Vol.11, No.1 | [Article] A cruciform προμετωπίδιον (prometopidion) from Ancient Thrace



This article presents an extremely rare type of artefact discovered in a burial mound near the village of Gorski Izvor, Haskovo region, Central South Bulgaria (the ancient Southern Thrace). The object is a horse frontlet or prometopidion. We undertook an in-depth study of the frontlet and the complex in which it was discovered, and determined that it dates to the mid-third quarter of the 5th century B.C. There is a single, unique parallel, which was discovered in southern Thrace and has the same chronology. We specify the origin of the two prometopidions, and the fact that Near Eastern ideas have been applied in their iconography. We also make a connection with the cruciform appliqués from the same period found in Thrace and elsewhere.
Their utilitarian function as horse frontlets is shown. Finally, we analyze the cultural reasons that led to the differences in the iconographic scheme between the prometopidons from Northern and Southern Thrace.

Keyword : Archaeology, Ancient Thrace, Classical Period, horse frontlet, Ancient Near East