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at and ma periods of ang nam
period when commercial relations between Egypt and the Mycenæ world were fully established. The XVIII. Dynasty is dated by the most recent corrections at 1587–1327 B.c. The relations of Egypt with the Ægean in this period are established, not only by evidence of influence, such as the ceiling at Orchomenos and the wall painting at Tiryns, executed under the immediate influence of the Egyptian decoration of the XVIII. Dynasty, but also by numerous finds of Mycenæan pottery in Egypt, and of Egyptian objects at Mycenæ and Ialysos, dated with names of the XVIII. Dynasty. Inscriptions of Thothmes III. (14811449) recount among his tributaries the kings of the Phænicians and the isles of the Great Sea. It thus appears that in the fifteenth century B.C. commercial relations and even political relations existed between Egypt and the Ægean. We shall not therefore be far astray if we set down the fifteenth century B.C. as the period at which the spiral of the Mycenæ patterns entered Europe through the gate of the Ægean.
A point of much interest raised by the recent discoveries of Mr. A.J. Evans in Crete has to be here considered : Mr. Evans has found in Crete scarabs of the XII. Dynasty. As he remarks, we have not to deal 6 with cartouches containing names which might possibly have been revived at later periods of Egyptian history, but with a peculiar class of ornament and material that forms the distinguishing characteristics of the Egyptian scarabs of XII. Dynasty date, and which, though partly maintained during the succeeding dynasty, gives way in later work to other decorative fashions." The returning spiral motive was highly developed on the XII. Dynasty scarabs, and, as shown by Mr. Evans, was copied on seal-stones by the native Cretan engravers.
The following extract from Mr. Evans's Paper bears directly on our subject. I quote it at length :
“ From Crete, where we find these Ægean forms in actual juxtaposition with their Egyptian prototypes, we can trace them to the early cemeteries of Amorgos, presenting the same funeral inventory as that of Phæstos, and here and in other Ægean islands like Melos can see them taking before our eyes more elaborate developments. Reinforced a thousand years later by renewed intimacy of contact between the Ægean peoples and the Egypt of Amenophis III., the same system was to regain a fresh vitality as the principal motive of the Mycenæan goldsmith's work. But though this later influence reacted on Mycenæan art, as can be seen by the Orchomenos ceiling, the root of its spiral decoration is to be found in the earlier • Ægean' system engrafted long before, in the days of the XII. Dynasty. The earliest goldwork as seen in the Akropolis Tombs is the translation into metal of • Ægean' stone decoration. The spiral design on the stele of Grave V. is little more than a multiplication of that on the Phæstian seal.
Was comme on the fashio, succee
1 Petrie's “History of Egypt," p. 252. 2 - Journal of Hellenic Studies," vol. xiv., p. 326.
“In the wake of early commerce the same spiraliform motives were to spread still further afield to the Danubian basin, and thence in turn by the valley of the Elbe to the Amber Coast of the North Sea, there to supply the Scandinavian Bronze Age population with their leading decorative designs. Adopted by the Celtic tribes in the Central European area, they took at a somewhat later date a westerly turn, reached Britain with the invading Belgæ, and finally survived in Irish art. The high importance of these Cretan finds is that they at last supply the missing link in this long chain, and demonstrate the historical connexion between the earliest European forms of this spiral motive and the decorative designs of the XII. Dynasty Egyptian scarabs. And it is worthy of remark that in Egypt itself, so far as it is possible to gather from the data at our disposal, this returning spiral system, which can be traced back to the IV. Dynasty, is throughout the earlier stages of its evolution restricted to scarabs. The primitive Ægean imitations are also in the same way confined to stonework, and were only at a later date transferred to metal and other materials. The whole weight of the archæological evidence is thus dead against the generally received theory that the spiral ornament, as it appears on Mycenæan art, originated in metalwork, though its later application to this and other materials naturally reacted on its subsequent development.
“It seems by no means improbable that this early Ægean spiral system, born of this very ancient Egyptian contact, was beginning to spread in a Northern direction at a date anterior to the great days of Mycenæ.”
Mr. Evans adds that it is noteworthy that in some Bronze Age deposits of Hungary certain clay stamps have come to light with a quadruple spiral design which might be taken as direct copies of a Cretan example which he figures, “nor are there wanting indications that the Ægean spiral system was leaving its impress on Italian handiwork before the days of Mycenæan contact.”
