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Sinope as a Trading and Cultural Agent in Thrace during the Classical and Early Hellenistic Periods

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image of Ancient Civilizations from Scythia to Siberia

Using a range of materials, this article aims to reveal Sinope ‐ the most developed Greek apoikia on the southern Black Sea coast from the Archaic to the early Hellenistic period ‐ as a contributor to the economic and cultural development of Thrace, especially the northeastern part. Mapping the find-spots of axe types with Thracian replicas allows us to outline the route used from the Early Bronze Age onwards from the Black Sea coast in the Sinope-Amisos area through central Anatolia toward Cilicia, Phoenicia and Palestine and confirm the opinion that the direct route across the Black Sea from Sinope to the northwest coast of the Pontus was familiar to local sea-farers before the period of Greek colonization. Sinope developed as a prosperous port of the caravan route between the Euphrates and the Black Sea from the 6th to the 4th century BC, when the polis adopted a leading role as a producer and exporter of olive oil and architectural terracottas to the markets of the northern and northwestern Pontic areas. In addition, Sinope realized the rich mineral resources of its area and was probably also an artistic centre. The economic penetration of Sinope deep into the hinterland of northern Thrace gives grounds to reassess the origins of some of the toreutic items discovered in recent decades, such as the bull-rhyton of the Borovo Treasure. Some iconographic and stylistic novelties in otherwise purely Thracian vases and other types of artefacts could be seen in the context of relations with eastern Anatolia and adjacent areas of the Near East.


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