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AN ELYMAEAN SILVER BOWL
AN ELYMAEAN SILVER BOWL

CIRCA 2ND CENTURY A.D.

Details
AN ELYMAEAN SILVER BOWL
CIRCA 2ND CENTURY A.D.
Decorated on the interior with an applied tondo in high relief depicting Ganymeade and Zeus in the form of an eagle, the figure of winged Eros to the right, a fine Elymaean variety of Aramaic inscription running around the exterior rim
10 in. (25.5 cm.) diam.
Provenance
Private collection, London, late 1970s-early 1980s.

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Lot Essay

Elymais was a local, so-called 'Hellenistic' dynasty, in south-western Iran which flourished during the Seleucid and Arsakid periods, circa 188 B.C. to 222 A.D. The word Elymais is a diminutive of Elam and can be translated as Elam Minor.

The Elymaean variety of Aramaic has only been known from the coinage of the rulers of Elymais and a few short rock inscriptions. Although not perfectly preserved and with several words not clear, the present inscription on the bowl above is believed to be the largest known. It begins with a date 'in the month of Teshri of year 488', which would correspond with the date of 177 A.D. There follows a reference to a king named Kamnaskires Orodes-Farah, apparently the person who 'deposited this cup'. The names Kamnaskires, Orodes and Phraates, and the combination of Kamnaskies Orodes, can be found on coins of the dynasty but the exact dates for these rulers are unknown and the same names reappear frequently over the years, making it difficult to determine which king is mentioned here. Further, the inscription refers to a king Orodes-Farah, but it is not obvious whether this is the same king as mentioned at the beginning or one of his successors. The final words of the inscription read, 'May it maintain his patrimony and may there be protection for ever'.

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