Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The "Runner's Ring"

A few days ago, John Younger reported on Aegeanet the publication of a new Minoan gold ring.

"The ring comes from a disturbed deposit with Neopalatial sherds (some Postpalatial), and should be stylistically Knossian in manufacture and LM IA in date.

D. bezel 1.8 x 0.9 cm; D hoop 1.25; Wt 2.07 gr

Two figures flank a running nude man; the figure on the left (in impression) is a woman making a gesture (identified as a priestess rather than a goddess), and the figure on the right is a man in a hide skirt holding an omega-like object (identified as a small "Snake Frame"). Above the runner are two objects identified as a "star" and a "shooting star."

There are good iconographic parallels for everything but the runner - he is unique in Minoan-Mycenaean art (as the authors say, "the closest parallels ... occur on Panathenaic amphoras"); the authors do cite the stone rhyton fragment from Gypsades, Knossos, that has a nude male in motion with arms gesturing, but he is not exactly in the strenuous pose of the runner on the Syme ring.

The authors identify the ring as the personal dedication of a victor in a footrace."

Fore further info, read: Lebessi, A., P. Muhly, and G. Papasavvas, "The Runner's Ring, a Minoan Athlete's Dedication at the Syme Sanctuary, Crete," AthMit 119, 2004, 1-31.

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