Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία

Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία
Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία

Πέμπτη, 29 Δεκεμβρίου 2016

Seuthopolis : The ancient capital of Thrace and hellenistic center of Thracian religion

Seuthes III (Σεύθης) was a ruler of the Odrysian kingdom of Thrace from c. 331 BC to c. 300 BC. After the campaigns of Philip II in 347–342 significant part of Thrace had been dependent to Macedon. After Philip's death in 336 BC, many of the Thracian tribes revolted against Philip's son Alexander III the Great, who waged a campaign against and defeated the Getae and King Syrmus of the Triballi. All other Thracians sent troops to join Alexander's army. Seuthes revolted against the Macedon about 325 BC, after Alexander's governor Zopyrion was killed in battle against the Getae. After Alexander died in 323 BC he again took up arms in opposition to the new macedonian governor Lysimachus. They fought each other to a draw and each withdrew from battle. Ultimately Seuthes was compelled to acknowledge the authority of general Lysimachus , by then one of Alexander's successor kings.
In 320 BC, Seuthes III moved the Odrysian kingdom to central Thrace and built his capital city at Seuthopolis (Kazanlak), present day Bulgaria. In 313 BC he supported the Macedonian general Antigonus I in the latter's civil war against macedonian general Lysimachus, occupying the passes of Mount Haemus against his overlord but was again defeated and forced to submit. The Tomb of the Thracian King Seuthes III is situated in Bulgaria in the Golyamata Kosmatka mound, at a distance of 1 km south from the town of Shipka north from the town of Kazanlak (Bulgaria). It was discovered in 2004 by the Bulgarian archeologist Georgi Kitov. The Tomb was built in the second half of fifth century BC. Items found inside included the golden crown of the ruler, a golden kylix (shallow wine cup), knee pads and a helmet, and applications for horse tackle, all exhibited in the historical museum of the town of Kazanlak. Remarkable is the bronze head of the statue of Sevt III buried ritually in front of the façade, which is quite detailed. It is an important evidence of the Thracian Orphic rituals. The tomb temple consists of a corridor, an anteroom, a round chamber with high tholos cover, and a rectangular chamber, constructed as a sarcophagus from two monolith blocks, one weighing more than 60 tons. The three halls are built of rectangular stone blocks and are covered with slabs. A two-winged marble door closes the entrance to the round chamber. The upper plains of the wings are decorated with images of the god Dionysus, who in the east part embodies the sun and in the west the earth and night. The ritual couch and the ritual chamber are placed in the rectangular chamber. They were covered with fabric made of a golden thread, after that a splendid funeral of the ruler was performed. Above the phial, the jug, and the helmet was inscribed the name of Seuthes, which proves that in the beginning of third century BC here was buried Sevt III, the famous Thracian ruler of the Odrysian kingdom. The capital of his kingdom, called Seuthopolis, is situated at about ten kilometers southwest from the tomb, on the bottom of Koprinka dam. The head of the statue of Seuthes is buried in the tomb, and it was placed on a pedestal in the capital Seuthopolis. The personal belongings and the gifts, needed for the afterlife of the ruler are carefully placed in the chamber. After the burial the entrance of the round chamber and the anteroom were blocked, the horse of the ruler was sacrificed, and the corridor was ritually set on fire. The tomb is a part of the Valley of the Thracian Kings, which also includes the Kazanlak tomb (recognised as part of the UNESCO world heritage), as well as the tombs and the temples found in the mounds Goliama Arsenalka, Shushmanets, Helvetsia, Grifoni, Svetitsa, and Ostrusha. Seuthopolis (Σευθόπολις) was an ancient hellenistic type city founded by the Thracian king Seuthes III, and the capital of the Odrysian kingdom. The city was founded sometime from 325 BC to 315 BC. It was a city, built on the site of an earlier settlement, and its ruins are now located at the bottom of the Koprinka Reservoir near Kazanlak, Stara Zagora Province, in central Bulgaria. Seuthopolis was not a true polis, but rather the seat of Seuthes and his court. His palace had a dual role, functioning also as a sanctuary of the Cabeiri, the gods of Samothra. The Cabeiri, Cabiri or Kabiri (Κάβειροι) were a group of enigmatic chthonic deities. They were worshiped in a mystery cult closely associated with that of Hephaestus, centered in the north Aegean islands of Lemnos and Samothrace at the Samothrace temple complex and at Thebes. In their distant origins the Cabeiri and the Samothracian