Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Some finds from the Greek bronze age

Today was spent at the national museum, taking a look at the bronze age exhibition, including the mainland, Cyclades and the fiends from Mycenae.

A Bronze Age hedgehog/bear from the Cyclades.

A fresco (from Mycenae?) depicting a shield.

A golden cup decorated with bulls and bull jumpers.

A Cycladic figurine. These come in all sizes, this one was as tall as me, the smaller ones as a finger.


Björn Nilsson said...

I love that hedgehog. It gives some sort of "human touch". Any idea if there are any deeper ideas connected to the hedgehog during the bronze age? I checked J C Cooper "Symboler" and it says that in the Old Testament of the Bible, this animal was regarded as evil, which sounds strange. Was it evil to the Hebrews because some others thought it was good, or something?

Patrik Klingborg said...

I agree, and the human touch is important, it's sometimes easy to forget that we deal with people in Archaeology. I might also mention that this is one of my favourites in the collection at the national museum.

Anyway, I cannot answer your question regarding if it symbolized anything - I actually asked our guide, a very capable Swedish scholar, about the piece but she couldn't even identify if it was a bear or a hedgehog and the function is a mystery.

I find it very curious that it was regarding as evil thou!

Ola Svensson said...

As far as I know there are no (known) connections between hedgehogs and good/evil in the Aegean Bronze Age. I'm just guessing, but perhaps there's a connection with beastmaster-gods (can't remember the exact term used)? If you want to know more you should read up on the Aegean Genius (Geni?), think there's some connection to animals there aswell.

Björn Nilsson said...

Beastmaster - could it be something like "The Lady of the Wild Things"? Don't know if that is an official designation, but the poet Robert Graves used it as another namne for The Great Goddess. Guess that type of thought is a bit antiquated today.

Patrik Klingborg said...

I believe that it is important, before the cultic meaning of this piece get stuck, to remember that animal figurines were common in the ancient world (especially as toys). It may very well have no (religious or cultic) meaning at all.