Achaemenid Gold Armlet

Achaemenid Gold Armlet


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Gold Armlet

A lustrous armlet made of gold which raises the MP of the wearer. Many believe that this accessory should be used by mages who need a lot of magical power to use their spells, but this is not always the case as some warriors require a lot of MP to perform their special abilities as well. For this reason, many warriors of different jobs want to get their hands on the gold armlet, but the rarity of the materials required to produce this accessory prevent it from being mass produced.

Gold Armlet ( 金の腕輪 , Kin no Udewa ? ) , also known as Gold Bracer, is a recurring armor and accessory in the series.


In Search of One of the World’s Oldest Religions

Plaque with a Priest from the Oxus Treasure, 500–330 B.C., Achaemenid. Gold, 5 7/8 x 2 15/16 in. The British Museum. Image courtesy of and © The Trustees of the British Museum (2013). All rights reserved

In a gallery at the Getty Villa stands a small gold plaque made some 2,500 years ago. We confront a mysterious man in profile, a hood tightly affixed to his head, a dagger short sword at his side, a large bundle of sticks held with outstretched arm. Who is he?

To Dr. John Curtis, Keeper of Special Middle East Projects at the British Museum, the answer is clear: a priest of the Zoroastrian religion. Sometimes called the official religion of ancient Persia, Zoroastrianism is one of the world’s oldest surviving religions, with teachings older than Buddhism, older than Judaism, and far older than Christianity or Islam.

Zoroastrianism is thought to have arisen “in the late second millennium B.C.E. amidst semi-nomadic pastoralists in the Central Asian steppelands,” according to Dr. Jenny Rose, a scholar of the religion. Its name comes from Zarathushtra, to whom the earliest texts of the religion (the Gathas, or “songs” of praise to Ahura Mazda) are ascribed. He was known to the Greeks as Zoroaster, hence the name we know today.

In Zoroastrian thought, good and evil are strictly divided. The deity Ahura Mazda (the “wise lord”) establishes everything good, whereas Angra Mainyu (the “destructive spirit”) is the source of everything evil, bringing chaos to the orderly world. The chaos and confusion of evil are spoken of as “the lie,” in contrast to the order, right, and truth of Ahura Mazda.

So how do we know that the golden priest represents the Zoroastrian tradition? He’s “holding a barsom, a bundle of sticks or grasses that were gathered up after ancient religious ceremonies or sometimes sacrifices,” said Dr. Curtis, “and the barsom
is a symbol of the Zoroastrian religion.”

Glipses of the ancient past: Plaque with a Priest from the Oxus Treasure, 500–330 B.C., Achaemenid. Gold, 5 7/8 x 2 15/16 in. The British Museum. Image courtesy of and © The Trustees of the British Museum (2013). All rights reserved

The short sword also offers a clue. “Some people say he can’t be a priest because of this,” Dr. Curtis told me, “but in fact, it’s an obligation of modern Zoroastrian priests to defend the fire,” the most sacred symbol of the religion. “So it’s not inconceivable that a Zoroastrian priest should have been equipped with a sword.”

Two other objects in the exhibition The Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia also point to the presence of Zoroastrianism, or at least its historical precursor, among the Ancient Persians. One is the kingly seal of Darius I, Cyrus the Great’s successor. We see the king hunting lions amidst a palm grove, while above him hovers a figure emerging from a winged disc, which represents the divine fortune that Ahura Mazda bestows upon the ruler.

The Darius Seal (with impression), 522� B.C., Achaemenid. Chalcedony, 1 7/16 x 11/16 in. The British Museum. Image courtesy of and © The Trustees of the British Museum (2013). All rights reserved

Detail of an impression of the Darius Cylinder showing the winged symbol of divine fortune bestowed by Ahura Mazda (center), the chief Zoroastrian deity

The other is a stunning gold armlet bearing griffins, mythological creatures that here combine features of a goat, a lion, and a bird of prey. It is also possible that these beaked creatures are not griffins at all, but the varegna bird, one of the incarnations of the Zoroastrian deity Verethragna.

Dr. Rose suggests that the words of the Cyrus Cylinder may reflect a worldview similar to that of the Zoroastrian texts. The Cylinder conveys that Cyrus “brings ‘good religion,’ as opposed to the ‘bad religion’ that preceded him in the actions of Nabonidus,” the last of the Babylonian kings. “This split between good religion and bad religion, between good and ‘the lie,’ is an Avestan notion,” she said, referring to the earliest sacred texts of the Zoroastrian tradition. “I see that dichotomy reflected in the words of the Cyrus Cylinder.”

