ships chandlers Novorossiysk Russian version

Copyright © 2001, 2005 by Sergei V. Rjabchikov. All Rights Reserved.

A PLAGIARIST IS FOUND: PART 2
Unfortunately, our world is not ideal. On the 3rd August 2005 I visited a web site at http://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/Anthropology/scythian/interpretation_scyth-art.htm.

I found... my article: Rjabchikov, Sergei V., 2001. The Interpretation of Scythian, Sarmatian and Meotian-Sarmatian Motifs and Records. "THE SLAVONIC ANTIQUITY" Home Page http://public.kubsu.ru/~usr02898/sl29.htm. But a "new" "version" of my article was edited, my links were deleted here. The figures of this "version" were renamed. The author's name was deleted... I have read the code of this "version", and found "the author": [META content="Shapour Suren-Pahlav" name=author] (I replaced the <> by [] to show this "miracle"!) But the stolen texts (see also the section "A PLAGIARIST IS FOUND: PART 1") contain references to my books:

Rjabchikov, S.V., 1998. Drevnie texty slavyan i adygov. Krasnodar: Torgovo-promyshlennaya palata Krasnodarskogo kraya.

Rjabchikov, S.V., 1998. Tainstvennaya Tmutarakan'. Krasnodar: Torgovo-promyshlennaya palata Krasnodarskogo kraya.

I decided to offer my article and the stolen "version" for your examination. Please compare them. See also my remarks below.

