Arta și arheologie dacică și romană


The variety of the issues tackled and the chronological scope of the book (from the 9th—8th centuries B.C. up to the 4th century A.D.) aim at using a more nuancé approach in investigation with a view to grounding the better and deeper comprehension of ancient arts on Dacia's territory, as part and parcel of the image we can form of Romania's remote past.
Actually the present book is a discourse of method assisted by exemplifications, because it presents both monuments not yet described and novel interpretations of some which are already known, within the broader context of sources of all kinds, apt to elucidate their meaning, to establish connections within the area of the respective culture and outside it. Therefore it became a sine qua non to theorize in the first chapter on those visual paradigms, indispensable to interpreting the works of art, to the science of seeing, and in the last analysis to historical research proper, taken as an effort to make up the mental image of already completed and past history which is very difficult to reconstruct as a whole out of the material and spiritual evidence we still possess.

Visual Paradigms and the Investigation of Ancient Art
This chapter reveals the meaning that the notion of parádeigma (model) had in the theory of Greek art, as well as the pre-Socratics' outlook on space, in close connection with the kind of visuality discernible in ancient Hellenic art. Three categories of paradigms are proposed for studying ancient art: poietic, aesthetic and exegetic. Poietical paradigms are mental models, relying on the kind of visuality typical of those times, according to which the artists created their works. By aesthetic visual paradigms we generally understand the ideal models towards which tend the optical correctives brought by artists and architects to their works so that they may prevent the erroneous perception by the human eye. The prevalence of aesthetic visual paradigms over the poietical ones began to be obvious as early as the first half of the 5th century B.C. With a view to conveying the illusion of movement not only through catching and fixing one of its moments but by depicting successive stages, thanks to which the eye may mentally reconstruct the whole by going through all of them — various miniature works, particularly the coins, depict the body of the same animal (a fish, a dolphin, etc.) in several positions during its swimming. Exegetic visual paradigms are those interpretative schemata in which, by comparison, we integrate artefacts into typological or chronological series. As often as not, the groundlessness of such integrations generates exegetic pseudo-paradigms. Revealing and combating them have masterminded the entire volume.

Co-Ordinates and Relations of the Animal Motif: a Possible Methodology of the Thraco-Dacians' Art and of Its Context
This chapter stipulates the imperative of investigating the Eurasian animal or zoomorphic motif (geographically situated in the areas in the North of the vast range of historical civilizations spreading from the Pacific to the Atlantic) not in terms of Greek figurative art, but of an approach which takes into account several realities specific to the respective material. Thus, the following facts are reckoned with:
1. The animal motif involves several "styles".
2. It is unhistorical like any art belonging to a prehistoric community which took over elements from historical civilizations in keeping with elective affinities which are virtually unpredictable.
3. The handicraft nature of artefacts with animal motifs presupposes a numerically limited plastic repertory of elements, common to all times and places. That is why the similarities of detail between two or several pieces are not relevant as to synchronism, as to their joint origin or as to the "physical" contacts between the respective communities. Therefore one can hardly speak about workshops in the meaning of "schools". Conclusive is only the comparison of several pieces in point of their specific style.
4. The zoomorphic motif displays the tendency to evolve towards the vegetal one.

5. The zoomorphic motif is a modality of artistic expression which relies on thorough-going knowledge of the animal world, on its utilization as a totem-symbol of the psychology and beliefs of any ethnos that practices it. From the Pacific to the Atlantic the prehistoric and proto-historic zoomorphic motif has been in permanent relationship, in one area or another, both with the motifs of the historical civilizations in the South and with those of the contiguous regions in the East and West. The art of the Thraco-Dacians permanently underwent the influence of Greek art and that is why it was anthropomorphized earlier and more thoroughly. Greek anthropomorphism discharged an essential role, and by its impact on the animal motif triumphed over the latter. There was zoomorphic plasticity in the Thraco-Getian environment of the Bronze Age up to the last century A. D., but the victory had been won by the southern Greek current before the end of the period. The schematization of the human figure did not go so far as breaking its organicity, as in the Celtic world, such being a characteristic feature of the Thracians' art and, implicitly, a proof of how vigorous the Hellenic irradiation had been. The art of the Thraco-Dacians defined its place within the framework of the animal motif (besides being under the direct influence of Greece) in that it received anthropomorphism without destroying the zoomorphic elements (as did the art of the steppes which thus annihilated itself) nor did it disintegrate that anthropomorphism (like the Celtic art which was to survive in that of the western provinces of the Roman Empire and then in the art of mediaeval Europe); on the contrary, it equally preserved the organicity of the human figure and of the animal design, pushing their schematization to the extreme.