gods may include prehistoric Pelasgian elements, or other non southern greek elements, such as Hittite, Thracian, proto-Etruscan or Phrygian. The Lemnian cult was always local to Lemnos, but the Samothracian mystery cult spread rapidly throughout the Greek world during the Hellenistic period, eventually initiating Romans. The Cabeiri were also worshipped at other sites in the vicinity, including Seuthopolis in Thrace and various sites in Asia Minor. According to Strabo, Cabeiri are most honored in Imbros and Lemnos but also in other cities too. They were most commonly depicted as two people: an old man, Axiocersus, and his son, Cadmilus. Due to the cult's secrecy, however, their exact nature and relationship with other ancient Greek and Thracian religious figures remained mysterious. As a result, the membership and roles of the Cabeiri changed significantly over time, with common variants including a female pair (Axierus and Axiocersa) and twin youths (frequently confused with Castor and Pollux) who were also worshiped as protectors of sailors. In myth, the Cabeiri bear many similarities to other fabulous races, such as the Telchines of Rhodes, the Cyclopes, the Dactyls, the Korybantes, and the Kuretes. These different groups were often confused or identified with one another since many of them, like the Cyclopes and Telchines, were also associated with metallurgy. Diodorus Siculus said of the Cabeiri that they were Idaioi dactyloi ("Idaian Dactyls"). The Idaian Dactyls were a race of divine beings associated with the Mother Goddess and with Mount Ida, a mountain in Phrygia sacred to the goddess. Hesychius of Alexandria wrote that the Cabeiri were karkinoi ("Καβούρια"). The Cabeiri as Karkinoi were apparently thought of as amphibious beings (again recalling the Telchines). They had pincers instead of hands, which they used as tongs (karkina) in metalworking. It has been suggested by Comyns Beaumont that the Orphic mysteries may have had their origins with the Cabeiri. Most of the space within the city of Seuthopolis was occupied not by homes but by official structures, the majority of the people living outside the city. It had local Thracian and southern Greek populace. In 281 BC it was sacked by Celts. The dual role of Seuthes' palace (royal court and sanctuary) indicates that Seuthes was a priest king: the high priest of the Cabeiri among the Odrysian Thracians. According to Seuthopolis’ sign, sanctuary of Dionysius/Sabazios was situated on the square.
Sabazios (Σαβάζιος) is the nomadic horseman and sky father god of the Phrygians and Thracians. In Indo-European languages, such as Phrygian, the -zios element in his name derives from dyeus, the common precursor of Latin deus ('god') and Greek Zeus. Though the Greeks interpreted Phrygian Sabazios as both Zeus and Dionysus, representations of him, even into Roman times, show him always on horseback, as a nomadic horseman god, wielding his characteristic staff of power. It seems likely that the migrating Phrygians brought Sabazios with them when they settled in Anatolia in the early first millennium BCE, and that the god's origins are to be looked for in Macedonia and Thrace. The recently discovered ancient sanctuary of Perperikon in modern-day Bulgaria is believed to be that of Sabazios. The Macedonians were also noted horsemen, horse-breeders and horse-worshippers up to the time of Philip II, whose name signifies "lover of horses". Possible early conflict between Sabazios and his followers and the indigenous mother goddess of Phrygia (Cybele) may be reflected in Homer's brief reference to the youthful feats of Priam, who aided the Phrygians in their battles with Amazons.
An aspect of the compromise religious settlement, similar to the other such mythic adjustments throughout Aegean culture, can be read in the Phrygian King Gordias' adoption "with Cybele" of Midas.  One of the native religion's creatures was the Lunar Bull. Sabazios' relations with the goddess may be surmised in the way that his horse places a hoof on the head of the bull, in a Roman marble relief at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Though Roman in date, the iconic image appears to be much earlier. More "rider god" steles are at the Burdur Museum, in Turkey. Under the Roman Emperor Gordian III the god on horseback appears on coins minted at Tlos, in neighboring Lycia, and at Istrus, in the province of Lower Moesia, between Thrace and the Danube. It is generally thought that the young emperor's grandfather came from an Anatolian family, because of his unusual cognomen, Gordianus.
