forth to engage the returning warriors, and many lives on both sides were lost. Herodotus writes: one Scythian warrior turned to his fellows, saying: "What are we doing, Scythians? We are fighting our slaves, diminishing our own number when we fall, and the number of those that belong to us when they fall by our hands. Take my advice- lay spear and bow aside, and let each man fetch his horsewhip and go boldly up to them. So long as they see us with arms in our hands, they imagine themselves our equals in birth and bravery; but let them behold us with no other weapon but the whip, and they will feel that they are our slaves, and flee before us." Belinski believes the vessel has a more metaphorical meaning. This could be a representation of the power struggle that occurs when a ruler or king has died. "When a king died, there was chaos," he says. "The spirit world was upset by the death of the king, and order had to be born anew." The black, sticky substance inside the vessels was cannabis and opium residue. For Scythians, cannabis was an important part of the death ritual when a leader died. First, the body was cleaned and dressed. Then, the leader's body was taken around the region where he ruled for 40 days so that everyone could pay their respects. After the leader's body was buried, Scythians would purify their bodies by erecting small tepee-like structures. A fire was made inside the structure, and when red-hot coals were left, hemp seeds were either thrown on the hot coals or put into vessels and set on the coals. The vapors produced were intoxicating, and the out-of-body experience supposedly cleansed the soul and mind. Herodotus, in about 450 B.C. writes, "when, therefore, the Scythians have taken some seed of this hemp, they creep under the cloths and put the seeds on the red-hot stones; but this being put on smokes, and produces such a steam, that no Grecian vapour-bath would surpass it. The Scythians, transported by the vapour, shout aloud." It has long been believed that these "hemp rituals" were nothing more than a myth, but it is a fact this ceremony did occur. In 1929, Professor S. I. Rudenko and his team of archaeologists were digging some ancient ruins near the Altai Mountains, on the border between Siberia and Outer Mongolia. They unearthed a 20-foot deep trench about 160 square feet in size. Around the trench, they found the skeletons of horses and inside the trench was the embalmed body of a man and a large cauldron filled with the residue of cannabis seeds. It is interesting to note that the sacrifice of a horse was considered the most "prestigious" sacrificial gift to their pantheon of seven gods. The central portion of the burial mound was finally excavated in full last fall. The team found additional trenches around the kurgan, but due to political tensions, the excavating has been put on hold. "It's like a detective investigation. We don't understand it all, not immediately," says Gass. "We need to keep digging." REVIEW: Scythian Art showcases ancient treasures of the Scythians, the fierce, nomadic horsemen who roamed the European steppe from the seventh to the third centuries BC. These proud warriors, who grew rich on trade with the Greeks, commissioned lavish gold objects for adornment, ceremony and battle, drawing on their own ancient artistic traditions and employing the finest Greek goldsmiths of the age. The Scythians flourished more than 2,500 years ago in what is present-day Ukraine and are among the most fascinating of the great warrior cultures that dominated the steppes for centuries. They originated in the central Asian steppes sometime in the early first millennium, BC. After migrating into what is present-day Ukraine, they flourished, from the seventh to the third centuries, BC, over a vast expanse of the steppe that stretched from the Danube, east across what is modern Ukraine and east of the Black Sea into Russia. Invincible for nearly four centuries, the Scythians were a people of great military skill and unrelenting ferocity. They were also extremely influential patrons of the arts, and left behind an extraordinary legacy of both ruthless conquest and lavish artifacts. Gold of the Nomads offers visitors a rare glimpse into the lives of these great warriors, whose brutality was matched only by their passion for exquisite ornament. Much of what is known about the Scythians has been uncovered through archaeological excavations of their burial mounds, known as kurhany. Ongoing explorations of kurhany continue to recover an astonishing wealth of gold and silver objects, ranging from horse trappings to armor, weaponry, jewelry and ceremonial adornment. Early finds of Scythian gold artifacts in the 1700s were so stunning that Catherine the Great ordered their systematic study, launching what became the field of Scythian archaeology. Some of the most extraordinary finds were uncovered only in the last two decades, and excavations continue on an ongoing basis to explore some of the more than 40,000 kurhany still unexcavated in Ukraine. Many of the works of art are in the animal style associated with the central Asian steppes, while others reflect influence from ancient Near Eastern cultures. Still other objects reveal a fusion of the animal style with Near Eastern motifs and Greek iconography and style. Rich evidence of this sophisticated, artistic dialogue constitutes an intriguing new frontier in archaeological research. The story of the Scythians and Scythian art is also a story of interaction with the Greek world, which eagerly purchased grain, furs and amber from the Scythians. Profits from this trade brought Scythians the wealth to indulge their taste for elaborate objects ranging from torques to horse decorations. Magnificent gilded bronze Greek vessels discovered in a bog 300 miles up the Dnipro River testify to the extensive commercial and cultural ties between the peoples. When the Scythians at last abandoned their nomadic lifestyle for the prosperous, settled life which trade had brought them, the door was opened for the invasion of a hardier nomadic tribe, the Sarmatians. The exhibition will close with several superb Sarmatian gold objects, including a torque, a dolphin brooch and a pendant, as a reminder of how intriguing and how still little known are the cultures, objects, and artistic styles of this part of the world. REVIEW: The Hermitage collection of Scythian antiquities is renowned worldwide, its nucleus consisting of finds from burial complexes in the Crimea, Kuban basin and in the valleys of the Dnieper and Don rivers. The most attractive feature of the collection is the abundance of articles of applied art from a variety of schools and trends, with objects created in the Scythian Animal style, and items made by Greek craftsmen or imported from Oriental countries and the nearby Classical centers to the North of Black Sea and intended for Scythian noblemen. According to Scythian tradition, alongside a dead chief the tribe buried his wives, servants, armour-bearers, grooms and horses, and these burials thus contain numerous artifacts, from weapons and harness to everyday objects and a multiplicity of personal adornments. Most valuable of all is the Scythian Gold, often lavishly decorated with precious stones. Two gold shield emblems in the forms of a panther and stag – the Kelermes Panther and the Kostromsky Stag (from burial mounds in the Kuban area, 7th century B.C.) – are true masterpieces, which have come to symbolize the achievements of Scythian craftsmen. These two animals were hugely popular during the Scythian era and appear on many objects. No less remarkable are the articles from the burial mounds of Scythian chiefs (5th to 4th centuries B.C.), executed in the Graeco-Scythian style and decorated with scenes from a Scythian heroic epic: the gold comb from the Solokha burial mound; gold and silver vessels from the Kul-Oba and Chastye barrows; a silver amphora bearing relief representations of scenes from Scythian life (Chertomlyk burial mound). The detailed images on these pieces make it possible for us to picture the appearance of the Scythians, their clothes and weapons. Rich tombs beneath tumuli and ancient settlements in the area of the forested steppes, inhabited by the tribes subject to the