Seal of Pylos
MARCH 25, 2021 | NAVARINO, PELOPONNESE | 11 MIN
It is May 2015. The archaeological site of Nestor's Palace in the southwestern Peloponnese, 15 km from the modern town of Pylos on the shores of the Gulf of Navarino.
Tomb of the Griffin Warrior
Two American archaeologists – Jack Davis and Sharon Stocker – do not get permission to excavate on the slopes of the Palace, so they decide to explore a bit further. They choose an olive grove, although at first glance it does not promise anything particularly interesting. Three stones arranged quite regularly may point to the Mycenae tomb, but not necessarily. Already one meter below the surface, the pickaxe hits something hard. A characteristic clink of metal, the green color so bronze10 – bingo, we have a discovery! It turns out that it is entirely perfectly preserved, never plundered by robbers, the Mycenaean tomb from around 1450 BC, later called the Tomb of the Griffin Warrior.
A year later, a real masterpiece appears to researchers eyes! Something that fades all previously found treasures put together!
This something, it’s a small, yellow-brown agate seal, 3.6 x 2 cm in size (!) But a genius of it is not in size, but in what is depicted, or rather how it is depicted. We have a scene of fight ahead. Three characters: a warrior with a sword is dealing a lethal blow to an opponent armed with a large shield, spears and helmet. At their feet a third, already dead unfortunate fighter with unnaturally bent body. Mastery of performance is completely unbelievable. You can see at first glance that we are dealing with a masterpiece. First of all, it is difficult to understand how the author managed to give such small details, since today we can not see them without a magnifying glass? (it was invented in the Middle Ages). Secondly, the quality of the representation of the human body – expression, musculature, perfection of proportions – reaches at least the level of classical Greece, that is, it exceeds its time by 1000 years!
why does this amaze us?
In narrations of our agate seal, one motif repeats: the need to revise our ideas about the history of culture, Mycenaean and two neighboring, i.e. Minoan and Greek culture in particular. The need to rewrite history.
But is it for sure? Is this really possible and will be done? Will Mycenaean Leonardo really have such power of influence? Although the comparison to the Italian genius is not properly justified. Leonardo had artists related to him, both predecessors and successors. The author of the Griffin Warrior seal has nothing. Apart from this famous item, more than 40 other seals were found in this tomb. None of them contain even the shadow of the agate warrior’s mastery (although they often depict the same scene). The seal of Pylos stands alone as a unique object and extremely difficult to understand in the context of its era (as far we can know it). To say that it is 1000 years ahead of its time is to say nothing. Because why not 3000 years? Michelangelo could make such an object (it contains some related features – accuracy of observation of the human body, some “mannerism” of the fighting poses), but he did not. Personally, I think he would lack some simplicity, strength and brutality. The Seal of the Griffin Warrior is so unique that an attempt to understand and explain it actually offers two possibilities: either it is a fake or a work of aliens! Although, after a brief reflection, these possibilities should also be rejected. For what is this counterfeit if the features of genius are visible at first glance? And how could aliens know the nature of earthly artistic creation and our expectations so well?
genius without preparation
It seems, therefore, that the Seal of the Griffin Warrior will remain too unique and too inexplicable to change anything in our perceptions about distant eras. Researchers and archivists have too much evidence that, in general, it was just like in Crete at Knossos, at Nestor’s Palace at Pylos, or in times of Pericles in Athens. And the Warrior from agate seals will remain proof that true artistic genius can always be revealed, in any era, even without preparation, announcements of predecessors and related currents. And what is most admirable: we still have enough sensitivity to see such real beauty.
Very nice website about Griffin Warrior Tomb
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