Lynn Roller, Early Phrygian Drawings From Gordion

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Transcript of Lynn Roller, Early Phrygian Drawings From Gordion

Early Phrygian Drawings from Gordion and the Elements of Phrygian Artistic Style Author(s): Lynn E. Roller Source: Anatolian Studies, Vol. 49, Anatolian Iron Ages 4. Proceedings of the Fourth Anatolian Iron Ages Colloquium Held at Mersin, 19-23 May 1997 (1999), pp. 143-152 Published by: British Institute at Ankara Stable URL: Accessed: 01/02/2010 17:05Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission. JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected]

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Early Phrygiandrawingsfrom Gordion and the elements of PhrygianartisticstyleLynn E. RollerUniversity of California,Davis

The excavationsof Youngat Gordion(1950-73) made an immeasurablecontributionto our understandingof the Iron Age in centralAnatolia. Amidst the attentionpaid to his discoveries of rich burial tumuli and substantial buildings within the elite quarterof the Gordion citadel mound, a series of casual drawings incised on the exteriorsurfaceof one of these buildings,Megaron2, has received less notice. Known informally as 'doodles', these drawings range from small cursory sketches to largercomplex pictures. They were noted in the Gordion preliminaryexcavation reports for the 1956 and 1957 seasons and were the subject of a brief study in Archaeology in 19691,but theirsignificancehas never been fully assessed. Yet these drawings, while hardly great art, have the potentialto offer much valuable informationon Phrygian interests and activities and on the Phrygians' sources of artistic inspirationin the late eighth century a BC. For this reason I am undertaking full review of all the stones with incised Phrygian drawings for publication. My goal here is to discuss the technique and subject matterof the drawings, and offer some suggestions aboutthe artisticimpetuseswhich lay behind them. First, a few comments on the building itself. Megaron2, like most buildings on the citadel mound, is a standardAnatolian megaron, although it differs from other Gordion megara in having no front wall; its anteroom was separatedfrom the courtyardonly by a light screen, probablyof wood. Anotherunique feature is the series of pebble mosaics on the megaron's floors, including a striking example with brightly colored geometric designs in the interiorroom2. The megaron's side and back walls were constructedof stone blocks set in a frameworkof horizontal and vertical timbers; the outer and inner surfaces of each wall were made from

poros limestone blocks of varying size and shape, formingtwo parallelwall surfaces,two 'skins' as it were, filled with rubble in between. Shortly after the constructionof the building, two small sheds were built behindit, and at a laterpoint both sheds and the rearwall of the megaronwere covered by the fill for a largeterrace raisedbehindMegarons1 through4. Megaron2, like the other buildings in the Gordion citadel mound, was destroyedby fire, probablyan intentionalfire related to military destruction,in the late eighth century BC. The extensive use of timberresulted in almost total collapse of the walls, and most blocks from the side walls were found jumbled together in a heap at the base of the building. Only the rear wall and southeast comer, protected by the fill of the terrace behind, remained standingto a height of several courses. Incised drawings were found on the outer surfaces of both side walls, the back walls and the two small sheds, althoughthe circumstances of the building's destructionmake it impossible to reconstructthe relationship of one incised block to another3. The characterof the scenes incised on the blocks is quite variable. I use the word 'drawing' to describe them, but in fact several different techniques can be noted. Some were scratchedlightly into the stone, while others were cut more deeply4(fig 1). A few were carved with a technique resembling relief, and at least one appearsto have been a preliminaryattemptat high relief (fig sculpture5 2). Each drawingis complete on a single no drawing extends over the edge of one block block;

Young 1969. Preliminarypublication in Young 1957: 323, figs 10-12; Young 1958: 142-3, fig 3. A discussion of these drawings,but no illustrations,can be found in Young 1963. 2 For the location of Megaron2 (markedM2), see the site plan of Gordionin Sams 1989: 451, fig 1; Sams 1994: 216, fig 20:1. On the mosaic, see Young 1957: pl 89, fig 7; 1963: 354, fig 6.