Armlet with Griffins, 500–330 B.C., Achaemenid. Gold, 4 13/16 x 4 9/16 in. The British Museum. Image courtesy of and © The Trustees of the British Museum (2013). All rights reserved

Today Zoroastrianism is practiced by about 130,000 adherents worldwide, with sizable communities in Iran, India, North America, the United Kingdom, and Australasia. The tour of the Cyrus Cylinder across the United States, which comes to a close at the Getty Villa on December 8, has presented an opportunity for many local Zoroastrians to see objects from their early heritage, as well as for visitors of other faiths to be introduced to this millennia-old religion and to consider its role in one of the world’s great ancient cultures.


Unique Works

Although every piece of art in the treasury is quite remarkable, some of them are truly magnificent.

Griffin Armlets. Source

Griffin Armlets

The Griffin Armlets, still resonant even in semi-ruin, are similarly stunning. The armlets used to feature gem and colorful stone inlays that have now fallen out and been lost. Armlets and other pieces of the Oxus Treasure – likely to be Scythian in origin.

Scabbard

The scabbard is sometimes referred to as a “dagger scabbard,” however this term confuses the Persian short sword (the akinakes) with a dagger. The scabbard is decorated with a lion-hunting scenario and is similar to one found in the Persepolis reliefs, where Darius I’s (r. 522-486 BCE) armor-bearer is wearing one.

The Oxus Treasure-Scabbard

Golden Fish

The golden fish is 9.5 inches (24.2 centimeters) long and weighs 370 grams. It’s hollow, with an open mouth and a loop through which it might be hanged. The item was assumed to have carried oil or perfume. The fish has been recognized as a carp on several occasions, however, in 2016 CE, writer and fishing enthusiast Adrian Burton recognized the item as a Turkestan barbel, a fish unique to the Oxus River and a more clearer model for the golden fish than the carp.

Golden Fish

How did the treasure go to the British museum?

In 1879 CE, a Russian Major-General N. A. Mayev reported excavating a location near the historic fort of Takht-i Kuwad near the Oxus and spoke with local residents who informed him that wealth had been discovered there in the past, including a giant golden tiger, which had all been sold to “Indian traders”. A heist of considerable quantities of gold from Indian merchants in Kabul, Afghanistan, was reported in the Lahore Civil and Military Gazette on June 24, 1880 CE.

Captain Francis Charles Burton, a British officer stationed in the area, followed the thieves and recovered the majority of the wealth, returning it to the merchants, who sold him one of the collection’s armlets this brought the discovery to the attention of British officials, particularly Sir Alexander Cunningham (l. 1814-1893 CE), who had been appointed archaeological surveyor of India and had extensive historical and archaeological knowledge of the region.

Cunningham acquired a few items from the merchants, and most or all of the remainder was acquired by British antiquarian Sir A. W. Franks (l. 1826-1897 CE). Franks subsequently bought Cunningham’s works and left his collection to the British Museum, where he worked as an administrator.


Armlet

This gold bracelet is part of the Oxus treasure, the most important collection of gold and silver to have survived from the Achaemenid period. Apart from this bracelet, the remainder of the treasure belongs to the British Museum.

The bracelets are similar to objects being brought as tribute on reliefs at the Persian centre of Persepolis. The Greek writer Xenophon (born around 430 BC) tells us that armlets were among the items considered as gifts of honour at the Persian court. The hollow spaces would have contained inlays of glass or semi-precious stones. The bracelets are typical of the Achaemenid Persian court style of the fifth to fourth century BC.

This object was bought by Captain F.C. Burton when he rescued a group of merchants who had been captured by bandits on the road from Kabul to Peshawar. They were carrying with them the Oxus treasure, which Burton helped them to recover, and so they allowed him to buy this bracelet before going on to sell the remainder of the pieces in Rawalpindi. It was from the bazaars of India that other pieces of the Treasure emerged, reaching the British Museum by a circuitous route.

This gold bracelet is part of the Oxus treasure, the most important collection of gold and silver to have survived from the Achaemenid period. Apart from this bracelet, the remainder of the treasure belongs to the British Museum.

