Sunday, May 16, 2010

Horns of consecration

Horns of Consecration from Kition (limestone, 13th century BC)

This is something I did not expect to find at Cyprus, horns of consecration, a feature I, until not, thought unique to the Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations.


Anonymous said...

I browsed through a book about archaeology recently and saw some photos from excavations in Catal Hüyük, a famous Neolithic settlement in central Anatolia in modern day Turkey, which I am sure you are familiar with. There, in some of the brick houses unearthed by the archaeologists, examples of horns of concecration were found too (it was real bull horns mounted into benches of sorts, but looked very similar to the ones found on Crete or mainland Greece). I guess neither the Minoans or the Mycenaeans were the first ones using this symbol of presumably cultic significance. Or the ancient peoples of Cyprus for that matter. It probably originated somewhere in the Ancient Near East, like so many other things, several thousand years before the advent of the great Bronze Age civilizations in the Aegean. I have to agree with you, though; when I see photos of horns of consecration myself, I almost immediately associate them with Minoans or Mycenaeans.

Nice photos as always, man!


Patrik Klingborg said...

Thank you, I had no idea about that (I have never unfortunately visited Catal Hüyük)!

The subject is interesting thou, it would be very exciting to find out where and when man first started this practise.

By the way, what book are you talking about, I would very much like to take a look at it.

Anonymous said...

Ah, unfortunately I am not able to recall its title at the moment. Actually, I was looking for a decent book about Greek and Roman warfare at the local library, but couldn't find any to my liking. Instead, I spent some time browsing through random books about archaeology, among them this particular one. It caught my attention, because it was full of splendid photos and illustrations. If I am able to keep it in mind I'll check out the the title of the book next time I head back to the library.

Anyway, I tried googling some photos to show you what I am talking about, but surprisingly they were very scarce and of poor quality. I've provided some links below; the first one leads to a survey about the bull cult in Catal Hüyük and in one of the figures, the one labeled "Mellaart, fig 41", you can see examples of the horns I am referring to. Notice the similarities with the horns of consecration found on Crete, for example. Less stylized, yes, but these are actual bull horns covered with plaster, if I am not mistaken.

The second link leads to a website where som Christian people from the US of A travel in the footsteps of Paul the Apostle. Scroll down a bit and you'll find a small section devoted to the ancient settlement of Catal Hüyük and a photo showing more of said bull horns. Here, you can see them mounted in rows, in "benches" of sorts. Don't think the ancient Hüyükians used them for resting their weary behinds on, though. They seem far too impractical for that. As the scholars suggest, they probably played part in a fertility cult or something along those lines.

Hey, don't forget to credit me if you write a report on the subject! Haha! :-)

Marc said...

This is ancient carving work. That has lost importance now. But thanks you have showed us.