Hellenistic Phalerae from the burials of the nomads of Asian Sarmatia

  • Mikhail Treister (Author)

Identifiers (Article)


The paper is devoted to silver phalerae from the 2nd-1st centuries BC nomadic burials in the vast territory of Eurasia: the burials concerned form an enormous arc stretching from the interfluve of the Lower Volga and the Ural River in the West to the east bank of the Irtysh in the East (Fig. 1, 1). The phalerae feature similar dimensions (ca. 23'–'25 cm in diameter), construction (three riveted loops on the rear) and manufacturing techniques and were used to disentangle the harness straps on horses’ shoulders. A characteristic feature of the phalerae in the group under discussion is the ‘mirror-image’ principle for the depiction—figures shown in profile facing left on one phalera and facing right on the other. However, the images were not mechanically mirror-reflected—that is clearly seen in the details. The composition found in two pairs of phalerae with scenes of fighting animals, originating from Hoard I in the J. Paul Getty Museum and assumed to be of Parthian workmanship is also based on the same principle.