Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Sythian Gold

Gold Finial, 5th c. B.C.,
Institute of Archaeology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine,
Photograph by Lynton Gardiner.

The cover for Sythian Gold, Treasures from Ancient Ukraine; edited by Ellen D. Reeder; c. 1999, The Walters Art Gallery; published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc., N.Y.; ISBN: 0-8109-2938-4, 351 pages.

A coffee-table size book to do justice to the wonderful photographs of archaelogical items discovered in kurhans (burial mounds) of the Scythian horse tribes which supplement the text, and an excellent resource for any writer heeding an editor's call for new settings and cultures.
The book includes an extensive bibliography as well as a list of selected ancient sources - Anacreon, Herodotus, Demosthenes, Lysias, Aristophanes, etc., etc.
The Scythian nomads are particularly interesting because sufficient evidence exists to indicate their fearsome cavalry included units of trained women warriors.

For me, pictures and photographs often inspire a thousand words. Many bloggers are as adept with a camera as with prose. Four of my favourite oh-God-that's-gorgeous bloggers are: Frank, Gabriele, Scott, and Lana's The Dreaming Tree.

On February 23, Barbara Poelle at Hey, There's a Dead Guy in the Living Room, wrote:

"Can it pul-LEASE be spring already? Is there some sort of fairy or patron saint or muse or something of spring? If so I would like to find her and knock her down and choke her and scream SPRING NOW in her face over and over as I rapped her skull against the pavement."

Blissful image. My sentiments exactly.

Especially since Whirl -- whose comments in his Comments are almost as good as his posts -- recently compared me to a "crazed Ninja" ( is there any other kind?)
The sound you hear is me giggling. The Woman in Black.

Love you all.


Angie said...



Pardon me, but I went to Amazon looking for this book, thinking I'd stick it on my wish list. $145 for a new copy. O_O Ummm, yeah. I think I'll wait a bit....

It does look like a gorgeous book, though. [grin]


raine said...

Love the idea of a cavalry including female warriors.
Beautiful book.

I'd be more inclined to bring Spring gentle offerings. Wouldn't want to piss her off.

Bernita said...

Oh, crap, Angie! Really?
I probably bought it at a yard sale for a couple of bucks...
It IS a gorgeous book.

Bow-shooting horsewomen, Raine. They weren't just priestesses, sheep herders, and ladle wavers.

Looking at the last few weeks's weather,she's already pissed...

Whirlochre said...

Sadly, most of the gods, spirits, and fairies still doing the rounds seem to have aligned themselves with death, destruction, and the underworld. Spring is apparently very unpopular (unless allied to fertility via priapic menageries in abundance). Persephone and Freya both have some dominion over spring and rebirth — albeit in a manner allied to death, destruction etc. Also, there is is a four-headed Slavic chap called Svantetit, who boasts war and vegetation amongst his interests alongside all things springly.

Personally, I'm sticking with Kree Megge — the orb-like spirit of Yummeechoc.

As for your crazed Ninja credentials — I'm sure there's nunjitsu finer.

Charles Gramlich said...

Oddly enough, The Dreaming Tree is one of my favorites as well! Acutally my favoritiest favorite.

laughingwolf said...

since silver tarnishes if not cared for, i prefer bits of gold... cuz i'm lazy! :O lol

as for spring, can't wait!

Bernita said...

Bunnies and baskets full, Whirl.
Egging you on.

You'd lose mega points from me if it weren't, Charles.
Such a beautiful blog title too.

Bernita said...

Noticed this morning a few unwise tulip showing their spears in the sun trap in front of the bay, LW.

Anonymous said...

@ Raine - apparently, women in the Scythian cavalry who skirmished with Greeks are one possible source for the Amazons legends... although there's a debate over whether women were icnorporated into the cavalry as a matter of course or just took up arms in extremis when their camps were attacked (ie exactly the context where the Greeks would have encountered them).

They also won the Eurovision Song Contest once:

And they're causing me a bit of a headache in something I'm supposed to be writing right now :)

raine said...

...although there's a debate over whether women were icnorporated into the cavalry as a matter of course or just took up arms in extremis when their camps were attacked

Works just as well! Either could be a dazzling story.
(Thanks, Hampshireflyer, Bernita).

SzélsőFa said...

i think we're in the in-between.
it's not winter anymore (the temperature rises above minus 5) and not yet spring (no visible signs of swelling of buds or peeking of new growth)...
we'll just have to wait a bit i assume.

SzélsőFa said...

wow, google showed me that there are some *kurhans* in hungary as well. here we call these burial monuments a *kurgan* [kh-oo-r-gh-uhn] 'oo'-as in 'boot' and not as in 'door'
no wonder, though.
some researcher say that the scythians and the hungarians have a common background or that they used to live together for a while.

now, there is an old legend that the two brothers who founded hungary chased a deer - they missed the animal, but found a nice place to live in and that noblemen in the past were referred to as *wearing a panther's skin*, but please note that panthers have never been part of the fauna over here. strange, isn't it?

BernardL said...

A 'crazed Ninja'... very good. :)

Bernita said...

Funny thing, SzelsoFa, when I was doing the blog post I kept typing "kurgan."

Whirl has a wonderful, wild, and wicked imagination, Bernard!

ORION said...

I miss those big husband says I can only get them now if I let them do double duty as an anchor...

Travis Erwin said...

I too love to see the world as well as read about it and there are many great blogs that enable to do so. Thanks for being one of them.

Bernita said...

This one would be ideal, Pat!

Travis, that is so kind. Thank you.

archer said...

their fearsome cavalry included units of trained women warriors.

I think I'm in love.

Natasha Fondren said...

The images you find have inspired more than one of my stories, Bernita!

Bernita said...

Grave goods suggest they were more than just an ad hoc defence, Archer.

~beams at Natasha~

archer said...

Grave goods suggest they were more than just an ad hoc defence, Archer.

That's why I'm in love.