The metalwork of the Lower Danube : 5th century B.C. - 4th century A.D.
The original objective of this thesis was to produce
a survey of the metalwork recovered from the Lower
Danubian region in the Late Antique and Migratory periods.
The problem appeared to be largely one of developing a
new organization for existing material which was not
readily available to Western scholars. Secondarily the
study proposed to analyse these forms in order to determine
their function and to evaluate symbolic content and -
where possible - the technical achievement which they
It soon became evident that there was simply not
enough range in the available material to satisfy these
objectives. Therefore the period covered was shifted
back to classical times and material from adjacent regions
was included in order to establish a sound basis for
comparison. No attempt was made to prove the evolution
of Thraco-Getic or Dacian art from earlier material. Some
of the examples illustrated have been cited repeatedly
by scholars as relevant for one reason or another. They
have become virtually a part of the literature especially
associated with Thraco-Getic art, and yet have brought us
no closer to appreciating the evolution of this art.
While the present state of knowledge of the Thraco-Getic
and Dacian culture does not allow more than speculation as
to the specific symbolic content of these forms, this
symbolism was reflected in similar forms and images in the established art of contemporary cultures.
Looking at similar or related metalwork over a
substantially enlarged region and extended period proved
to be fruitful in several ways. The individual character
of Thraco-Getic and Dacian metalwork was clearly revealed
by comparison with the metalwork of their contemporaries -
the Greeks, Persians, Scythians and Colts. Further,
through such comparisons the forms themselves became
comprehensible as examples taken from large families or
categories of forms already ancient by the classical
period. Consequently an attempt was made to explain the
longevity of these categories of metalwork and the
continuity demonstrated in both the forms and their
Tho originality of this study rents mainly on two
factors: the detailed analysis of Thraco-Getic and
Dacian metalwork and the interpretation of its technical
achievement through analysis of its material structure.
The study has perhaps been successful in advancing to
some degree current knowledge of Thraco-Getic and Dacian
metalwork. It is largely due to the fact that this
material is not widely recognised as a link between East
and West that care was taken to include early on in the
text background information about the cultures and peoples
whose influence is clearly recorded in these artefacts.
Material relevant to metalwork in general which was
discovered during this study and is germane to the forms themselves is presented in Chapters I and II, and again
as essential introductory material. A general description
of each category of form precedes the detailed
analysis of specific pieces. Thus the study moves from
the general to the particular even though this is the
inverse order by which the research was conducted. The
reason for this is precisely the lack of a major study
surveying the entire field.