Places of interest19 March 2016

An ancient matrix was discovered at Sarmizegetusa Regia

A 2000 year-old matrix has been discovered at Sarmizegetusa Regia, the capital of Dacia, and it has become the center piece at the Museum of Dacian and Roman Civilization in the city of Deva

The Ancient Matrix discovered at Sarmizegetusa Regia

The Ancient Matrix discovered at Sarmizegetusa Regia

The discovery took place in 2013 after a storm that pulled a tree from the ground. In the hole left by the uprooted tree lay the bronze matrix, which was found by Vladimir Brilinsky, the person who administers the monument. The piece is unique and very valuable as it can tell us about the way our ancestors lived. It came from a jewelry designer and was used to create matrixes that helped mold precious metals into jewelry. It is the only piece of this kind discovered on the territory of ancient Dacia.

The matrix has a hexagonal shape and is inlaid with the shapes of various animals, imaginary (gryphons) and real (lion, tiger, leopard, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, bear, wild boar, wolf, bull, aurochs, dog, deer, goat, antelope and rabbit). Such a piece was very expensive and, as such, all of its sides must have been used. It weighs about 8 kilograms, it is 5 centimeters wide and has 8 sides. What the discovery of this piece shows is that the Dacian aristocracy was interested in the type of art that dealt with animal representations. This art was well developed especially in the Mediterranean area and the North Pontic space. The theme of animals fighting was also very popular and existed in many cultural spaces.

The gryphon appeared in the East in the 4th century B.C. and was a very frequent symbol in ancient art. The matrix has three types of gryphons engraved on it: the eagle-gryphon, the lion-gryphon and the wolf-gryphon. While the first two were very common in Antiquity, the wolf-gryphon was particular to the North Pontic space.

Of the real animals that are depicted on the matrix, the elephant was quite common, but the rhinoceros and the hippopotamus are surprising, because such animals could only be seen, in those times, in amphitheater games. Another peculiar detail is that vegetal and anthropomorphic symbols are completely absent from the piece.

According to historians, the matrix was created and used in the 1st century B.C. and the fact that it was found in Dacia shows that this space was well connected with the artistic trends of the Antiquity.


Andra Mihaela Cimpean




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