THE ODRYSES' ROYAL NECROPOLIS NEAR DOUVANLII
The big ritual-funeral complex found near the village Douvanlii (District of Plovdiv) consists of 29 individual, well-seen in the countryside area barrows dated from 6th to 1st centuries BC. Of all these only five: Moushovitsa Mogila (i.e. 'barrow'), Koukova Mogila, Golyamata (Big) Mogila, Bashova Mogila and Arabadzhiyska Mogila - are rich of artifacts.
Treasure objects found there are listed in an article by Prof. Bogdan Filov: the findings from the necropolis and the known in that time precious things from Ancient Thrace had allowed the great Bulgarian archaeologist to state in a special publication that the postulates on 'Scythian bestial' style should be revised and that it is necessary to investigate the existence of a Thracian toreutic school. Bogdan Filov connects the necropolis with Thracian Bessi, while the analyses made by Prof. Margarita Tacheva allow researchers to comprehend that the necropolis belonged to Odryses' royal dynasty.
Some of the treasure objects found there and dated 6th - 5th
centuries BC have their parallels in Homer. Here are for instance the descriptions in Can. 10 of the 'Iliad': "Among Trojans there was someone called Dolon, son of Eumedeos, the heavenly herald, rich in gold and copper... Spare my life and 1 will give you ransom because in my home there is copper, and gold and well-wrought iron. Of all those things my father would give you willingly countless ransom, had he knew I am alive in Achaean ships... So, if you wish to get into Trojan bivouac, there at the side are the recently arrived Thracians, they have pitched their camp farthest of all, at the very end', among them is King Rhesos, son of Eioneos. I saw his horses, the most beautiful and stoutest, whiter than the snow, racing as fast as the wind. His chariot is nicely decorated with gold and silver. He came with weapons, made of gold, huge, marvelous to look at; it does not become mortal men to wear them but gods immortal..."
Similar to the above are the descriptions in Euripides tragedy "Rhesos", which does not belong to his pen and was written some time by the end of 5th - the beginning of the 4th century BC:
"... like a torrent flowed hither the Thracian army. Seized by fear we rushed the herds towards the summits of the mountain, lest some Argivian may come hither led by his lust for loot and to put your sheep-pens to destruction. But when non-Hellenic words reached our ears, our fear disappeared; then I approached the King's scouts on the road and asked them in Thracian language who was their leader and whose son was that who, being an ally of the Priamids has set off for the town. And when I heard everything I wanted to know, I stood still and saw King Rhesos like a God, standing upright in his chariot pulled by Thracian horses. Golden harness weighed down on the necks of his horses, whiter than snow and his shield plated in gold, was shining on his body. Gorgons made of copper and affixed on horses' frontlets, as if had come from the aegis of Goddess Athena stroke terror by the ringing of their many bells."
Definitely, these descriptions have no parallels with materials from the late Bronze Age in Thrace. On the other hand almost everything described above can be seen in the articles found in the Odryses' royal necropolis, including the applications of the Gorgon-Medusa. Gold breastplates, gold rings
and adornments, gold and silver (gilded) decorations on armors of Thracian Kings, ornamentations on chariots, shields and horse harness of the heavy armored aristocratic elite become something quite usual for Thrace exactly since 6th century BC on.
In the early materials from the necropolis one can perceive a strong Iranian influence, which shows in many "Ahemenid" by their typology and ornamentation early objects from the necropolis. Their character made Prof. M. Tacheva to even see in part of them the funereal stock of an unknown 'Persian princess'. However, here some findings were revealed of doubtlessly Odryses' character and there is no way they to have been made not in local workshops which, even if they were not royal ones, had carried out royal orders. Such for instance are the typical silver kantharos-like vessels, the handles of which are crossed by massive metal bands. They served to wind around them ivy as can be seen on some of the kantharos-like vessels on Abdera coins from the first quarter of 4th century BC.