Some of the preceding statements require a few words. The statement that “the spiral motive, adopted by the Celtic tribes in Central Europe, took at a later date a westerly direction, reached Britain with the Belgæ and survived in Irish art,” is too general. I shall hope to show that the spiral reached Ireland, not by way of the Belgæ, but from the North in the early Bronze Age, as an extension of the movement of the spiral from the Ægean to the North. The later westward extension of the Late Celtic spiral, though it may be indirectly related to the earlier northward movement, is, I believe, historically distinct from it. The importance of this distinction is fundamental in any attempt to affix dates to the respective periods.
The interest for us of Mr. Evans's discoveries lies in the fact that
1“ Journal of Hellenic Studies,” vol. xiv., p. 329.
the spiral is now shown to have reached the Ægean as early as the XII. Dynasty. It is therefore probable, and this he points out and supports with some evidence, that the Ægean spiral system of that period was beginning to spread northward before the great days of Mycenæ. But I cannot think it is correct to regard the Mycenæ spirals as an outgrowth of these earlier spirals in the Ægean. The reference is direct to the great development of spiral decoration in the XVIII. Dynasty.
Traces of the earlier spiral wave may no doubt underlie Mycenaan ornament, but the great development of spiral patterns which marks the flourishing period of Mycenæan art would appear to be justly referred to the corresponding development of spiral decoration in Egypt during the XVIII. Dynasty, when intercourse with Egypt was frequent. And it is to the impress of this later wave of influence that the spread of spiral patterns in the Bronze Age in Europe is most fitly attributed. From all that we know of the conventionalisation of ornament, and derivation of forms through copies of copies, we should expect degradation of types, not development, in the period succeeding the introduction of XII. Dynasty spirals in the Ægean. This we know was the case with regard to the Mycenæ spirals, not only within the Mycenæ area, but along their line of march to the Baltic. The Cretan examples adduced by Mr. Evans, already indeed show elements of debasement. Further, even in the case of an ascending civilization which has adopted the simplified forms of foreign ornament, we should expect modification and departure, as in the case of Hungarian and Northern modifications of Mycenæ patterns, rather than a development in the groove of the foreign patterns. And so the higher orders of the Mycenæ patterns are closer to Egyptian models than the simplified forms, pointing to the introduction of the patterns at the higher stages of the series, and the subsequent local simplification and exhaustion of the motive. The evidence of the Mycenæ patterns as a whole points, I think, to local simplification of Egyptian models, rather than a development from an existing spiral motive. The presence of an earlier wave of spiral motive may enable us to explain points of detail, but the body of evidence from Mycenæ, Hungary, and Scandinavia, seems to show that its influence was limited, and submerged by the later great decorative wave of the spiral patterns of the XVIII. Dynasty.
Retracing our steps for a moment, a few additional words may be said here on the question of the origin of the spiral. Mr. Evans lays stress on the statement that so far as it is possible to gather from the data at our disposal, the returning spiral system, which has now been traced back to the IV. Dynasty, is throughout the earliest stages of its evolution restricted to scarabs. The primitive Ægean imitations are also, he says, confined to stonework, and were only at a later date transferred to metal and other materials. The whole weight of evidence is thus, he adds, against the generally received theory that the spiral ornament, as it appears. on Mycenæan art, originated in metal work. In other places he speaks of the spiral motive as “ developed to an extraordinary degree," on the XII. Dynasty scarabs, and again of the simple spiral system having attained its “apogee" under the XII. and XIII. Dynasties. The moment the dependence of the Mycenæ spirals on those of Egypt was recognised, the theory of local origin in metal work was necessarily abandoned ; and as Mr. Goodyear has pointed out, in Egypt it would be difficult to prove that the spiral was derived from jewellers' work, as, on the contrary, Egyptian jewelry shows dependence on other Egyptian ornament rather than influence on it. For some years, therefore, it can hardly be said that the theory of the metal work origin of Mycenæan spiral ornament has been generally received. The returning spiral is highly developed on the XII. Dynasty scarabs, but the apogee of the motive is, I think, more fitly found in the ceiling patterns of the XVIII. and XIX. Dynasties. The spirals of the XII. Dynasty are, with one or two exceptions, confined to scarabs, as are the earlier examples, but surely it is a very large assumption that the spiral was developed, or even came into use on the scarab. It is difficult to believe that the spiral is original on the scarabs. The evolution of the spiral cannot be traced on them, and, from what we know of the conventionalisation of ornament, it is well nigh certain that behind or aside the scarabs must lie series in which the evolution of the form has yet to be found. Mr. Evans refers to a vase of black ware in the Ashmolean Museum, from Egypt, of a style characteristic of XII. and XIII. Dynasty deposits, with a punctuated returning spiral ornament; and is of opinion that it would therefore appear that, at least as early as the XIII. Dynasty, this spiral decoration was beginning to spread to other objects besides scarabs. But may not the movement have been the other way? There is a temptation in archæology to assume that “finds" are representative of the periods to which they are ascribed. Every day it is becoming clearer that we must make large allowances for the imperfection of the archæological record. And the record for the early periods in Egypt is admittedly very imperfect. The asserted restriction of the spirals to the scarabs is guarded by the words, “ so far as it is possible to gather from the data at our disposal.” But the data at our disposal are obviously too imperfect to support an inference so particular.