THE INTERPRETATION OF SCYTHIAN, SARMATIAN AND MEOTIAN-SARMATIAN MOTIFS AND RECORDS

by Sergei V. Rjabchikov

The Scythians were in my opinion the Proto-Slavs (the Indo-Aryans). According to the History of Herodotus (Books III and IV), the Arimaspi, men with one eye, lived on the north near the gold-guarding griffins and the Hyperboreans. Of course, this story is a reflex of the Scythian mythology. The name Arimasp- is Scythian; I read it as Ar ima (a)s pa 'An Aryan has [one] eye', cf. Scythian ar 'Aryan', ima 'he has', as 'bright; look; eye', pa 'to shine; to appear; to seem' or 'to protect', cf. also Old Indian arya 'excellent; respectable; dear; master; mistress', Russian imet' 'to have', imya 'name', yasny 'clear; bright; fine', Old Indian us 'to shine', bha 'to shine; to appear; to seem', pa 'to protect'. On the other hand, the name of the Argippaeans, the sacred and fair people (The History of Herodotus: Book IV), may be derived from Ar gipp- 'An Aryan is kept/is dead', cf. Russian gibnut' 'to perish; to be killed', gibel' 'death', gubit' 'to kill', Old Indian gup 'to keep; to preserve' (1). Obviously, this people symbolises the dead in the Scythian beliefs. Moreover, the country of Argippaeans is a symbol of the place of the dead in the Scythian religion. Greek Yperboreos 'Hyperborean, lit. 'Living behind Boreas, on the north'' is also a hint at the Scythian place of the dead, cf. Greek Boreas 'the god of the north wind' which comes from Scythian bor- 'to take', cf. Russian brat' 'to take', Old Indian bharati 'he carries, takes away' (2). Scythian eorpata signifies 'Amazon', lit. 'A killer of a husband', eor signigies 'husband', pata signifies 'to kill' (The History of Herodotus: Book IV). Really, eor is a variant of Scythian ar 'Aryan', and pata correlates with Old Indian pat 'to hew; to cut' (3). According to the History of Herodotus (IV), the source of the river Hypanis and the place where it rises is named Exampei 'The sacred ways'. I translate this name as 'The earth (A)pi', or 'The earth (goddess) (A)pi (associated with the water/rivers)' (4) , cf. Old Indian ksam 'earth', Russian zemlya 'earth', zemnoy 'earthly'. In fact, comparing Scythian myths included in the History of Herodotus (Book IV), I conclude that the earth goddess Api '(The goddess) drinks' corresponds to a daughter of the river Borysthenes (Dnieper). Let us examine several names of the Scythian kings (The History of Herodotus: Book IV). The name Ariant (Ari(a) ant) means 'The Aryan (royal) eagle', cf. the ancient term ant 'Slav', Etruscan antas 'eagle'. The name Ariapith (Aria pith) means 'The Aryan (royal) drink' (5), cf. Old Indian pita 'drunk', Russian pit'e 'drink'. The name Spargapith (Spa rga pith) means 'The abundance of the drink', cf. Old Indian sapat 'fullness; perfection; beauty', ruh 'growth; rising', Old Church Slavonic rog'' 'strength; advantage', Russian rog 'horn' (6). The name Idanthirs (Idan thyrs) means '(A person) passing the river Tanais, i.e. Don', cf. Scythian tan 'water', Old Indian danu 'trickling liquid' (7), Russian dno 'bottom (of river, etc.)', Old Indian tir 'to pass'. The name Sauly (Sa uly) means 'This is the shine', cf. Old Indian sa 'that; he', ullah 'to shine'. The name of the Scythian king Skilur (Dashevskaya 1991: 44) consists of two Scythian words, skil 'falcon' and ur 'bright; to shine', cf. Old Indian ullah 'to shine'. I believe that two virgins from the Hyperboreans, Arga and Opis (The History of Herodotus: Book IV), are indeed the Scythian goddesses. The goddess Opi(s) is Api, the Scythian goddess of the earth. The goddess Arga is either the goddess Argimpasa (cf. Scythian ar 'Aryan', Russian yary, yarostny 'furious', yarovoy sev 'spring sowing', bychok-yarovik 'bull', Old Indian go 'bull; cow') or the same goddess Api (in this case Arga is Ar ga 'The Aryan earth', cf. Greek ga, ge 'earth', Gaia 'the earth goddess', or A-rga 'The abundance', cf. Old Indian ruh 'growth; rising', Old Church Slavonic rog'' 'strength; advantage', Russian rog 'horn'). The name of the Scythian goddess Ditagoia (Dashevskaya 1991: 44) consists of two Scythian words, dita 'child' (cf. Russian ditya 'child') and goi associated with the fertility. One can try to translate four names of Scythians. The name Anahars signifies 'Without the joy', cf. Old Indian a 'not', na 'not', harsa 'joy'. The name Gnur signifies 'A killing (person)', cf. Old Indian ghna 'killing; destroying'. In this name there is the suffix r, cf. the corresponding Russian suffix ar. The name Lik signifies 'A face', cf. Russian lik, litso 'face'. The name Orik signifies 'An eagle', cf. Gothic ara, Hittite haras, Russian orel 'eagle', Greek ornis 'bird' (8).

One can decode several Scythian, Sarmatian and Meotian-Sarmatian motifs and inscriptions. I use my own translation scheme for reading the Scythian (Proto-Slavonic) signs.

1. Several signs are depicted on a wall of a building of the Scythian Naples, the Crimea, Ukraine (Dashevskaya 1991: 60, table 4, figure 1), see figure 1.

tabiti.gif
Figure 1.

The deity holding two mirrors and radiating light (cf. the three rays above the head) is undoubtedly the Scythian supreme sun goddess Tabiti. Actually, this goddess is represented as a queen who is sitting on a throne and who is holding a mirror (Galanina, Domansky and Smirnova 1981: 50, photo; 67). Now one can study the signs inscribed near the figure of the goddess. They are the syllables 59-72-33 75 09 Tabera vese 'Knowing Tabiti', cf. Old Indian tap '(of the sun) to scorch; to heat; to warm', tapas 'heat', Old Church Slavonic toplo 'warm', Old Indian vid 'to know', veda '(she) knows', Old Church Slavonic veshchy 'wise; knowing'.

Interestingly, the Russian fairy tales inform about a queen looking in a magic mirror (Propp 1998: 398). In my view, it is a reflex of the Scythian mythology.

