Objects from the Thracian Hoard

Rhyton with a horse protome. A rhyton is a vessel for libations, primarily wine. It takes on a funnel-like shape, and at its narrow end, an animal or sometimes a human figure is depicted. Originally, the rhyton served ritual purposes and was used for sacrificial libations. Thracian craftsmen widely crafted rhytons with horse heads. The horse not only served as decoration but was dedicated to the gods of war and the Sun, playing a role as the magical assistant to the epic Thracian hero. Silver, gilded. Second half of the 4th century BCE.

Objects from the Thracian Hoard.
Objects from the Thracian Hoard.

The feast played a special role in the ideology of Thracian aristocracy. Events were marked with it in both secular, political, and religious ritual life of the Thracians. Numerous similar precious vessels have been found in many burials and hoards. Such a ritual service typically included a hydria, situla, phiale, rhyton, a strainer for filtering wine, and a ladle.

Adding my perspective: The Thracian Hoard provides a fascinating glimpse into the rich cultural and ritualistic practices of the Thracian people. The craftsmanship evident in the rhyton with a horse protome not only showcases technical skill but also underscores the significance of symbolism in their religious and heroic narratives. The attention to detail in these vessels speaks to the importance of feasts and ceremonies in the Thracian social fabric, serving as a link between the secular, political, and divine aspects of their lives.

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