Scythians, have also yielded hand-made clay vessels, farming tools, utensils, arms and armour and objects associated with the working of bronze and iron, both imported and of local production. REVIEW: Russian archaeologist Andrey Belinski wasn’t sure what to expect when he found himself facing a small mound in a farmer’s field at the foot of the Caucasus Mountains. To the untrained eye, the 12-foot feature looked like little more than a hillock. To Belinski, who was charged with excavating the area to make way for new power lines, it looked like a type of ancient burial mound called a kurgan. He considered the job of excavating and analyzing the kurgan, which might be damaged by the construction work, fairly routine. “Basically, we planned to dig so we could understand how it was built,” Belinski says. As he and his team began to slice into the mound, located 30 miles east of Stavropol, it became apparent that they weren’t the first people to take an interest. In fact, looters had long ago ravaged some sections. “The central part was destroyed, probably in the nineteenth century,” Belinski says. Hopes of finding a burial chamber or artifacts inside began to fade. It took nearly a month of digging to reach the bottom. There, Belinski ran into a layer of thick clay that, at first glance, looked like a natural feature of the landscape, not the result of human activity. He uncovered a stone box, a foot or so deep, containing a few finger and rib bones from a teenager. But that wasn’t all. Nested one inside the other in the box were two gold vessels of unsurpassed workmanship. Beneath these lay three gold armbands, a heavy ring, and three smaller bell-shaped gold cups. “It was a huge surprise for us,” Belinski says. “Somehow, the people who plundered the rest didn’t locate these artifacts.” As he continued to excavate the area surrounding the kurgan, he spotted postholes near the stone box, as though tree trunks had once been sunk in the earth to support a pavilion or roof. Belinski and Anton Gass of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation in Berlin, whom Belinski had invited to participate in the excavation, realized that they had found something far beyond a simple burial mound. In fact, some scholars think the site may have been the location of an intense ritual and subsequent burial rite performed by some of the ancient world’s most fearsome warriors. From about 900 to 100 B.C., nomadic tribes dominated the steppes and grasslands of Eurasia, from what is today western China all the way east to the Danube. All across this vast expanse, archaeological evidence shows that people shared core cultural practices. “They were all nomads, they were heavily socially stratified, they had monumental burial structures and rich grave goods,” says Hermann Parzinger, head of Berlin’s Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation and former head of the German Archaeological Institute. Today, archaeologists refer to the members of this interconnected world as Scythians, a name used by the Greek historian Herodotus. REVIEW: “Gold of the Nomads” showcases ancient gold treasures of the Scythians, the fierce, nomadic horsemen who roamed the European steppe from the seventh to the third centuries B.C. These proud warriors, who grew rich on trade with the Greeks, commissioned lavish gold objects for adornment, ceremony and battle, drawing on their own ancient artistic traditions and employing the finest Greek goldsmiths of the age. Featuring over 170 objects from the Museum of Historical Treasures of Ukraine, Kyiv (Kiev); The Institute of Archaeology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv; and the State Historical Archaeological Preserve (Pereiaslav-Khmel'nyts'kyi) Gold of the Nomads will encompass the largest and most comprehensive collections of Scythian gold objects ever assembled for an exhibition. Many of the objects included in the exhibition were only recently unearthed and will be seen for the first time outside Ukraine in this exhibition. The Scythians flourished more than 2,500 years ago in what is present-day Ukraine and are among the most fascinating of the great warrior cultures that dominated the steppes for centuries. They originated in the central Asian steppes sometime in the early first millennium, B.C. After migrating into what is present-day Ukraine, they flourished, from the seventh to the third centuries, B.C., over a vast expanse of the steppe that stretched from the Danube, east across what is modern Ukraine and east of the Black Sea into Russia. Invincible for nearly four centuries, the Scythians were a people of great military skill and unrelenting ferocity. They were also extremely influential patrons of the arts, and left behind an extraordinary legacy of both ruthless conquest and lavish artifacts. Gold of the Nomads offers visitors a rare glimpse into the lives of these great warriors, whose brutality was matched only by their passion for exquisite ornament. Much of what is known about the Scythians has been uncovered through archaeological excavations of their burial mounds, known as kurhany. Ongoing explorations of kurhany continue to recover an astonishing wealth of gold and silver objects, ranging from horse trappings to armor, weaponry, jewelry and ceremonial adornment. Early finds of Scythian gold artifacts in the 1700s were so stunning that Catherine the Great ordered their systematic study, launching what became the field of Scythian archaeology. Some of the most extraordinary finds were uncovered only in the last two decades, and excavations continue on an ongoing basis to explore some of the more than 40,000 kurhany still unexcavated in Ukraine. Many of the works of art are in the animal style associated with the central Asian steppes, while others reflect influence from ancient Near Eastern cultures. Still other objects reveal a fusion of the animal style with Near Eastern motifs and Greek iconography and style. Rich evidence of this sophisticated, artistic dialogue constitutes an intriguing new frontier in archaeological research. Gold of the Nomads showcases a broad range of objects that have been excavated in the last two decades and have never been seen in the United States. These virtually unknown masterpieces include a gold helmet bearing scenes in relief of Scythian combat, the style of which is clearly influenced by Attic Greek red-figure vase painting of the 5th century B.C.; a nearly foot-high object that is thought to have served as a finial, covered with intricately intertwined animal combat scenes; and a sensational series of recently discovered gold cut-out plaques from a gorytos (bow and arrow case), with winged dragons depicted in a blend of the animal and Near Eastern styles and a leafy-footed, scaly, bearded man who looks to be part Scythian, part Assyrian. The story of the Scythians and Scythian art is also a story of interaction with the Greek world, which eagerly purchased grain, furs and amber from the Scythians. Profits from this trade brought Scythians the wealth to indulge their taste for elaborate objects ranging from torques to horse decorations. Magnificent gilded bronze Greek vessels discovered in a bog 300 miles up the Dnipro River testify to the extensive commercial and cultural ties between the peoples. When the Scythians at last abandoned their nomadic lifestyle for the prosperous, settled life which trade had brought them, the door was opened for the invasion of a hardier nomadic tribe, the Sarmatians. The exhibition will close with several superb Sarmatian gold objects, including a torque, a dolphin brooch and a pendant, as a reminder of how intriguing and how still little known are the cultures, objects, and artistic styles of this part of the world. A major 352-page volume published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc. and edited by Ellen Reeder accompanies the exhibition, with essays by Reeder, Esther Jacobson (professor of art history at the University of Oregon), and Michael Treister (former curator, Pushkin Museum, Moscow). The sumptuously-illustrated volume showcases the Scythian treasures with original collections photography, including many images which are published here for the first time. Presenting newly excavated works of art as well as important