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Let's not Forget the Tomb of "The Griffin Warrior"


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In 2015 archaeologists from the University of Cincinnati unearthed the Bronze Age tomb of a Mycenaean warrior, later named the "Griffin Warrior". The tomb yielded a host of jaw dropping treasures¬†ūüėģ. The most important treasure that came from the tomb was the "Pylos Combat Agate", a 3,500 year old masterpiece of glyptic art measuring 1.4 in. long¬†ūü§©. The intaglio agate depicts a fierce hand-to-hand battle of three warriors going at it¬†ūüė¨. They have been engraved with an anatomical¬†accuracy unmatched by anything since. Many art historians consider it the finest engraved gem in the world.

31SCI-WARRIOR1-superJumbo.jpg.4420463c7556b52ba172ccff8d75ecbe.jpg

The line drawing below helps to visualize the incredible detail on this gem.329395254_SketchofPylosCombatAgate.jpg.bae192cc0b32afcd087559da5319385e.jpg

2DD6BBD000000578-3291134-image-a-1_1445949544736.jpg.e638cad1c08a61f3172d38e58adc88c7.jpg

Two more objects from the tomb are pictured below, a carved carnelian intaglio & the warrior's personal gold signet ring with a griffin.59082020_2objectsfromthetomb.jpg.c62e9d0a22ae3dc0e340b6df0346c239.jpg

Pictured below is an artist's interpretation of what the Griffin Warrior may have looked like.396503F700000578-3839092-The_team_reconstructed_the_Griffin_Warrior_s_face_pictured_by_la-m-9_1476484135292.jpg.50f80b1ef4688a1d02a02f928ba40bea.jpg

If members of¬†NVMIS FORVMS¬†have ancient engraved gems in their collections please post them, or anything else that seems relevant¬†‚ėļÔłŹ.

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Awesome. Imagine if there is an ancient coin lying undiscovered somewhere with a design like that on it. Would send the numismatic world wild.

I don't have any gems. But this coin from Thourium in Lucania in Italy has a small griffin on the neck guard of Athena's helmet. Although this coin is about 1100 years younger than the "Griffin Warrior"!

839659969_ThouriumDinomos.png.d514a6d06f4f3028387e8ea6bee53222.png

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3 hours ago, Di Nomos said:

Awesome. Imagine if there is an ancient coin lying undiscovered somewhere with a design like that on it. Would send the numismatic world wild.

I don't have any gems. But this coin from Thourium in Lucania in Italy has a small griffin on the neck guard of Athena's helmet. Although this coin is about 1100 years younger than the "Griffin Warrior"!

839659969_ThouriumDinomos.png.d514a6d06f4f3028387e8ea6bee53222.png

D.N., That's a stunning coin with exquisite die engraving on both sides, a numismatic gem¬†‚ėļÔłŹ!

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Griffin on NewStyle, just prior to a visit by Lucius cornelius Sulla to Athens and Piraeus . The lead magistrate is Apellikon. A person who had been an Athenian diplomat  at the Pontic court  and wandered round as a peripatetic philosopher visiting libraries  and STEALING books!  He came from Teos the badge of the city is...a GRIFFIN  This is a damn good griffin!   

GRIFIN.jpg

cc93070 Attica Athens new Style Tetradrachm_Moment.jpg

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2 hours ago, NewStyleKing said:

Griffin on NewStyle, just prior to a visit by Lucius cornelius Sulla to Athens and Piraeus . The lead magistrate is Apellikon. A person who had been an Athenian diplomat  at the Pontic court  and wandered round as a peripatetic philosopher visiting libraries  and STEALING books!  He came from Teos the badge of the city is...a GRIFFIN  This is a damn good griffin!   

GRIFIN.jpg

cc93070 Attica Athens new Style Tetradrachm_Moment.jpg

N.S.F., Excellent example with historical follow-up¬†‚ėļÔłŹ.

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The Palace of Nestor is an amazing archaeological site.  I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that my coins from Pylos are 1700 years after the Griffin Warrior.

 

PylosTerm.jpg.a7be5251a830f294a50f817a96b00e30.jpg

Peloponnesus. Pylos, Messenia. Caracalla. AD 198-217. Æ Assarion 22mm.