The Thraco-Dacians and the East
Throughout the area of spreading of the Eurasian animal motif, beyond the coordinates of influences advancing from the South to the North and beyond the relationships of circulation of decorative elements from the East to the West, there are several unexplainable unique elements, eloquent however as to the peregrination of toreutic objects outside the "influence" or ethnical communities that vehiculated them. Among them there is the treasure of Vălcitrăn (Bulgaria). (10/a; 11/b,c).
While the typology of its vessels (with one handle or two handles) is common not only to the Carpatho-Balkan area but also to the West of Aegean Anatolia, of peninsular and continental Greece (beginning with the middle Bronze Age up to the end of the Hallstatt period) the discs with protuberances — of two sizes — as well as the "three-compartment vessel" are pieces for which we simply cannot find analogies on the Lower Danube; obviously we are not speaking of identical objects but of similarities which might at the same time explain functionality and reasons. On the other hand, every speculation on the motifs decorating the vessels and discs found at Vălcitrăn remains irrelevant because such motifs also have a vast area of diffusion and are common to several cultures ranging from the Neolithic Age to the Hallstatt period. Significant, however, is the formal context of the respective pieces and the technique in which the decoration was performed (of a very high level and matching the art of gold- and silver-processing) in Anatolia and Mesopotamia from the earliest times to the end of the Assyrian Empire.
"The three-compartment vessel" is in fact a trilychnos or rather part of a triple lamp with a reservoir, as we tried to reconstitute it in figure 5. The discs of two sizes were used to decorate the golden frieze of a reception hall lined with bronze foils (which supposition is justified by the similar clay pieces which decorated the interior courtyards of Assyrian palaces — cf. 13/a-c). As can easily be seen, the treasure represents part of the booty plundered perhaps by the Cimmerians and the Trerians in one of the royal residences of the Assyrian Empire, then undergoing a dramatic decline. Their plunders continued in Anatolia during troubled times, until the two new great powers (of the Medes and of the Lydians) established strict control over the entire area. According to Herodothus, then, in the early 7th century B.C. the Lydian king Alyattes drove them from Troas over the Hellespont into Thrace.

History has lost record of the Cimmerians while the Trerians settled North of the Haemus (Balkans) where Thucydides mentioned them towards the end of the 5th century B.C. Out of all Thracian populations that had crossed into Asia Minor, the Trerians alone returned — under the above-mentioned circumstances — to their native places; not finding better sites, they settled at the periphery of the Odrysae Thracians — approximately near Vălcitrăn where the treasure has been discovered.

Medallions of the Thessalian Type and Related Thraco-Dacian Jewellery
This chapter and the next one attempt to establish characteristic features of Geto-Dacian toreutics in its last phase — approximately covering the whole first century B.C. This last phase was not "another world" in the art of metal processing by the Thraco-Dacians as against what we usually point out as examples when speaking of artistic toreutics in the 4th century B.C. (the products found at Agighiol, Băiceni, Craiova, Peretu, Poroina, etc.); on the contrary, they follow the technical and iconographic continuity to which are permanently added new sources of inspiration illustrating the genesis and evolution of types that seem to separate it so clearly from the period of "the great treasures". The author supposes that the medallions with human busts adapted to the ornamental art of the Thraco-Dacian environment in the last century B.C. — e.g. phalerae, fibulas (with the variant of triangular ones found at Coada Malului, Bălăneşti, etc.) or bottoms of cups (Iakimovo) — had an earlier Hellenic model attested by the ear-rings employed for head-dress found at Kul-Oba or at Balşaia Blisnița in the remotest Scythian area; another hypothesis is that their model might have been the Thessalian medallions (one of them to be found in the National Museum for History and Archaeology in Constanţa) in the regions so close to the Thraco-Dacian area.
The tradition of those medallions in the latter Hellenistic world was marked by the one found at Apollonia or by those included in the Severeanu collection; that tradition continued without interruption up to the 6th—7th centuries A.D. — as is proved by the nuptial belt found in Constantinople. (14/a-c; 15/a-d; 16/a-d; 17/a).

