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ArticleName The Greek shield as a metal artifact and its reflection in the story of the Croesus’ gifts in Thebes
DOI 10.17580/nfm.2020.02.10
ArticleAuthor Mozhajsky A. Yu., Pichugina V. K.

Institute for Oriental and Classical Studies, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russia, Moscow1 ; Institute for Strategy of Education Development of the Russian Academy of Education, Russia, Moscow2:

A. Yu. Mozhajsky, Associate Professor, Department of Ancient History and Byzantium1, Senior Researcher2, e-mail:


Institute for Strategy of Education Development of the Russian Academy of Education, Russia, Moscow:
V. K. Pichugina, Leading Researcher, e-mail:


The article is devoted to the study of archaeological evidences and literary tradition regarding ancient Greek shields as metal artifacts or as the artifacts made by the use of metal. Presented is an attempt at interpreting the names “σάκος” (sakos) and “ἀσπίς” (aspis), by which ancient authors called the Greek shields in the Archaic and Classical Periods. New data on the dating of some artefacts let assume that a number of shields, the production technology of which goes back to the Late Bronze Age or made later (in the Geometric or Archaic Periods) may have been displayed in sanctuaries under the influence of the artifacts from the Late Bronze Age. The authors propose a version according to which Herodotus, describing the Croesus’ gifts in Thebes, uses the word “σάκος”, thereby emphasizing the uncommonness of the golden shield, its heroic antiquity and the reliability of the Amphiaraus’ shield. Archaeological parallels and the words “φαενάν [ἀσπ]ίδα” from an inscription found in Thebes suggest that it was a round shield. Thisartifact had not only a religious, but also a historical and educational function, being an article that bounds up the Thebans with their heroic past.

This work is supported by the Russian Science Foundation under grant No. 18-78-10001.

keywords Shield, bronze, gold, sakos, aspis, Thebes, Amphiaraus, Croesus, Herodotus, Apollo Ismenios, Delphi

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