This round panel is most distinguishable in its high quality workman ship. The bull is magnificently depicted in high relief with its massive spherical thighs and overly long front leg. In spite of its stylized depiction, it is full of vitality. The bull and the dog below it are depicted from an unusual angle; they are seen from the above. Over this massive bull, a man with a spear is in the act of attacking. Since there is no evident Celtic object in this panel, this panel is often explained in the Thracian context. Powell asserts that everything about the great bull speaks of the Orient both in iconography and style. He also notes that the bull resembles the one on the silver phalera from Sark in its pose and general rendering. Especially, a solar disc on the forehead of the bull can be paralleled by a number of examples on silver heads of bulls from Romania. Concerning the patterns of plant scrolls which fill the background of the scene, Klindt Jensen suggests that the Gauls copied these vegetable ornaments from Mediterranean prototypes. He associates their trilobate leaves with the plant ornaments on the Etruscan sarcophagus of Hellenistic Age. Olmsted, on the other hand, draws parallel with Gaulish coinage which shows tendrils with a cross of S-spirals similar to those on the base plate.

The iconography of this bowl is as enigmatic as the other plates of the cauldron. Some argue that the scene depicts a ritual sacrifice or a slaughter in ceremonial games. Others argue that it is a bull baiting or a hunting scene. Though there are various possibilities concerning the details of the scene, however, it is basically understood as a bull hunting scene whether it be ritual or actual. Sandars and Powell suggest that the bull is upright and about to charge: he threatens one of the dogs and the other dog is already killed. They note that the horns, which once stood out from the bullís forehead, would have emphasized his threatening power. Ellis Davidson says it is also possible that the great bull is sinking to the ground, and that the man with the sword, either running up behind or leaping into the air above the bull, is about to deliver the final blow. Müller compared the position of the man above the bull to that of hunters on Greek coins from Thessaly, shown leaping from their horses to dispatch their quarry.

  (Etruscan Tilobate)


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