Finger Rings Intaglio Gems Greek Bronze Age Crete Mycenae Persia Roman Classical

Finger Rings Intaglio Gems Greek Bronze Age Crete Mycenae Persia Roman Classical
Finger Rings Intaglio Gems Greek Bronze Age Crete Mycenae Persia Roman Classical
Finger Rings Intaglio Gems Greek Bronze Age Crete Mycenae Persia Roman Classical
Finger Rings Intaglio Gems Greek Bronze Age Crete Mycenae Persia Roman Classical
Finger Rings Intaglio Gems Greek Bronze Age Crete Mycenae Persia Roman Classical

Finger Rings Intaglio Gems Greek Bronze Age Crete Mycenae Persia Roman Classical

Greek Gems and Finger Rings: Early Bronze to Late Classical by John Boardman. NOTE : We have 75,000 books in our library, almost 10,000 different titles. Odds are we have other copies of this same title in varying conditions, some less expensive, some better condition. We might also have different editions as well (some paperback, some hardcover, oftentimes international editions). Were happy to send you a summary of the differing conditions and prices we may have for the same title.

DESCRIPTION: Massive (12x10 inch, 7 pound) Hardcover with dustjacket. Publisher: Thames & Hudson (2001). Dimensions: 12¼ x 9¾ x 1¾ inches; 6½ pounds. The miniaturist art of gem engraving is the least familiar of the major arts of ancient Greece, yet we know it to have been practiced by the greatest artists.

This book presents a comprehensive account of the art in Greek lands from the early Bronze Age down to the Hellenistic period. The gems are related to history and to the artistic achievements in other media of their day, and the subject matter of the scenes engraved upon them is examined and found to hold much that will be new to students of Greek myth and iconography. The development of the Bronze Age studios in the Minoan and Mycenaean world is discussed, and the works of the great period of Classical gem engraving are resolved into their styles and schools, with a special chapter devoted to Greek works within the Persian Empire. The attributions and discussion are supported by full notes and lists.

The plates, which show the gems enlarged up to four times their natural size, present the fullest possible range of devices and styles from all periods. This revised edition will be an essential work of reference for students and scholars, as well as a thorough survey of the subject for all lovers of Greek art. 1395 illustrations, 51 in color.

New MASSIVE (12x10 inches - 7 pounds in weight) hardcover w/dustjacket in mylar sleeve. Thames & Hudson (2001) 474 pages. Unblemished except (if you remove the dustjacket) you can detect very, very faint bumping to the lower cover corners (large, heavy books like this are awkward to handle and so tend to get dragged across and/or bumped into book shelves as they are shelved and re-shelved, so it is not uncommon to see accelerated edge and corner shelfwear to either or both the dustjacket and covers of such huge, heavy books). Pages are clean, crisp, unmarked, unmutilated, tightly bound, unambiguously unread. Condition is entirely consistent with new stock from an open-shelf bookstore environment such as Barnes & Noble or B. Dalton, where otherwise "new" books might show minor signs of shelfwear, consequence simply of being shelved and re-shelved. PLEASE SEE DESCRIPTIONS AND IMAGES BELOW FOR DETAILED REVIEWS AND FOR PAGES OF PICTURES FROM INSIDE OF BOOK. PLEASE SEE PUBLISHER, PROFESSIONAL, AND READER REVIEWS BELOW.

REVIEW : Sir John Boardman is known and respected the world over as an outstanding authority on classical archaeology and art. Among his prodigious output of books - over thirty titles - are numerous works on Greek pottery and sculpture in the World of Art series. He has received numerous honors, including a knighthood in 1989 and honorary doctorates from the University of Athens and the Sorbonne.

CHAPTER TWO: MINOANS AND MYCENAEANS. Introduction; Early Greece; Pre-Palatial Greece; Crete: the Early Palaces; Crete: the Late Palaces; Mycenaean Knossos; Mycenaean Greece; the End of the Bronze Age; Seal Use and Production; Aegean Seals and the Outside World. CHAPTER THREE: THE GEOMETRIC AND EARLY ARCHAEIC PERIODS. The Geometric Seals; Early Archaic Stone Seals; Ivories; Island Gems; the Sunium Group and Crete. CHAPTER FOUR: ARCHAIC GEMS AND FINGER RINGS.

The Orientilizing Style; the Robust Style; the Dry Style; Island Scarabs; Late Archaic Groups; Greeks in Etruria; Greeks and Phoenicians; Finger Rings; Conclusion. CHAPTER FIVE; GLASSICAL GEMS AND FINGER RINGS.

Class Gem Stones; Classical Finger Rings; Ancient Impressions; Seal and Gem Usage in the Classical Period. CHAPTER SIX: GREEKS AND PERSIANS. The Court Style; the Greek Style; the Mixed Style; the Bern Group and a Blobolo Gems; Finger Rings; Summary. CHAPTER SEVEN: HELLENISTIC GREECE AND ROME. CHAPER EIGHT: MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES.

SUMMARIES OF GEM AND RING SHAPES. REVIEW : Fabulous comprehensive study, unequally in the subject matter, massively illustrated. A must for enthusiasts of ancient art, ancient jewelry, ancient history. REVIEW : Greek Gems and Finger Rings is not a book about jewelry, merely; it's about history, archeology, art, and the origins of Western civilization. John Boardman makes a great case for why anyone interested in the ancient Greeks, and particularly their fine arts, should take a careful look at their gems and finger rings.

Many if not most of the "gems" and "rings" discussed (and pictured in exquisite detail in the book) are actually seals used by the ancient Greeks (and Minoans) for various purposes: to seal and mark private personal correspondence and documents of state, to seal and identify containers and their goods in commerce. They were also used as heraldry.

And yes, sometimes they were just jewelry. In Bronze Age Greece, these seals went from crude glyphs to gorgeous works of art in ivory, gold, precious stones. Some depict religious rituals and gods, scenes from mythology. Or they can depict hunting scenes with people and animals. Boardman takes you chronologically from Minoan/Mycenaean to Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic.

