The Glyptotek marks Denmark’s assumption of the chairmanship of the EU by focussing on the kind of trade which was carried out in ancient Europe.
In the ancient world there was a lively mix of trade, exchange and piracy across the entire Mediterranean. Luxury goods from the Roman Empire also reached Denmark, where chieftains received gifts such as drinking goblets of silver and bronze. Such goblets and other costly trade items are on show at the Glyptotek.
The exhibition presents trade items from the ancient European common market in the period from 800 BC to AD 400. This ranges from actual commerce to the exchange and importation of prestige gifts.
The exhibition focuses on two areas. One concentrates on the trade between Greeks and the indigenous inhabitants of Central and Southern Italy. The other focus is on trade from Italy and areas to its north, notably the extent to which Roman imported items and coins reached Denmark.
The emperor Augustus’s failed attempt to expand the Roman Empire northwards through military might resulted in a new Roman Imperial foreign policy which consisted of trade and the exchange of costly goods with the chieftains and princes to the north. Occasionally these expensive Roman objects turn up during archaeological excavations in this country. In the Roman Iron Age (1st – 4th cent. AD.) such gifts were status symbols in the lives of rich chieftains and prestigious grave gifts when they died.
”The costly Roman discoveries in Denmark tell the story of the Roman Empire’s attempt to get on the right terms with the northern princes by means of precious gifts. This was an attempt at preventing attack from the Germanic territories”, explains classical archaeologist Jan Kindberg Jacobsen. Among the exhibits at the Glyptotek are the ”Byrsted Cups”, which are two superb Roman silver goblets discovered in a rich grave in Northern Jutland.
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek Website