The Persian-Archaemenid empire under Dareius the Great had its largest extension in the 5th century BCE, when its north-western boarders extended up the Thrakian plains in nowaday Bulgaria. In the archeological museum in Sofia many excavated artifacts are considered to represent an archaemenidian style much different from forms inflluenced by hellenistic culture. But there might exist a much older link between so-called Proto-Bulgarians and the ancient Partian people.
The ancient Bulgarians came to the Balkan peninsula from the south russian and and Kazakh grass lands, were they lived next to skyths. The Partians, i.e. the native persian people, came from the same area and from their brought to Iran the expertise of horse breeing and riding.
But the Black Sea basin, located between the Balkan peninsula, caucasus mountains, norther Anatolia and the Crimean peninsula, was perhaps the earliest site of neolithic settlements. Luigi Cavalli-Sforza, eminent geneticist, anthropologist and linguist located the site of the original proto-indoeuropean language there. An intriguing theory by Pitman and Ryan, based on geologic and archaeologic research even claims that the great deluge (Noahs flood in the old testament, but described much earlier in the epic of Gilgamesh) happened there at around 5600 B.C., leading to a migrational wave of the early agricultural settlements into various directions.
It is thus not difficult to understand that in Bulgaria some historical artefacts, that sometimes are still reproduced in common craftswork, resemble to a large degree the persian-sassanid style.
Bulgaria is known today as the land of roses. This references mainly to its present role as one of the largest producers of rose fragrance-oil. The damascene fragrance-rose grows here in a large area of the so-called rose-valley. Its origin, however, is also most likely ancient Persia. Whereas Bulgaria still feels reluctant to admit turkish influences onto its culture (probably due to an 800 years lasting ottoman dominance), they seem to be proude of the few traces that ancient Persia left behind.
In the attached collection, I tried to show a few examples of these common styles. I hope that the resolution of the uploaded image is good enough, otherwise go to my blog.
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