He places the gems in cultural and historical context. He obviously has extensive knowledge of the prior literature on the subject, especially the archeological record and matters of provenance. Many of the gems in this book are artistic masterpieces to rival those of any Greek art. Boardman makes a case for them as miniature sculpture.

To me they are more interesting than early Greek vase painting, which appears more frequently in books about ancient Greece than these seals, which are rarely shown. What particularly fascinated me was the clear differences in techniques, tastes, and styles from period to period. Comparing, say, the early Minoan and Mycenaean seals to those of the Classical period yields some continuities, of course, but also much that is different, even in the way they portray the human (and also non-human) body.

For example, the Minoans depicted people as wasp-waisted, with arm and leg joints very tapered, a total contrast to the Classical depictions, which are more realistic even within their idealizations. The Minoan bodies look more flexible, and their style captures a vibrant sense of animation, movement, life. The Classical gems are beautiful, but I found the Minoan gems more interesting. They are certainly more ecstatically alive. I might wonder to what extent the classical Greeks really believed in their gods, but in the case of the Minoan seals I must say they really convey a sense of pagan worship, showing rituals involving bare-chested women holding serpents, little gods materializing above altars.

The Minoans and Mycenaeans are farther back in time than the Classical Greeks, and their art conveys that primordial nature, a spirit and attitude towards existence that appear strange to us today as compared with the seals created in subsequent periods. We recognize the classical; its influence is all around us. But the Minoans seem alien, even in the way they dress. The book itself is large, sumptuous, and brimming with over a thousand detailed impressions and photographs.

REVIEW : Boardman's book is great for looking at Bronze Age, early and classical Greek Gems. A beautiful book, almost a complete corpus of gems from the noted period. REVIEW : Very professional and thorough study by the writer in his field of expertise. A lot of examples and museum records. ANCIENT JEWELRY : The art of the jeweler. Metalsmiths' shops were the training schools for many of the great artists of the Renaissance. Brunelleschi, Botticelli, Verrocchio, Ghi-berti, Pollaiuolo, and Luca della Robbia all were trained as goldsmiths before they embarked upon the higher arts. The goldsmith made silver vases for the dinner tables of cardinals; knights sent sword blades to be mounted in rich hilts; ladies came to have their jewels set; princes needed medals to commemorate their victories; popes and bishops wished to place chased reliquaries on the altars of their patron saints; and men of fashion ordered medallions to wear upon their hats. Although many materials-including iron-have been used for jewelry, gold is by far the most satisfactory. One could not expect the same results from any other metal, for the durability and the extraordinary ductility and pliancy of gold and its property of being readily drawn out or flattened into wire or leaf of almost infinite fineness have led to its being used for works in which minute-ness and delicacy of execution were required. Gold may be soldered, it may be cast, and any kind of surface, from the rough to the highest possible polish, given to it. It is the best of all metals upon which to enamel. Gold was easily retrieved from the gravel of river beds, where it was washed from the eroded rocks; hence it is one of the oldest metals known. Unlike most metals, gold does not tarnish on exposure to the air but remains brilliant. Pure gold is too soft for general use, but it can be hardened and toughened by alloying with most of the other metals. Color is one of its important qualities.

When the metal is pure, it is nearly the orange-yellow of the solar spectrum. When it contains a little silver, it is pale yellow, or greenish yellow; and when alloyed with a little copper, it takes a reddish tinge-all so effective in varicolored jewelry. These alloys have an ancient history, electrum, an alloy of gold and silver which assured beautiful hues, having been used by the Egyptians, Greeks, and other ancient peoples.

The ancients, from the most remote times, were acquainted with the art of beating gold into thin leaves, and this leaf was used for other purposes besides personal adornment. Gold leaf was used in buildings for gilding wood, and Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans were adepts in applying it. It was no great departure to introduce gilded backgrounds to paintings or figures in mosaic and finally to illuminated manuscripts. In the use of gold Byzantium went beyond Rome or Athens. When more skill was attained by painters, backgrounds in perspective took the place of those in gold.

Early examples of leaf work in this exhibition may be seen in the headdress and jewelry of Queen Shubad's ladies-in-waiting from the excavations of the royal tombs at Ur in Mesopotamia. They date from a period between 3500 and 2800 B. A second step was the cutting of gold leaf into thin strips to make wire. It is still a question whether the art of wire-drawing was known to the ancients. Plaited wire-work, as used in many places and over a wide period of time, is well represented in ancient history.

Fusing and soldering are also ancient techniques. Granular work, the soldering of minute grains of gold one beside the other in a line or disposed ornamentally over a surface, was known to the ancient Egyptian jewelers, as well as to the classical, oriental, and barbarian gold-smiths. This traditional technique can be traced through the centuries, splendid granular work of the ancient and modern civilizations being well represented in archaeological finds. Filigree, the arranging of wires in patterns, usually soldered to a base, is often associated with granular work. The oriental nations, especially the Moors, knew how to execute filigree with rare delicacy and taste, this technique adapting itself particularly to their designs.

Embossing and chasing are techniques of widespread use. The relief effect of embossing is produced by various means.

A thin pliable sheet of metal may be pressed into molds, between dies, or over stamps, or it may be molded free hand. An excellent example of an embossed gold sheet which was pressed or hammered may be seen in the Greek sword sheath from South Russia.

In handwork the sheet of metal is placed against a ground with a yielding surface and the design is raised from the back by a series of punches. The work of the chaser is closely related to that of the sculptor, the ornament on the face of a casting or an embossed work being finished with chisels or chasing tools. Jewelry was often enriched by stamping, a simple process by which a design is made in depression with a punch. And the gold fixed by heating to redness; and the surface finally burnished. In all countries the work of the lapidary was combined with that of the goldsmith.