new scholarship, Scythian Gold is a landmark volume for the study of Scythian art and culture. Alex Castro, who designed the exhibition, also designed the catalogue. REVIEW: This exhibition of approximately 165 works of art comprises the finest Scythian gold objects from the Treasures of Ukraine Museum and the Archaeological Institute in Kiev. Although small groups of Scythian objects from Ukraine have been seen in several European cities over the past few years, this exhibition is the largest and most complete ever assembled from the Scythian material in Ukraine. The Scythians were a nomadic people who originated in the central Asian steppes sometime in the early first millennium, B.C. After migrating into what is present-day Ukraine, they prospered from the fifth to the third centuries, B.C, through trade with the Greek cities on the Black Sea coast. Scythian graves and burial mounds continue to yield an astonishing wealth of gold and silver objects, many of which are in the salled animal style associated with the central Asian steppes. Other objects reflect influence from ancient Near Eastern cultures, and still other pieces are either strongly in the Greek style or exhibit an intriguing blend of Greek and animal style elements. Many of the recently excavated objects in the exhibition constitute a new chapter, even a new book, on the interrelationships of the ancient Aegean world, the ancient Near East, and the steppes that extend from north of the Black Sea as far as the Altai Republic near Mongolia. Objects in the exhibition include the celebrated gorytos (bow and arrow case), with relief scenes very close to the iconography and style of fifth century Athens that some level of Greek involvement in its creation is an inevitable conclusion. Other famous pieces include two great gold scabbards and swords bearing scenes of animal combat, and the foot-high gold plaque worked in a cutout technique and destined for a horse’s head, which bears a hunting scene that finds its closest parallels in the art of the Asian steppes. A very large proportion of the pieces in the exhibition have been excavated since 1975 and thus will be seen in the United States for the first time. These virtually unknown masterpieces include a gold helmet bearing scenes in relief of Scythian combat; the style is clearly influenced by Attic red-figure vase painting. REVIEW: In the 1970s, Scythian gold was the subject of one of the first of what are now commonly called "treasure house" shows at American art museums. An exhibition seen in New York and Los Angeles focused on the exquisitely fabricated decorative metalwork so highly prized by the ancient nomads of the region north of the Black Sea--metalwork in some cases made for them by Greek artisans working in Crimea more than 2,300 years ago. Scythian gold was hitherto largely unknown in the West, but the popular exhibition left a gilded icon in its wake: the glittering image of an elk-like deer, its legs tucked beneath its body in a recumbent pose, its antlers transformed into an elegant, rhythmic interlace of serpentine lines. Scythian gold is back now, in a concise, informative and well-laid-out exhibition opening Sunday at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Gold of the Nomads: Scythian Treasures from Ancient Ukraine" offers about 170 objects, including bronzes, stone carvings, silver ornaments and pottery, in addition to the jewelry and ritual objects made from gold that the Scythians so mightily craved. One big difference between the current show, which was organized jointly by Baltimore's Walters Art Gallery and the San Antonio Museum of Art, and its 1970s predecessor is the radically different political climate that surrounds the presentation today. Then, an unprecedented presentation of Scythian gold was played out as one cultural episode in a larger Cold War drama of one-upmanship between East and West. Today, nearly a decade after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and following numerous discoveries by Ukrainian and other archeologists and art historians, the material is seen in a considerably different light. In fact, walking through the show, what easily springs to mind now are current questions about economic globalization and its cultural impact. For the story told by Scythian artifacts is a story of ancient international trade and the subsequent transformation of established cultural tradition, albeit on a relatively small scale. Something of the dramatic difference that Scythian art underwent in its increasingly interdependent encounter with the Greeks can be seen in the first gallery. Two stone burial markers, each about 6 feet tall, are crudely carved into representations of standing men. Frontal, flat and two-dimensional, the sculptures have an unsophisticated, folk-like quality. The 5th century B.C. artisans who made them relied mostly on incised lines rudely chiseled into the granite and limestone to show blunt facial features, schematic arms held across bodies, prominent phalluses, drinking horns and weapons of war. These are not the works of a civilization with a refined, urbane tradition of sculptural craftsmanship. In the center of the room, by contrast, a vitrine displays a bell-shaped golden helmet from the 4th century B.C., decorated with relief figures of Scythian warriors doing combat in a landscape. Two bearded Scythians have taken on four clean-shaven fighters, and the Scythians clearly have the upper hand. While still somewhat schematic, the relief is far more naturalistic and complicated in its rendering, especially of the warriors' faces. Hammered from the inside, the design was engraved from the outside. A rosette surrounded by a rope pattern crowns the helmet, while an intricate floral band circles the rim. Because it's made of gold, the helmet was likely used in a ritual way--perhaps as part of a burial cache (it was excavated from a tomb in 1988). But if the stone carvings nearby look like the work of untrained artisans, the finely worked helmet is positively Greek. The stark difference in refinement isn't a simple matter of materials, either--of stone versus metal. Another nearby case holds an even older figural bronze, a hatchet-shaped scepter that looks distinctly like Gumby. The difference between the older sculptures and the newer golden one is more telling. As nomads, the Scythians were relatively limited in their artistic traditions and capacities. They had migrated from Central Asia around 600 B.C. Hunting and gathering (and no doubt plundering) still went on, but in relatively short order they discovered something new. They discovered trade, and especially the meaning of the potentially lucrative term "middleman." The wandering Scythians found they could take grain grown by indigenous farmers in the north and sell it, at a big profit, to the Greek cities springing up in the south along the Black Sea coast. Eventually their peripatetic nomadism gave way to regular seasonal encampments. Slowly but surely the Scythians were getting rich, and so they did what the newly rich do: They went shopping. What they bought were luxuries. The Greeks who were building small cities around the Black Sea bought Scythian grain, but they had artistic talent to sell back to their increasingly prosperous traders. Several dozen works in the show are of Greek manufacture, including bronze vessels, clay amphoras, terra cotta figurines and various pieces of jewelry, and many were excavated from Scythian burial mounds. Others are likely by Scythians emulating Greek styles. The Greek objects are adorned with traditional motifs, both decorative and mythological. Two of the more remarkable are bronze helmets, no doubt used in actual battle, each distinctively shaped like the head of a phallus. In the exhibition, Scythian style and Greek style begin to mingle, merge and mix with one another. One extraordinary example is an elaborately decorated sword and scabbard plated in gold. The refined and cleverly composed reliefs show scenes of fierce animal combat. The pommel of the sword carries a single crouching stag, typically Scythian, while the blade cover is arrayed with fantastic griffins--half eagle, half lion--of Near Eastern heritage. Elsewhere a half-goat figure of Pan, Greek god of