Serpentarium Mundi by Alexei Alexeev The Ancient Ophidian Iconography Resource (Mundus Vetus, 3000 BC - 650 AD)
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Description. Volume II contains a selection of iconographical subjects represented on decorative art objects: jewellery, talismans, seals, and armaments in a variety of materials (gemstone, gold, ivory, etc.).

This volume is divided into 6 specialized chapters, based on the type of iconographical subject and the context. Every chapter has a different number of articles (currently none). Each article has a different number of figures (currently none), which are divided into sets (5 x 6 content grids, accommodating up to 30 figures' thumbnails; currently none). The figures contain varying numbers of artefacts (currently none), depending on the scale of the source-image. Some artefacts are represented by several figures (offering a general view and details).

Currently, 0 articles in 0 chapters are available, and Volume II contains 0 figures.

------------------------- « ● Quotations from the Father of History about Adornments & Tools ● » -------------------------

Together with these offerings, Croesus [Croesus of Lydia, r. 560-546 BC] sent many other less remarkable items: these included some round cast objects of silver, {...} and his own wife's necklaces and belts. Those were his offerings to Delphi, but he also sent some things to the shrine of Amphiareios when he learned of this hero's valor an suffering. He dedicated a shield [σάκος] made entirely of gold, as well as a spear of solid gold, shaft and spearhead alike. Both of these could still be seen in my day at Thebes, displayed there in the temple of Ismenian Apollo.

● Herodotus (484-425 BC), Histories I: 51, 5; 52, 1 | Translated by Andrea L. Purvis & Robert B. Strassler. Copyright © 2007.

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The Massagetai resemble the Scythians in the clothing they war and in their general way of life. They arm themselves as both cavalry and infantry and fight as archers and spearmen, but their customary weapon is the battle-axe. They use gold and bronze for all their war gear - bronze for their spearheads, arrowheads, and and battle-axes; gold for the decorations on their belts and chest bands. Likewise, they attach breastplates of bronze around the chests of their horses but use gold for their bridles, bits, and the bosses on the cheek straps. They use no iron or silver at all, since these metals are not found in their land, although gold and silver are abundant there.

● Herodotus (484-425 BC), Histories I: 215, 1-2 | Translated by Andrea L. Purvis & Robert B. Strassler. Copyright © 2007.

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Now the Twelve Kings ruled and maintained their compact with equity and justice until, in the course of time, they met to sacrifice together at the sanctuary of Hephaistos [Ptah]. On the last day of the festival, as they were about to pour libations, the high priest brought out the golden libation cups customarily used for this purpose, but he miscounted them and brought only eleven instead of twelve. There stood Psammetichos [Psamtik I, r. 664-610 BC], the last of the kings, without a libation cup, so he took off his helmet, which was bronze, held it out to be filled, and poured his libation. Now all the other kings happened to be wearing helmets, too and Psammetichos had held out his helmet with no intent of treachery, but the kings grasped the connection between what he had done and what the oracle had declared to them - that the one who poured a libation from a bronze cup would become the sole king of Egypt. Once they had recalled this oracle, they investigated the matter, and after having discovered that the act of Psammetichos had been entirely unpremeditated, they decided it would not to be just for them to kill him. So they resolved instead to to strip him of most oh his power and banish him to the marshes, and ordered that he was not to leave the marshes or to have any dealings with the rest of Egypt. {...} Thinking that he had been grievously abused, he set his mind on taking revenge on these men who had banished him. He sent a delegation to the city of Bouto to consult the oracle of Leto [Wadjet], the most truthful and accurate source of prophecy in Egypt. The response was that vengeance would come through bronze men appearing from the sea. Now Psammetichos was profoundly skeptical of this prediction that bronze men would arrive from the sea and become his allies. But only a short while later, some Ionians and Carians who had sailed out for plunder were driven off course to Egypt and forced to land there. When they disembarked, they put on bronze body armor, so that an Egyptian who had never seen men armed in bronze delivered a message to Psammetichos in the marshes that bronze men had come from the sea and were plundering the land. Recognizing that the oracle had been fulfilled, Psammetichos made friends with the Ionians and Carians and, promising them great rewards, persuaded them to join him. Thus he won them over as his allies, and with their help as well as that of Egyptian volunteers, he deposed the other kings.

● Herodotus (484-425 BC), Histories II: 151, 1-3; 152, 3-5 | Translated by Andrea L. Purvis & Robert B. Strassler. Copyright © 2007.

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After the Fish-eaters had come from Elephantine and met with Cambyses [Cambyses II, r. 525-522 BC], he sent them to the Ethiopians with instructions about what they should say, and he gave them gifts to take there: a purple cloak, a necklace of twisted gold, bracelets, an alabaster pot of perfume, and a jar of Phoenician date-palm wine. {...} he [King of Ethiopians] asked about the gold, the twisted necklace, and the bracelets. As the Fish-eaters described these items as jewelry, the king burst out laughing. He had thought they were shackles, and he told them that among his people, shackles were stronger than these. {...} he led them to the men's prison, where the prisoners were all bound in shackles made of gold, for to these Ethiopians, the rarest and most highly valued metal of all is copper.

● Herodotus (484-425 BC), Histories III: 20, 1; 21, 2; 23, 4 | Translated by Andrea L. Purvis & Robert B. Strassler. Copyright © 2007.

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{...} the Spartans say that they embarked on the campaign not so much to defend those Samians who had asked for help, but because they wanted to exact vengeance for the seizure of the bowl that they had been taking to Croesus [Croesus of Lydia, r. 560-546 BC], and of the breastplate which Amasis king of Egypt [Ahmose II, r. 570-526 BC] had sent to them as a gift. The Samians had stolen the breastplate the year before they had seized the bowl; the breastplate was made of linen closely woven with a multitude of figures and embroidered with gold and cotton fibers. Every single thread of this breastplate inspires amazement, for it has a delicate weave of 360 filaments, all of them conspicuous, Amasis also dedicated another breastplate like this one to Athena in Lindos.

● Herodotus (484-425 BC), Histories III: 47, 1-2 | Translated by Andrea L. Purvis & Robert B. Strassler. Copyright © 2007.

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Going west from Egypt, the first inhabitants of Libya one comes upon are the Adyrmachidians. The customs they follow the most are those of the Egyptians, except that they dress like the rest of the Libyans. Their women wear a bronze ring around the calf of each leg and grow their hair long.

● Herodotus (484-425 BC), Histories IV: 168, 1 | Translated by Andrea L. Purvis & Robert B. Strassler. Copyright © 2007.

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In this city [Celaenae, Phrygia], a Lydian man, Pythios [!] son of Atys, had been awaiting the army, and now he hosted all the troops of the King as well as Xerxes [Xerxes I, r. 486-465 BC] himself with the most lavish hospitality and announced that he wanted top provide money for the war. When Xerxes heard that Pythios had offered money, he asked the Persians with him who in the world this Pythios was, and how much money he possessed that he could make this offer. They told him: "Sire, this is the man who gave the gifts of the golden plane tree and grapevine to your father, Darius [Darius I, r. 522-486 BC]. And even now he is the richest of all people we know of after you."

● Herodotus (484-425 BC), Histories VII: 27, 1-2 | Translated by Andrea L. Purvis & Robert B. Strassler. Copyright © 2007.

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The following peoples were serving in the army. {...} the Persians {...} had breastplates of iron fashioned to look like fish scales. {...} From their belts they fastened daggers, which hung down along the right thigh. {...} The Assyrians on the expedition wore helmets of bronze on their heads and also plaited helmets made by a certain barbarian method that is not easy to describe. They carried shields, spears, and daggers similar to those of the Egyptians, and in addition, wooden clubs with knobs of iron {...} The Scythian Sacae {...} wielded native bows and daggers; in addition they carried battle-axes, known as sagareis. {...} On their heads they [Uncertain contingent, possibly the Pisidians and/or the Chalybes] wore bronze helmets, to which were attached the ears and horns of an ox, fashioned in bronze, and a crest on the top. {...} The Milians carried short spears and had their garments fastened with brooches. {...} The most impressive dress and equipment were displayed by the Persians, and the Persian troops themselves were the best in the army. Their dress and arms {...} were conspicuous because of the lavish amounts of gold that they wore. {...} The Persian cavalry were dressed and equipped the same as the infantry, except that on their heads, some of the horsemen wore helmets forged from bronze and iron. {...} Then there were the nomads called the Sagartians {...} It is not their custom to carry weapons made of bronze or iron, with the exception of their daggers.

● Herodotus (484-425 BC), Histories VII: 61, 1; 63, 1; 64, 2; 76, 1; 77, 1; 83, 2; 84, 1; 85, 1 | Translated by Andrea L. Purvis & Robert B. Strassler. Copyright © 2007.

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As soon as Xerxes [Xerxes I, r. 486-465 BC] stepped onto shore, he gave the helmsman a gift of golden crown in return for saving his life, but then, because he had been responsible for the death of many Persians, he had his head cut off. {..} It is evident that on his way back, Xerxes came to Abdera, since he at that time made an alliance of friendship with its people and gave them gifts of a golden sword and a tiara ornamented with gold. And the Abderitans themselves say (though I for my part find it completely incredible) that in his flight from Athens back to Asia, the first time Xerxes took off his belt was when he reached Abdera, because he felt safe there.

● Herodotus (484-425 BC), Histories VIII: 118, 4; 120, 1 | Translated by Andrea L. Purvis & Robert B. Strassler. Copyright © 2007.

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Pausanias [d. 467 BC] now issued a proclamation that no one should touch the spoils [After the Battle of Plataea, 479 BC], and he ordered the helots to gather all the goods together in one place. They scattered throughout the camp and found tents adorned with gold and silver, couches gilded with gold and silver, golden mixing bowls, libation bowls, and other drinking vessels. On the wagons they discovered sacks in which they saw cauldrons of gold and silver. And they stripped the bodies lying there of their bracelets, necklaces, and golden daggers, but they paid no attention at all to the embroidered clothing. The helots presented and accounted for much of these spoils - as much as they were unable to hide - but they stole quite a bit and sold it to the Aeginetans. And so it was from this time on that the Aeginetans became very wealthy, as they were buying gold from the helots as though it were bronze.

● Herodotus (484-425 BC), Histories IX: 80, 1-3 | Translated by Andrea L. Purvis & Robert B. Strassler. Copyright © 2007.

Editorial notes: {...} - Omitted text; [...] - Translation back to the original, clarification, or curator's commentary.

Source-Image(s): The Volume II source-images come from both internal and external resources. Every attempt is made to maximize use of the curator’s own photographic database. The rest of the source-images come from online resources and digital scans. In each case, the copyright holder’s permission was acquired and the courtesy gratefully acknowledged.
● Personal Photo Archive:
Alexei Alexeev Curator Ottawa, Canada
● Museums' Collections Online:
Bibliothèque Nationale
de France
Cabinet des Médailles Paris, France
British Museum

Main Collection London, UK
Main Collection Vienna, Austria
Metropolitan Museum
of Art
Main Collection New York, USA
Musée du Louvre

Main Collection Paris, France
Museum of Fine Arts

Main Collection Boston, USA
Staatliche Antikensamm-lungen und Glyptothek Main Collection Munich, Germany
Staatliche Museen
zu Berlin
Altes Museum: Antikensammlung;
Neues Museum: Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte, Ägyptisches Museum,
Pergamonmuseum: Antikensammlung, Vorder-asiatisches Museum, Museum für Islamische Kunst;
Bode Museum: Skulpturen-sammlung, Museum für Byzantinische Kunst;
Museum für Asiatische Kunst
Berlin, Germany
State Hermitage
Main Collection St. Petersburg, Russia
● Specialized Talismans Databases Online:
The Campbell Bonner Magical Gems Database (CBMGD) Online Specialized Talismans Database Budapest, Hungary
● Printed Publications:
John, ed.
Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC). Volumes I-VIII. Indices. Supplementum. Zürich Artemis & Winkler Verlag

Note(s): (1) A minimalist approach is adopted for the descriptions of the bibliographic entries: in cases of multiple authors, publishers, or publishing locations, only the first entry from the full bibliographic description is listed. (2) In cases of modern reprints of the important works from the past, the date of the original publication is placed inside parentheses. In cases of translated works, both the original and English versions are listed. (3) An idiosyncratic universal formatting of entries is employed: all nouns, pronouns, numerals, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and some categories of determiners are capitalised.

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