Letnitsa Treasure is one of Bulgaria’s most interesting archeological exemplars that happens to be
found by accident like other antique discoveries. Some of them include the Valchitran Treasure, the
Panagyurishte Treasure and many others. Dating back to the 4th century BC, the treasure of Letnitsa
takes us back to the time of ruling of the Odrysian king Kotys I. What is more important is the fact
that the context of the pieces serves as a source of information about the craftsmanship as well as
the mythological beliefs of the people of Thrace.
Discovered in 1964 in a bigger bronze vessel, the Letnitsa Treasure consists of 23 silver-and-gold
items used for the decoration of horse trappings. At first, the treasure disappeared as the workers
who dug it out decided to split it among themselves. Luckily, the treasure of Letnitsa was brought
together once again by a local curator.
There is an interesting scene on each artefact and due to this variety of motifs, the pieces are
supposed to have been made not by one but several different craftsmen. We can see appliques of
animals that are fighting one another and representations of folkloric creatures such as griffins. In
this sense, three major plots can be observed. Firstly, there is the heroes-against-gods theme. Next
come several scenes that unveil a fairytale-like plot, and lastly, several of the objects decode the use
of zoomorphic images and their symbolic interpretations.
Despite this abundance of representations, though, there is one seemingly ongoing motif – that of a
hero horseman who is featured on several pieces. One of the artefacts depicts the hero in a scene
where he is holding his spear up and is followed by another man. In another one he is facing a wolf,
while on a third object from the Letnitsa Treasure the hero is fighting a bear.
This continuous motif carries out a more complex meaning. It reflects certain religious and social
concepts of Thracians regarding the divine origin of kings. Combining all of the episodes together,
we can follow the plot of every young aristocrat and his journey to becoming a royalty.
Do you know anything about Thrace Foundation?
The Thrace Foundation is a non-profit organization, founded by Mr. Vassil Bojkov in 2004. Since the moment of its establishment, it occupies an active position in the processes of promoting and supporting the preservation of the cultural values that are part of the Bulgarian and the world’s cultural and historical heritage.