the forests, turns up. And asymmetrical dynamism, which speaks of a worldview based on continuous movement and dramatic flux, begins to be transformed into a more relaxed balance and equilibrium, an expression of eternal harmony. In more general terms, Scythian decorative motifs tended to be animal and vegetable in origin, as might be expected from warriors who hunted. From Greece came representations of human beings, such as those that turned up at war on the ritual gold helmet, or the elegant seated women who appear on a pair of elaborate earrings, or the portrait-like men's faces that adorn bridle attachments. And the powerful Scythian figure of a ruling goddess, shown in the center of a magnificent diadem, is eventually joined by a bridle ornament showing the Greek figure of a bearded hero with a lion's pelt and an enormous club--who else but Hercules. The exhibition, which is housed at LACMA West, concludes with four pieces of gold jewelry that, however luxurious, with their rock crystal and bits of colored stone, also seem more garish, sometimes even clumsy. The spiral armband, dolphin-shaped pin, floral brooch and intaglio ring are all of more recent vintage, made by the Sarmatians who finally supplanted the Scythian nomads. It is said that the Scythians, whose brutal ways included human sacrifice in the ritual slaughter of attendants (and horses) at elaborate burial feasts, might have grown weak and slothful with all their worldly success as tradesmen. No one really knows for sure the details of why or how the Sarmatians quashed the Scythians. You get the feeling, though, that this otherwise engaging post-Cold War look at Scythian gold has been given a small but distinctly cautionary coda: Beware getting fat and sassy in a globalizing economy. REVIEW: In the 1970s, Scythian gold was the subject of one of the first of what are now commonly called "treasure house" shows at American art museums. An exhibition seen in New York and Los Angeles focused on the exquisitely fabricated decorative metalwork so highly prized by the ancient nomads of the region north of the Black Sea--metalwork in some cases made for them by Greek artisans working in Crimea more than 2,300 years ago. Scythian gold was hitherto largely unknown in the West, but the popular exhibition left a gilded icon in its wake: the glittering image of an elk-like deer, its legs tucked beneath its body in a recumbent pose, its antlers transformed into an elegant, rhythmic interlace of serpentine lines. Scythian gold is back now, in a concise, informative and well-laid-out exhibition opening Sunday at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Gold of the Nomads: Scythian Treasures from Ancient Ukraine" offers about 170 objects, including bronzes, stone carvings, silver ornaments and pottery, in addition to the jewelry and ritual objects made from gold that the Scythians so mightily craved. One big difference between the current show, which was organized jointly by Baltimore's Walters Art Gallery and the San Antonio Museum of Art, and its 1970s predecessor is the radically different political climate that surrounds the presentation today. Then, an unprecedented presentation of Scythian gold was played out as one cultural episode in a larger Cold War drama of one-upmanship between East and West. Today, nearly a decade after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and following numerous discoveries by Ukrainian and other archeologists and art historians, the material is seen in a considerably different light. REVIEW: Originally nomads, the Scythians migrated from central Asia through the Near East, finally settling on the shores of the Black Sea in what is now Ukraine. The wealth they earned by selling grain to Greek cities provided the means to purchase fabulous gold ornaments that fused the styles of Greece, the Near East, and Central Asia. Four Ukrainian museums combined their treasures and their scholarship to produce "Gold of the Nomads: Scythian Treasures from Ancient Ukraine," one of the most important museum exhibits to come to the United States from Ukraine. Reeder, curator of ancient art at the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore, does an excellent job of bringing together authorities in various areas of Scythian culture with color photographs of the artifacts. One of the most beautiful exhibit catalogs of the year, this is recommended for any library needing solid, up-to-date information on Scythian culture. [Library Journal]. REVIEW: It would be fair to say that the Scythians had a weakness for gold. Where did they get all that gold? It is accepted that the Scythians were fierce warriors. The emphasis in this accompaniment to the exhibit Gold of the Nomads is their "fierce" trading with the Greeks, and the exchange is grain for gold, not service for gold. The myth is not explained. But the discussion on metalworking explains the two types of gold objects that scholars and the public are most interested in. And Scythian art, characterized by its so-called animal style, is discussed in a chapter written by editor Reeder. The catalog displays some of the finest gold treasures of this ancient nomadic people--swords, a helmet, exquisite jewelry, and other objects dating from the fifth to the third centuries B.C. [Booklist]. REVIEW: HISTORY OF RUSSIA: Prior to the current era (before 0 A.D.) the vast lands of South Russia were home to various Proto-Indo-European tribes such as the Scythians. Between the third and sixth centuries A.D., the steppes were overwhelmed by successive waves of nomadic invasions when swept through Europe, as was the case with Huns and Turkish Avars. A Turkic people, the Khazars, ruled South Russia through the 8th century. They were important allies of the Byzantine Empire and waged a series of successful wars against the Arab Califates. The Early East Slavs constituted the bulk of the population in Western Russia from the 7th century onwards and slowly assimilated the native Finno-Ugric tribes, such as the Merya, the Muromians and the Meshchera. In the mid-9th century, a group of Scandinavians, the Varangians, assumed the role of a ruling elite at the Slavic capital of Novgorod. Although they were quickly assimilated by the predominantly Slavic population, the Varangian dynasty lasted several centuries, during which they affiliated with the Byzantine, or Orthodox church and moved the capital to Kiev in A.D. 882. In the 10th to 11th centuries this state of Kievan Rus became the largest in Europe and one of the most prosperous, due to diversified trade with both Europe and Asia. However the opening of new trade routes with the Orient at the time of the Crusades contributed to the decline and defragmentation of Kievan Rus by the end of the 12th century. In the 11th and 12th centuries, the constant incursions of nomadic Turkic tribes, such as the Kipchaks and the Pechenegs, led to the massive migration of Slavic populations from the fertile south to the heavily forested regions of the north. The medieval states of Novgorod Republic and Vladimir-Suzdal emerged as successors to Kievan Rus, while the middle course of the Volga River came to be dominated by the Muslim state of Volga Bulgaria. Like many other parts of Eurasia, these territories were overrun by the Mongol invaders known as the “Golden Horde”, which would pillage Russia for over three centuries. Later known as the Tatars, they ruled the southern and central expanses of present-day Russia, while the territories of present-day Ukraine and Belarus were incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Poland, thus dividing the Russian people in the north from the Belarusians and Ukrainians in the west. Nomadic rule retarded the country's economic and social development. However, the Novgorod Republic together with Pskov retained some degree of autonomy during the time of the Mongol yoke and was largely spared the atrocities that affected the rest of the country. Led by Alexander Nevsky, the Novgorodians repelled the Germanic crusaders who attempted to colonize the region. While still under the domain of the Mongols the duchy of Moscow began to assert its influence in Western Russia in the early 14th century. Assisted by the Russian Orthodox Church Muscovy inflicted a defeat