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Real and Fantastic Animals

  • Florin Curta
  • Bartłomiej Szymon Szmoniewski
Chapter
Part of the New Approaches to Byzantine History and Culture book series (NABHC)

Abstract

The largest number of “Thessalian antiquities” in the Velestino collection represents animals, 47 out of a total of 88 items (53.4%). Of those, 20 represent fantastic animals. One of them, for example, has the forequarters of a panther, while the hindquarters are definitely of a fish. This is most likely a sea-panther or a fishtailed leopard (pardalokampos). Other pieces contain references to Aesopic fables. The only direct analogy for the animals represented in the Velestino collection is the griffin found in the late nineteenth century in Čitluk, near Sinj (in the hinterland of Split, Croatia). Much more general, if not vague, are the analogies with the animal figurines in early medieval hoards of bronze and silver known from Eastern Europe. From a purely decorative point of view, some of the Velestino pieces are related to the ornamental repertoire of the pre-Romanesque sculpture in Dalmatia.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Florin Curta
    • 1
  • Bartłomiej Szymon Szmoniewski
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of HistoryUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Archaeology and EthnologyPolish Academy of SciencesKrakówPoland

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