Glittering amber meant wealth and prosperity for Aestii, the old aboriginal tribe of what is now Russia's Kaliningrad Region in the Baltic. From time immemorial this area was famous as the treasure - trove of "solar stone".
Even as far back as the Bronze Age this unique material, much appreciated by ancient craftsmen, was bartered for choice weaponry, utensils and decorations. Amber is pretty precious in our time and age, too.
by Vladimir KULAKOV, Dr. Sc. (Hist.), Archeology Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences
Immense riches of the Amber Coast lying on the northwestern fringe of the Barbaricum, a "land of Barbarians", beckoned as a land of opportunity for tradesmen, and sundry adventurers and predators.* The aboriginals, being part of the West Baltic tribal community and speaking kindred languages, had to be always ready to defend themselves against any enemy. Otherwise they could lose their wealth, amber, which is the fossil hard resin of conifers dating from the Late (Upper) Cretaceous and Paleogene and located on the northwestern coast of Sambia (a peninsula which Hellenes called Basilia, Celts - Osericta, and Teutons - Austerwia).
In his Germania the Roman historian Publius Cornelius Tacitus (ca. 58 - 117 A.D.) wrote this on the Amber Coast tribe: "Aestii worship the first mother of gods, and they wear wild boar images as a token of their cult; these stand in good stead of weapons and protect devotees of the mother goddess even in the thick of enemies. The sword is quite rare, they would rather use staves.**"
Apparently Tacitus could learn that from Celts who peopled lands in the middle reaches of the Danube and the northwest of what is now Poland and trekked to Sambia. The local population acted as middlemen in the amber traffic between the Aestii and Rome.
From Roman annals we also learn that between 62 and 65 A. D. the Roman emperor Nero ordered an expedition under Quintus Attilius Primus, a top Roman official, to the northwestern coast ... Читать далее