Furthermore, on the same wall near the examined fragment there is the drawing of a house and three syllables, 26 67 09 rukise. I suppose that this house is the symbol of a Scythian town; the word rukise compares with Indo-Arian ruksa- 'light-coloured' from which in O.N. Trubachev's opinion (9) Russian Rus 'Russia' came. So the Russian terms Rus 'Russia', russky 'Russian' have indeed the ancient origin.

A fragment of an anthropoid statuette was discovered at the Scythian ancient settlement Belsk, the Poltava Territory, Ukraine (Shramko 1999: 44, figure 6, 17; 45). It is a female figurine decorated with the sign of the sun, see figure 2.

suntab.gif
Figure 2.

It is the designation of the sun goddess Tabiti.

2. A treated fragment of a sheep's bone was discovered at the Scythian ancient settlement Belsk (Shramko 1999: 44, figure 6, 25; 46). It is decorated with sign 04 te, see figure 3.

astrag.gif
Figure 3.

This word may be compared with Old Indian tejas 'fire; heat; intense heat; brightness', Greek teko 'to smelt', Russian tayat' 'to thaw'. I think that this artifact is connected with the cult of the Indo-Arian god Agni 'Fire'. In fact, the sheep are associated with Agni in the Indo-Arian beliefs (Shilov 1995: 216). Interestingly, some Scythian stands of hearths discovered in different places, the Crimea, Ukraine (Dashevskaya 1991: 60, table 8, figures 1 - 8), are decorated with the sheep's heads. So the sheep is a symbol of the Scythian fire god.

3. The design of a dog and signs are presented on a wall of a crypt of the of the Scythian Naples (Dashevskaya 1991: 95, table 39, figure 6), see figure 4.

dogv.gif
Figure 4.

I read the words 12 75 sove 'dog' (cf. spaka 'dog', svaka 'wolf' mentioned in the Avesta and Rigveda (10), Russian sobaka 'dog') and 23 26 m(u)ru connected with Old Indian mr 'to die; to kill', Russian umirat' 'to die', mertvyy 'dead'. It is known that skeletons or bones of sacrificed dogs were found in the Indo-Arian graves (Shilov 1995: 228-36). In Y.A Shilov's opinion (1995: 233), bones of dogs from Indo-Arian graves are signs of resurrection. Besides, two dogs accompanying the dead are presented in some Indo-Arian motifs (Shilov 1995: 231-2). It is possible that the dog depicted in figure 1 corresponds to the Iranian mythological dog-bird Semurv (11); in this instance signs read 75 26 veru and 12 23 somu. The expression veru Somu means 'to the fire of (the deity) Somu', cf. Russian varit' 'to boil', Etruscan verse 'fire' (12).

4. A picture is presented on a wall of a crypt of the Scythian Naples (Dashevskaya 1991: 95, table 39, figure 8). A boar is surrounded by two dogs; a horseman and a singer are depicted near a hole. The plot may be decoded using the data of the Indo-Arian mythology. The two dogs belong to Yama, the king of the dead (13). The hole denotes this personage, the wordplay is quite possible: cf. Old Indian Yama 'king of the dead', Russian yama 'hole'. The horseman is the god Indra, the king of gods (the sun is his eye) (14), an inspirer of singers; he killed the demon Emusa incarnated in the boar by an arrow (15). The name Emusa is comparable with Old Indian mus 'to obscure light; thief; to steal, to rob; to break or to cut in pieces; to destroy'. Arrows are depicted on the picture, too. The wordplay is quite possible: cf. Old Indian bana 'arrow' and bhanu 'the sun'.

The same crypt contains another picture (Dashevskaya 1991: 95, table 39, figure 1). A pair of the heads of horses is represented on the top of the roof of a house; arrows are presented around this sacred building. These two heads correspond to figures and images of a pair of the heads of horses as well as solar symbols of the Indo-Europeans (16). Apparently, the Scythian signs of horses have the same meaning. They may also signify asvattha, the axis of the world in the Indo-Arian beliefs. The arrows are in my opinion the solar signs.