on the Mongols in the Battle of Kulikovo (1389). Ivan the Great (ruled 1456-1505) eventually tossed off the control of the invaders, consolidated surrounding areas under Moscow's dominion and first took the title "grand duke of all the Russias". After the fall of Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire in 1453 A.D., Muscovite Russia remained the only more or less functional Christian state on the Eastern European frontier, allowing it to claim succession to the legacy of the Eastern Roman Empire. By the beginning of the 16th century the Russian state set the national goal to return all Russian territories lost as a result of the Mongolian invasion and to protect the southern borderland against attacks of Crimean Tatars and other Turkic peoples. In 1547, Ivan the Terrible was officially crowned the first Tsar of Russia. During his long reign, Ivan annexed the Muslim polities along the Volga River and transformed Russia into a multiethnic state. By the end of the century, Russian Cossacks established the first settlements in Western Siberia. In the middle of the 17th century there were Russian settlements in Eastern Siberia all the way to the Pacific coast, where the strait between North America and Asia was first sighted by a Russian explorer in 1648. Muscovite control of the nascent nation continued after the Polish intervention of 1605-1612 under the subsequent Romanov dynasty, beginning with Tsar Michael Romanov in 1613. Peter the Great (ruled in 1689-1725) defeated Sweden in the Great Northern War, forcing it to cede even more territory to Russia, including Ingria in which Peter founded a new capital, Saint Petersburg. Peter succeeded in bringing ideas and culture from Western Europe to a severely underdeveloped Russia. After his reforms, Russia emerged as a major European power. Catherine the Great, ruling from 1762 to 1796, continued Peter’s efforts at establishing Russia as one of the great powers of Europe. Examples of its 18th-century European involvement include the War of Polish Succession and the Seven Years' War. In the wake of the Partitions of Poland, Russia had taken territories with the ethnic Belarusian and Ukrainian population, earlier parts of Kievan Rus. As a result of the victorious Russian-Turkish wars, Russia's borders expanded to the Black Sea and Russia set its goal on the protection of Balkan Christians against a Turkish yoke. In 1783 Russia and the Georgian Kingdom (which was almost totally devastated by Persian and Turkish invasions) signed the treaty of Georgievsk according to which Georgia received the protection of Russia. In 1812, having gathered nearly half a million soldiers from France, as well as from all of its conquered states in Europe, Napoleon invaded Russia but, after taking Moscow, was forced to retreat back to Europe. The Russian armies ended their pursuit of the enemy by taking his capital, Paris. As a result of the Napoleonic wars Bessarabia, Finland, and Poland were incorporated into the Russian Empire. However the continuation of Russian serfdom impeded the development of Imperial Russia in the mid-19th century. As a result, the country was defeated in the Crimean War, 1853–1856, by an alliance of major European powers, including Britain, France, Ottoman Empire, and Piedmont-Sardinia. Nicholas's successor Alexander II (1855–1881) was forced to undertake a series of comprehensive reforms and issued a decree abolishing serfdom in 1861. The Great Reforms of Alexander's reign spurred increasingly rapid capitalist development and attempts at industrialization. The Slavophile mood was on the rise, spearheaded by Russia's victory in the War of 1877-1878, which forced the Ottoman Empire to recognize the independence of Romania, Serbia and Montenegro and autonomy of Bulgaria. However the failure of agrarian reforms and suppression of the growing liberal intelligentsia were continuing problems however. On the eve of World War I, the position of Tsar Nicholas II and his dynasty appeared precarious. Repeated devastating defeats of the Russian army in the Russo-Japanese War and World War I and the resultant deterioration of the economy led to widespread rioting in the major cities of the Russian Empire and to the overthrow in 1917 of the Romanovs. At the close of this Russian Revolution of 1917, a Marxist political faction called the Bolsheviks seized power in Petrograd and Moscow under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin. The Bolsheviks changed their name to the Communist Party. A bloody civil war ensued, pitting the Bolsheviks' Red Army against a loose confederation of anti-socialist monarchist and bourgeois forces known as the White Army. The Red Army triumphed, and the Soviet Union was formed in 1922. The Soviet Union was meant to be a transnational worker's state free from nationalism. The concept of Russia as a separate national entity was therefore not emphasized in the early Soviet Union. Although Russian institutions and cities certainly remained dominant, many non-Russians participated in the new government at all levels. One of these was a Georgian named Joseph Stalin. A brief power struggle ensued after Lenin's death in 1924. Stalin gradually eroded the various checks and balances which had been designed into the Soviet political system and assumed dictatorial power by the end of the decade. Leon Trotsky and almost all other Old Bolsheviks from the time of the Revolution were killed or exiled, and the ideals of communism died with them. As the 1930’s began, Stalin launched the Great Purges, a massive series of political repressions. Millions of people who Stalin and local authorities suspected of being a threat to their power were executed or exiled to Gulag labor camps in remote areas of Siberia. As bad as the Soviet was for Eastern Europe, it was equally bad for Russia. And though 27 million Russians perished in World War II, it would be difficult to determine in the end who killed more Russians, the Nazi’s or the Soviet Union itself under Stalin. [AncientGifts]. REVIEW: Gold, chemical symbol Au (from the Latin aurum meaning ‘shining dawn’), is a precious metal which has been used since antiquity in the production of jewelry, coinage, sculpture, vessels and as a decoration for buildings, monuments and statues. Gold does not corrode and so it became a symbol of immortality and power in many ancient cultures. Its rarity and aesthetic qualities made it an ideal material for ruling classes to demonstrate their power and position. First found at surface level near rivers in Asia Minor such as the Pactolus in Lydia, gold was also mined underground from 2000 B.C. by the Egyptians and later by the Romans in Africa, Portugal and Spain. There is also evidence that the Romans smelted gold particles from ores such as iron pyrites. Easily worked and mixed with other metals such as silver and copper to increase its strength and change its color, gold was used for a wide range of purposes. In most ancient cultures gold was popular in jewelry and art because of its value, aesthetic qualities, ductility and malleability. Electrum (the natural alloy of gold and silver) was used in jewelry by the Egyptians from 5000 B.C. Gold jewelry was worn by both men and women in the Sumer civilization around 3000 B.C. and gold chains were first produced in the city of Ur in 2500 B.C. The Minoan civilization on Crete in the early 2nd millennium B.C. is credited with producing the first cable chain jewelry and the Minoans made a vast array of jewelry items using an extensive range of techniques. Gold jewelry took the form of necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings, diadems, pendants, pins and brooches. Techniques and shapes included filigree (a technique known to the Egyptians from 2500 B.C.) where the gold is pulled into wire and twisted into different designs), beaten thin shapes, granulation (surface decoration with small, soldered granules of gold), embossing, chasing, inlaying, molding and engraving. In South America, gold was similarly worked by the Chavin civilization of Peru around 1200 B.C. and gold casting was perfected by the Nazca society from 500 B.C. The Romans used gold as a setting for precious and semi-precious gemstones, a fashion continued into the Byzantine era with the use