Skip to main content

Inscribed Silver Vessels of the Odrysian Kings: Gifts, Tribute, and the Diffusion of the Forms of

The significance of the formulaic inscriptions recording an Odrysian royal name (i.e., Cotys or Cersebleptes) and a provenance on silver vessels discovered in Thrace has been subject to much discussion. This study argues that, while close parallels and precedents for the majority of those vessel shapes can be found in the Achaemenid domain, evidence from the same domain also supplies clues to the possible significance of their texts. It is proposed that the origins and meaning of the Odrysian royal name and provenance legends on silverware may be sought in an Achaemenid custom of converting revenues in precious metal into luxury articles marked with a certification of the metal’s official quality. The same Achaemenid custom can be held to be at least partly responsible for the diffusion of the forms of ’Achaemenid’ metalware in Thrace, which was under Persian rule in the late sixth and early fifth centuries B.C.

Author(s):  Zournatzi, Antigoni
Format:  Article
Date:  2000
Source:  American Journal of Archaeology
Volume Info:  October 2000
Volume:  104
Number:  4