Much jewelry depended for its splendor of effect chiefly upon its inlay of brilliantly colored stones, jaspers, agates, lapis lazuli. Mercury-gilding is a process of great antiquity. The object was first carefully polished and rubbed with mercury; thin gold was then laid on and pressed down, the mercury being subsequently volatilized, and so forth, or upon colored glass inlays. The Egyptians and Greeks were incomparable artists in intaglio (cutting concave designs or figures) in gold, and one notes with astonishment the mastery they possessed over the stubborn hard stones, including the sapphire. A Greek gold ring with an intaglio engraving of a girl stretching herself is one of the finest in ancient history.

The engraver's art both in cameo and in intaglio attained a high degree of excellence about 500 B. Which lasted until about the third or fourth century A. The classical artists used rich and warm-tinted oriental stones, the increased intercourse with the East after the death of Alexander the Great having a marked influence on the development of the art. In gem-engraving the ancients used essentially the same principle that is in use today, that is, drilling with a revolving tool. They also used a sapphire or diamond point set in a handle and applied like a graver.

In early medieval times gem-engraving was little practiced, but antique cameos were held in peculiar veneration on ac-count of the belief, then universal, in their potency as medicinal charms. With the Renaissance, the art of gem-engraving was revived, and engravers from that time onward have produced results equal to the best ancient work.

Glass in ancient times was so precious that some nations demanded tribute in this fragile material instead of gold. It is said that a citizen invented a method for making malleable glass and was invited to visit the Roman Emperor Tiberius. He brought a vase, which was thrown to the ground but only dented. A hammer again rounded it into shape. Tiberius then asked whether any other man knew the secret of manufacture.

The artisan answered no, whereupon the emperor ordered him beheaded. Glass inlay, widely used from Egyptian times, is often wrongly called enamel.

It is not enamel, which, although a vitreous material, is employed in the powdered state and always fused into position by heat, whereas the glass inlay was always cut or molded and cemented into position. This glass inlay is often referred to as paste, which in the modern sense means glass with a high refractive index and high luster employed to imitate the diamond.

Good examples of paste may be seen in some eighteenth-century English and French. For centuries Egypt was the promised land of the ancient civilized world, for the Pharaohs had at their disposal enormous stores of gold. The Egyptians excelled in metal-work, especially in gold, and many techniques employed by goldsmiths today can be seen in ancient Egyptian jewelry, particularly for instance the treasure of el LThuin, which was recovered in its entirety and in nearly the same perfect condition in which it had been placed in the tomb; or the jewelry which had once graced the person of the Princess Sit Hathor Yuinet, daughter of King Se'n-Wosret II, who reigned from 1906 to 1887 B. And near whose pyramid, at el Lahfin, she was buried. Her girdle, one of the outstanding pieces of ancient jewelry, is of amethyst beads and hollow gold panther-head ornaments, inside which pellets tinkled whenever the wearer moved.

From the same treasure there is the neck-lace with a pectoral of King Se'n-Wosret II. On either side of the pectoral the hawk of the god Horus supports the cartouche of the king and a group of hieroglyphics which signify, May King Se'n-Wosret II live many hundreds of thousands of years. The pectoral is gold inlaid with lapis lazuli, car-nelian, and turquoise, and the eyes of the shape made of actual flowers, fruits, and leaves, which were presented to guests to wear at banquets and other festivities. Brilliant color is one of the most attractive characteristics of Egyptian jewelry. Beads of faience of different colors were also in fashion during the XVIII Dynasty. The composition of the broad collars of faience of this period was derived from ornaments of the same engraving, soldering, and metal intaglio. The Greek jeweler, like the Egyptian, excelled in the arts of embossing and chasing. Greece had little access to precious stones before Alexander's Eastern conquests, and so from the sixth to the fourth century B. The jeweler specialized in metalwork. He was a master of both granulated and filigree decoration, and he did exquisite work in plaiting gold into chains and in modeling it into little figures, both human and animal. Much of the best of Greek jewelry is sculpture in little.

A few famous examples of ancient Greek jewelry, such as an earring in the form of a siren, is a charming example of Greek jeweler's modeling. Other examples include a pair of earrings of the fourth century B. From Madytos on the Hellespont, as well as an eagle and a palmette made of hammered gold sheets; the feathers of the eagle are incised; each leaf is edged with beaded wire; and the fruit is covered with granulation.

Another example might be a bracelet, of rock crystal, with gold finials, each finely embossed with a ram's head, which shows skillfully modeled figures, as well as plaited chains, and filigree and granular work of rare minuteness. The Ganymede jewelry, made soon after 350 B. Is one of the most precious sets that have come out of antiquity. Most techniques are represented on the earrings, bracelets, brooches, necklace, and emerald ring.

On the earrings the figures of Ganymede are solid castings; Ganymede's drapery, the wings and tail. The technique of Etruscan goldwork is much the same as that of the Greek.

The metal is thin, it is pressed or beaten out in designs in low relief, and it is further decorated by the surface application of filigree and small granules of gold. Several molds of stone have been discovered, and it is probable that the thin gold was pressed into the mold by means of a metal or agate style, solder being used to fix the separate pieces of gold together whenever necessary. Some of the granulated work is so fine that without a magnifying glass it is almost impossible to believe that the patterns are actually laid on with an infinite number of minute spherical grains.

The burial chamber of an Etruscan lady, near Vulci, opened over a century ago, yielded a rich parure. Archaeologists have recovered several headdresses reflecting the custom Chinese women had of decking their hair with floral ornaments. These are richly colored, and some of the materials used in them, besides gold, are amber, coral, seed pearls, and an exclusively Chinese material-bright blue kingfisher feathers. In Chinese jewelry the art of the metal-worker achieves an exquisite delicacy.

A famous golden phoenix crown shows perhaps most clearly of all the works in the exhibition the ability of the goldsmith to take infinite pains. It has more than thirty separate ornaments, made of different con-formations of gold wire and decorated with pearls and other stones. Many of the ornaments are set on tiny springs so that they quiver with the slightest movement. With the exception of pearls, the Chinese did not use precious stones.

