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[Tidbits] An Achaemenid Gold Armlet

Lesson number one: How to run a government. (Anybody out there not
listening who should be listening?) You gather the consul together
and invite them all to a great birthday feast. They’ll probably be
serving loin of scorpion and minced camel pie but that matters not a
whit. What matters is that at the end of the meal they will have
desserts and wine. Lots of wine. Scads of wine. Barrels and Kegs and
Decanters of wine. And all members of the consul will imbibe till
they’re bleary-eyed. And they will then vote on the important matters
of the day. And then the next day. when they’re all sober … they
will review their decisions and decide whether or not their previous
night’s blurred insights still hold ground. And if they do … and
maybe even if they don’t. they will then re-confirm their votes.
Actually. now that I think of it. I very much doubt things have
changed significantly since then.

The year: Circa 550-330 BC. The old Persian Empire. then known as the
Achaemenid Empire. Which brings us. via a route so tortuous and
arcane as to defy comprehension by even the most erudite. to the Oxus
Treasure. This treasure consists of a collection of about 180
surviving pieces of gold and silver jewelry of which I-in my insane
state of serendipity-have found one which you will all soon see
hoisted on my “you-know-where” pages. “You know where”… for those
who actually don’t know where. is the first left turn after “where
the hell is it?” Very easy to find. You’ll get more explicit
directions later.

The Achaemenid/Persian Empire in those days sustained about 50
million people. FYI-attention those of you who thought I couldn’t
talk modern Speaklish-- Achaemenid was the Persian word for “having a
friend’s mind”… whatever that means. Hey pal. You got a nickel. No.
But if you want I can give you a piece of my mind. Maybe… maybe
not. As an aside. this was during the time of Cyrus the Great-king of
Persia-re-builder of Jerusalem-liberator of the Hebrew captives in

It was the time when gold reigned. Zoroastrianism came into being.
Aramaic became the official language. And Cyrus the Great created an
army called the Immortals. You want to talk about high aspirations?

Which brings us to the Vexilloid. Anyone know what this is? You? You?
No? Maybe a Vexilloid is a person who insults other people thereby
vexing them. That Harry. Always with his snide comments. He’s a
Vexilloid you know. Or maybe a Vexilloid is a sort of a flag
which-during the Achaemenid Empire-was represented with a golden
falcon on a crimson background. But then. if you look at the gold
armband I’m about to show you which is a product of that time… you
will have to ask yourselves. why the griffins if the falcon was the

encrusted with gems. I do not see any. Why not? No clue again. For
what it’s worth. this armband or one of its brethren resides in the
British Museum. The Oxus Treasure yielded beautiful golden jewels.
Too much has been lost. Extra bonus info. The palace of Persepolis
was contructed using gold from Sardis and Bactia. Lapis-lazuli and
carnelian came from Sogdiana. Turquoise came from Choransmia. Silver
and ebony. Egypt. Ivory. Ethiopia. The goldsmiths of the day were
Medes and Egyptians. Final test… Sunday.

Some of you may think jewelry started with Van Cleef and Cartier and
maybe even with Benjamin Mark. Not so dear souls. It started. or was
at least enhanced-in a large part-with the Persians and the
Achaemenid Empire.

So now it’s show and tell. Time to view the armband. griffins and
all. Ready? One two three. hup hup. Go. Run. Fly. Skedaddle. You know
where. Home page. Scroll down. Left side.
Tidbits. The old wizard. Click.

And there ya have it. That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
Benjamin Mark


Seeing the Oxus Treasure at the British Museum is still a high water
mark in my viewing of the precious treasures from around the world.

Thanks for sharing this and for your always amusing wordsmithing
that is another treasure.

Best, MA