Vladimir KULAKOV, Dr. Sc. (Hist.), Institute of Archeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
The material culture artefacts of a particular epoch may give some idea of its spiritual culture as well. It is hard indeed to decode such indirect evidence. Yet the very attempt to do that is laudable, for it makes it possible to look into this or that period of history in all its specifics. In our case, these are monuments of the decorative art of the Merovingian time.
During these last few years the author of the present article was lucky to work in the stocks of the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts and study exhibits of a most interesting collection. Until 1941 they were kept in the Museum of Prehistory and Early History (Berlin). Thereafter, by order of Hitler, they were hidden first in bank safes and later on, for the purpose of protection from air raids, in basements of the Flakturm ZOO antiaircraft battery built in the form of a monumental tower (western part of Berlin). On May 5, 1945, the director of this museum Professor Wilhelm Unverzagt handed the rarities to the Soviet military authorities *. In such a way, the collection of ornamentals and other articles of the Merovingian epoch found
* See: V. Kulakov, "The Treasure of the Last Vikings", Science in Russia, No. 6, 2010.--Ed.
Gold clasp from Reims (France), first half of the 5th century A.D.
itself in the stocks of the Moscow museum. Before discussing particular exhibits, let us look back into a very distant history.
The Merovingian power, which in the years 420-623 embraced a part of the Roman province Gallia (Gaul) and a number of ancient tribal areas of the western Teutons (first of all, Franks and Alemanni, or Swabians), was a major barbarian state in Europe in the early Middle Ages. The key feature of the policy pursued by the first rulers of this dynasty was Christianity as an established religion. In 496 King Clovis I was baptized together with t ... Читать далее