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Medallions on a Bowl with courtly scenes and mounted soldiers, called the

Ascension of Alexander the Great
Byzantine, 12th century. State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, W-72

Mounted Greek Spearman
Mounted Muslim Archer
Scarf Dancer

Fighting a Lion

Hunting with Trained Snow Leopards?

A Warrior Fighting
A Muslim Warrior
A Destroyed Medallion

Ascension of Alexander the Great in a Basket Drawn by Gryphons
Fighting a Lion

Ascension of Alexander the Great Astride a Huge Bird


A larger image of the Medallions on a Byzantine bowl with the Ascension of Alexander the Great
The scenes on the bowl from the former collection of A. P. Bazilevsky (fig. 83-103) are probably also inspired by the epic of Diginis Akritas. The combat between a mounted Greek spearman and a mounted Muslim archer, the duel of two unmounted warriors (perhaps a clash with robbers), two scenes of fighting lions (in the poem, Akritas fought lions on three occasions), representations of musicians and a dancing girl, the scene of hunting with trained snow leopards—all this is organically linked with the poem. Linked with it are two other compositions showing the ascension of Alexander the Great (in one case, in a basket drawn by gryphons; in another, astride a huge bird). In the poem, the great emir who was the hero’s father, is likened to “Alexander of Macedon”; the exploits of that “discoverer” of Asia were depicted in mosaic in Akritas’ palace.
Source: Plates 86-97, Darkevich, Svetskoe iskusstvo Vizantii: X-XIII veka, (Moscow 1975). [990MB]
Secular Art of Byzantium: X-XIII centuries.

Referenced as figure 110 in Arms and armour of the crusading era, 1050-1350 by Nicolle, David. 1988 edition
110A—110D Silver dish, Byzantine or Georgian, 12 Cent. (formerly Collection of A. P. Basilevsky, present whereabouts unknown)
A splendid example of the same kind of object with very similar subjects (see Figs. 108 and 109). Both the “Byzantine” and the “Turk” wear the same stylized form of body armour while the two confronting infantrymen, one of whom seems to wear riding boots (110C), are almost identically armed. Figure 110D does, however, have a stylized ṭirāz around his upper arm. Such applied embroidery with dedicatory inscriptions was typical of the Muslim ruling and military classes, so its appearance here might be intended to identify this warrior as the Muslim foe. His sword, though confused, lacks a pommel and is clearly different from that of Fig. 110C.

Referenced as figure 233 in The military technology of classical Islam by D Nicolle
233. Inlaid metal dish, 12th century AD, Byzantine or Caucasian, Basilevsky Coll., Hermitage, Leningrad (Dar).

Back to images of the Bowl with the Ascension of Alexander the Great, Byzantine, 12th century. State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, W-72

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