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Ancient Thrace and the Classical World: Treasures from Bulgaria, Romania, and Greece

Available November 2024

Edited by Jeffrey Spier, Timothy Potts, Sara E. Cole, and Margarit Damyanov

A captivating examination of the profound impact Thracian art and culture had on the Greeks and the entire northern Aegean region.

The Thracians—a collection of tribal peoples who inhabited territories north of ancient Greece, an area that comprises present-day Bulgaria, much of Romania, and parts of Greece and Turkey—were renowned for their skill as warriors and horsemen, as well as for their wealth in precious metals. Thracians left few written records, and knowledge of their history and customs has long been dependent on brief accounts from ancient Greek authors. They appeared in Greek myth as formidable adversaries in the Trojan War, cruel kings, and followers of the ecstatic god Dionysos. Spectacular archaeological discoveries made in Thracian lands during modern times, however, have provided firsthand evidence of this remarkable culture, illuminating Thrace’s interactions with Greece, Persia, and Rome.

Ancient Thrace and the Classical World reproduces more than two hundred glorious objects dating from the end of the Bronze Age, around 1200 BCE, to the end of the first century CE, when Thrace became part of the Roman Empire. Experts explore topics such as Thracian royal tombs, the Greek colonization of the Black Sea coast, Thracian religion, and more, placing Thracian culture in a broader historical context that highlights its complex relationships with the surrounding region.

This volume is published to accompany an exhibition on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa from November 6, 2024, to March 3, 2025.

Jeffrey Spier is former Anissa and Paul John Balson II Senior Curator of Antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Timothy Potts is Maria Hummer-Tuttle and Robert Tuttle Director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. Sara E. Cole is assistant curator of antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Margarit Damyanov is associate professor in the Department of Thracian Archaeology at the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in Sofia.

336 pages
9 1/2 x 11 1/2 inches
340 color and 10 b/w illustrations, 2 maps, 1 table
ISBN 978-1-60606-940-0

Getty Publications
Imprint: J. Paul Getty Museum