Classical period

Within the permanent exhibition, the collection of the Classical period presents exhibits that originate from the end of the V to the middle of the IV century BC. It is a time of significant social, demographic, political and economic change in the lives of the peoples who inhabited the territory of the Republic of Macedonia and the broader central Balkan area, including Paionians, Macedonians, Bryges, Illyrians, Dardanians and others.

The artifacts on exhibit are witnesses to the developed material culture as well as to the economic, mercantile and cultural relations, particularly with the Hellenic cities and colonies to the south. Numerous examples of various exclusive items for domestic and personal use, brought directly from the centers of the ancient world: Athens, Olynthus, Pella, Amphipolis, Philippi, etc., point to the active influence of the Hellenic world in the development of the population that inhabited the territory of the Republic of Macedonia in antiquity. An example is the group of ceramic vessels in red-figure style painting, found at sites around Demir Kapija and at Isar-Marvinci in Valandovo. Several forms characteristic of early antiquity may be singled out: the pelike, lekythos, kantharos, skyphos, especially the hydria from Demir Kapija with a depiction of the Dionysus cult in style of the big Medias.

These and other forms of table, kitchen and transport vessels became increasingly more popular in the domestic (local) pottery production. Among them stands out a group of grey-fired vessels known as Paionian grey or Macedonian grey pottery. In order for the needs of the market to be satisfied, moulds were used for production of certain forms.

In addition to ceramic vessels, jewelry also attracts particular attention. The beautiful diadems, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, brooches and many others, worked in filigree and granulation techniques, are undoubtedly a product of master goldsmiths. For the most part, these items were discovered in ancient necropoleis in Macedonia, at Isar-Marvinci, Zdanec, Demir Kapija, Beranci and Ohrid. Among them especially stands out the group of 104 gold objects discovered in graves 127 and 132 in the necropolis of Gorna Porta at Ohrid.

Terracotta figurines with anthropomorphic and zoomorphic representations are common finds in settlements and necropoleis, and they transmit the story of religion and cults from early antiquity or, in other words, the spiritual culture of our distant ancestors.

Although weapons are less well represented among the exhibits compared to other types of material, nevertheless several swords, knives, spear heads, and arrows from Isar-Marvinci, Zdanec, Demir Kapija and other sites stand out. Among them, a special place is held by the unique helmets that were discovered at Marvinci-Isar, Valandovo; Koreshnica, Demir Kapija; and Gorna Porta, Ohrid.

M.A. Goran Sanev, custodian advisor of Classical period

sanev@hotmail.com