Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Derveni Krater - Lete (Mygdonia)

The Derveni krater is a volute bronze krater, most elaborate metal vessel of the ancient world yet known. Kraters were used for mixing undiluted wine with water, the drink then being ladled out to fellow banqueters at ritual or festive celebrations. Inside, krater from Derveni, contains burnt bones that belonged to a man aged 35-40 and to a younger woman. The man was Thessalian aristocrat Astiouneios from Larissa (quite possibly Alexander's veteran) and the younger woman, probably was his wife. The krater is spectacular, decorated with Hellenic mythological figures and animals. The top part of the krater is decorated with ornamental motifs. On the krater are depicted: Dionysus (God of Wine), Ariadne (Mistress of Labyrinth), Silenus (tutor of Dionysus), thiasos (band of worshipers), five estatic maenads (female worshipers of Dionysus) and armed hunter wearing one sandal, whose identity is disputed (Pentheus of Thebes, Lycurgus of Thrace or Jason the Argonaut). On the handles are depicted masks of Achelous, Heracles, Dionysus and Hades. Animal details on the krater are lions, panthers, griffins, fawn, ram, and deers.  

Side A, Side B.

The funerary inscription on the lip of the krater reads:
Ἀστιούνειος Ἀναξαγοραίοι ἐς Λαρίσας
Makedonia (Mygdonia) — Lete: Derveni — ca. 350-300 BC — AD 18 B2 (1963) 195 — SEG 24:571  
English translation - "Astiouneios, son of Anaxagoras, from Larisa"

The inscription is written in the Thessalian dialect used in Larissa, Pherai, Krannon, Atrax, and elsewhere in that region of northern Greece.


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