Previous First Next
SALAMIS IN THE ISLAND OF CYPRUS.
BY ALEXANDER PALMA DI CESNOLÀ, F.S.A.,
place in this class a rudely-sculptured scarabǽus, or rather polypus, of pale green stone, or glazed terra-cotta, and evidently not Egyptian in its origin. The material is frequently found in collections of antiques. Some characters which this example bears resemble Hebrew. Another object of this category is a much oxidised pendant of deep blue glass, moulded to represent a lion's head, of fine character. Two female heads of the same nature and material, and, doubtless, of Greek origin. The head of a child-genius, carved very delicately in white stone, and highly polished. It belonged to an ear-ring of the class represented by others in my collection.1 A seated figure of Cybele, crowned with towers, and made of pure deep blue glass, was also found during my diggings. In this group of objects are to be reckoned two large bracelets for female use, the overlapping ends of which are moulded to represent a soft substance bound by double ligatures. On the former are punctures arranged in the way of an inscription, which is not legible. These ornaments are of bronze, thickly coated with gold. They are of that class of ornaments to which I have already alluded as showing the ancient practice of economising the more precious metal by uniting it with the almost universal alloy. A very considerable number of fibulǽ of gold wire occur in this collection. They are formed by bending wire like hoops, with overlapping ends, and they doubtless answered the purpose of modern pins when employed to attach portions of garments to each other. The ends, and even the folds of drapery, were often thus joined together for the convenience of the wearers. These objects are represented extensively in the collection (fig. 57). Some larger examples of this class bear Cypriote inscriptions. (See figs. 58, 59, 60.) Some of the larger instances of the same articles show, by the outbreaking of the inferior alloy of which their bodies are composed, that, like the bracelets described just now, they are of bronze, thickly coated with gold. Other relics of this class prove that a material in value even inferior to bronze has been employed to strengthen or back up thick coatings of gold. There is, for instance, among the ear-rings, one, of which the pendant is shaped like, and about the same size as, a modern musket ball, and filled with clay, now revealed by the breaking of the golden crust. . 1 See what is written above, under the head of Ear-rings.
xidation has unfortunately caused destruction or disfigurement of nearly all the silver relics of antiquity. For this metal appears to be particularly sensitive to the acid vapours which come in contact with it when exposed to the air, and to the various kinds of moisture with which it is frequently associated when lying hidden in the ground. The museums of Rome, Naples, Paris, New York, and London, supply illustrations of the same result from the same cause, almost the only exception being the so-called Treasure of Varus, the camp equipage of a Roman commander, all the pieces of which are made of fine and richly-chased silver, which, strange to say, were found and still exist in a perfect state of preservation. The celebrated Corbridge lanx is another remarkable instance of fine preservation of ancient silver. The silver articles found, in Cyprus, of far greater antiquity than these Roman relics, have shared the more common fate, and are but the sparse survivors of an innumerable class of the little household treasures of the middle and inferior orders of the people of Cyprus. Generally speaking, these remains show the same forms as those which obtain in gold. The finger-rings, although they are blistered and distorted nearly out of shape, retain enough of their original aspects to prove that they were nearly identical with the above-mentioned types in the more precious metal. One example in the cabinet, formed of iron, coated or covered in some way with silver, has held a stone in a plain annular setting, fitting it for a finger-ring. Another finger-ring has a flattened plate. It also has lost nearly all the silver coating of the iron body. Another is a ring of simple form. There are ear-rings of silver in the collection, which bear bulls' heads, like those already spoken of in the chapter devoted to the gold objects. Parts of spoons, of the shape' of those known as mustard-spoons, were also found. Several specimens have bowls smaller than those of the last objects, and it has been conjectured that these may have been employed for taking or transferring scented or costly fluids from one bottle to another. There is one form among the spoons which was evidently designed to remove marrow from long bones. Similar implements to this have been found in the drift and in bone caves of greater antiquity than those Cypriote relics. Silver hairpins appear to have been in common use. Of these, one was found embossed with a six-foil rosette; another has a rosette, the petals of which retain traces of gilding. I found, among other silver relics in the tombs of the Salaminian district, a small plaque, bearing a female head en repoussé. A fibula, which, in a far more charming condition than of yore, retains its now splendidly iridescent glass ball. Parts of a necklace of
Previous First Next