Find of a bronze head of the Thracian King (modern Bulgaria) Seuthes the 3rd in his tomb ca 330 BC. It is on display in the National Museum of Bulgaria.

March 1, 2024

Seuthes III Bronze Head 3

bronze head of King Seuthes III (r. ca. 331 BC to ca. 300 BC), the ruler of the most powerful Ancient Thracian state, the Odrysian Kingdom. The unique item was found in 2004 by late Bulgarian archaeologist Georgi Kitov (1943-2008). Photo: Ivo Hadzhimishev/Bulgaria’s Ministry of Culture

Bulgaria’s archaeological exhibition on Ancient Thrace which is on display in the Louvre Museum in the French capital Paris is enjoying “enormous success”, according to Jean-Luc Martinez, President-Director of the Louvre Museum, and head curator of the exhibit.

Martinez has sent a letter to Bulgarian Minister of Culture Vezhdi Rashidov expressing his satisfaction with the upcoming exhibition of the Louvre’s Boscoreale Treasure at the National Institute and Museum of Archaeology in Sofia as part of the bilateral exchange of exhibitions which has provided for the Bulgarian Ancient Thracian exhibit in the Paris museum.

“The exhibition “Thracian Kings’ Epic. Archaeological Discoveries in Bulgaria” is enjoying enormous success with the public and the French and international press. This success gives me satisfaction and joy because the exhibition is an occasion to showcase Bulgaria’s rich history and cultural heritage,” says the President-Director of the Louvre in his letter to the Bulgarian Culture Minister, as cited by the press center of Bulgaria’s Ministry of Culture.

Martinez points out further that so far over 150 articles, which are extremely positive and most of them are detailed, have been published by the press on the Ancient Thracian exhibition in the Louvre, which will be on display in one of the world’s top museums until July 20, 2015.

“The media coverage of the exhibit has helped us to achieve quickly and with ease one of the most important goals that we had set – the increased awareness of Thracian history and culture on part of the visitors of the Louvre. Allow me to express once again my most sincere gratitude for the dedication, support, and your personal devotion thanks to which this exhibition became possible,” concludes the letter of the Louvre President-Director.

Advertising posters in the French capital Paris for the Bulgarian exhibition about Ancient Thrace, "Thracian Kings' Epic. Archaeological Discoveries in Bulgaria" in the Louvre Museum. Photo: Bulgaria's Ministry of Culture

Advertising posters in the French capital Paris for the Bulgarian exhibition about Ancient Thrace, “Thracian Kings’ Epic. Archaeological Discoveries in Bulgaria” in the Louvre Museum. Photo: Bulgaria’s Ministry of Culture

The advertising campaign for the exhibit entitled “Thracian Kings’ Epic. Archaeological Discoveries in Bulgaria” (also translated as “The Saga of the Thracian Kings”; in French: L’Épopée des rois thraces. Découvertes archéologiques en Bulgarie) was recently extended because of the increased interest in the exhibition, according to Bulgaria’s Culture Ministry.

The advertising posters and banners in the Paris Metro feature the focal point of the exhibit, the bronze head of King Seuthes III (r. ca. 331 BC to ca. 300 BC), the ruler of the most powerful Ancient Thracian state, the Odrysian Kingdom. The unique item was found in 2004 by late Bulgarian archaeologist Georgi Kitov (1943-2008).

Bulgaria’s Culture Ministry has boasted that world famous Hollywood director and producer George Lucas was one of the first to see the Bulgarian Ancient Thracian exhibit in the Louvre, while the posts about the Thracian exhibit on the Louvre’s Facebook page have generated a lot of “Likes” and “Shares”, and the French culture magazine Exponaute has dedicated extensive coverage to the exhibition.

The exhibition (whose original working title was “Ancient Thrace. The Odrysian Kingdom”) showcases the most impressive treasures of Ancient Thrace, and the way of life of the little known internationally Odrysian Kingdom, the most powerful state of the Ancient Thracians, and some of the independent Thracian tribes such as the Getae (Gets) and the Tribali.

