Bowl with the image of Ganymede and the eagle
Elymais. Ca. 2nd cent. CE.
Diam. 25.5 cm.
Christie’s Fine Art Auction House, London

Bowl with the image of Ganymede and the eagle.

Elymais. Ca. 2nd cent. CE.
Diam. 25.5 cm.

Christie’s Fine Art Auction House, London.

Private collection, England.
Private collection, London, late 1970s — early 1980s.
Christie’s Fine Art Auction House, London. Live Auction 4925, Lot 192, 26 Apr 2012.
Estimate: 150,000—250,000 GBP. Price Realized: 181,250 GBP (price includes buyer’s premium).

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.

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”.

© 2012. Photo, text: Christie’s Fine Art Auction House (Live Auction 4925, Lot 192).
Keywords: ελληνική μυθολογία mythologia graeca greek mythology mitologia greca griechische mythologie grecque γανυμήδης ganymede ganymedes catamitus ganimede ganymed ganymède ζεύς δίας zeus ἔρως έρως eros éros ρωμαϊκή romana roman römische romaine amor cupid amore cupido amour toreutics toreutica cesellatura toreutik treibarbeit toreutique asia minor cup bowl coppa becher coupe medallion medaillon medaglione médaillon tondo winged alato geflügelt ailé alatus alata φτερωτό silver argento silber argent elymais elymaean élymaïde ελυμαΐς ελαμαΐς with the image of and eagle 4925 lot 192