The bracelets are similar to objects being brought as tribute on reliefs at the Persian centre of Persepolis. The Greek writer Xenophon (born around 430 BC) tells us that armlets were among the items considered as gifts of honour at the Persian court. The hollow spaces would have contained inlays of glass or semi-precious stones. The bracelets are typical of the Achaemenid Persian court style of the fifth to fourth century BC.

This object was bought by Captain F.C. Burton when he rescued a group of merchants who had been captured by bandits on the road from Kabul to Peshawar. They were carrying with them the Oxus treasure, which Burton helped them to recover, and so they allowed him to buy this bracelet before going on to sell the remainder of the pieces in Rawalpindi. It was from the bazaars of India that other pieces of the Treasure emerged, reaching the British Museum by a circuitous route.


Achaemenid Gold Armlet - History

The internationalism of the Achaemenid Empire is reflected not only in its laws but also in fusing its Iranian character with Babylonian, Assyrian, Greek, Egyptian, Lydian , Uratarian and Scythian elements . Some of the more reknown areas of Achaemenid Art are : stone relief carving, metalwork, carpets, cylinder seals

The ancient Persian contued the western Asian tradition of stone carving. Missing is the cruelty seen in Assyrian and Babylonian art, reflecting to more tolerant Persian method of rule.In the stone reliefs of the Persepolis there a serenity which comes from the abstract spiritualism of the Zoroasterism .Most of the reliefs do not represent historical personages, but an idealised verson of the king and other advisors and tell no developing story, but stress the importance of a just ruler providing harmony to the empire .

London's British Museum recently exhibited Forgotten Empire: The World of Ancient Persia to much critical acclaim. Some 460 impressive works of ancient Iranian art were culled from four international collections: the National Museum in Tehran, Iran's Persepolis Museum, Paris' Musée du Louvre and the British Museum. The exhibition's easily attainable catalogue vividly describes the artistic accomplishments of the Persian Empire's Achaemenid rulers during more than two centuries of the dynasty's reign (550-330 B.C.).

The ancient Achaemenids were skilled metalworkers .They excelled in gold displaying a vivid naturalism .Animal motifs were cleverly used, particularly on vessel handles and rhytons and show a similar animal energy as seen in Scythian metalwork .Many excellent examples of Persian artwork from this period were found in the Tajikistan in the 1880s, known as the Oxus Treasure .The Persian golden dinner service left abandoned after the Persian defeat at Plataea, left the Spartans in awe as to why the Persians would invade such a poor country when theirs was so rich . Egyptians were often employed as well as Medes as gold and silversmiths .Silver was brought in from Egypt, gold from Bactria and India .Armlets and necklets seem to have been worn by men and women alike, and can be seen on Persepolis reliefs, after the Achaemenid period they became charateristic of Parthian and Sassanian dress and spread to India .

golden chariot, from the Oxus treasure 5th cent B.C

6th cent B.C.Golden short sword Ecbanta

griffin golden armlet 500 B.C.

winged ibex amphora handle

winged lion 380 B.C. Ecbanta

A rhyton is a container from which wines, such as the famous Shiraz wine, were intended to be drunk, or poured in a ceremony .The shape was derived from drinking horns .It is possible they were copied from the Uratians and made popular popular by the Medes .Rhytons survive in Persia till Sassanian times . However, in Achaemenid times the wine was drunk from the rim as a normal cup, but a Sassanian rhyton was cast to send out a spout to be caught in the mouth .

4th cent B.C. Ecbatana the ram was a symbol of royal power

Carpet weaving has a long history in Iran .The oldest surviving carpet in the world dates from the Achaemenid period. This is the Pazyryk Carpet. Historical records mention magnificent carpets Persian palaces of the Achaemenid period.. This was over 2500 years ago. Alexander the Great of Macedonia is said to have been dazzled by the carpets in the tomb area of Cyrus the Great at Pasargade when the Greeks robbed his tomb .

d etail of the Pazyryk Carpet

When the Mesopotamians wanted to put an official stamp on a clay document or protect the integrity of the contents of a container, they impressed a design in the soft clay by rolling a small stone cylinder in it. Many Persian seals copy Assyrian these such as hunting lions on a chariot .

This seal represents the goddess Anahita , mounted on a lion and surrounded by the divine radiance, appearing to a Achaemenid king .