The Panagyurishte Gold Treasure (right), probably the most impressive Ancient Thracian treasure found to date, as displayed in Bulgaria's Ancient Thracian exhibit in the Louvre, Paris, France. Photo: Musée du Louvre / Antoine Mongodin / Louvre Museum Facebook Page

The Panagyurishte Gold Treasure (right), probably the most impressive Ancient Thracian treasure found to date, as displayed in Bulgaria’s Ancient Thracian exhibit in the Louvre, Paris, France. Photo: Musée du Louvre / Antoine Mongodin / Louvre Museum Facebook Page

A total of 1,629 Ancient Thracian artifacts from 17 Bulgarian and 11 foreign museums will be exhibited in four halls in the Richelieu Wing of the Louvre from April 14 until July 20, 2015.

It has been announced that museums in Croatia, Morocco, Romania, Russia, and the UK have already approached the Bulgarian authorities with inquiries about hosting the exhibition “Thracian Kings’ Epic. Archaeological Discoveries in Bulgaria”.

The artifacts from Ancient Thrace were shipped from Bulgaria to France by plane under utmost security measures on March 23, 2015.

The Odrysian Kingdom, a union of Thracian tribes dominated by the tribe of the Odrysians (also known as Odrysea or Odrusai), was the most powerful state of the Ancient Thracians. It existed from the 5th century BC till its conquest by the Romans in 46 AD on the territory of modern-day Bulgaria, Northern Greece, Southeastern Romania, and Northwestern Turkey.

The treasures displayed in the Louvre include the Panagyurishte Gold Treasure, the Rogozen Treasure (gold and silver), the Borovo Silver Treasure, the Letnitsa Treasure (silver and bronze), the Mogilanska Mound Treasure (also known as the Vratsa Gold Treasure), the Zlatinitsa Mound Treasure (gold and silver), and the bronze head of Seuthes III, king of the Odrysian Thracian Kingdom between ca. 331 BC to ca. 300 BC.

They have been insured for a total of EUR 165 million for the duration of the exhibition in the Louvre where they will be seen by about 4 million people, according to estimates by French experts. The bronze head of Odrysian King Seuthes III has been insured for EUR 13 million while the most precious threasure in the exhibit, the Panaguyrishte Gold Treasure, has been insured for EUR 50 million.

The catalog for the exhibition “Thracian Kings’ Epic. Archaeological Discoveries in Bulgaria” has 320 pages and contains 250 photos, and articles by Bulgarian and international scholars.

The preparation for Bulgaria’s Thracian exhibition in the Louvre started back in 2012 after then and current Bulgarian Minister of Culture Vezhdi Rashidov signed a five-year cooperation agreement with the Louvre.

The scientific concept and the selection of the exhibition items are the work of three French and two Bulgarian experts:

Jean-Luc Martinez, President-Director of the Louvre Museum, and head curator of the Ancient Thrace exhibit;

Prof. Dr. Totko Stoyanov from Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”;

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Milena Tonkova, head of the Thracian Archaeology Department at the National Institute and Museum of Archaeology of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences;

Dr. Alexandre Baralis from the Louvre Department of Ancient Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities;

Dr. Neguin Mathieu, division head in the Scientific Research and Collections Directorate of the Louvre.

A map of the Odrysian Kingdom of Ancient Thrace presented at Bulgaria's Ancient Thracian exhibition in the Louvre Museum, Paris, France. Photo: Musée du Louvre / Antoine Mongodin / Louvre Museum Facebook Page

A map of the Odrysian Kingdom of Ancient Thrace presented at Bulgaria’s Ancient Thracian exhibition in the Louvre Museum, Paris, France. Photo: Musée du Louvre / Antoine Mongodin / Louvre Museum Facebook