The Tiara of Saitaphernes


The Saitaphernes tiara as shown in the journal "La Nature” in 1896 Public domain

Our April Fool’s Day story is the tale of an elaborate hoax. It starts with the Scythians and how their artifacts became highly prized in 19th century Europe, and ends with an artist who came into fame as a result of his part in a forgery.

Holly's Research:

  • “Saitaphernes' Golden Tiara.” Archaeology. 2009. https://archive.archaeology.org/online/features/hoaxes/saitaphernes_tiara.html
  • Louvre. “History of the Louvre, From Chateau to Museum.” https://www.louvre.fr/en/histoirelouvres/history-louvre/periode-5#tabs
  • Reinach, Salomon. “The Disputed Tiara in the Louvre.” The Nation. Aug. 8, 1896. https://books.google.com/books?id=dxIcAQAAMAAJ&dq=Vesselovsky+tiara&q=Vesselovsky+tiara#v=snippet&q=Vesselovsky%20tiara&f=false
  • “'THE ROUCHOMOVSKY SKELETON': A RUSSIAN GOLD ARTICULATED SKELETON IN SILVER-GILT SARCOPHAGUS.” Sotheby’s. April 29, 2013. http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2013/a-treasured-legacy-steinhardt-n08961/lot.291.html
  • “Phony Tiara Fooled Louvre.” Life Magazine. Sept. 26, 1955. https://books.google.com/books?id=uFYEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA144&lpg=PA144&dq=tiara+of+saitaphernes&source=bl&ots=yWE10QzAeG&sig=ACfU3U2IqbgwevV0gryH7idVJ016rbPZZQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiX1Lbv8YThAhXSN30KHZjBDbUQ6AEwDnoECAAQAQ#v=onepage&q=tiara%20of%20saitaphernes&f=false
  • Simpson, St. John. “Scythians, ice mummies and burial mounds.” The British Museum Blog. Aug. 23, 2017. https://blog.britishmuseum.org/scythians-ice-mummies-and-burial-mounds/
  • “THE TIARA OF SAITAPHERNES: AN OFFICIAL INQUIRY ORDERED.” The Sydney Morning Herald. April 30, 1903. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/28242488
  • Grach, N.L. “KUL-OBA STUDIES PART I. THE KUL-OBA BURIAL-MOUND.” Ancient Civilizations From Scythia to Siberia. Vol. 7, Issue 1-2. January 2001. https://doi.org/10.1163/157005701753359778
  • The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. “Adolf Furtwängler.” Encyclopædia Britannica. October 06, 2018. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Adolf-Furtwangler

Topics in this Podcast: Russia, 20th century, forgeries, hoaxes, antiquity, European history, 19th century