of pearls, gems and enamels. Gold was first used as coinage in the late 8th century B.C. in Asia Minor. Irregular in shape and often with only one side stamped, the coins were usually made of electrum. The first pure gold coins with stamped images are credited to king Croesus of Lydia, 561-546 B.C. and a contemporary gold refinery has been excavated at the capital, Sardis. Even the purest naturally occurring gold can contain 5% silver but the Lydians were able to refine their gold using salt and furnace temperatures of between 600 and 800°C. The salt mixed with the silver and formed a vapor of silver chloride leaving behind pure gold which could be used to create a standardized coinage of guaranteed gold content. The Mycenaean civilization also widely used gold coins, as did the later Greek and Roman Empires, although silver was the more usual material used. One of the most famous gold coins in antiquity was the Roman bezant. First introduced in the reign of Emperor Constantine it weighed up to 70 Troy grains and was in currency from the 4th to the 12th centuries A.D. The value and beauty of solid gold made it an ideal material for particularly important political and religious objects such as crowns, scepters, symbolic statues, libation vessels and votive offerings. Gold items were sometimes buried with the dead as a symbol of the deceased’s status and the conspicuous (and non-profitable) consumption of such a rare and valuable material must surely have been designed to impress. Perhaps the most famous example is the so-called mask of Agamemnon found at Mycenae. In the Inca civilization of Peru gold was considered the sweat of the sun god Inti and so was used to manufacture all manner of objects of religious significance, especially masks and sun disks. In ancient Colombia gold was similarly revered for its luster and association with the sun and in powdered form was used to cover the body of the future king in a lavish coronation ceremony which gave rise to the legend of El Dorado. As a decorative covering, gold plate and gold leaf (gold beaten into extremely thin sheets) have been used to decorate shrines, temples, tombs, sarcophagi, statues, ornamental weapons and armor, ceramics, glassware and jewelry since Egyptian times. Perhaps the most famous example of gold leaf from antiquity is the death mask of King Tutankhamun. Gold, with its malleability and incorruptibility, has also been used in dental work for over 3000 years. The Etruscans in the 7th century B.C. used gold wire to fix in place substitute animal teeth. As thread, gold was also woven into fabrics. Gold has also been used in medicine, for example, Pliny in the 1st century B.C. suggests gold should be applied to wounds as a defense to ‘magic potions’. Concerns over the authenticity of gold led the Egyptians to devise a method to determine the purity of gold around 1500 B.C. (or earlier). This method is called fire assaying and involves taking a small sample of the material under test and firing it in a small crucible with a quantity of lead. The crucible was made of bone ash and absorbed the lead and any other base metals during the firing process leaving only gold and silver. The silver was removed using nitric acid and the remaining pure gold was weighed and compared to the weight before firing. Archimedes was also aware that the specific gravity of gold is altered depending on the percentage content of base metals, pure gold having twice the gravity of silver for example. Gold is such a precious material that for centuries various attempts were made to produce it through alchemy - that is the chemical transformation of base metals into gold using the philosopher’s stone (lapis philosophorum). First attempts were made in China in the 4th century B.C. and also in ancient Greece and although unsuccessful, nevertheless, the activity laid the foundations of modern chemistry. [Ancient History Encyclopedia]. REVIEW: From the earliest of times, gold was often held in awe as the symbol of divinity and was therefore the material of choice for religious objects. Gold was among the first metals to be mined because it commonly occurs in pure form (not combined with other elements), because it is beautiful and imperishable, and because exquisite objects can be made from it. Since gold is found uncombined in nature, early goldsmiths would collect small nuggets of gold from stream beds etc., and then weld them together by hammering. It was oftentimes discovered alloyed with 10%-20% silver, the mixture known as “electrum”. Gold was "discovered" well before 6,000 B.C., most likely in Mesopotamia, though some of the oldest gold objects made by mankind were discovered by archaeologists in present-day Bulgaria (ancient Thrace) and in the Balkans, such as at the Varna Necropolis. In ancient Egypt all gold was the property of the pharaoh. Artifacts and jewelry of gold over 5,000 years old have been uncovered by archaeologists in Egyptian tombs. Around 3,600 B.C. Egyptian goldsmiths carried out the first smelting of ores using blowpipes made from fire-resistant clay to heat the smelting furnace. Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs describe gold as the brilliance of the sun. In the Near East, by 2,500 B.C., Sumerian goldsmiths were using sophisticated metalworking techniques; cold hammering, casting, soldering, cloisonné, and particularly filigree (fine-wire ornamentation) and granulation (the use of minute drops of gold). The tomb of the Sumerian Queen Puabi, from the city of Ur in about the 26th century B.C., was one of the richest tombs ever uncovered by archaeologists. Queen Puabi was buried with five soldiers and thirteen "ladies in waiting" who had apparently poisoned themselves (or been poisoned) to serve their mistress in the next world. The grave goods she was buried with included a magnificent, heavy, gold headdress made of golden leaves, rings, and plates; a superb lyre complete with a gold and lapis-lazuli encrusted bearded bulls head; a profusion of gold tablewear; cylindrical beads of gold, carnelian, and lapis lazuli woven into extravagant necklaces and belts; a chariot adorned with lioness' heads in silver, and an abundance of silver, lapis lazuli, and gold rings and bracelets. Another of the most famous tombs uncovered by archaeologists was that of 14th century B.C. Tutankhamun. The pharaohs of Egypt insisted on being buried in gold, which they believed was the "flesh of the gods." The boy-king Tutankhamun was enshrined in three gold coffins. The third and final coffin was made of 243 pounds (110 kilograms) of solid gold. As well, gold artifacts and jewelry abounded, including the solid gold mask which weighed 10 kilos (24 pounds). It’s worth noting that Tutankhamun was a minor, almost unknown and forgotten pharaoh. One can only imagine the wealth of gold some of ancient Egypt’s more significant pharaohs (such as Ramses the Great) must have been buried with. The art of fashioning gold jewelry reached the Mediterranean island of Crete (the ancient Minoans) about 2400 B.C. Diadems, hair ornaments, beads, bracelets, and complex chains have been found in Minoan tombs. Near Eastern techniques of filigree and granulation were introduced to Crete about 2000 B.C., and evidence also indicates that Egyptian styles influenced Minoan jewelry. Minoan culture and its jewelry styles spread to the mainland of Greece, then dominated by the city-state of Mycenea, about 1550 B.C. The graves of nobles at the ancient Citadel of Mycenae discovered by Heinrich Schliemann in 1876 likewise yielded a great variety of gold figurines, masks, cups, diadems, and jewelry, plus hundreds of decorated beads and buttons. These elegant works of art were created by skilled craftsmen more than 3,500 years ago. Metalworking techniques reached northern Europe by about 2000 B.C., and the earliest jewelry found there dates from between 1800 and 1400 B.C. These artifacts include lunulae (spectacular, crescent-shaped neck ornaments of beaten gold), most of which were found in graves in Ireland, where gold was once plentiful. There is evidence that the Celtic and early British people were trading with the Eastern Mediterranean races by this time, exchanging gold for faience beads. By 1200 B.C. jewelry making was flourishing in