5. A Scythian silver tip of a gold-incrusted lying boar is from the Ulyap barrow No 1, near the Ulyap village, Republic of Adygea, Russia. Now it is in the State Museum of Oriental Art, Moscow, Russia (Anfimov 1987: 142; Leskov and Lapushnian 1987: 35, figure XXIII; 54). It is the incarnation of a deity, as the boar's body ends with a stylised griffin beak. I suppose that it is a design of the Indo-Arian god Rudra incarnated in the boar (17). Signs are depicted on it, see figure 5.

boar.gif
Figure 5.

Signs 23 33 read mura, cf. Old Indian mura 'rushing; impetuous'.

The same barrow contained the Scythian tip of a gold head of a deer with silver antlers. Now it is in the State Museum of Oriental Art (Anfimov 1987: 142-3). An eye of this deer has a form of sign 14 do, cf. Old Indian dyo- 'day; the sky', Dyaus 'the sky god'. The wordplay is quite possible taking into account the variation of the sounds r/l: cf. Old Indian harina 'deer; the sun; white colour; having rays', Old Russian elen' 'deer', Greek elios 'the sun'. The Russian female name Svetlana may be divided into parts svet 'light' and (a)lan(a) 'fallow deer; deer', cf. also Old Indian sveta 'white'. Besides, an eye of the Indo-Aryan god Indra is the sun.

A sign and several designs are depicted on a badge discovered in the mausoleum of the Scythian Naples (Dashevskaya 1991: 122, table 66, figure 25), see figure 6.

dyaus.gif
Figure 6.

The mask of the god Papai/Dyaus is united with a deer (it is his incarnation) and sign 15 mo 'the sun'.

6. The design of two trees and several signs are presented on a wall of a Scythian crypt from the village Ozernoe, the Crimea, Ukraine (Dashevskaya 1991: 95, table 39, figure 7), see figure 7.

wtree.gif
Figure 7.

I think that the figures of both trees represent respectively the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge or vice versa known in the Bible (Genesis 2: 8), in the Egyptian and Babylonian mythologies (Tokarev 1991). The signs of rhombi may be read ai, cf. Hittite eia 'the World Tree', Old Indian ayus 'life; vitality; vigour; long life' (18), Russian yaytso 'egg', German Ei 'egg'. The whole text on the wall reads THE TREE WITH SIX BRANCHES, Ai; Ai, THE TREE WITH FOUR BRANCHES; Ai, sign 14 = Do, cf. Old Indian dyo- 'day; the sky'. It may be the designation of the Indo-Arian sky god Dyaus. On the other hand, the trees with the two and three pairs of branches may denote the interval between the second and third months, or February-March. The World Tree with three pairs of branches and the sign of the rhomb (ai) are depicted on a Scythian silver rhyton with a ram's head of its tip from the Karagodeuashkh barrow, Republic of Adygea, Russia. It was dated to 4th century B.C., now it is in the Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia (Anfimov 1987: 162-3). I believe that the ram's head denotes the constellation of Aries (the Ram) associated with April. A Scythian silver rhyton tipped with a Capricorn's head was discovered in the Seven Brothers barrow No 4, near the Varenikovskaya village, the Anapa district, the Krasnodar Territory, Russia (Anfimov 1987: 106-7). Scythian gold rhytons tipped with a dog's head and a ram's one (Anfimov 1987: 112-3) were discovered in this barrow as well. They were dated to 5th century B.C., now they are in the Hermitage. I think that the three designs denote the constellations of Capricornus (the Sea Goat), Canis Major (the Greater Dog) or Canis Minor (the Lesser Dog), and Aries (the Ram) respectively.

Now one can try to decipher the motif of a Scythian gold plate which covered a vessel. This artifact was also discovered in the Seven Brothers barrow No 4; now it is in the Hermitage (Anfimov 1987: 115). Here an eagle tears a lamb to pieces. Three petals are depicted near the eagle. Seven petals and sign 12 so are depicted under the figure of the lamb, see figure 8.

sunt.gif
Figure 8.