Later Thraco-Dacian Toreutics and Its Antecedents
These antecedents which established the connection with the period of "great treasures" are either discoveries made a few decades ago and preserved in Bulgarian museums but not yet published, or hoards — again individual objects — already published but which must be reappraised in point of chronology. By resorting to complex arguments and by relying on what can be ascribed for certain to the 1st century B.C., — following backwards the line of evolution and stylization of motifs, as well as that of adopting  new ones,  besides the reception of those shapes of vessels vastly spread during the middle and late Hellenistic period — the author proposes the following chronological series for the artistic toreutic pieces found in the Carpatho-Balkan space (the area of peak flourishing of a specific craft of silver processing with the Thraco-Dacians): the rhyton found at Poroina (6/b-c) and the Radiuvene (Stoianovo) hoard which for various reasons the author dates back to the beginning of the 3rd century B.C. (21/a, c; 22/b), the Lukovit treasure (22/a; 23/a,d; 24/b,d), that at Letniţa (24/e-f; 25/a-c), the goblet (25/d; 50/b) and the horned rhyton (26/a, b; 50/c)  in the Severeanu Collection (in point of decoration this is closely linked to the silver vessels found at Sîncrăieni, to the treasures discovered at Herăstrău, Coada Malului, Bohot, Sindel, etc.) the latter one marking the beginning of the final stage of Thraco-Dacian toreutics. Out of all arguments brought in support of this chronology, most important (also because it refers to the typology of silver jugs yet unpublished — one in the Radiuvene hoard and three in the Lukovit one) is the existence of those Dacian clay jugs shaped by hand and on the wheel in an earlier stage, and subsequently only on the wheel and polished, in the classical period of Geto-Dacian civilization. We consider that the Geto-Dacian clay vessels had as a model the silver jugs like those at Radiuvene and Lukovit, all the more so as during the classical period, the former copied not only their shape but also their gloss (in accordance with the practice common at the end of the Hellenistic period: to employ cheap materials for copying objects of  precious metals, ever more costly and difficult to find). (18/a-e; 19/a-f; 20/a-d; 21/a-c; 22—27).

The Art of Geto-Dacian Coins
Even the briefest evocation of Thraco-Dacian art cannot dispense nowadays with the attention that has to be paid to the monetary issues of the Geto-Dacians. Their iconography as a whole has been connected to the Macedonian coins, whose barbarized copies they were considered to be. Earlier as well as more recent investigations however, have failed to evidence the existence of three monetary types which do not imitate Macedonian prototypes (unlike others which are actually imitations of the latter monetary iconography). The author has shown that the local, autochthonous iconography of the three types must be linked to Thraco-Getan imagery. In this way, one can note close connections between the stock of local beliefs and the anthropomorphic as well as zoomorphic symbolism of the Geto-Dacian world.
The types of the autochthonous series under survey have conventionally been called Bendis (30/c,d) "double-faced head of masculine divinity" (30/e, f) and pan-Dacian Jiblea (31/c-e). Their dating back to the early half of the 4th century B.C. relies on the considerations that they precede imitations of Macedonian coins, that they refer to Thracian monetary traditions (e.g. the compositional structure and details of execution of the obverse of Tasian silver coins of the early 4th century B.C. displaying Dionysus' bearded head bring them close to Geto-Dacian coins), that those types of coins were issued particularly in Oltenia— which lay closest to the Thracian South — while one of them (pan-Dacian Jiblea) to a certain extent also spread beyond the Carpathians where it seems possible to locate one of its variants, slightly Celticized in point of style; last but not least, there is the consideration that only this last type in the series displays iconographic succedanea which go hand in hand with the ever more schematized imitations of Macedonian coins up to the end of Dacian monetary issues (28—38).
Unlike present-day investigators, the author does not believe that the first and even the overwhelming majority of Dacian coins had been issued under the influence and impulses of the Celts; on the contrary they prove the organic connections of the Geto-Dacian tribal economy with the Hellenic and Hellenistic Thracian world, the autochthonous and spontaneous nature of these coins proving Dacia's early integration into a context whose interests and order was to be disturbed and disintegrated by the advance of the Roman legions after the middle of the 2nd century B.C. The consequences of the disintegration of the Hellenistic economy — both Greek and "barbarian" — were in their turn the causes of riots and agitations among the neighbouring populations: as regards Dacia, this explains Burebista's military and political actions, as shown in the next chapter.

