Apolonia Ancient Art offers ancient Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Pre-Columbian works of art Apolonia Ancient Art

X-Rare Greek Geometric Bronze Mitra with Raised Knobs

X-Rare Greek Geometric Bronze Mitra with Raised Knobs


browse these categories for related items...
Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Ancient World: Greek: Bronze: Pre AD 1000: Item # 1262216
Apolonia Ancient Art
View Seller Profile
290 Fillmore St. #D
Denver, CO. 80206
303-321-7351 gallery

Guest Book
 $6,865.00 
$6,865.00

This extremely rare piece is a complete Greek bronze mitra piece that dates to the Geometric Period, circa 8th-7th century B.C. This piece is approximately 5.1 inches high by 7.25 inches wide, is intact with no repair/restoration, and is complete save for a small missing tip of one side. This piece was designed to be suspended from a belt, and likely hung below the rim of a bronze bell corselet. The shape of this piece also suggests that it protected the stomach and lower abdomen, and perhaps each side of the hips as well, with more than one piece attached to a leather belt. There are two holes seen at each end of the central stem which likely held rings that attached to the leather belt. This method of attachment allowed this piece to freely move at the bottom, and allowed the warrior ease of movement as this piece was able to move with the body. According to Herbert Hoffmann in "Early Cretan Armorers", Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1972, pp. 9-10: "The Cretan mitra was designed to be suspended from a belt and to hang below the rim of the bell corselet. The total absence from the find of anything that might be identified as part of a metal belt suggests that the mitrai were worn from a belt of perishable material. Most examples are semicircular sheets of bronze 5 to 7.5mm thick, varying in height from 12.5 to 18 cms. and in breadth from 21.5 to 29.5 cms. The edges of their wide flat rims are sometimes rolled over a bronze wire, the straight upper edge being rolled outward and the edge of the crescent inward. Three holes are punched in the sheet metal near the top edge, one at the center and one at each end, to accommodate rings from which the mitra was suspended. The function of these bronze plates as stomach protectors was recognized by Furtwangler when he published the first examples discovered at Olympia. F. Poulsen gave them the Homeric name 'mitra' in his publication of the specimen from Rethymnon, and the term has had archaeological respectability ever since (although what sort of body armor Homer meant is highly debatable). In endeavoring to define the role played by mitrai in Greek combat we must take into account their geographical distribution. This form of armor is to date documented only from Crete, Thrace, and Etruria - three regions of the ancient world noted for their archers. It seems likely that mitrai were meant to protect their wearers against arrows, i.e. that they were worn by hoplites frequently exposed to archery attack." (An example published by Hoffmann in the reference noted above, pl. 40, no. 3, is slightly larger than the example offered here, has three suspension rings, and has a half crescent shape. See attached photo.) The piece offered here has a slightly different design than the known examples published by Hoffmann in the reference noted above, and the design of this piece may point to Cyprus, and if this is the case, the piece offered here may be one of the earliest examples of it's type, and pre-dates the published Hoffmann examples that date circa mid to late 7th century B.C. The inside of the exceptional piece offered here also likely had a leather liner, and/or had a thick leather pad which attached to the additional perimeter holes seen on this piece. This piece also has fine workmanship, as there are raised punched round knobs that are seen running around the perimeter of the piece. These knobs, besides being very decorative, also add strength to the overall piece. This piece has a beautiful light green patina with some heavy dark green and blue mineralization, along with some white calcite deposits, and the patina and mineral deposits are also heavier on the backside of this piece. Greek armor from this early period is extremely rare, and even fragments from this period are seldom seen on the market. This piece is attached to a custom stand and can easily be removed. Ex: M. Waltz collection, Germany, circa 1970's. Ex: Fortuna Fine Arts, New York. I certify that this piece is authentic as to date, culture, and condition: