AHS-L2-5. The Bronze Head of Thracian Ruler Seuthes III

Andrea Rangelova1
Faculty Mentor: Aya Louisa McDonald, Ph.D.1
1College of Fine Arts, Department of Art

In 2004 Bulgarian archeologists, Dr. Kitov and Dr. Dimitrova, discovered a unique Hellenistic era bronze head in a Royal Thracian burial, outside the Golyamata Kosmatka tomb. Research and visual analysis has shown that this head is most likely a portrait of Seuthes III, the ruler of Odrysian Thrace. This identification is indicated by its close resemblance to realistically sculpted profile images of Seuthes III found on Thracian coins. In both cases the heads are characterized by a thick beard and a crooked nose, which create a singular, individual identity. Traditional Greek bronze heads around 4 B.C. are beardless.
The head is a masterpiece of Hellenistic realism, dated to c. 4th Century BCE. The archaeologists further suggest that the bronze head of Seuthes III played a significant part in spiritual rituals of the Odryssian Thracians. Further objects inside the Golyamata Kosmatka tomb reveal the substantial influence of Hellenistic Greek art: a silver pitcher, a silver vial, a gold wreath with oak leaves, and a bronze helmet engraved in Greek script with the name of Seuthes III. Fragmentary images of the Gorgon Medusa were found on the funeral bed and the bronze helmet. We conclude that the bronze head of Seuthes III is unique and has no analog in the Greek World.


Nov 15 - 19 2021


All Day


AHS: Lighting Talk Session 2
The Office of Undergraduate Research


The Office of Undergraduate Research


2 Replies to “AHS-L2-5. The Bronze Head of Thracian Ruler Seuthes III”

  1. Hi Andrea! Really great presentation. This is a very interesting and niche topic, thank you for sharing your findings with us!

  2. Hello, everyone! You are welcome to comment if you have any questions regarding the presentation. Also, feel free to leave a comment if you want to provide feedback. Thank you!

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