The prettiness and color of Chinese jewelry tempt one to describe it at length, but according to a Chinese proverb, A thousand words do not compare with one look. The Japanese also rank high as metalworkers, their sword furniture, the jewelry of the Japanese nobleman, especially showing the subtle skill of the artist in manipulating hard and soft metals. In enriching the fittings many processes of metal ornamentation-relief carving, relief inlay or applique, overlay, incised and recessed carving-are employed. It is the combination of techniques and alloys which makes their work of outstanding interest to jewelers as well as to the amateur. Today these fittings are often worn as jewelry in the West.

In Japan sword furniture is frequently signed by masters as well known as famous painters. A glance at the magnificent weapons from Persia, Turkey, and India will remove any impression that the love of personal adornment is a purely feminine attribute. Orientals often wear daggers embellished with silver and semiprecious stones even over their most ragged clothes, which shows that they take life with a gesture. In India perhaps more than anywhere else, jewelry has played a vital role in the life of the people, from the lowest rank to the highest. Although none of the Indian jewelry is much older than the eighteenth century, it represents designs and methods of decoration that go back to much earlier periods, some of them reflecting the influence of Hellenistic civilization. Some pieces are made of gold or silver alone, others are richly set with diamonds, rubies, and emeralds or decorated with enamel. The Greek jeweler, like the Egyptian, excelled in the arts of embossing, chasing. Much of this jewelry was made in Jaipur, which was particularly famous for its enamelwork. A gold bracelet with dragon-head terminals is an outstanding example of combined jeweled and enameled work. The backs of jeweled ornaments were often enameled with fine patterns, so that the reverse of a necklace or pendant would be as fine in effect as the right side. The jewelry of the nomadic Iranian tribes is represented by a few choice pieces cast in gold and chased.

These include many Scythian ornaments, winged griffins, stags, and rosettes, which were used as decoration on clothing; and two clasps of about the first century A. Sarmatian and Parthian in origin. The Middle Ages are perhaps best represented by an extensive collection of jewelry from the Morgan collection, of the period of the barbarian migrations and of the Byzantine period.

The gold ornaments in the Albanian Treasure (seventh-ninth century) are thought to be the work of nomad craftsmen in the train of barbarian tribes migrating through the Balkans from Central Asia. The splendid collections of Gallo-Roman, Germanic, and Merovingian jewelry, distinctive features of which are the colored glass inlays and the filigree and beaded work in gold, need only be mentioned, for they have been described and illustrated in the catalogues of Seymour de Ricci. They were made from the fourth to the eighth century A. The latest probably not exceeding the reign of Charlemagne (742- 814). It was Charlemagne who stopped the custom of burying the dead with their weapons and jewelry because all the wealth was going into the ground instead of into the treasury.

The result is that much fine jewelry was melted down. The Eastern influence which had come westwards after the year 330, when Constantine transferred his court from Rome to Byzantium (Constantinople), is seen in many pieces of ancient jewelry. The goldsmiths followed the Emperor Constantine to Byzantium, and from there came many marvels of art and beauty as presents to the Western churches. The jewelry in the treasure (sixth century) found on the island of Cyprus is in the Eastern style. It was probably buried during the Arab invasion of the island.

About the beginning of the eleventh century the Byzantine influence had been largely spent, and new styles were introduced. Families of monks, animated by one spirit and educated in the same way, lived in monasteries which were schools of ecclesiastical goldsmiths.

They built and adorned their churches; they hammered, chased, and enameled gold, silver, and bronze. Altar fronts, pyxes, lamps, patens, chalices, crosses, candlesticks, and reliquaries were made, and most of their motives of design, methods of working, and chemical processes were the common property of the abbeys. Lay craftsmen, too, devoted more of their energies than previously to building cathedrals and creating ecclesiastical art, and there is consequently a close connection between the work of the architect and the mediaeval goldsmith. This ecclesiastical influence is seen in a late eleventh-century book cover of silver-gilt, ivory, cabochons, and enamel, from the cathedral of Jaca. Before the multiplication of books by printing, their covers had more to do with the goldsmith's art than with that of the binder.

Architectural influence is shown in the French thirteenth-century reliquary of Saint Margaret. Reliquaries like this were master-pieces of work in precious metals. They were built up of innumerable plates soldered together, with buttresses, pinnacles, and traceried windows, like little models of churches or small chapels.

During the Renaissance, everything that could be gold was gold, not only jewelry but plate; and dresses for men and women and even horse trappings were made of cloth of gold. It was an age when the setting of a gem or the molding of a goblet was a matter that would occupy a grave potentate to the exclusion of affairs of state. In order to satisfy the demands of the time Columbus set out not to discover another continent but to find a convenient route to India, the land of gold, pearls, and spices. The Renaissance goldsmiths made the most of the mediaeval tradition in technique and in due course they developed perfection in workmanship.

The rich and varied pendants are splendid examples of the renaissance jewelers art. This type of ornament originated in devotional usage, and during the Middle Ages its decoration was almost always of religious significance.

The pendant was a conspicuous ornament and was usually of fine workmanship. Portrait medallions, especially those of historical personages, were made by distinguished masters. A splendid pendant, representing Bona Sforza, Queen of Poland, is signed by Jacobus Veron (Gian Jacopo Caraglio) and is dated 1554. The cameo portrait of the queen is sardonyx, her chain and hair ornament gold.

The Visconti-Sforza arms on the reverse are enameled gold. Among the enseignes, ornaments worn on the turned-back brim of the hat or cap, one superb historical example is one in gold skillfully embossed. Cellini, in his Treatise on Goldsmithing, explains how such embossing was done. In principle, a sheet of gold is beaten from the back with punches until it is bossed up much like the wax model.

He completes the explanation by telling of a visit to his workshop by Michelangelo, who complimented him on a gold medal embossed in high relief. Michelangelo reputedly said: If this work were made in great, whether of marble or of bronze, and fashioned with as exquisite design as this, it would astonish the world; and even in its present size it seems to me so beautiful that I do not think ever a goldsmith of the ancient world fashioned aught to come up to it! Another technique explained by Cellini is the beautiful art of enameling. A splendid example of this technique may be seen on a fine cups, of red jasper mounted with enameled gold and precious stones.