Achavrail Armlet

This bronze armlet is a declaration of wealth and power from the 1st or 2nd century AD. The armlet is decorated in a style common in Celtic communities in Europe and is made of bronze- an alloy of copper and tin. While Copper is fairly common in the north of Scotland, the tin would have been traded from as far away as Cornwall. This armlet would have been bright coppery gold in colour with red glass or enamel 'buttons' in each of the two empty circles. It was a symbol of wealth and power. Heavy armlets like this are only found in the north-east of Scotland and this is one of the finest examples. It was found in 1901 by a crofter who was ploughing. He initially threw it aside but eventually took it to the museum at Dunrobin in Sutherland. It has been in Inverness Museum and Art Gallery since 1987.

This bronze armlet is a declaration of wealth and power from the 1st or 2nd century AD.

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Local Historical Context [ edit | edit source ]

According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Achaemenid Persian Empire, consummated in 550 BCE with Cyrus the Great's victory of King Astyages' Median Empire, was the largest in ancient human history. This subsequently led to the Cyrus' conquering of the Lydian, Egyptian, and Babylonian empires. Unfortunately, the majority of historical records regarding the Empire come from contemporary Greeks [See "The Achaemenid Persian Empire"]. However, the assorted influences of these conquered empires in Persian art and architecture have been able to further explain the history of the Persian Empire. Since its discovery, numerous theories have been put forth about the reasons behind the amassing of this treasure and the constructing of its individual pieces. One prominent theory holds that the collection is a hoard of a temple or shrine [Curtis 2004, 295]. In regards to the chariot model, Perry notes that some scholars have noted that the image of the Egyptian god Bes, sometimes connected to Egyptian children, may suggest that it was toy of an elite's child [Perry 2006, 16-17]. Some scholars believed that it could have been a soldier's offering in hopes of protection during battle [Perry 2006, 17]. Keeper of the British and Medieval Antiquities Department at the British Museum, O.M. Dalton, however, believed otherwise.

Focusing on the chariot's interior structure, Dalton notes that the noble occupant is forced to sit facing sideways and that there is no back to the chariot therefore, the chariot was likely not used for battle or "the pursuit of wild beasts," but rather "peaceful excursions" [Dalton 1964, xl]. Furthermore, the seated nobleman, whom Dalton believes may have been a satrap, is considerably larger than the charioteer. This difference in size was meant to "render distinctions of rank" by showing "important persons on a larger scale than the rest" [Dalton 1964, xl]. This purposeful skewing of this upper class figure heavily suggests the person who commissioned, or was the recipient of, the model chariot was a himself a member of the nobility. This could likely fit with a separate theory that the treasure had initially belonged to an "old-established" Bactrian family who added to the horde with each successive generation [Dalton 1964, xvii].

According to the British Museum, this particular model chariot is comparable to the one that Persian Emperor Darius I is shown riding on a cylinder seal.


Ancientfoods

First posted in archaeology.org
Iran

November/December 2020(HIP/Art Resource, NY)

Tribute bearers, Achaemenid relief(Museum of Iran/Bridgeman Images)

Gold rhytonFor the kings of the Achaemenid Empire, who ruled much of the ancient Near East from 550 to 330 B.C., there was little—apart from hunting lions and conquering the world—that rivaled a rhyton of fine wine. But for these powerful potentates, wine was not just a pleasurable pastime. It was also not, despite what the fifth-century B.C. Greek historian Herodotus would have people believe, evidence of the kings’ profligate behavior and poor decision-making skills characterized by zealous over-imbibing. “Wine drinking and distribution not only embodied refinement, wealth, and power for the Achaemenids, but also provided an opportunity for rewarding loyalty and implementing political strategy,” says linguist Ashk Dahlén of Uppsala University. “Banquets were inherently public, political acts. They were central to the construction of royal identity and demonstrated that the empire was a supreme player on the world stage.”

At such splendid affairs, wine was served by the Royal Cup Bearer, a role known from records such as the Persepolis Administrative Archives to have been one of the highest trust. The bearer would have been an excellent sommelier and, says Dahlén, well versed in different wines and the particular customs associated with them. “The variety of wine at the king’s table was not a matter of sheer self-indulgence,” he says, “but served as a symbol of the king’s power and his capacity to attract tribute.” Unlike Greek symposiums, where the presence of “proper” women was not allowed, in the Achaemenid court, women were fully included, says Dahlén, all part of what he calls the “ancient Iranian dolce vita.”