3 The two southernmost piers of the east wall of the building (on the site plan this appearsto be the southwest comer, but is called southeastin the excavationreports)remainedstandingto a height of about 1.5m; a reconstructeddrawing of this area appearsin Young 1958: pl 21, fig 3; 1969: 271 top. 4 In addition to the two stones shown here, figs 1-2, incised drawingsare illustratedin Young 1957: pl 90, fig 10 (Gordion inventorynumberST 268); 1969: 273 top (ST 839). 5 For examples of relief, see ST 313, Young 1957: pl 90, fig 11, and ST 845, here fig 2.


AnatolianStudies 1999

Fig 1. Stone illustratingdancer,GordionInventoryNumberST 319

Fig 2. Stone illustratingman and lion, ST 845


Roller onto another. All drawingswere clearly of a very casual character: they were not framed or centered on the blocks, but incised at random. In severalcases one figure overlapswith anotheron the same block. Fig 3 illustrates one example: here the head of a bird drawn in right profile shares a common line with the body of another bird;both are overlain by a lion facing right, which then merges into the outstretchedwings of a bird in flight, with random lines across the whole. On another example, a birdshown in left profile was drawnon top of two warriorswho face each otherwith drawnswords6. In a few cases we can see the lighter lines of preliminary sketches for a subject in addition to the more deeply incised lines of the final picture, as in one drawing of a dog with its tongue hanging from an open mouth7. The subject matterof these drawings covers a wide range of material. Many are little more than random scratches, arcs, and lines with no discernable pattern, perhapsthe marksof someone testing tools on the stones. Intentionalgeometricpatternsare found as well. A large number of the incised stones, however, have figured subjects,includinghumansand animals. In some cases a single figure, or series of figures, appears alone, while others depict more complex narrativescenes. Approximately 20 drawings depict human beings involved in a variety of actions. We see men engaged in hunting,as in one drawingwhich shows a hunterwho has bagged a hare (fig 4), and in anotherexample depicting an individual holding out a lure to retrieve a falcon8. Warfareis another subject recorded on several stones. Men attack their opponents with swords and with bows and arrows9. Otherindividuals appearto be engaged in athletic activity, including two pairs of boxers on one stone and a dancer on another10.We receive at least a sketchy impressionof Phrygiancostume, a shortkilt-like skirt, and also of the weaponry and armour of the Phrygian warrior,particularlythe rounded helmet with high crest. One example depicts a figure wearinga more impressive costume, a long gown and a broad belt with an elaborate rectangularclasp covered with geometric designs (fig 5); this recalls the examples of elaborate belts found in Phrygianburialtumuli"1. of Among representations animals,lions are the most common. The lions come in all sizes, from a few centimetershigh to lions thatcover an entire stone. They are usually shown alone, not huntingor otherwise interacting with another figure. Several different styles of lion appear,including a rounded lion head (fig 6, left), and two more angular lions (fig 8). In some cases a complete lion with huge paws and claws stridesforward, his mouth open12. One unusual drawing depicts a suckling lioness'3. The Phrygianartistswere also fond of birds. We see birds in flight (figs 3, 5) and resting'4. In several drawingsthe bird's sharplycurved beak and claws make it clear thatthese are birdsof prey15.Domestic fowl such as chickens appearfrequently too16. Although one can distinguish between predatoryand non-predatorybirds, the casual drawing style precludes identification of individualspecies. A variety of other animals, both wild and tame, appear as well. We see two scenes with dogs, their mouths open and barking. These are clearly domesticated dogs wearing pointed collars for protection"7. Galloping horses add another vivid touch, as do goats (fig 6) and deer displaying magnificentantlersl8(fig 7).

11ST 441, herefig 5. Forexamples Phrygian of bronze belts, see Young al 1981:Tumulus TumP et P, 34-36,andMM,170180. ThebeltsfromTumulus havesimilar MM on patterns theend-plaques,although the clasps ar