It should be compared with the Cellini cup in the Altman collection. Personal jewelry of the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries can be characterized by snuffboxes and carnets de bal (dance programs), precisely executed, showing the quality of the eras workmanship. Such boxes, of varicolored gold, jeweled, and set with miniature portraits of their donors, were the favorite gifts of kings and princes. They were enormously costly in their day and they have always been precious collectors items. Some of them be- longed to persons famous in history, some are signed by famous jewelers, and all illustrate the extravagant vanities of the time.

During the seventeenth century, there developed an increasing fondness for faceted gems set close together to produce glittering masses. Gradually the setting was subordinated to the precious stones, and this is the modern style.

ANCIENT GREECE : Greece is a country in southeastern Europe, known in Greek as Hellas or Ellada, and consisting of a mainland and an archipelago of islands. Greece is the birthplace of Western philosophy (Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle), literature (Homer and Hesiod), mathematics (Pythagoras and Euclid), history (Herodotus), drama (Sophocles, Euripedes, and Aristophanes), the Olympic Games, and democracy.

The concept of an atomic universe was first posited in Greece through the work of Democritus and Leucippus. The process of today's scientific method was first introduced through the work of Thales of Miletus and those who followed him.

The Latin alphabet also comes from Greece, having been introduced to the region by the Phoenicians in the 8th century B. And early work in physics and engineering was pioneered by Archimedes, of the Greek colony of Syracuse, among others. Mainland Greece is a large peninsula surrounded on three sides by the Mediterranean Sea (branching into the Ionian Sea in the west and the Aegean Sea in the east) which also comprises the islands known as the Cyclades and the Dodecanese (including Rhodes), the Ionian islands (including Corcyra), the isle of Crete, and the southern peninsula known as the Peloponnese. The geography of Greece greatly influenced the culture in that, with few natural resources and surrounded by water, the people eventually took to the sea for their livelihood. Mountains cover eighty percent of Greece and only small rivers run through a rocky landscape which, for the most part, provides little encouragement for agriculture. Consequently, the early Greeks colonized neighboring islands and founded settlements along the coast of Anatolia (also known as Asia Minor, modern day Turkey). The Greeks became skilled seafaring people and traders who, possessing an abundance of raw materials for construction in stone, and great skill, built some of the most impressive structures in antiquity. Greece reached the heights in almost every area of human learning. The designation Hellas derives from Hellen, the son of Deucalion and Pyrrha who feature prominently in Ovid's tale of the Great Flood in his Metamorphoses.

The mythical Deucalion (son of the fire-bringing titan Prometheus) was the savior of the human race from the Great Flood, in the same way Noah is presented in the biblical version or Utnapishtim in the Mesopotamian one. Deucalion and Pyrrha repopulate the land once the flood waters have receded by casting stones which become people, the first being Hellen.

Contrary to popular opinion, Hellas and Ellada have nothing to do with Helen of Troy from Homer's Iliad. Ovid, however, did not coin the designation. But when Hellen and his sons became powerful in Phthiotis, their aid was invoked by other cities, and those who associated with them gradually began to be called Hellenes, though a long time elapsed before the name was prevalent over the whole country. Of this, Homer affords the best evidence; for he, although he lived long after the Trojan War, nowhere uses this name collectively, but confines it to the followers of Achilles from Phthiotis, who were the original Hellenes; when speaking of the entire host, he calls them Danäans, or Argives, or Achaeans. Greek history is most easily understood by dividing it into time periods. The region was already settled, and agriculture initiated, during the Paleolithic era as evidenced by finds at Petralona and Franchthi caves (two of the oldest human habitations in the world). Is characterized by permanent settlements (primarily in northern Greece), domestication of animals, and the further development of agriculture. Archaeological finds in northern Greece (Thessaly, Macedonia, and Sesklo, among others) suggest a migration from Anatolia in that the ceramic cups and bowls and figures found there share qualities distinctive to Neolithic finds in Anatolia. These inland settlers were primarily farmers, as northern Greece was more conducive to agriculture than elsewhere in the region, and lived in one-room stone houses with a roof of timber and clay daubing. Flourished in the islands of the Aegean Sea (including Delos, Naxos and Paros) and provides the earliest evidence of continual human habitation in that region. During the Cycladic Period, houses and temples were built of finished stone and the people made their living through fishing and trade. This period is usually divided into three phases: Early Cycladic, Middle Cycladic, and Late Cycladic with a steady development in art and architecture.

The latter two phases overlap and finally merge with the Minoan Civilization, and differences between the periods become indistinguishable. Developed on the island of Crete, and rapidly became the dominant sea power in the region. The term `Minoan' was coined by the archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans, who uncovered the Minoan palace of Knossos in 1900 CE and named the culture for the ancient Cretan king Minos.

The name by which the people knew themselves is not known. The Minoan Civilization was thriving, as the Cycladic Civilization seems to have been, long before the accepted modern dates which mark its existence and probably earlier than 6000 B. King Minos was credited by ancient historians (Thucydides among them) as being the first person to establish a navy with which he colonized, or conquered, the Cyclades. Archaeological and geological evidence on Crete suggests this civilization fell due to an overuse of the land causing deforestation though, traditionally, it is accepted that they were conquered by the Mycenaeans.

The eruption of the volcano on the nearby island of Thera (modern day Santorini) between 1650 and 1550 B. And the resulting tsunami, is acknowledged as the final cause for the fall of the Minoans. The isle of Crete was deluged and the cities and villages destroyed. This event has been frequently cited as Plato's inspiration in creating his myth of Atlantis in his dialogues of the Critias and Timaeus.

