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Copyright © 1999 by Sergei V. Rjabchikov. All Rights Reserved.


by Sergei V. Rjabchikov

In the Greek mythology the Gorgons are characters with the snakes instead of the hair; they turn the humans to stone (Taho-Godi 1991). One of them is named Medusa. I suppose that the name Gorgon consists of Pelasgean (Proto-Slavonic registered in the writing of Linear A, and in its decorative version on the Phaistos disk) gor and gon. What do they signify? The word gor is comparable with Russian goret' 'to burn' and gora 'mountain'. The word gon is equal to the 17th word, P18-P14 ga-n-, of the side B of the Phaistos disk, cf. Russian gnat' 'to whip up; to drive', gonish' 'you whip up; drive' and gonka 'hurry'. So the initial meaning of the name Gorgon was 'The Fire (Mountain)/(somebody) whips up'. The golden artifacts with the figures of the head of Medusa were discovered in the Kuban barrows; one relic is presented in the Krasnodar Historical-Archaeological Museum (Anfimov 1987: 126-7, 129, photo).

I think that the character Gorgon Medusa corresponds to Scythian semi-serpent goddess Argimpasa [Ar gim pasa] 'The fury (the transformation from the winter to the spring) - the cattle' and to Old Iranian and Armenian goddess Ardvi Sura Anahita 'Mighty, blameless Ardvi' (1). Actually, the name Gorgon is associated with the name Ar. Moreover, the name Medusa is split into the word me 'the sun; solar' and the word duza associated with Old Russian dyuzy 'strong'. So the Proto-Slavonic names Gorgon Medusa and Argimpasa are the variants.

As has been shown earlier in my article Reading of a Linear A Text, the Slavonic sun deity Yarila correlates with the legendary bull Minotauros of the mythology of the ancient Crete. Greek tauros means 'bull'. What does the word mino signify? It compares with Old Church Slavonic minovati, minuti 'to be over; to pass by' and may replace the terms gon and ar. So the bull Minotauros is related with both Yarila and Argimpasa.

The Scythian semi-serpent goddess Argimpasa is depicted on the golden plaque housed in the Krasnodar Historical-Archaeological Museum (Anfimov 1987: 127, photo). This goddess holds a human head. On the other hand, the Slavonic pagan god Yarila 'The furious (god)' is preserved in the Byelorussian folk culture as a girl also holding a human head (Tokarev 1992: 686-7).


1. See (Braginsky 1991: 100).


Anfimov, N.V., 1987. The Kuban's Ancient Gold. Krasnodar: Krasnodar Book Publishers.

Braginsky, I.S., 1991. Ardvisura Anahita. In: S.A. Tokarev (ed.) Mify narodov mira. Vol. 1. Moscow: Sovetskaya Entsiklopediya, pp. 100-1.

Taho-Godi, A.A., 1991. Gorgony. In: S.A. Tokarev (ed.) Mify narodov mira. Vol. 1. Moscow: Sovetskaya Entsiklopediya, pp. 315-6.

Tokarev, S.A. (ed.), 1992. Mify narodov mira. Vol. 2. Moscow: Sovetskaya Entsiklopediya, pp. 686-7.

Copyright © 1999 by Sergei V. Rjabchikov. All Rights Reserved.

Published 24 November 1999.

Sergei V. Rjabchikov, Krasnodar, RUSSIA.

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Rjabchikov, Sergei V., 1999. On the Slavonic Origin of Greek Gorgon Medusa and Minotauros. "THE SLAVONIC ANTIQUITY" Home Page (http://slavonicweb.chat.ru/sl17.htm).


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