Alexandria's founded by Alexander

Alexandria's founded by Alexander the Great (by year BC): 334 Alexandria in Troia (Turkey) - 333 Alexandria at Issus/Alexandrette (Iskenderun, Turkey) - 332 Alexandria of Caria/by the Latmos (Alinda, Turkey) - 331 Alexandria Mygdoniae - 331 Alexandria (Egypt) - 330 Alexandria in Areia (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria of the Prophthasia/in Dragiana/Phrada (Farah, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Caucasus (Begram, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria of the Paropanisades (Ghazni, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria Eschate or Ultima (Khodjend, Tajikistan) - 329 Alexandria on the Oxus (Ai-Khanoum, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria on the Indus - 325 Alexandria Xylinepolis (Patala, India) - 325 Alexandria in Carminia (Gulashkird, Iran) - 324 Alexandria-on-the-Tigris/Antiochia-in-Susiana/Charax (Spasinou Charax on the Tigris, Iraq) - ?Alexandria of Carmahle? (Kahnu)

Thursday, September 1, 2016

A magnificent Greek shield

The Kingdom of Pontus on the Black Sea in today’s Turkey is a little-known corner of the ancient world although the city of Sinope was founded by Greek colonists. It became part of the Persian Empire in the early 4th century BC but is not mentioned as being included in Alexander’s realm.


One of the main players in the history of Pontus is King Pharnaces I who is said to be of mixed Greek and Macedonian origin and who captured Sinope in 183 BC that became his capital. Much later, in 47 BC Julius Cesar established a Roman colony there and renamed it Colonia Julia Felix.

Pharnaces married Nysa, a Seleucid Princess either in 172 or 171 BC, through a diplomatic arrangement that involved Demetrius I Soter, who was King of Seleucia at the time. The couple established good relations with Athens and the island of Delos and several honorific statues and inscriptions have survived to testify of their dedication. Athens offered them a golden crown and bronze statues of Pharnaces and Nysa were set up in Delos. They had two children, a son who later ruled the country as Mithridates V of Pontus, and a daughter Nysa, who married King Ariarathes V of Cappadocia.

It is unclear when King Pharnaces I died and it could be any time between 160 and 154 BC, the date when his brother Mithridates IV of Pontus is first mentioned as king.

Well, this is a rather long introduction to the magnificent shield shown above which is part of the collection of the Getty Museum in Malibu. The bronze shield definitely has a Macedonian look because of the central star that symbolizes the sun and kingship. The inscription reveals that it was made in Pontus for King Pharnaces I, which explains the mixed Greek and Macedonian appearance.

This is obviously one of the great examples of ancient craftsmanship. 

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