Trade and Trophy: Near Eastern Imports in the Sarmatian Culture

Posted in: AIAR, Archaeology, Classical Period
Tags: AIAR, ancient trade, Archaeology, ASOR, Classical period
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By: Oleksandr Symonenko, Institute of Archaeology, Kyiv, Glassman Holland Research Fellow

The main purpose of my project was the study of Near Eastern artifacts from Sarmatian graves. The Sarmatians were Iranian-speaking nomads who inhabited the territory stretching from the Altai Mountains up to the Danube from the 3rd – 4th centuries CE. The Near Eastern artifacts objects came to the Sarmatians in two main ways, as military trophies and as traded merchandise.

Spoils of war included Montefortino- and Pilos-type helmets and fragments of body armor found at Sarmatian sites. The helmets came to the Sarmatians during the Mithridates’ wars against Rome between 88 – 63 BCE. They were used by the Galatian soldiers of Mithridates’ army and were passed on from them to the Sarmatians. The Roman scale armors of the lorica plumata type, found in Sarmatian graves, were most probably seized by the Sarmatians during the war of 47 BCE in Asia Minor. Fragments of Parthian type armor were found in Sarmatian kurgans in the second half of the 1st  – early 2nd centuries CE. Such trophies fell into Sarmatian hands during their battles with the Parthians in 72 CE. (more…)

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1 Comments for : Trade and Trophy: Near Eastern Imports in the Sarmatian Culture
    • Gary Swain
    • November 26, 2013

    I recently bought a antique wood carving of a figure on horseback that I have been trying to research to find out what it depicts. I was hoping to be able to find someone who could look at some photos to see if it is Sarmatian. The rider has scale armor on his chest and looks like elongated plate armor on his legs. The horse however is not clad. The helmet is the unusual part. It appears to be a bucket helmet but possible was cone shaped with a long flowing material hanging down behind the rider or maybe it was a cape. There are a few piece broken off. Any help would be appreciated. From my experience as a collector, I believe the piece to be at least 100 years old but not sure it is an antiquity. Of course if it is, I would want to research and get it back to the rightful owners. Thank you.

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