Central and Western Europe, where bronze as well as gold was frequently used to make jewelry, and the spiral was the most common motif of decoration. The fibula-brooch seems to have been invented at about this time. Twisted gold torcs, modeled on Scandinavian bronze prototypes, were made in the British Isles and northern France from the fifth to the first century B.C. These massive circlets for the necks and arms were the characteristic ornaments of the chiefs of the Celtic race, and were symbols of wealth, power and courage across Celtic Europe. Celtic craftsmen also used enamel and inlay to decorate jewelry. By the seventh century B.C. the Etruscans of Central Italy were also making fine gold jewelry. These people may have migrated from Anatolia (present-day Turkey), from where their metalworking skills seem to have been derived. The Etruscans brought to perfection the difficult technique of granulation, whereby the surface of the metal is covered with tiny gold grains. Gold was plentiful in Greece during the Hellenistic Age (323-30 B.C.), and Greek jewelry of this period is characterized by its great variety of forms and fine workmanship. Naturalistic wreaths and diadems were made for the head, and a variety of miniature human, animal, and plant forms were made up into necklaces and earrings. The so-called Heracles-knot, of amuletic origin, was introduced, and remained a popular motif into Roman times. The ancient Mediterranean civilizations appear to have obtained most their supplies of gold from various deposits in the Middle East, as well as gold which came through the Middle East from Southern Africa, and perhaps a minor amount from the Ural Mountains of present-day Russia. Mines in the region of the Upper Nile (south of Egypt) near the Red Sea and in the Nubian Desert area supplied much of the gold used by the Egyptian Pharaohs (the area was known to the ancient Egyptians as “Punt”, and to the ancient Christians as “Sheba” or “Saba”). When these mines could no longer meet Egypt’s demand for gold, deposits elsewhere were exploited, likely including deposits thousands of miles away in Southern Africa. Archaeological evidence indicates that most of the gold in Ancient Egypt and even in the ancient Mediterranean from perhaps 1700 B.C. onwards came from the Himyarites in present-day Yemen (across the Red Sea from Nubia), who in addition to exploiting their own deposits, may in turn have obtained much of the gold they exported to the ancient Egyptians from present day Rhodesia/Zimbabwe. In fact the Himyarites likely controlled most of the east coast of Africa, including Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, and is most likely the area referred to as Monomotapa in ancient texts (known also as the Biblical city of Ophir, from which the Bible records that King Solomon received shipments of gold, silver, ivory, gemstones, and peacocks). Artisans in Mesopotamia and Palestine probably obtained their supplies either directly from the Himyarites or indirectly through (middleman) Egypt. As well, recent studies of the ancient mines in the present Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (directly to the north of Yemen) reveal that gold, silver, and copper were recovered from the Red Sea region, across the Red Sea from the Nubian deposits, during the reign of King Solomon (961-922 B.C.). Around 1500 B.C. artisans of the ancient world developed the “lost wax” method of producing jewelry, allowing for the “mass production” of gold jewelry. At the same time, gold had already become the recognized medium of exchange for international trade. The sixth century B.C. saw the first use of gold in dentistry by the ancient Egyptians, and the introduction of the first gold coinage in Asia Minor by King Croesus of Lydia. By this time, much of the gold in the Classical Mediterranean cultures came from Spain, where extensive deposits of gold and silver were mined and then acquired by the ancient Phoenicians in trade, and then brought from the Western Mediterranean and traded through the ancient Mediterranean world. Eventually the Phoenician colony of Carthage became the leading power of the Eastern Mediterranean, and gained control over these valuable Spanish deposits. In turn the Carthaginians engaged the Romans in three wars before Spain was lost to the Romans. Spanish gold and silver to a great extent allowed the Romans to expand their empire. The “other” great power of the Classical Mediterranean were the Hellenic Greeks, who by 325 B.C. were mining gold from Gibraltar to Asia Minor. When the gold in Spain began to play out, the Romans turned their attention toward the gold mines in Dacia (modern Romania). The Dacians had historically traded this gold to the Greeks for pottery and to the Scythians for amber. About 100 A.D. the Roman Emperor Trajan conquered Dacia, mainly in order to gain control of these gold mines. The Romans also exploited smaller gold deposits found in the British Isles. The Romans used very sophisticated extraction and mining techniques as detailed by the first-century historian and naturalist Pliny the Elder. The Romans were also the first to mass-produce coinage on a monumental scale, the first truly monetized society. Between the second and fourth centuries A.D., the Romans produced millions of gold aureus coins, and billions of silver and bronze coins. At the height of the Roman Empire, there were over 400 mints producing coinage in locations scattered through their dominion. Gold was fashioned into Greek style jewelry during the early Roman Empire, when the chief centers of production were Alexandria, Antioch, and Rome, to which Greek craftsmen had migrated. There was an increasing emphasis in producing gold jewelry on incorporating decorative stones; at first garnets, chalcedonies, and carnelians, but later uncut but polished hard gemstones such as diamonds, sapphires, and, notably, emeralds from “Cleopatra’s Mines” in Egypt. Colorful gemstone jewelry was common during the Early Middle Ages in the centuries immediately following the collapse of the Roman Empire. Mediterranean goldsmiths continued to produce jewelry of great refinement, but the jewelry of the European Celtic tribes dominated this period. They produced abstract styles of great splendor which were worked in enamels and inlaid stones. The fibula-brooch reached extremes of size and elaboration. During the High Middle Ages the technique of cloisonné enameling on gold was widespread, the finest pieces emanating from the workshops at Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire. After the creation of Charlemagne's empire in 800 A.D. and the Holy Roman Empire in 962 A.D., a fusion of northern and Mediterranean cultures occurred. The principal patrons of the arts became the emperor and the church, and jewelers worked in courts and monasteries. Jewelry design was based on the setting in gold of precious stones and pearls in colorful patterns. Gold was used widely for crosses, altars, doors, chalices, and reliquaries. This association with divinity naturally developed into an association with royalty. Even in modern times the accoutrements of royalty are predominantly gold. However there was a critical shortage of gold which developed in the High Middle Ages. During the years 1370-1420 A.D. as various major mines around Europe become completely exhausted. Mining and production of gold declined sharply throughout the region in a period known as 'The Great Bullion Famine'. However by about 1433 A.D. this spurred the Portuguese to start sailing to Ghana in Western Africa and thus enabling them to trade for gold without having to cross the Sahara Desert into Muslim northern Africa. By 1471 A.D., the Portuguese were even calling West Africa the "Gold Coast", and a reliable source of gold was again available to Western Europe. In the “New World”, archaeologists believe that the gold in the Aztec and Inca treasuries of Mexico and Peru came from Colombia, although some undoubtedly was obtained from other sources. The Aztecs regarded gold as literally the product of the gods, calling it "god excrement". The Conquistadores plundered the treasuries of these civilizations during their explorations of the New World, and many gold and silver objects were melted and re-cast into