The iconic image of the god or hero on horseback battling the chthonic serpent, on which his horse tramples, appears on Celtic votive columns, and with the coming of Christianity it was easily transformed into the image of Saint George and the Dragon, whose earliest known depictions are from tenth- and eleventh-century Cappadocia and eleventh-century Georgia and Armenia. Among Roman inscriptions from Nicopolis ad Istrum, Sabazios is generally equated with Jove and mentioned alongside Mercury. Similarly in Hellenistic monuments, Sabazios is either explicitly (via inscriptions) or implicitly (via iconography) associated with Zeus. On a marble slab from Philippopolis, Sabazios is depicted as a curly-haired and bearded central deity among several gods and goddesses. Under his left foot is a ram's head, and he holds in his left hand a sceptre tipped with a hand in the benedictio latina gesture. Sabazios is accompanied by busts on his right depicting Luna, Pan, and Mercury, and on his left by Sol, Fortuna, and Daphne. According to Macrobius, Liber and Helios were worshipped among the Thracians as Sabazios; this description fits other Classical accounts that identify Sabazios with Dionysos. Sabazios is also associated with a number of archeological finds depicting a bronze, right hand in the benedictio latina gesture. The hand appears to have had ritual significance and may have been affixed to a sceptre (as the one carried by Sabazios on the Philippopolis slab). Although there are many variations, the hand of Sabazios is typically depicted with a pinecone on the thumb and with a serpent or pair of serpents encircling the wrist and surmounting the bent ring and pinky fingers. Additional symbols occasionally included on the hands of Sabazios include a lightning bolt over the index and middle fingers, a turtle and lizard on the back of the hand, an eagle, a ram, a leafless branch, the thyrsos, and the Mounted Heros.
The cemetery of Seuthopolis included a number of brick tholos tombs, some covered by tumuli, in which the upper-class were interred, sometimes along with their horses. The less affluent were cremated, with modest grave goods laid alongside. The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites say that was Thracian city near the village of Koprinka. It was founded at the end of the 4th c. B.C. by Seuthes III. The large quantity of material discovered during the excavation has shown that Seuthopolis was not only a center of production, but also of commerce. The city rises on a terrace circumscribed on three sides by the Tundza and by one of its tributaries. It was a fortified city of ca. 5 ha with a pentagonal circuit wall 2 m thick and 890 m in perimeter, with a quadrangular tower at each angle. At the N, between two towers, is the principal gate; and at the south are two gates between bastions. The wall is constructed of clay bricks and wood on stone foundations. The city's orthogonal plan is regular, with two large arteries that lead from the gates to the center. The agora is in the NW sector. In the NE zone is a walled and towered trapezoidal area within which is enclosed the palace of the prince and the Sanctuary of the Great Gods of Samothrace. In the houses, which are built with rooms around a court, has been found a type of plaster. Elements of porticos have been found and upper galleries of wood. The houses were furnished with wells and drainage systems with a channel in the center of the street. The influence of Hippodamos is evident, though the democratic distribution of living quarters is lacking. Seuthes III built his city on the site of an earlier settlement, and he also followed the Hellenistic fashion of the Diadochi in giving it his own name. Greek influence is prevalent in the urban elements cited and in decoration such as antefixes, stucco, and incrustation, and in the use of the Doric capital. The ruins of the city were discovered and excavated in 1948 by Bulgarian archeologists during the construction of the Georgi Dimitrov (later renamed Koprinka) Reservoir. However, it was decided to continue with the construction and flood the dam, leaving Seuthopolis at its bottom. In 2005, Bulgarian architect Zheko Tilev proposed a project to uncover, preserve and reconstruct the city of Seuthopolis (the best preserved Thracian city in Bulgaria) by means of a dam wall surrounding the ruins in the middle of the dam, enabling the site's inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and making it a tourist destination of world importance. Tourists would be transported to the site by boats. The round wall, 420 metres in diameter, would enable visitors to see the city from 20 metres above and would also feature "hanging gardens", glass lifts, a quay, restaurants, cafés, shops, ateliers, etc. It would be illuminated at night. The project was donated by the architect to Kazanlak municipality and funds are being raised to begin construction. According to Tilev, it would cost minimum €50 million. Sevtopolis Peak on Greenwich Island in the South Shetland. Islands, Antarctica is named for Seuthopolis.

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