I translate the word (a)so as 'the sun; to shine; clear', cf. Scythian as 'bright; look; eye', Russian siyat' 'to shine', Old Church Slavonic siyati 'to shine', prisoe 'heat', Old Indian caya 'shine' (19). The seven petals denote the seventh month, or July. Therefore the three petals denote the third month, or March. Hence the lamb is a symbol of the constellation of Aries (the Ram) associated with April. I suppose that the eagle is a symbol of the sun: cf. Old Indian suparna 'eagle; (figuratively) the sun'. So this picture describes the transition from the spring to the summer.

A Scythian inscription performed by the Greek letters contains in particular the names of Iamah and his father, Somah (Dashevskaya 1991: 27-8). One can suppose that the first name means 'The great vitality' (cf. Old Indian ayus 'life; vitality; vigour; long life', maha 'great; big', Russian moguchiy 'mighty'), and the second name means 'The great sun'.

Several signs are depicted on a Scythian silver badge discovered in the Neizats burial ground, the Crimea, Ukraine (Dashevskaya 1991: 130, table 74, figure 11), see figure 9.

nzerk.gif
Figure 9.

Signs 12 05 76 read so jara, 'the old sun', cf. Scythian so 'bright; look; eye; heat; shine; to shine', Old Indian jara 'old age'. The one petal denotes the first month, or December. So it is a description of the death and the resurrection of the sun, i.e. the designation of the Scythian god Goitosir.

Let us examine a Scythian brooch discovered in the Chernorechensky burial ground, the Crimea, Ukraine (Dashevskaya 1991: 121, table 65, figure 17). This artifact is divided into eight sections. It should be remembered that number four as well as number eight are connected with the symbols of the World Tree (Bessonova 1983: 82-3). Therefore no wonder that in the centre of this brooch there is the sign of the sun with some rays, see figure 10.

suncal.gif
Figure 10.

Another Scythian brooch was also found in the same burial ground (Dashevskaya 1991: 121, table 65, figure 18). This artifact is divided into four sections; the rhomb ai is presented in its centre; the four signs of the sun denote the motion of the sun throughout a year.

7. There are different motifs on a Scythian gold sword sheath and hilt from the Kelermes barrow No 1, near the Kelermesskaya village, the Giaginsky district, the Krasnodar Territory, Russia. They were dated to 7th - 6th century B.C., now they are in the Hermitage (Anfimov 1987: 58-9). First of all, two winged gods are disposed bilaterally along the World Tree decorated with the solar signs. Near them the signs of the Phaistos disk (Rjabchikov 1998) known as a decorative version of the writing of Linear A are engraved. Sign 35 ve of the Phaistos disk depicts a branch, cf. Old Indian vaya, Old Church Slavonic veya 'branch' (20). The word ve is comparable with Old Indian vah 'to blow', vata, vayu 'wind', Russian veyat' 'to blow', veter 'wind'; sign 38 of the Phaistos disk reads ho; the word ho is comparable with Old Indian ha 'the sun', hu 'to sacrifice (in the fire)'. I think that the winged gods denote Hyperboreans, and the whole plot denotes their country (the place of the dead). The linguistic verification is quite possible: cf. Russian sever 'north' which might originate from the expression se ver 'this is fire/top'. Griffins are depicted on the sheath, too. They are the gold-guarding griffins mentioned in the History of Herodotus (Book IV); the zigzag signs are engraved on the figures of some of them. Perhaps they are the symbols of the lightning. In the Indo-Arian beliefs, the zigzag denotes the god Dyaus (Shilov 1995: 452). Moreover, the zigzag may denote a dwelling, a palace, a mountain, a land (Shilov 1995: 455). On the tip of the sheath there is a vignette decorated with the twelve semicircles (they are symbols of the twelve months of a year divided into four seasons). On the upper part of the sheath there is the figure of a deer. It is a symbol of Papai, the Scythian god of the sky. Plenty of the rounds (solar signs) as well as the rhombi ai (Hittite eia 'the World Tree', Old Indian ayus 'life; vitality; vigour; long life', Russian yaytso 'egg', German Ei 'egg') are represented on the hilt. According to the Indo-Arian beliefs, the rhomb is a symbol of fertility (Shilov 1995: 189); this sign also denotes the goddess Aditi, the mother of deities (Shilov 1995: 452). Besides, the signs of rhombi are the signs of the growth of winter crops in some cases (Shilov 1995: 466).

