Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


22 October 2012

A Bronze Sword of the Aegean-Anatolian Type in the Museum of Varna, Bulgaria

Bogdan Athanassov, Raiko Krauss & Vladimir Slavčev Horejs, B. & Pavúk, P. (eds), Aegean and Balkan Prehistory, 26-03-2012

From the introduction

Almost 40 years after the first systematic contemplations on the subject of Aegean influence on Balkan swords of the second millennium BC, important questions such as, for example, the swords’ exact position in time, the Aegean influence visible upon them, and the manner of contacts between the Balkans and the eastern Mediterranean that contributed to the transfer of objects or ideas, are still largely unanswered. A few years ago, the fragment of a sword arrived in an unspectacular way in the Museum of Varna, a piece which nevertheless offers the opportunity to deliberate anew the relationships that existed between Anatolia, the Aegean and the Balkans during the Late Bronze Age. Unfortunately, this new find does not enable any substantial advances in the discussion, as its archaeological context is unknown, which restricts the dating possibilities considerably. Further, the sword is extremely fragmentary and, thus, does not allow exact typological comparisons. Despite these disadvantageous factors, the technical features of this high-quality weapon and traces of its use do disclose interesting points pertaining to its origins and history of utilization. It exhibits a certain similarity to the sword found in 1991 in front of the Lion Gate at the Hittite capital of Hattuša, which bears an inscription in Akkadian. This likeness lead to reflections about the route of influences from the south to the eastern Balkans, the functions of Late Bronze Age swords in Southeast Europe, and also the possibility that these swords were handed down as heirlooms from generation to generation. 

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