Is commonly acknowledged as the beginning of Greek culture, even though we know almost nothing about the Mycenaeans save what can be determined through archaeological finds and through Homers account of their war with Troy as recorded in The Iliad. They are credited with establishing the culture owing primarily to their architectural advances, their development of a writing system (known as Linear B, an early form of Greek descended from the Minoan Linear A), and the establishment, or enhancement of, religious rites. The Mycenaeans appear to have been greatly influenced by the Minoans of Crete in their worship of earth goddesses and sky gods, which, in time, become the classical pantheon of ancient Greece. The gods and goddesses provided the Greeks with a solid paradigm of the creation of the universe, the world, and human beings. An early myth relates how, in the beginning, there was nothing but chaos in the form of unending waters.

From this chaos came the goddess Eurynome who separated the water from the air and began her dance of creation with the serpent Ophion. From their dance, all of creation sprang and Eurynome was, originally, the Great Mother Goddess and Creator of All Things. By the time Hesiod and Homer were writing 8th century B. , this story had changed into the more familiar myth concerning the titans, Zeus' war against them, and the birth of the Olympian Gods with Zeus as their chief. This shift indicates a movement from a matriarchal religion to a patriarchal paradigm.

Whichever model was followed, however, the gods clearly interacted regularly with the humans who worshipped them and were a large part of daily life in ancient Greece. Prior to the coming of the Romans, the only road in mainland Greece that was not a cow path was the Sacred Way which ran between the city of Athens and the holy city of Eleusis, birthplace of the Eleusinian Mysteries celebrating the goddess Demeter and her daughter Persephone. The great Mycenaean cities of southwest Greece were abandoned and, some claim, their civilization destroyed by an invasion of Doric Greeks. Archaeological evidence is inconclusive as to what led to the fall of the Mycenaeans. As no written records of this period survive (or have yet to be unearthed) one may only speculate on causes.

The tablets of Linear B script found thus far contain only lists of goods bartered in trade or kept in stock. No history of the time has yet emerged. It seems clear, however, that after what is known as the Greek Dark Ages approximately 1100-800 B. So named because of the absence of written documentation the Greeks further colonized much of Asia Minor, and the islands surrounding mainland Greece and began to make significant cultural advances.

Beginning in circa 585 B. The first Greek philosopher, Thales, was engaged in what, today, would be recognised as scientific inquiry in the settlement of Miletus on the Asia Minor coast and this region of Ionian colonies would make significant breakthroughs in the fields of philosophy and mathematics. The Archaic Period 800-500 B.

Is characterized by the introduction of Republics instead of Monarchies (which, in Athens, moved toward Democratic rule) organised as a single city-state or polis, the institution of laws (Dracos reforms in Athens), the great Panathenaeic Festival was established, distinctive Greek pottery and Greek sculpture were born, and the first coins minted on the island kingdom of Aegina. This, then, set the stage for the flourishing of the Classical Period of Greece given as 500-400 B.

Or, more precisely, as 480-323 B. From the Greek victory at Salamis to the death of Alexander the Great.

This was the Golden Age of Athens, when Pericles initiated the building of the Acropolis and spoke his famous eulogy for the men who died defending Greece at the Battle of Marathon in 490 B. Greece reached the heights in almost every area of human learning during this time and the great thinkers and artists of antiquity (Phidias, Plato, Aristophanes, to mention only three) flourished. Leonidas and his 300 Spartans fell at Thermopylae and, the same year 480 B. , Themistocles won victory over the superior Persian naval fleet at Salamis leading to the final defeat of the Persians at Plataea in 379 B.

Democracy (literally Demos = people and Kratos = power, so power of the people) was established in Athens allowing all male citizens over the age of twenty a voice in government. The Pre-Socratic philosophers, following Thales' lead, initiated what would become the scientific method in exploring natural phenomena. Men like Anixamander, Anaximenes, Pythagoras, Democritus, Xenophanes, and Heraclitus abandoned the theistic model of the universe and strove to uncover the underlying, first cause of life and the universe. Their successors, among whom were Euclid and Archimedes, continued philosophical inquiry and further established mathematics as a serious discipline. The example of Socrates, and the writings of Plato and Aristotle after him, have influenced western culture and society for over two thousand years.

This period also saw advances in architecture and art with a movement away from the ideal to the realistic. Famous works of Greek sculpture such as the Parthenon Marbles and Discobolos (the discus thrower) date from this time and epitomize the artist's interest in depicting human emotion, beauty, and accomplishment realistically, even if those qualities are presented in works featuring immortals. All of these developments in culture were made possible by the ascent of Athens following her victory over the Persians in 480 B. The peace and prosperity which followed the Persian defeat provided the finances and stability for culture to flourish.

Athens became the superpower of her day and, with the most powerful navy, was able to demand tribute from other city states and enforce her wishes. Athens formed the Delian League, a defensive alliance whose stated purpose was to deter the Persians from further hostilities.

The city-state of Sparta, however, doubted Athenian sincerity and formed their own association for protection against their enemies, the Peloponnesian League (so named for the Peloponnesus region where Sparta and the others were located). The city-states which sided with Sparta increasingly perceived Athens as a bully and a tyrant, while those cities which sided with Athens viewed Sparta and her allies with growing distrust.

The tension between these two parties eventually erupted in what has become known as the Peloponnesian Wars. The first conflict circa 460-445 B. Ended in a truce and continued prosperity for both parties while the second 431-404 B. Left Athens in ruins and Sparta, the victor, bankrupt after her protracted war with Thebes.

This time is generally referred to as the Late Classical Period circa 400-330 B. The power vacuum left by the fall of these two cities was filled by Philip II of Macedon 382-336 B. After his victory over the Athenian forces and their allies at the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 B. Philip united the Greek city states under Macedonian rule and, upon his assassination in 336 B. His son Alexander assumed the throne.

Alexander the Great 356-323 B. Carried on his father's plans for a full scale invasion of Persia in retaliation for their invasion of Greece in 480 B. As he had almost the whole of Greece under his command, a standing army of considerable size and strength, and a full treasury, Alexander did not need to bother with allies nor with consulting anyone regarding his plan for invasion and so led his army into Egypt, across Asia Minor, through Persia, and finally to India. Tutored in his youth by Platos great student Aristotle, Alexander would spread the ideals of Greek civilization through his conquests and, in so doing, transmitted Greek philosophy, culture, language, and art to every region he came in contact with. Alexander died and his vast empire was divided between four of his generals. This initiated what has come to be known to historians as the Hellenistic Age 323-31 B. During which Greek thought and culture became dominant in the various regions under these generals' influence.