Burebista, Decebalus and the Roman Penetration
Proceding from the necessary distinction between the causes of Burebista's wars and those of the wars waged by Decebalus, the chapter analyses in turn the circumstances of the two important moments recorded by the history of pre-Roman Dacia, in the light of every source at the author's disposal. It is thus established that the moment marked by Burebista (conjugated with that marked by Pompey on the plane of Rome's policies in the East), was the last attempt (after the symptomatic episode of Mithridates VI Eupator) at reconstructing — under the aegis of the man who was later to be defeated at Pharsalus — whatever could still be reconstituted of the Greek Orient in point of economy and, to a certain extent, of politics. The warm regard enjoyed by Pompey in the Greek world of Asia Minor and of Europe — feelings also shared by many chieftains of the neighbouring non-Hellenic populations — is attested by the information supplied by Appianus (II, 51) and, as regards Burebista, by the decree for Acornion — a citizen of Dionysopolis. That inscription mentions king Burebista's rule on the right bank of the Danube as having been established shortly before the year 48 B.C. (the year of Acornion's mission to Pompey and of the battle at Pharsalus). But that inscription did not mention the seizure of the Greek towns on the north and west coasts of the Black Sea, or the possibly privileged statute of Dionysopolis as a city friendly to the Getan King. Strabo himself (born in Amasia on Pontus Euxinus), on speaking about Burebista's qualities as a diplomat and soldier, about his military feats, does not reckon among them such an important action as could have been the conquest, plunder and arson of the Greek cities on the Black Sea coast, from Olbia to Apollonia.

Not even Dion of Prusa, the philosopher who visited Dacia in 96 A.D. (at the time of Decebalus' military preparations) coming from Olbia where he had been told that 150 years before (therefore about 55 B.C.) the Getans had devastated the city and nearly all the coast down to Apollonia — mentions anything about Burebista's prominent role as an initiator of the great destruction brought to the Greek settlements.
Resuming the entire dossier of the problem, the author has found that among Burebista's military feats were wrongly included the destructions brought to the Pontic cities (proceeding from Dittenberger and Latyshev's suppositions regarding the two inscriptions — at Tomi and Odessos — which refer to the difficulties at that time undergone by those towns). Dittenberger and Latyshev considered Dion of Prusa's information as a chronological grounding for the assumption that Burebista had been responsible for the respective devastation. Subsequent historiography took up the image of Burebista as a destroyer of Greek settlements on the Black Sea shore, without critically reappraising that exegetic paradigm. The author believes there is no historical evidence to justify such an assertion. On the contrary, Burebista's qualities of a valiant and tactful leader — as described by Strabo —, his negotiations with Pompey through the agency of Acornion, seem to round off the picture of the Dacian king as a great politician, interested, as shown here, in re-integrating his nation within the context of the Greek economy that Pompey must have planned to rehabilitate.

Glassware Shops in Dobrudja and the Relations with the Roman East
The discovery of the method of glass-blowing first in moulds and then freely (on the Phenician coast of Syria in the late 1st century B.C.) was indisputably the greatest acquisition of Hellenistic technology. The method rapidly spread to Italy and Gaul, where shops opened subsequently in a position to vie with the eastern workshops. Trade in the new commodities was particularly brisk. The Greek cities on Pontus Euxinus became customers of eastern glassblowers in the 1st century B.C. and continued so during the following centuries. Part of the common shapes such as the unguentariums at the beginning of our era were imported from the East to Panticapaeum, Kepoi, Tomi and, of course to other cities on the northern and western coasts of the Pontus.
However, among the discoveries made in the above-mentioned cities there are glass vessels blown into moulds in the workshops of famous glass-blowers like Ennion (39/c— 41/a) who was active on the Syrian coast around the turn of the 1st century B. C. — one of the first craftsmen to have used extensively the new invention of blowing the vitreous paste. The Severeanu Collection includes a flask (39/a, b) very probably found on Dobrudja's sea coast, which raises to 15 the number of objects of the Yahmour type (named so after two funeral sites in Syria), ascribed by Harden to Ennion.

