Tiara of Saitaferne

Tiara Of Saitaferne

Tiara of Saitaferne

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The Tiara of Saitaferne is a tiara in gold sheet, acquired by the Louvre Museum in 1896, afterwards shown to be a fake.


On April 1, 1896, the Louvre announced that it had purchased a gold tiara that had belonged to the Scythian king, Saitapharnes. The museum had purchased the artifact for 200,000 gold French francs. A Greek inscription on the tiara read "The council and citizens of Olbia honour the great and invincible King Saitapharnes". To the experts at the Louvre, the tiara confirmed an episode dating to the late 3rd-century B.C. or early 2nd-century B.C. According to the story, Saitapharnes had besiege the Greek colony of Olbia and was convinced to leave the city in peace only through the offering of expensive gifts.

Shortly after the Louvre exhibited the tiara, a number of experts challenged its authenticity. Among them was the German archaeologist Adolf Furtwängler who noted stylistic problems with the tiara's design and questioned the lack of aging apparent on the artifact. For several years, the Louvre defended the authenticity of its treasure. Eventually, news of the story reached Odessa.

Two years before the Louvre made its purchase, two dealers had commissioned Israel Rouchomovsky, a skilled goldsmith, to make the tiara. They explained that it was a gift for an archaeologist friend and provided Rouchomovsky with details from recent excavations to aid his design. It wasn't until news of the Louvre scandal reached him that Rouchomovsky learned of...
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