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Copyright © 2001 by Sergei V. Rjabchikov. All Rights Reserved.

THE INTERPRETATION OF SCYTHIAN INSCRIPTIONS

by Sergei V. Rjabchikov

1. The name of the Scythian king Skil is presented on a Scythian finger-ring (Ryabova and Lezhukh 2001: figure 7, 7). According to The History of Herodotus (Book IV), this king once was dethroned and ran to Thrace. Let us study this and other inscriptions performed by Greek letters on the artifact.

The first inscription reads SKULEW, i.e. Skyl Eo. In my opinion, both names belong to the king Skil; the first name is Scythian, and the second one is Greek, as the king spoke Greek, too. The second name corresponds to Greek eos 'dawn; morning; east'. Now one can compare the name Skyl with Russian sokol 'falcon'. It is interesting to note that the bird is associated with the sun in the Old Indian (Indo-Aryan) beliefs (Toporov 1992: 478; Shilov 1995: 382). The Russian fairytale character Finist Yasny Sokol (Propp 1998: 278) is associated with the Proto-Slavonic sun deity (cf. Russian yasny 'clear; bright'), cf. also the Russian expression svet yasen sokol (Afanasiev 1996: 84, 146) 'the light -- the bright falcon'.

The second inscription reads SKELEOEARGOTANGAR, i.e. Skel Eo e ar; gota ngar. It signifies 'Skel (= Skyl) Eo is an Aryan; (he) left a town'. The key words to this text are Old Indian gata 'gone' (cf. Russian hodit' 'to go') and Old Indian nagr 'town' (cf. Russian gorod 'town').

The third inscription reads IANR, i.e. Ia nr. It means 'And (even) the hero'. The key words to this text are Old Indian nr 'hero' (1) and Old Church Slavonic i 'and; and even'. This text is the parallel of the Greek text of a pendant (2): BASILEWS SKUL ALKIM 'Of the brave king Skyl'.

2. The sign of a star (a fire; the sun) and the brief record AI performed by Greek letters are presented on a Scythian vessel (Dashevskaya 1991: 111, table 55, figure 4). The word ai may be compared with Sindian ait 'light' (3), Russian yasny 'clear; bright', South Russian yaska 'star'. On the other hand, the word ai is comparable with Hittite eia 'the World Tree' (4).

3. Let us examine an inscription performed by the signs of the Scythian (Proto-Slavonic) writing system. A Scythian wall record (Dashevskaya 1991: 60, table 4, figure 1) contains in particular some signs, see figure 1.

horse.gif
Figure 1.

Near the sign of a horse there is the text 12 10 76 sura, cf. Old Indian surya 'the sun'. Actually, the horse is equal to the fire in the Indo-Aryan beliefs (Propp 1998: 264). Moreover, the Old Indian god Surya correlates with the horses (Toporov 1992: 478). I think that the decoded fragment reports about the solar horse.

NOTES

1. See also Rjabchikov 2000: 11.

2. See Ryabova and Lezhukh 2001.

3. See Trubachev 1977: 19.

4. See Shilov 1995: 195.

REFERENCES

Afanasiev, A., 1996. Proiskhozhdenie mifa. Stat'i po fol'kloru, etnografii i mifologii. Moscow: Indrik.

Dashevskaya, O.D., 1991. Pozdnie skify v Krymu. Arkheologiya SSSR. Svod arkheologicheskikh istochnikov. Vol. D 1-7. Moscow: Nauka.

Propp, V.Y., 1998. Morfologiya/Istoricheskie korni volshebnoy skazki. Moscow: Labirint.

Rjabchikov, S.V., 2000. Tmutarakanskie graffiti. Krasnodar: Stil.

Ryabova, V.A. and I.P. Lezhukh, 2001. "Chernaya arkheologiya" i istoriya skifskogo tsarya Skila. Vostochnoevropeysky arkheologichesky zhurnal, vol. 9(2).

Shilov, Y.A., 1995. Prarodina Ariev: Istoriya, obryady i mify. Kiev: SINTO.

Toporov, V.N., 1992. Sur'ya. In: S.A. Tokarev (ed.) Mify narodov mira. Vol. 2. Moscow: Sovetskaya Entsiklopediya, pp. 477-8.

Trubachev, O.N., 1977. Lingvisticheskaya periferiya drevneyshego slavyanstva. Indoariytsy v Severnom Prichernomor'e. Voprosy yazykoznaniya, No 6: 13-31.


Copyright © 2001 by Sergei V. Rjabchikov. All Rights Reserved.

Published 3 April 2001.

Sergei V. Rjabchikov, Krasnodar, RUSSIA.


How to cite the articles of "THE SLAVONIC ANTIQUITY" Home Page in printed articles: like articles. Maintain the link if citing in the World Wide Web. Notice italics on the homepage name:

Rjabchikov, Sergei V., 2001. The Interpretation of Scythian Inscriptions. "THE SLAVONIC ANTIQUITY" Home Page (http://slavonicweb.chat.ru/sl28.htm).


"THE SLAVONIC ANTIQUITY" Home Page

See also Rjabchikov, Sergei V., 2004. Scythian Inscriptions of the Scythian King Skil: A New Approach. The web site "THE SLAVONIC ANTIQUITY": http://slavonicweb.chat.ru/sl53.htm

and

Rjabchikov, Sergei V., 2005. A Scythian Inscription of the Scythian King Skil: An Alternative Interpretation. The web site "THE SLAVONIC ANTIQUITY": http://slavonicweb.chat.ru/sl54.htm.


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