Diameter: 1.800 cm
Room 12b: Greece: Mycenaeans
Amethyst panoply seal
Mycenaean, 1600-1300 BC
A warrior goddess carved on an amethyst seal
This lentoid (lens-shaped) seal-stone is made of amethyst and shows an armed figure. A large figure-of-eight shield completely covers the figure's body, while the head is protected and concealed by a plumed boar's tusk helmet. This was the high-status helmet of the Mycenaean warrior, made of rows of carved boar's tusk sewn onto leather. Each outstretched arm of the figure holds a sword aloft. Below the arms, the figure is flanked by two objects that are difficult to identify.
The armed figure may be a Mycenaean warrior, but is more probably a warrior goddess worshipped by the Mycenaeans. In fact the wearer of the armour is almost hidden: only the spindly arms are visible, giving the impression that the panoply (group of armour) is itself venerated in an animated form. A similar figure is depicted being worshipped on a painted limestone tablet from Mycenae.
Lord William Taylour, The Mycenaeans (London, Thames and Hudson, 1983)
R.A. Higgins, Minoan and Mycenean art, new revised edition (London, Thames & Hudson, 1997)