A deer and a tree with seven branches are presented on a Meotian-Sarmatian pitcher dated to 2nd century B.C. (Leskov and Lapushnian 1987: 143, photo 68). I think that this deer is the sky god Papai standing near the World Tree.

8. Now one can interpret the inscription on a Scythian censer from the Belyaus burial ground, the Crimea, Ukraine (Dashevskaya 1980: 21, figure 3), see figure 11.

papaid.gif
Figure 11.

Five sections divided by vertical lines include sings as follows: 37; 77, THE TREE with eight pairs of branches, 77; 56 56 "rhomb"; 37; 77, THE TREE with night pairs of branches, 77. Sign 37 reads Ti, cf. the name Dyy of the Old Russian pagan god of the sky (21), cf. also Old Indian dyo- 'day; the sky', di 'to shine', Dyaus 'the sky god'. Both trees may denote the interval between the eighth and ninth months, or August-September. In this context signs 56 56 "rhomb" read Papai, and it is another name of the Scythian sky god. Sign 77 reads ga, cf. Old Indian go 'bull; cow'. Indeed, the bull is an incarnation of the god Dyaus in the Indo-Arian mythology (22). As has been shown earlier, the name Papai may correlate with Old Indian payate 'he gives to drink'. In fact, the rain of the Indo-Aryan god Dyaus is a semen to produce the new, in particular, the deities.

9. Now one can decode the motif represented on a Scythian gold rhyton discovered in the village Merdzhany near the town Anapa, the Krasnodar Territory, Russia (Bessonova 1983: 111-2, figure 31; Anfimov 1987: 135-6). I have distinguished the following features: the World Tree with three pairs of branches (March 22, the vernal equinox); the goddess Tabiti sitting on a throne; the skull of a horse at a stake; the horseman Targitai (Tar gita 'The giving (god)') holding horn of plenty. The skull of a horse denotes December 22, the winter solstice, and the god Targitai denotes June 22, the summer solstice. Midway between these two dates the Tree (March 22) is situated.

It is reasonably safe to suggest that the Scythian god Targitai corresponds to the Indo-Aryan god Indra. The latter deity has epithets 'Generous' and 'Donor'. Let us examine one of figures depicted on a Scythian bone plate from the Gayman's Grave dated to 4th century B.C. (Bessonova 1983: 19, figure 1). A hero kills a dragon. I believe that here the god Indra kills either the dragon (serpent) Vritra or the serpent Susna. According to the Indo-Arian beliefs, the god Indra associated with the sky and the sun as well as the god Agni 'Fire' are twin brothers. On the other hand, according to the Greek historian Diodorus, the brothers Pal and Nap are the forefathers of the Scythians (23). The name Pal is comparable with Russian palit' 'to burn; to scorch', Old Indian paridahyate 'is burning' (cf. also dah 'to burn'), and the name Nap is comparable with Old Indian nabhas 'sky', Russian nebo 'sky'. So the name Pal is another name of the god Agni, and the name Nap is another name of the god Indra. The latter character is the junior sun of Prajapati. It immediately follows that the name of the Greek god Apollon 'Apollo' having unclear etymology derived from Old Indian aparam 'junior'. It seems plausible that Greek Apollo is a reflex of the Indo-Arian god Indra. It is felt that Indra plays the role of the Scythian chthonic (sun) deity called Goitosir, and the role of the Scythian sun deity called Targitai. Scythian goi associated with the fertility is comparable with Old Indian gaya 'house; household; family; offspring; sky', Iranian (Avesta) gaya 'life'. The god Goitosir may be compared with Gaya Martan, the ancestor of mankind in the Iranian mythology (24). It is known that Indra is an inspirer of singers; the wordplay is quite possible: cf. Old Indian gaya 'house; household; family; offspring; sky' and gaya 'song'.

