Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


1 January 2010

I sigilli del “Gruppo del suonatore di lira” dalla stipe dell’Athenaion di Jalysos (Lyre-Player Group seals from the repository of the Athenaion of Ialysos)

Μ.Α. Rizzo Annuario della Scuola Archeologica Italiana di Atene 2007 [2009]: 33-82.


The repository of the sanctuary of Athana Ialysia at Rhodes, excavated between 1923 and 1926, yielded more than 6300 pieces and is thus the most important on the island. The offerings date from the middle of the eighth to the end of the fourth century BC. Among these materials is an especially interesting group of seals of the Lyre-Player Group, comprising all of 27 specimens. This is the se­cond largest group found in the Mediterranean so far, after one from Pithekoussai, and raises the number of specimens found on Rhodes to about 50 (15 from Lindos, 3 from Kamiros). Along with a very rare four-faced specimen, there are several seals, some still with their original silver mount, showing iconographies already attested elsewhere, but including some very rare ones (trios of players, a player drink­ing from a wineskin, a fisherman) and some interesting variations which add to the existing repertoire (players alongside a tree or an ankh, astral symbols).

The repertoire’s resemblance, in themes and style, to that found on Phoenician Egyptianizing products; the seals’ distribution, which parallels that of athyrmata and specific classes of materials produced or attested in large quantities on Rhodes; the presence in the repository of very rare examples of rock crystal lenses, optical instruments, the work of master stonecutters; all these elements suggest that the seals were manufactured by Phoenician craftsmen living and working on the island. Indeed, Rhodes played a crucial role in chan­neling exotic products towards the rest of the Aegean and the West.


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