Ornamented bronze phalerae with a thorn: ornament as an emblem


Martina Blečić Kavur


The presented research deals with ornamented bronze phalerae with a thorn from several cultural groups from the territory of the Northern Adriatic and its hinterland. It was motivated by the treating of such a phalera discovered in Osor on the island of Cres in Kvarner. Considered and critically evaluated in a broader cultural context, the phalerae were formally analysed and due to their stylistic features divided in to four basic types with further variants. Type I being the characteristic for the area of Caput Adriae and its Alps hinterland (Figs. 2-5, 13), type II for the territory of the of Italic Piceni (Figs. 5-8), type III for the western
Balkan area of Dinaric Alps (Fig. 5,10) and type IV for the territory of ancient Macedonia (Figs. 10-11). The mutual relationship of individual types has been the backbone of the research history (Fig. 12). However, the concentration of individual types in
specific areas demonstrated, despite their similarities, a degree of individuality in aestheticism and a localspecific fabrication, wearing and depositing habits which separate them as an individual jewelry groups ideologically and semantically present in the attire of the wider cultural area. Contrary to the previous research for this publication the majority of discovered
phalerae were collected and analyzed. Consequently we were able to observe as much as 10 examples of Type I phalerae from the wider area of Caput Adriae. Due to their quantity, they can be considered as being one of the cultural characteristics of the area of Škocjan. The area, the phalera from Osor should be considered as being directly related to. Their spatial
distribution demonstrates specific interrelationship of those cultural areas reflected in the communication of ambiguity, non-verbal in particular. From the demonstrated we can also notice the disproportionality in their use of being part attire in individual cultures. Apart from highly valuable attire of the deceased women in Vergina and the luxurious attire of the Picenian
women, they will also designate the highly privileged status of the local aristocracies. And their exceptionally intensified equivalents can be seen in the attires of the southern Lucani and Enotri (Fig. 9). From the same perspective one should evaluate the rich, large hoards with a mixed composition from the western Balkan area such as Krehin Gradac and Veliki Mošunj
(Fig. 5, 13-20) where the reflection of the female principles is more than evident. Observed through this perspective, the attire from the area of northern Adriatic’s and alpine hinterlands seems rather modest which could be partially attributed to the relatively small number of precise details about the context of their discoveries. While at the same time, in majority
of cases it bears testimony in favor of their semantic and semiotic value, of their sense and essence of the artifact itself. Of an artifact, a part of specific attire, which was most probably worn as an accessory on the clothing of eminent female individuals. Phalerae were, besides some other elements of attire/jewelry the initiators for a tighter synchronized cultural and
chronological evaluation of cultural groups from the territory of the Eastern Adriatic coast, through the Western Balkans and the Macedonian-Aegean territory in the period from the second half of the 10th to the beginning of the 8th century BC marking the new Iron Age cultural environment. In this perspective, more precise dating of the variant I phalerae also
contributed to this issue, should we accept the fact that the fragment of ornamented bronze metal sheet from the grave 156 of Brežec necropolis near Škocjan (Fig. 13) is a fragment of this type of phalerae. Due to the presence of a fragment of fibulae with four spirals joint with rolled up bronze tape of the so called Este type (Fig. 14) dated to the phase Este II, we can notice
assume the use of these phalerae already in the period from 9th to the 8th century BC, according to revised periodization.
Formal and comparative analysis in cultures with different aesthetics explained that neither the selection of the object itself, according to its size, form and decoration, nor its discoveries in context of wealthy 


How to Cite
Blečić Kavur, M. (2022). Ornamented bronze phalerae with a thorn: ornament as an emblem. Godišnjak Centra Za balkanološka Ispitivanja, (41), 43–66. https://doi.org/10.5644/Godisnjak.CBI.ANUBiH-41.3