9th cent. BC. Import from North Syria
Leng. 19 cm
From the sanctuary of Apollo Daphnephoros in Eretria
National Archaeological Museum, Χ 15070
Exhibition Place: Temporary Exhibition ERETRIA: Insights into an Ancient City, Case no. 58, no. 2 (from April 27 - August 25 2010)
This is a rare object for the Greek peninsula and its islands. The blinker bears in relief a male figure wearing a short girded garment (chiton) and holding in its extended, upraised hands two felines while followed by a third one. The man's hair falls on his shoulder. His head and torso are rendered frontally and the lower part of his body in profile. The 'master of the beasts' and the hero who fights lions are popular subjects in the art of the 8th cent. BC, being found on weapons, jewels and clay vessels.
The incised inscription, 'A gift of Hadad for our lord Hazael, the year that our lord crossed the river', which is fully visible only when viewed by means of radiography, above the man and the animal who approaches is in Aramaic and reveals that the blinkers were offered to the Syrian Hazael, king of Damascus. The object reached the sanctuary of Apollo Daphnephoros at Eretria either as a gift or/and in exchange for something else. Inscribed objects, most of which are of bronze, from the eastern Mediterranean were dedicated at Greek sanctuaries or accompanied their rich owners to their tombs. During the 8th cent. BC the sanctuary of Apollo Daphnephoros at Eretria received dedications from all over the ancient world. One deposit, of the 8th cent. BC, includes the most important group of imports to Greece from the East and Egypt. It is noteworthy that another bronze right blinker displaying the same decoration, obviously made by the same artisan, was found on another spot in the Eretrian sanctuary.
An embossed trapezoidal frontal part of a bronze horse bridle (820-810 BC) from the Heraion, the sanctuary of the goddess Hera, at Samos, inscribed with the Aramaic text, 'A gift of HDR for our lord Hazael, from the plain of Basan, a brow-band for our respectful lord', is thought to belong to the same set of horse equipment. It shows four naked women in two rows standing on feline heads and topped by a winged solar disc.
Bibliography: Ν. Κourou, ''Εύβοια και Ανατολική Μεσόγειος στις αρχές της πρώτης χιλιετίας (ή το προοίμιο της εμφάνισης του ελληνικού αλφαβήτου)'', Αρχείο Ευβοϊκών Μελετών 29 (1990-1991) 240, 248-251. Ν. Stampolides, Sea routes.: Interconnections in the Mediterranean 16th-6th c. B.C.: Proceedings of the International Symposium held at Rethymnon, Crete, September 29th-October 2nd 2002 (Athens 2003)no. *522 [Μ. Bredaki-Ν. Stampolides], no. 860 και 861 [V. Giannouli, Α. Psalti respectively].