After a series of struggles between the Diodachi (`the successors' as Alexander's generals came to be known) General Antigonus established the Antigonid Dynasty in Greece which he then lost. It was regained by his grandson, Antigonus II Gonatus, by 276 B. Who ruled the country from his palace at Macedon. The Roman Republic became increasingly involved in the affairs of Greece during this time and, in 168 B. Defeated Macedon at the Battle of Pydna.

After this date, Greece steadily came under the influence of Rome. The region was designated a Protectorate of Rome and Romans began to emulate Greek fashion, philosophy and, to a certain extent, sensibilities. Octavian Caesar annexed the country as a province of Rome following his victory over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium. Octavian became Augustus Caesar and Greece a part of the Roman Empire.

ANCIENT GREECE : The Greek Empire had its roots in the different communities which developed in the third millennium BC, almost 5,000 years ago, the Aegeans, Achaeans, and the Pelasgians. Crete became the center of the more advanced Aegean civilization, known as the Minoans. The Minoan culture dominated the region from about 2,500 BC through 1,600 BC.

The volcanic eruption of Thera about 1,600 B. Not only caused the destruction of the Minoan Empire, it might well have been responsible for a planetary scale of disruption which nearly cost mankind his existence. The ten-year Trojan war occurred, and was the subject of the epic poem by Homer, the hero, of course, being Odysseus. Greek settlements had transformed themselves into city-states.

The Olympic Games began in 776 B. In the next several centuries, artwork began to focus on human figures and mythology, and the first coins were soon minted. Greece flourished, and the areas of philosophy, art, and literature reached their zenith.

At the height of Greek classical art in the fifth century B. The Greek city states employed the finest engravers available to create coins of great artistic merit, as did the Romans who followed.

In the ancient Greek city-states, some dies were even signed by a master engraver. The deities of the Greek pantheon were depicted as ideally proportioned humans. The subject of countless movies, the Persian Wars began in 490 B.

C, and in 480 B. The Persians sacked and ruined Athens. The Peloponnesian Wars began between the Athenians and the Spartans. The greatest Greek military figure, Alexander The Great, in the late fourth century B. Conquered Egypt and the entire Persian Empire.

After Alexanders death his generals and successors founded the great Hellenistic empires. These successors introduced realistic portraits as a regular feature of their coinage. The true visages of world rulers were recorded for posterity. Many of these rulers of the ancient world are unknown to history except through their coin portraits. The decline of the Greek Empire began shortly after Alexanders death as the separate Greek kingdoms feuded and fought with one another, crippling the Greek Empire. The military forces of Greece fell to the Romans, and the Greek Empire was absorbed by the Romans. The Sumerians and the Egyptians had developed advanced metalworking techniques long before the Greeks, and so it is natural that the Greeks learned from them. However, as in other forms of art, Greek metalworking artisans borrowed some techniques from the Sumerians and Egyptians and quickly adapted them to their own aesthetic perceptions. Whereas for the Sumerian, Egyptian, and Oriental cultures semi-precious stones were structural elements of their jewelry, in Greece emphasis was placed on worked metal.

Gold and silver were the preferred metals (silver actually being much more rare and usually only found as a naturally occurring alloy with gold known as electrum). However besides gold and silver, other metals such as copper, lead and iron were used to fashion diadems, necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings of unrivalled artistry.

Ancient Greek jewelers created decorative and artistic themes that far outshone the commonplace repetitive designs of the artifacts of the East. In antiquity there were ample gold deposits around the Mediterranean, and active gold mines throughout Greece such as those of Siphnos, Thasos or Mount Pangaion.

And imported gold was also available to jewelers from Egypt, Spain, the Caucasus and elsewhere. Techniques of gold leaf, wire, hammering, and filigree produced beautiful products. Jewelry decoration depended on the characteristic traits of each period, techniques moving gradually from simple to complex. In Hellenistic times semi-precious stones began to be incorporated into the produce of Greek jewelers, and with the campaigns of Alexander the Great, Greek techniques and styles were disseminated throughout the Mediterranean, including North Africa, the Levant, and into Mesopotamia. AncientGifts ANCIENT HELLENIC GREECE : "The Hellenic World" is a term which refers to that period of ancient Greek history between 507 B.

(the date of the first democracy in Athens) and 323 B. (the death of Alexander the Great). This period is also referred to as the age of Classical Greece and should not be confused with The Hellenistic World which designates the period between the death of Alexander and Rome's conquest of Greece 323 - 146 - 31 B. The Hellenic World of ancient Greece consisted of the Greek mainland, Crete, the islands of the Greek archipelago, and the coast of Asia Minor primarily (though mention is made of cities within the interior of Asia Minor and, of course, the colonies in southern Italy). This is the time of the great Golden Age of Greece and, in the popular imagination, resonates as "ancient Greece".

The great law-giver, Solon, having served wisely as Archon of Athens for 22 years, retired from public life and saw the city, almost immediately, fall under the dictatorship of Peisistratus. Though a dictator, Peisistratus understood the wisdom of Solon, carried on his policies and, after his death, his son Hippias continued in this tradition (though still maintaining a dictatorship which favored the aristocracy).

After the assassination of his younger brother (inspired, according to Thucydides, by a love affair gone wrong and not, as later thought, politically motivated), however, Hippias became wary of the people of Athens, instituted a rule of terror, and was finally overthrown by the army under Kleomenes I of Sparta and Cleisthenes of Athens. Cleisthenes reformed the constitution of Athens and established democracy in the city in 507 B. He also followed Solon's lead but instituted new laws which decreased the power of the artistocracy, increased the prestige of the common people, and attempted to join the separate tribes of the mountan, the plain, and the shore into one unified people under a new form of government.

