Saturday, 28 April 2012

Two different silk-roads: The Indo-Hellenistic people of the Archaic Western Roman Empire and - the later Indo-Scythian Eastern Romans of Byzantine

All photos of the ancient art in this posting are related to the archaic Indo-Greek people. See next blog-post to learn more about the Indo-Scythians.
Sculpture of Pythagoras within the tympanum at the right bay of the royal portal of Chartres Cathedral , situated on top of the middle column of the right jamb. mostly constructed between 1193 and 1250.

Archaic detail: The Capitoline Triad Rome, Italy by Ortygia, Roger Ulrich, 2009.
A Scythian woman Artemis Bendis from Asia Minor and archaic Greek men. Marble votive relief, made in Athens, ca. 400-375 BC. Photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen, 2007. Pay attention to the body stature of the Greek men versus the woman from Asia Minor, even if the depiction is a gross exaggeration of the difference in body stature  there is a core of truth in this generalization. Normally there is variation in body stature in all populations.
The Capitoline Triad Rome, Italy by Ortygia, Roger Ulrich, 2009. Try to Google: "Capitoline Triad Rome" and you will see very different and newer depictions of this triad, with people of another ethnic origin than in this archaic panel. There have been massive reproduction of "ancient" art since the medieval in Europe, some of it in an effort to change (rewrite) history.
Trojansk søyle. Grekerne og Skyterne i kamp. Reliefs from the Trojan column, the Greek fighting the Scythians.
The extent of Two Silk Routes - Silk Roads. RED is a land route (there were in fact several) over the Central Asian steppes and the BLUE are more ancient sea-water routes used since ancient times. Fenicians i.e. Phoenicians were likely central in trade via the sea. Some of the Central Asian silk-roads went further north than shown in this map e.g. to Kaffa, Sarai, Saraichik, Altai, Balkhash, and Alma-Ata. See map: The Great Silk Road Map.
Archaic Roman Empire governed from Rome: Painting from Pompej Pompeii in Italy. Maler c. 60 BCE Villa dei Misteri a Pompei. Pay attention to the sun-symbols.

1] The Early Indo-Hellenistic people i.e. early Indo-Greeks & Archaic Roman Empire were people who early came to Europe via various routes such as via seafaring trade routes during the Bronze Age. Indo-Greeks likely were the first major migrations from the East to North Africa, Africa, Middle East and southern Europe (Greece and Rome). Some of these ancient people and cultures later spread to the rest of Europe. The Greek Minoan is a good example of Asian - European cultures of the archaic era. The new people mixed in part with the original populations and the exchanges of culture must have been mutual. The first Indo-European peoples settled in the vast areas which belonged to the archaic Roman Empire (i.e. pre-Christian and governed from Rome). Possibly the archaic Greek & Roman cultures are associated with the spread of cultures since the era of Alexander the Great and before that the early Persian Achaemenid Empire (c. 550–330 BCE). There were many different people involved in these cultural exchanges. Many people with oriental origin came to Europe during the period of the great ancient empires.

1) Minoan double Ax. Photo by Andree Stephan, 2001. 2) Knossos frise Minoan, the Prince of the Lilies. Photo by Harrieta171, 2006. 3) Saffron gatherers. Archaic Greek Thera Santorini Minoan Fresco. 4/5) NAMA Minoan Akrotiri, Greece. Two boys are boxing. Photo by Marsyas, 2007.

Some pictures of the archaic art are shown in this blog. The art of the archaic peoples were generally different from the art of the later Indo-Scythians, and the subsequent era of the Byzantine Empire.

Archaic roman with text CONCOR. Mosaics exhibitied Arch museum Catalonia, Spain.
Detail of the same archaic Roman mosaics as over. Mosaics exhibitied Arch museum Catalonia, Spain.

While the Indo-Greek cultures date back to the Bronze Age, the Indo-Scythian (see the previous blog) is much younger and to Western Europe they mass invaded during the medieval period.