coins and bars, destroying the priceless artifacts of these MesoAmerican cultures. Gold is widely dispersed through the earth's crust (and even in seawater) and is found in two types of deposits; lode deposits, which are found in solid rock and are mined using conventional mining techniques, and placer deposits which are gravelly deposits found in stream beds and are the products of eroding lode deposits. The largest gold nugget ever found was in 19th century Australia weighing over 70 kilograms (150 pounds). Gold is quite unique in its malleability. No other metal compares with it. A single ounce can be stretched into a wire 60 kilometers long (40 miles), or pounded into a sheet of 300 square feet (the size of two typical suburban bedrooms). Because of its chemical inertness, gold retains its brilliant color even after centuries of exposure to corrosive elements. The most workable of all metals, gold has been forged, chased, embossed, engraved, inlayed, cast, and in the form of gold leaf, used to gild metals, woods, leather, and parchment. Gold wire has found wide uses in brocades and ornamentation of other materials. Throughout at least five millennia of recorded history it has been used to fashion sculpture, vessels, jewelry, ornamentation, and coinage. Throughout the history of the ancient world, gemstones were believed capable of curing illness, possessed of valuable metaphysical properties, and to provide protection. Found in Egypt dated 1500 B. C., the "Papyrus Ebers" offered one of most complete therapeutic manuscripts containing prescriptions using gemstones and minerals. Gemstones were not only valued for their medicinal and protective properties, but also for educational and spiritual enhancement. In the ancient world, gold was regarded to symbolize power, strength, wealth, warmth, happiness, love, hope, optimism, intelligence, perfection, summer, harvest and the sun. Gold was also believed to possess curative and “magical” properties. During justice, balance, the Middle Ages it was believed that something as rare and beautiful as gold could not be anything but healthy, so gold was regarded as beneficial for health and was not only worn but also ingested. In fact, some gold salts do have anti-inflammatory properties, and in modern times, injectable gold has been proven to help to reduce the pain and swelling of rheumatoid arthritis and tuberculosis. The isotope gold-198 is also used in some cancer treatments and for treating other diseases. Gold flake was used by the nobility in Medieval Europe as a decoration in food and drinks, in the form of leaf, flakes or dust, either to demonstrate the host's wealth or in the belief that something that valuable and rare must be beneficial for one's health. Even today gold leaf, flake or dust is used on and in some gourmet foods, notably sweets (particularly in India and the Middle East) and drinks as decorative ingredient. [AncientGifts] I always ship books Media Mail in a padded mailer. This book is shipped FOR FREE via USPS INSURED media mail (“book rate”). All domestic shipments and most international shipments will include free USPS Delivery Confirmation (you might be able to update the status of your shipment on-line at the USPS Web Site) and free insurance coverage. A small percentage of international shipments may require an additional fee for tracking and/or delivery confirmation. If you are concerned about a little wear and tear to the book in transit, I would suggest a boxed shipment - it is an extra $1.00. Whether via padded mailer or box, we will give discounts for multiple purchases. International orders are welcome, but shipping costs are substantially higher. Most international orders cost an additional $12.99 to $33.99 for an insured shipment in a heavily padded mailer, and typically includes some form of rudimentary tracking and/or delivery confirmation (though for some countries, this is only available at additional cost). There is also a discount program which can cut postage costs by 50% to 75% if you’re buying about half-a-dozen books or more (5 kilos+). Rates and available services vary a bit from country to country. You can email or message me for a shipping cost quote, but I assure you they are as reasonable as USPS rates allow, and if it turns out the rate is too high for your pocketbook, we will cancel the sale at your request. ADDITIONAL PURCHASES do receive a VERY LARGE discount, typically about $5 per book (for each additional book after the first) so as to reward you for the economies of combined shipping/insurance costs. Your purchase will ordinarily be shipped within 48 hours of payment. We package as well as anyone in the business, with lots of protective padding and containers. All of our shipments are sent via insured mail so as to comply with PayPal requirements. We do NOT recommend uninsured shipments, and expressly disclaim any responsibility for the loss of an uninsured shipment. Unfortunately the contents of parcels are easily “lost” or misdelivered by postal employees – even in the USA. That’s why all of our domestic shipments (and most international) shipments include a USPS delivery confirmation tag; or are trackable or traceable, and all shipments (international and domestic) are insured. We do offer U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail, Registered Mail, and Express Mail for both international and domestic shipments, as well United Parcel Service (UPS) and Federal Express (Fed-Ex). Please ask for a rate quotation. We will accept whatever payment method you are most comfortable with. If upon receipt of the item you are disappointed for any reason whatever, I offer a no questions asked return policy. Send it back, I will give you a complete refund of the purchase price (less our original shipping costs). Most of the items I offer come from the collection of a family friend who was active in the field of Archaeology for over forty years. However many of the items also come from purchases I make in Eastern Europe, India, and from the Levant (Eastern Mediterranean/Near East) from various institutions and dealers. Though I have always had an interest in archaeology, my own academic background was in sociology and cultural anthropology. After my retirement however, I found myself drawn to archaeology as well. Aside from my own personal collection, I have made extensive and frequent additions of my own via purchases on Ebay (of course), as well as many purchases from both dealers and institutions throughout the world - but especially in the Near East and in Eastern Europe. I spend over half of my year out of the United States, and have spent much of my life either in India or Eastern Europe. In fact much of what we generate on Yahoo, Amazon and Ebay goes to support The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, as well as some other worthy institutions in Europe connected with Anthropology and Archaeology. I acquire some small but interesting collections overseas from time-to-time, and have as well some duplicate items within my own collection which I occasionally decide to part with. Though I have a collection of ancient coins numbering in the tens of thousands, my primary interest is in ancient jewelry. My wife also is an active participant in the "business" of antique and ancient jewelry, and is from Russia. I would be happy to provide you with a certificate/guarantee of authenticity for any item you purchase from me. There is a $2 fee for mailing under separate cover. Whenever I am overseas I have made arrangements for purchases to be shipped out via domestic mail. If I am in the field, you may have to wait for a week or two for a COA to arrive via international air mail. But you can be sure your purchase will arrive properly packaged and promptly - even if I am absent. And when I am in a remote field location with merely a notebook computer, at times I am not able to access my email for a day or two, so be patient, I will always respond to every email. Please see our "ADDITIONAL TERMS OF SALE." Condition: VERY GOOD. Lightly read. See detailed condition description below., Material: Paper, Softcover: yes, Provenance: Ancient Russian Steppes Scythia, TItle: From the Lands of the Scythians

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