Divinities of the Sea and Aquatic Demonology in Scythia Minor
This chapter is intended to introduce new hypotheses and to inform investigators on yet undescribed materials connected with the worships and beliefs of the sea-going population — navigators or fishers — in the Greek settlements on the Dobrudjan Black Sea coast. Thus, the author proposes to explain the image on the obverse of Histrian silver coins (43/a, b) by the sign of Gemini (21 May — 22 June) when the sea begins to be safe for navigation (cf. Vegetius, IV, 32) and which marks the end of the spring season for fishing sturgeon — the most important source of incomes for Histria. Among the divinities of the sea honoured in the same citadel during the Roman times, is also Poseidon Heliconios, to whom the author believes that a monument must have been dedicated; it probably included the high relief fragment (44/a, b) preserved in the store-room of the archaeological site at Histria. To the same place and times belongs an altar without inscription (43/c) in whose figuration it seems possible to recognize the goddess Fortuna (the sailors' protectress) receiving a navigator's gesture of devotion. To the worship of Histria's Aphrodite Pontica (whose temple already existed from the archaic epoch) may be connected the offerings of two vessels in the form of harpies, discovered by Vasile Pârvan (1882—1927) in the sacred zone and — the author believes — a Hellenistic marble fragment embodying a bird (45/d) which, according to several indications, might also be a harpy.

Terracotta statuettes found at Tomi — of the type Demeter-Kore sharing the throne (paredros), also show two harpies (44/c, d); they date back to the 1st century B.C. or A.D. The Pontic aquatic demonology also includes Forkys, to whom Histria dedicated a modest offering; the author proposes as an image of this divinity that represented on two objects from the Roman times: a lamp (45/b) and a mould for making lamps (45/e) found somewhere on Dobrudja's coast. Last but not least, again at Histria during the Roman epoch, appeared a Scylla and a Siren on a funeral monument (45/a, c). The funeral significance of the latter is well-known from several similar representations in the Roman world, whereas the former was only found in Dacia, according to our knowledge.

Trajan's Last Anthumous Portrait
The chapter studies a marble head preserved in Dr. Severeanu's Collection (54/a, b) particularly interesting since besides the bronze medallion found at Ankara, it is the last iconographic document on the emperor, figured shortly before his untimely death.

An Uncommon Denarius Found at Turda
The political crisis in the year 238 A.D. is also evidenced in the field of numismatics by a symptom attesting confusion. The first issue of denarii coined in Rome by Balbinus (42/c, d) soon after the senate had appointed him emperor, has on its obverse a veristic portrait much at variance with later iconography, whose official nature is equally underlined by the effigies on coins and by the busts en ronde-bosse (sculptured in the round); the other side of these coins mentions among the emperor's titles only one consulate, although the senator had held the second in 213 A.D. That it is not only the engraver's omission but the deficient functioning of the imperial chancellery, is confirmed by a mile-post at Sitifis in Mauretania (C.I.L. VIII, 10342), where Balbinus' titles also include one consultate alone.

Romania's Great Cameo
The cameo made of polychrome sardonyx donated by Engineer C. Orghidan to the Romanian Academy is the fifth in the world in point of size. It represents the apotheosis of Julian the Apostate and of Flavia Helena (56/a), as it results from corroborating historical data with the reading of the relief on the monumental glyptic piece. Julian's figuration as Serapis and Helena's as Isis connects Romania's great cameo to the other monuments of the times, including the patera in the treasure found at Pietroasa, all these evincing common features of the same artistic milieu (47—48).

Traditions, Influences, Interpretative Creation
The postface of the volume defines these three notions in connection with ancient art in pre-Roman Dacia, establishing relationships between them and outlining some starting points for the study of Roman Dacia's artistic antiquities within a unitary whole throughout Romania's territory; emphasis is laid in the unfolding of the general and irreversible phenomenon of Romanization on the specific element of each region as well as on the relationships between the areas within or outside the limes. Moreover, it is shown that thanks to the close connections between the Geto-Dacian world and the Greek-Roman civilization, the process of Romanization took place against a favourable cultural background; it was continued and even expanded after the Roman retreat from Dacia under Aurelianus (271 A.D.) by virtue of options made as early as the 4th century B.C. (on which chapters IV—VII bring new, enlightening details and precisions).