(Plate B)

This plate shows an antithetical arrangement of animals around a bust of a goddess. The goddess is presented in the center with a six-spoked rosette wheel on either side of her. She is flanked by two elephants confronting each other. Below them are two griffins arranged in the same antithetical manner and a hound is placed in the lower center of the plate, between these two griffins. The goddess seems almost identical with the goddess on plate (g): she has S-curve hair strands and curvilinear eye-ridges forming a T-shape with her nose. The rendering of her arms is also similar to that on plate (e). Though it is not certain that the six-pointed wheels represent a wagon, the goddess is usually interpreted as riding a wagon. Actually, a chariot is often represented by a single wheel of the same type in Gaulish coinage. Olmsted suggests that the presence of the elephants on either side of the wagon could have resulted from the influences of the Roman coinage which portrays elephants pulling a chariot. Olmsted also identifies her with the Celtic Goddess Medb. She is a god of war and rulership; diverse animals and the chariot represent her war-like nature as a territory goddess.

Though elephants are also depicted in the Celtic west, the fantastic characters of the animals are often explained in the oriental context. Especially the griffins with their segmented wings and rounded bird heads are similar in concept to those imaginary animals often observed in Thracian metal works (Phalerae). Even the elephants suggest an oriental influence. Olmsted notes that the elephant is less a manifestation of the actual animal than a synthetic creature incorporating diverse parts of other animals: the body of the elephant shows the rear leg and tail of the bull on the plate (D) and the trunk of the lion on the plate (C). Its head is also same as that of the bull except its trunk, clumsily added to the head. Thracian characters of the animals are more clear in their hanging feet: the feet of the griffins are literally hanging in midair, not wearing any weight of the body. The bodies of these animals are decorated with interspersed large and small dots and lines. This also can be read in the context of Thracian workmanship for the decorative techniques of hatching and punch marks are characteristic of Thracian silver smithing.
(Phalera from Stara Zagora)


Go to the Main Page, Plate (A), (B), (C), (D), (E), (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), (g), (base)