Obv: Laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right.

Rev: PYL[IWN] Terminal figure veiled and closely draped, holds in r. end of garment.

 

 

 

Pylus.jpg.ebefed2a34984022102636e09e26cef0.jpg

Peloponnesus. Pylos, Messenia. Caracalla. AD 198-217. Æ Assarion 22mm.

Obv: Laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right.

Rev: Athena standing left, holding phiale and spear.

BCD Peloponnesus 819

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3 hours ago, AncientOne said:

The Palace of Nestor is an amazing archaeological site.  I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that my coins from Pylos are 1700 years after the Griffin Warrior.

 

PylosTerm.jpg.a7be5251a830f294a50f817a96b00e30.jpg

Peloponnesus. Pylos, Messenia. Caracalla. AD 198-217. Æ Assarion 22mm.

Obv: Laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right.

Rev: PYL[IWN] Terminal figure veiled and closely draped, holds in r. end of garment.

 

 

 

Pylus.jpg.ebefed2a34984022102636e09e26cef0.jpg

Peloponnesus. Pylos, Messenia. Caracalla. AD 198-217. Æ Assarion 22mm.

Obv: Laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right.

Rev: Athena standing left, holding phiale and spear.

BCD Peloponnesus 819

A.O., Those are the first coins I've seen from Pylos, thanks for posting¬†‚ėļÔłŹ!

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On 7/15/2022 at 10:42 AM, Al Kowsky said:

In 2015 archaeologists from the University of Cincinnati unearthed the Bronze Age tomb of a Mycenaean warrior, later named the "Griffin Warrior". The tomb yielded a host of jaw dropping treasures¬†ūüėģ. The most important treasure that came from the tomb was the "Pylos Combat Agate", a 3,500 year old masterpiece of glyptic art measuring 1.4 in. long¬†ūü§©. The intaglio agate depicts a fierce hand-to-hand battle of three warriors going at it¬†ūüė¨. They have been engraved with an anatomical¬†accuracy unmatched by anything since. Many art historians consider it the finest engraved gem in the world.

31SCI-WARRIOR1-superJumbo.jpg.4420463c7556b52ba172ccff8d75ecbe.jpg

The line drawing below helps to visualize the incredible detail on this gem.329395254_SketchofPylosCombatAgate.jpg.bae192cc0b32afcd087559da5319385e.jpg

2DD6BBD000000578-3291134-image-a-1_1445949544736.jpg.e638cad1c08a61f3172d38e58adc88c7.jpg

Two more objects from the tomb are pictured below, a carved carnelian intaglio & the warrior's personal gold signet ring with a griffin.59082020_2objectsfromthetomb.jpg.c62e9d0a22ae3dc0e340b6df0346c239.jpg

Pictured below is an artist's interpretation of what the Griffin Warrior may have looked like.396503F700000578-3839092-The_team_reconstructed_the_Griffin_Warrior_s_face_pictured_by_la-m-9_1476484135292.jpg.50f80b1ef4688a1d02a02f928ba40bea.jpg

If members of¬†NVMIS FORVMS¬†have ancient engraved gems in their collections please post them, or anything else that seems relevant¬†‚ėļÔłŹ.

@Al Kowsky, seeing a news story about this magnificent artifact a while back stronly confirmed a belief I had already formed from ancient coins: I have no doubt whatsoever that ancient engravers had methods of magnification available to them, obviously from very early times. Whether they used water or crystal, there had to be something. Because nobody's vision is THAT good.  The idea that the magnifying glass was invented by Roger Bacon in medieval Europe ignores what anyone should easily be able to see!

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9 hours ago, DonnaML said:

@Al Kowsky, seeing a news story about this magnificent artifact a while back stronly confirmed a belief I had already formed from ancient coins: I have no doubt whatsoever that ancient engravers had methods of magnification available to them, obviously from very early times. Whether they used water or crystal, there had to be something. Because nobody's vision is THAT good.  The idea that the magnifying glass was invented by Roger Bacon in medieval Europe ignores what anyone should easily be able to see!

Donna, You raise a good point, it doesn't seem humanly possible that a naked eye could engrave a hardstone of such a small size using a foot-treadle¬†lathe without the use of magnification, however, I think it is possible. The finest European & American glass engravers performed similar feats of awe on antique glassware¬†ūüėČ. They used foot-treadle lathes with tiny copper wheel tools that had an abrasive solution dripping on the object during the cutting process. With the abrasive solution dripping on the object they were actually unable to see what they were cutting¬†ūüė≤! The object pictured below is an example of mid 19th century copper wheel engraving from America. It's a little over 4 in. tall & was engraved with amazing precision, however, I've seen European examples that make this object look amateurish.¬†

1988380565_Americanwinegobletcirca1850-1865.JPG.1ba6d3bc43117b3c9c2fbf7e7346e34f.JPG100_1940.JPG.7ebe7054507f261b649f2cd75ed0eed3.JPG

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3 hours ago, Al Kowsky said:

¬†foot-treadle lathes with tiny copper wheel tools that had an abrasive solution dripping on the object during the cutting process. With the abrasive solution dripping on the object they were actually unable to see what they were cutting¬†ūüė≤!

I don't think they had that tool 3,500 years ago! Occam's Razor suggests to me that some sort of magnification would have been far simpler and is far more likely.  Especially given that there is evidence for the use of magnifying lenses in the ancient world. See the attached article.

The_Use_of_Magnifying_Lenses_in_the_Clas.pdf

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Do we know if a pantograph was used? According to Wikipedia, it was already known in ancient times, and modern versions are still used today for the production of coin dies.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantograph

 

https://www.royalmintmuseum.org.uk/siteassets/learning/learning-zone/activity-sheets/royal-mint-museum-make-your-own-pantograph-12-final.pdf

 

 

 

 

Edited by shanxi
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41 minutes ago, DonnaML said:

I don't think they had that tool 3,500 years ago! Occam's Razor suggests to me that some sort of magnification would have been far simpler and is far more likely.  Especially given that there is evidence for the use of magnifying lenses in the ancient world. See the attached article.

The_Use_of_Magnifying_Lenses_in_the_Clas.pdf 614.79 kB · 3 downloads

That was a very interesting essay¬†‚ėļÔłŹ, but the author ended it ambiguously, in light of no surviving ancient records to prove that optical lenses were used for magnification¬†ūüėē.

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3 hours ago, Al Kowsky said:

That was a very interesting essay¬†‚ėļÔłŹ, but the author ended it ambiguously, in light of no surviving ancient records to prove that optical lenses were used for magnification¬†ūüėē.

Perhaps there's no definitive proof, but there's none for any other explanation either. And there's a lot of evidence cited in the article that people were familiar with the magnifying properties of water, crystals, etc.  Given that that the ancients were every bit as smart as we are, it's only logical to think that they would have made the obvious practical use of such knowledge.  Especially given the absence of any reasonable alternative explanation. The fact that no ancient records expressly refer to the practice is hardly probative, given the accepted fact that the vast majority of ancient writings have been lost. I was recently reading that the substantial majority of plays performed as recently as the Elizabethan Age have not survived.  The same is true of medieval romances and other literature Just think how much higher the percentage of lost writings -- of every kind -- must be from the ancient world.  

Edited by DonnaML
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  • 4 weeks later...

Regarding the technology involved, I'm only more emphatically on @DonnaML's page the more I think about it.  Donna, from here, your explication of the innate limitations of what we know, both historiographically and archeologically --along with, Thank you, Occam's Razor, and your resonantly salutary reminder that these people were exactly no dumber than us (hardly)-- is as cogent as it was concise.  

Granted, as per what Donna said, the known accomplishments in engineering, back to the Pyramids, leave one in awe of what these people were capable of, in the absence of the technology we have.  ...Not to mention that, even in Europe, as of a mere century or so before Roger Bacon, you get Amazingly fine work, especially in extant manuscripts. 

There's that much we don't know.  As Donna eloquently implied, this is when you can get to a clear distinction between informed, commensurately responsible speculation, and the other kind.

Edited by JeandAcre
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