According to the historian Durant, The Athenians themselves were exhilarated by this adventure into sovereignty. From that moment they knew the zest of freedom in action, speech, and thought; and from that moment they began to lead all Greece in literature and art, even in statesmanship and war.

This foundation of democracy, of a free state comprised of men who "owned the soil that they tilled and who ruled the state that governed them", stabilized Athens and provided the groundwork for the Golden Age. The Golden Age of Greece, according to the poet Shelley, is undoubtedly... The most memorable in the history of the world. The list of thinkers, writers, doctors, artists, scientists, statesmen, and warriors of the Hellenic World comprises those who made some of the most important contributions to western civilization: The statesman Solon, the poets Pindar and Sappho, the playwrights Sophocles, Euripedes, Aeschylus and Aristophanes, the orator Lysias, the historians Herodotus and Thucydides, the philosophers Zeno of Elea, Protagoras of Abdera, Empedocles of Acragas, Heraclitus, Xenophanes, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, the writer and general Xenophon, the physician Hippocrates, the sculptor Phidias, the statesman Pericles, the generals Alcibiades and Themistocles, among many other notable names, all lived during this period. Interestingly, Herodotus considered his own age as lacking in many ways and looked back to a more ancient past for a paradigm of a true greatness.

The writer Hesiod, an 8th century B. Contemporary of Homer, claimed precisely the same thing about the age Herodotus looked back toward and called his own age "wicked, depraved and dissolute" and hoped the future would produce a better breed of man for Greece. Herodotus aside, however, it is generally understood that the Hellenic World was a time of incredible human achievement. Major city-states (and sacred places of pilgrimage) in the Hellenic World were Argos, Athens, Eleusis, Corinth, Delphi, Ithaca, Olympia, Sparta, Thebes, Thrace, and, of course, Mount Olympus, the home of the gods. The gods played an important part in the lives of the people of the Hellenic World; so much so that one could face the death penalty for questioning - or even allegedly questioning - their existence, as in the case of Protagoras, Socrates, and Alcibiades (the Athenian statesman Critias, sometimes referred to as `the first atheist', only escaped being condemned because he was so powerful at the time).

Great works of art and beautiful temples were created for the worship and praise of the various gods and goddesses of the Greeks, such as the Parthenon of Athens, dedicated to the goddess Athena Parthenos (Athena the Virgin) and the Temple of Zeus at Olympia (both works which Phidias contributed to and one, the Temple of Zeus, listed as an Ancient Wonder). The temple of Demeter at Eleusis was the site of the famous Eleusinian Mysteries, considered the most important rite in ancient Greece. In his works The Iliad and The Odyssey, immensely popular and influential in the Hellenic World, Homer depicted the gods and goddesses as being intimately involved in the lives of the people, and the deities were regularly consulted in domestic matters as well as affairs of state. The famous Oracle at Delphi was considered so important at the time that people from all over the known world would come to Greece to ask advice or favors from the god, and it was considered vital to consult with the supernatural forces before embarking on any military campaign. Among the famous battles of the Hellenic World that the gods were consulted on were the Battle of Marathon 490 B.

The Battles of Thermopylae and Salamis 480 B. And The Battle of Chaeronea 338 B. Where the forces of the Macedonian King Philip II commanded, in part, by his son Alexander, defeated the Greek forces and unified the Greek city-states. After Philip's death, Alexander would go on to conquer the world of his day, becoming Alexander the Great.

Through his campaigns he would bring Greek culture, language, and civilization to to the world and, after his death, would leave the legacy which came to be known as the Hellenistic World. However this book is quite heavy, and it is too large to fit into a flat rate mailer. We package as well as anyone in the business, with lots of protective padding and containers.

Please ask for a rate quotation. ABOUT US : Prior to our retirement we used to travel to Europe and Central Asia several times a year. Most of the items we offer came from acquisitions we made in Eastern Europe, India, and from the Levant (Eastern Mediterranean/Near East) during these years from various institutions and dealers.

Petersburg, as well as some other worthy institutions in Europe and Asia connected with Anthropology and Archaeology. Though we have a collection of ancient coins numbering in the tens of thousands, our primary interests are ancient jewelry and gemstones. Prior to our retirement we traveled to Russia every year seeking antique gemstones and jewelry from one of the globes most prolific gemstone producing and cutting centers, the area between Chelyabinsk and Yekaterinburg, Russia.

From all corners of Siberia, as well as from India, Ceylon, Burma and Siam, gemstones have for centuries gone to Yekaterinburg where they have been cut and incorporated into the fabulous jewelry for which the Czars and the royal families of Europe were famous for. My wife grew up and received a university education in the Southern Urals of Russia, just a few hours away from the mountains of Siberia, where alexandrite, diamond, emerald, sapphire, chrysoberyl, topaz, demantoid garnet, and many other rare and precious gemstones are produced. Though perhaps difficult to find in the USA, antique gemstones are commonly unmounted from old, broken settings the gold reused the gemstones recut and reset. Before these gorgeous antique gemstones are recut, we try to acquire the best of them in their original, antique, hand-finished state most of them centuries old. We believe that the work created by these long-gone master artisans is worth protecting and preserving rather than destroying this heritage of antique gemstones by recutting the original work out of existence. That by preserving their work, in a sense, we are preserving their lives and the legacy they left for modern times.

Far better to appreciate their craft than to destroy it with modern cutting. Not everyone agrees fully 95% or more of the antique gemstones which come into these marketplaces are recut, and the heritage of the past lost. The item "Finger Rings Intaglio Gems Greek Bronze Age Crete Mycenae Persia Roman Classical" is in sale since Wednesday, March 7, 2018. This item is in the category "Antiques\Antiquities\Roman".

The seller is "ancientgifts" and is located in Lummi Island, Washington. This item can be shipped worldwide.


Finger Rings Intaglio Gems Greek Bronze Age Crete Mycenae Persia Roman Classical


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