Calyx - Thrace Foundation


The Quest of the Argonauts

Vassil Bojkov Collection


Silver calyx with a young satyr medallion - 340-320 BC

Silver vases of this general shape were common long ago in Near East and Anatolia. They became, however, more popular during the expansion of the Persian Empire, and they have been adopted and adapted by various people and cultures under Achaemenid dominance. This particular calyx is the largest -to this day- known exemplar of the Macedonian court workshops, where the shape has evolved during the second half of the 4th century BC into its more ornate and balanced version. It has its convex lower body, covered with a tongue motif, contrasting with its upper concave plain neck, and the shoulder between the two parts accentuated by an intricate cable pattern. The outside medallion of a rosette underneath the bottom is matched on the interior by an omphalion – a high relief medallion – representing a young Satyr, crowned with an ivy wreath and wearing an animal skin. Satyrs were the followers of Dionysus, and our image, which is one of the most expressive representations on Macedonian silver calyces, is full of Dionysian passion, anticipating the passionate and tumultuous world, which followed the conquest of the East by Alexander the Great.

European year of cultural heritage 2018