Seal of the month
A man is standing in right profile among five columns, two behind him and three in front of him. The man has short spiky hair combed backwards, one arm down and one arm bent upwards in front of him. He is wearing a belt, a bracelet and, possibly, a short garment around the pelvis. The columns behind the figure have a double base but those in front of him double capitals. The bodies of the columns have relief decoration that could be interpreted as fluting: two have vertical fluting, one spiral fluting, and two spiral fluting on top and vertical on the lower part. A linear element just behind the figure could hypothetically represent an attempt to render a sixth column with a double capital and a single base in the background.
From Mycenae, Chamber Tomb 68
Stylistic Dating: LB II-LB IIIA1?
This is a rare representation of a human shown standing in what appears to be an architectural setting represented by columns. The fact that the man has the same dimensions as the columns suggests that the human figure was the centre of interest in the representation and the columns were added as secondary elements, probably in order to suggest a ‘colonnaded’ area in which the figure was standing. The setting could represent an open or closed space. The absence of a roof line does not, however, necessarily suggest that this is an open space but is more probably a practicality connected with the fact that the figure is as large as the columns: if a roof line ahd been rendered on top of the columns, the man’s head would be very close to it and this would make the unnaturally large size of the figure immediately obvious.
Scenes with humans in association with columns are rare in Aegean glyptic. In such scenes, the columns appear as single elements and function more as symbols and less as indicators of architectural settings. The closest parallel to the scene on CMS I no. 107 is the representation of a female figure standing between two columns on a Minoan soft stone seal of unknown provenance. However, the columns here are shorter than the figure and were probably meant to have a symbolic meaning as opposed to a function of supporting a roof.
Barrel-shaped seals are differentiated from cylinder-seals by the fact that they have tapering ends. They are only represented by a handful of examples in the Aegean Bronze Age and date to LB I-IIIA1. Examples of this type of seals come from the mainland, the islands and also Crete.