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The Image of Geryon on a Bronze Ring from Ošanići by Stolac

Snježana Vasilj ; Fakultet hrvatskih studija Sveučilišta u Zagrebu

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 490 Kb

str. 113-120

preuzimanja: 169


Puni tekst: engleski pdf 490 Kb

str. 113-120

preuzimanja: 80



The hill fort in Ošanići by Stolac in Herzegovina, defined as a tribal centre of the Illyrian Daorsi, is a well-known example of a proto-urban settlement in the immediate hinterland of the eastern Adriatic coast. Excavations conducted from 1963 to 1990 revealed the remains of architecture characteristic of the Hellenistic period and heterogeneous archaeological material. Particularly interesting are some examples of jewellery as a ring with a unique iconographic depiction of Geryon.
This is a heavy bronze ring with a round decorative plaquette on which there is a image of Geryon. While the emphasised musculature of the upper part of the body is shown face-on, the legs are in profile. What makes it so special is that there are three heads on a single torso, the middle shown from the nape while the other two, almost on the shoulders, are given in left and right profile. Although the features are indistinguishable in their details, the heads are protected by helmets with emphatic crests; on the right-hand side example, a facial shield can be seen. In the left hand side there is a peltis, a small round shield, and in the right hand, a short sword, or ksifos. Parts of the armour can be made out on the body, buckled around the waist with a belt and a series of strips spread fan-wise around the hips, while the shins are protected with greaves. At the side there are two symbolic motifs – the goblets of Helios.
Geryon, a triple-headed giant with three bodies joined at the waist and six arms, the lord of the island of Erytheia, where, in the distant west, he kept his herd famed for its beauty, belongs to the context of the 10th labour of Hercules. He is often described in ancient sources, after which depictions in visual art were made. In Greece and the eastern Mediterranean, Geryon with presented with three bodies joined at the waist, which is visible on Attic black figure vases from the last decades of the 6th century BC, while in the west he is shown with three heads on a single body. For this reason, the iconography described allows this ring to be considered within traditions then current in the western Mediterranean, where, somewhere in southern Spain, lay Erytheia, the home of Geryon. Since similar finds on Sardinia as well as southern Italy and Sicily are characterized by the same kind of iconography, the origin of the ring might, according to the characteristics of its technology and workmanship, be connected to one of the goldsmith workshops that were at work in that area from the last decades of the 6th and during the 5th and 4th century BC.

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