According to the Indo-Arian beliefs, the god Indra kills his father. An interesting plot is presented on a Scythian gold plate from a barrow near village Gyunovka (Bessonova 1995: 117, figure 34). A horseman is situated near the World Tree identified by the rhombi ai presented above and under it; this personage kills a deer. I think that this picture depicts the god Indra killing his father, the sky god. The latter is identified by the sign of a club depicted under the design of the deer.

According to the Indo-Arian beliefs, Saci, a mysterious character, is the wife of Indra (Neveleva 1975: 73). I believe that her name signifies 'The moon', cf. Old Indian sasi 'the moon'. Now one can decipher the design of an artifact discovered in the Kul-oba barrow, the Kerch Peninsula, the Crimea, Ukraine (Bessonova 1983: 117). A horseman kills a hare by a javelin. It is possible that the horseman is the sun god Indra, and the hare is an incarnation of the moon goddess Saci/Sasi: the wordplay is quite possible, cf. Old Indian sasi 'the moon', sasa 'rabbit'. This story is preserved in a Lithuanian legend: the goddess of sun cut her husband, the god of moon, by a sword (Afanasiev 1996: 313). In more ancient times, the sun was a male, and the moon was a female. A tip looking like a horse's head was discovered in the Ulyap barrow No 2 near the village Ulyap, Republic of Adygea, Russia (Anfimov 1987: 87). This artifact was dated to 6th - 5th century B.C., now it is in the Hermitage. The horse's head symbolises the sun god Indra, and two figures of hares located instead of the nostrils symbolyse the moon goddess. Now the meaning of another name of Indra's wife, Indrani, is clear: it is split into the name Indra and the word ni, cf. Old Indian ni 'down'.

The sun deity Indra rules on the third sky (Neveleva 1975: 61, 65, 68). A pottery vessel was discovered in a Sarmatian burial, near the Donskoy village, the Rostov-on-Don Territory, Russia. Now it is in the Azov Museum of local lore (Maximenko 1998: 220, figure 37, 6). The three strips represented on the vessel demonstrate in my opinion the three skies. The sign of the sun located above them depicts the sun god Indra.

Two riders and several signs are depicted on a Scythian grave-stone from Bakhchisaray, the Crimea, Ukraine (Dashevskaya 1991: 100, table 44, figure 6). The two signs are presented on the figure of a personage, depicted at the left, see figure 12.

targ1.gif
Figure 12.

Signs 80 09 read mase 'the moon', cf. Old Indian mas 'the moon'. The signs may read as 07 09 Dise 'Dyaus, the sky god' as well.

A column of the signs are presented under the figure of this personage, see figure 13.

targ2.gif
Figure 13.

Signs 59 05 59 15 read tyaja tamo 'the disappearance of the darkness', cf. Old Indian tyaj 'to leave; to abandon', tamas 'darkness'.

At last, a personage, depicted at the right, holds a horn, the two signs are presented under his figure, see figure 14.

targ3.gif
Figure 14.

Signs 59 33 read Tar(a), cf. Old Indian da 'to give', Russian dar 'gift', Old Indian tara 'fire; horse; carrying across; saviour; protector; clean; clear'. The name Tar(a) is a variant of the name Targitai (25). Again, the figure of the horseman holding of horn of plenty is a symbol of this god. The decoded plot may describe the marriage of the sun and the moon (26). Interestingly, in A. Afanasiev's (1996: 317) opinion, the name of the Scythian moon goddess includes the words vaita 'hunt; pasture' and surus 'fast'.

The words tamo and Tar compare with the name of the ancient Russian town Tamatarha.

Two signs are depicted on a pot discovered at the Scythian ancient settlement Tarpanchi, the Crimea, Ukraine (Dashevskaya 1991: 80, table 24, figure 4), see figure 15.

targit.gif
Figure 15.

