In the Iliad, Menelaus, Agamemnon, and Nestor are distinguished from the other Greeks at Troy by their special "sparkling" warrior belts (zosteres). These three kings contribute the most men and ships to the war effort and constitute a hereditary elite. Their war belts are emblems of fighting prowess, visually justifying their ruler status, even though high birth, seniority, wealth, and personal connections are the actual reasons for their exalted positions in society. Consisting of seventy-eight elements, this bronze zoster was most likely worn by a Greek chief or king during the Geometric period, singling him out as flt to rule owing to his purported value as a warrior and leader on the battlefield. Arranged symmetrically with mathematical precision, each rectangular element, with alternating raised circular bosses, was originally attached to a leather backing, the central triangular clasp completing the ensemble, thus allowing the belt to be worn.
For a related example: Bennett, M. J. (2020). From chaos to order: Greek geometric art from the Sol Rabin collection. Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, p. 35, cat 2.
Condition: All elements of the belt have been restrung on nylon thread; they are intact and in very good, original condition. Museum quality custom mount.
Dimensions: Length: 94 cm (37 inches), Width: 6 cm (2.36 cm)
Provenance: previously forming part of the private collection of G.K., Shaftlarn, Germany, acquired in the 1990s.
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