2] Much later during the early Medieval Age:  The Indo-Scythians (e.g. Huns and Turks) & Eastern Christian Roman Empire, i.e governed from Byzantine.  See previous blog post about the Scythian people. The Scythian people arrived via migration paths of the grassland steppes of Central Asia and later merged with the old people (i.e. indigenous people and the early settled archaic Romans) around the Black Sea, Eastern Europe and Caucasus. Some of the Scythians became part the cultural areas where Christianity later developed. They were part of the peoples of the Christianized Roman Empire that was governed from Byzantium (it is a different and later Roman Empire compared to the early Western European archaic Roman Empire governed from Rome). The Indo-Scythians were probably very good soldiers and the Eastern Romans of Byzantium attacked, robbed and took charge over the older Western European Roman Empire. The people of Western Europe were forced to adopt an early form of Christianity or they were killed. However, the earlier archaic pagan Roman Empire had also been established in the areas of the later Christian Eastern Romans including in the areas around the Black Sea, therefore some cultural continuity likely had persisted there with pagan elements. The Scythian people arrived much later westwards in Europe than the Indo-Greeks. They mainly came to Western Europe when Islam established in the areas where they had settled around the Black Sea.

BODY IMAGES: I have already mentioned that the body images expressed in the art of the archaic Indo-Greeks and the people of the Archaic Roman Empire are noticeably different from the body images that are expressed in the art in the subsequent era of Indo-Scythian and Eastern Roman Empire influence. The Indo-Scythian body image have generally remained an ideal in European art, the people who came to Europe mainly since the Middle Ages still have strong definitional power in our culture. I have not added photos of this Scythian art: You can look at the photos of white marble statues of "ancient history" frequently used in Wikipedia. There were entire villages e.g. in Italy until the 19th century who reproduced old art, often with new ethnic expressions.
Archaic Greek art. Archaeological Museum Corfu. Photo by By Dave learns his Dig SLR, 2011.
Archaic art: Scene from act, Samia or Samos. A mosaic panel from the dining room of the House of Menander in Mytilene, 3rd century AD (excavators) or later 4th century AD (S. Nervegna).
Archaic funerary relief representing a curule chair. Marble, Roman artwork, 50 BC–50 CE. From the Torre Gaia at Via Casilina (Rome). Nationa Museum of Rome. 50 bce - 50 ce.
Stele punica ex Museo nazionale del Bardo, Tunisi. Fenician i.e. Phoenician stele exhibited at the National Museum in Bardo, Tunisia. Photo by Giorces, 2007.
Archaic Apollon stele from Curtry, France. Musée lorrain, Nancy. Espérandieu 7612. Photo by Marsyas, 2006.
Mosaic at the Archaic Roman Empire Basilica of Aquileia.Photo by Sailko, 2010
Mosaic at the Archaic Roman Empire Basilica. Photo by Sailko, 2010
Mosaic at the Archaic Roman Empire Basilica. Photo by Sailko, 2010
Mosaic at the Archaic Roman Empire Basilica of Aquileia. Photo by Sailko, 2010

Palencia Museo Arqueológico. Fíbulas tipo Omega. Photo by valdaviva, 2007
Roman Villa of La Olmeda, Pedrosa de la Vega, Palencia, Castile and León. Antlers deer trend in the village after goodwill amortization.e 4th century a.d. photo by Valdavia, 2010
Archaic Greek winged Nike (victory), gold with a ring. Found in Athens.

Valladolid villa Almenara mosaic. Villa romana de Almenara de Adaja, provincia de Valladolid (España). Spain.
Mosaïque retrouvé à Utique représentant Diane chasseresse, 2ème moitié du IIème siècle. Archaic Roman Diane on a mosaic from the 2nd Century CE.

Mosaic of Medusa (Detail, Perseus and Andromeda) 2-3 century CE.

Kos, on the is left Hippocrates, then Asclepius, Asclepeion or Asklepios arrives to Kos. Photo by Dr. phil. Heinz Schmitz. This man in this archaic mosaic (the travelling person carrying the bag on a stick) resembles Askeladden from a well-known Norwegian fairytale and the name of Asclepius or Asklepios is reminding me of this fairytale figure.
Roman mosaic of the 1st century BCE from Pompeii, now at the Museo Nazionale Archologico, Naples.

Choregos and actors, Roman mosaic. Naples National Arch. Museum, Inv. 9986. House of the Tragic Poet, Pompeii.
Roman 3-4th Century CE Mosaic of Medusa at Arch Museum of Tarragona, Spain.

Relief with Menander and New Comedy Masks (Roman, AD 40-60) - the masks show three of his canonical New Comedy characters youth, false maiden, old man. Photo by Dave & Margie Hill - Kleerup, 2010

1 comment: