Re: Bead trade in the Black Sea region
Re: Bead trade in the Black Sea region -- mosquitobay Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Will Post Reply
03/20/2017, 12:48:09

Hi Jan,

Thanks for showing these beads and sorry to be slow replying.

Yes, you’re quite right; many of the beads that are found around the Black Sea are different from Mediterranean beads, often in small way such as colour and colour combinations; sometimes in substantial ways.

It’s hardly surprising. There were dozens - perhaps as many as fifty Greek city colonies spaced around the shores of the Black Sea from the 7th century BCE on and they each interacted with their tribal neighbours in their own unique ways. Cicero, the Roman writer, says "It were as though a Greek fringe has been woven about the shores of the barbarians.” This direct contact with the great nomadic tribes of central Eurasia meant that the Greek artisans were frequently working for very different clients.

When the Roman Empire replaced Greek power in the Mediterranean, the Black Sea cities paid tribute to the new bosses but were much less affected by Roman values in politics, morals and fashion. Most of them continued with “democratic” systems Later on, they were happily integrated into the Byzantine Empire and most of them remained that way until the collapse of the Byzantine Empire of Trebizond in eastern Anatolia in the sixteenth century. So, there is no real phase of Islamic glass beadmaking in the Black Sea, or at least not until19th century Turkey.

I’ll attach a photo of a few beads to go along with what you said about colours. Also an image of a horse and rider from a third century BCE felt decorative panel (still amazingly quite intact) from the Altai mountains in central Siberia. Very large beads like the one that I showed in my previous post were attached to horse bridles (and also to saddle bags) in similar Sarmatian burials in the western Caucasus.



BlackSea469s.jpg (26.7 KB)  PazyrikHorseman:felt:Altai:300BCE.jpg (148.6 KB)  

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