Recent excavations at Apollonia Pontica, modern Sozopol (
on the Black Sea has revealed a leaden bucranium
with an eight-ray star, which possibly served as model for the well-known
[Picture from Novinite, National Historical Museum]
A bucranium is a special kind of amulet in the shape of an ox-skull known as early as the 5th century BC in
and the above-mentioned amulet-bucranium
entirely fits the picture. Yet the sun symbol with its eight rays placed on the
forehead of the ox is peculiar simply because it is so terribly close to the
star used on the coat of arms and on the flag of Greece . Macedonia
It seems that the sun symbol was used in Greek art long before the Macedonians adopted it. Pictures exist of hoplites bearing 16- and 8-pointed sun symbols on their shields and armor as early as the 6th century BC; coins from
instance, bore a sun with the same number of rays in the 5th century
BC. Both variants were also frequently represented under Macedonian rule in the
4th century BC as we know from the tomb of Philip II of Macedonia at Vergina where it is enhancing the
lid of the larnax. Yet other examples of suns with 12 rays have been found
also. And recently the fragment of a shield carrying the inscription “King Demetrius” (apparently referring to
Demetrius Poliorketes (300-285 BC)
was put up for sale by Christies’; this shield features 24 sunrays in its
center, a quite unusual number.
The so-called "Vergina-Sun" and the modern flag of the Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) shows a sun with 16 rays.
Is the number of sun-rays really important? Maybe not but the fact that this bucranium with its starry sun has been found in Bulgaria seems to kindle a fight over its legitimacy and from what I read in the article published by Novinite, the present Director of the National Historical Museum, wants the municipality of Sozopol to sue FYROM for using the star that should be Bulgarian property. What will they come up with next!