These remarks apply equally to the Cretan spirals. The spirals on the Cretan seal stones are, no doubt, copied from XII. Dynasty scarabs; but we must not assume that the decorative use of the spiral is exhausted by these examples. At sec. I., p. 355," I advanced reasons for stating that Mr. Goodyear had not proved the derivation of the spiral from the lotus. The association of the spiral with the lotus could be explained as a case of
1 " Journal of Hellenic Society,” vol. xiv., p. 330, note.
attraction of form. On this point Mr. Goodyear writes to me: “The dating of spirals on scarabs does not really affect the argument. These were certainly not the original objects on which the evolution occurred.” In support of this view he points to the deficiency of detailed lotus forms on the scarabs in all periods. “The scarabs,” he adds, “are valuable as proring hieratic significance for the spiral and concentric rings, but they are not the monuments on which to search for the evolution. It need not then concern us that we can date a V. Dynasty spiral on scarabs earlier than the XI. Dynasty instance (with lotus). The discovery of such objects is wholly fortuitous, and the deficiencies in our knowledge for early Egyptian art are just as enormous as those in the geologic record for the history of man.” Until we know more of the beginnings of Egyptian art, the origin of Egyptian spirals must remain an open question, as Mr. Goodyear willingly concedes.
In returning on the question of the origin of the spirals, I am led to add here a few words regarding the incised ornaments of early Cyprus pottery, especially as the argument from the geometric lotus forms is liable to be misunderstood. In his great work on the antiquities of Cyprus, Dr. Ohnefalsch-Richter adopts a somewhat similar line of argument concerning these patterns to that applied by Mr. Evans to the spirals. On plate ccxvi. he sets forth a number of examples of incised hand-made pottery from the Copper-Bronze Age period of the island. The patterns on this class of ware, consisting of concentric circles, concentric half-circles applied to horizontal and vertical lines, lozenge and chevron forms, Dr. Ohnefalsch-Richter considers to be indigenous ornament invented and developed in Cyprus. With the introduction of the potter's-wheel and compass in the succeeding Iron Period, which may reach back to 1000 B.C., came greater regularity of execution and variation of type seen in the painted ware, the concentric circle systems of which he regards as developed from the incised patterns of the preceding period.
The half-circle motive he regards as arising from the intersection of groups of concentric circles, from which he derives the intersecting circles of the painted ware, as on fig. 13. The latter groups of intersecting circles are, however, always completed circles, whereas on the incised pottery they do not intersect, but are stopped as half-circles. The intersecting circles of the painted pottery may be traceable to a suggestion of form from the incised patterns, but this explanation of the latter cannot be read back into the former. The individual character of the half-circle motive, which we shall find maintained even in Ireland, is altogether overlooked in such attempted explanations.
Dr. Ohnefalsch-Richter is no doubt right in seeing in the incised pottery the presence of carved gourd models, and probably the influence of straw or palm-leaf plaiting, but these suggestions do not explain the
1 " Kypros, the Bible, and Homer.” London, 1893, pp. 354 and 490.