I read the name 59 33 Tar(a) 'Targitai'. Perhaps this god is a donor of the new crops in the Scythian mythology. On the other hand, the god Indra is associated with the fertility, he brings the abundance and crops.

10. Let us consider the designs and signs depicted on Scythian spindles discovered at different places of the Crimea, Ukraine (Dashevskaya 1991: 115, table 59, figures 1-5). A deer and a goat are depicted on the first spindle (Dashevskaya 1991: 115, table 59, figure 1). I think that the deer is an image of the sky god. The goat (cf. Old Indian aja 'goat', ajam, ajah 'unborn') may be an image of the Indo-Arian deity Aja Ekapad connected with the deities Pusan, Indra and Varuna (Toporov 1991d; Shilov 1995: 208-15). A pair of deer in different positions is represented on two spindles (Dashevskaya 1991: 115, table 59, figures 4 and 5). They demonstrate the movement of the sky or the sun, cf. Old Indian vartula 'spindle', vartulas 'round', Old Church Slavonic vreteno, Russian vereteno 'spindle', Old Church Slavonic var'' 'heat', Armenian varim 'I am kindling', German warm 'warm' (27). Old Indian vartula 'spindle' may be split into var (cf. Old Indian vartma 'path', vart 'to turn; to move', vardh 'to multiply; to increase; to grow', varsa 'year') and tula (cf. Old Indian tula 'balance, weighing scales', tur 'to pass').

Several signs and designs are depicted on a spindle (Dashevskaya 1991: 115, table 59, figure 2), see figure 16.

zhivotn.gif
Figure 16.

The word 75 33 33 verar(a) is associated with terms mentioned above. Several animals are gathered near the sitting deity. Since a she-deer is located in the immediate neighbourhood of this god, this is Dyaus/Papai. On the other side of the spindle there are the designs of clouds and sign 37 ti, see figure 17.

clouds.gif
Figure 17.

The name Ti correlates with the name Dyy of the Old Russian pagan god of the sky, cf. also cf. Old Indian dyo- 'day; the sky', di 'to shine', Dyaus 'the sky god'.

Interestingly, the Old Russian masterpiece The Song of Igor's Host contains the following passage: Svist zverin v''sta, zbisya Div, klichet vr''hu dreva, velit poslushati zemli neznaeme -- Vl''ze, i Pomoriyu, i Posuliyu, i Surozhu, i Korsunyu, i tebe, T'mutorokan'skyi bl''van. Here Div (cf. Old Indian div 'sky') is equal to Dyaus. He is on the sky (lit. 'above a tree'), besides, he is associated with animals.

Two designs are inscribed on a spindle (Dashevskaya 1991: 115, table 59, figure 3), see figures 18 and 19.

targit1.gif
Figure 18.

targit2.gif
Figure 19.

I have distinguished the stylised figure of a horse as well as signs 59 33 Tar(a) 'Targitai' in figure 18. Actually, the fiery horses correlate with the god Indra (Bessonova 1983: 65). A "hair" of the tail of Targitai's horse is separated; four hair are depicted in figure 19. According to the Indo-Arian beliefs, an incarnation of Indra is a horse-hair. Let us consider the Russian fairy tale Zolotoe vereteno (A gold spindle). A girl, Annushka, dropped a spindle into a well. Her step-mother demanded that she took it out. The girl went down to the well's bottom. She met a white old man, the master of the water of the well. He said that Baba-Yaga had got the spindle; he said how to go to her, too. The girl met horses that asked to take one hair from their tails. She did so. Then she came to the house of Baba-Yaga, and so on. At last, Annushka got a gold spindle and the gold. Interestingly, in some versions of this fairy tail, a girl got the cattle (Korepova 1992: 496). Thus the Scythian myth is reflected in the Russian fairy tail. One can realise the meaning of the component Yaga of the name Baba-Yaga (the Old woman Yaga). This personage tries to roast a hero in an oven according to several Russian fairy tales. Sometimes she gives him a horse. I believe that these events are a hint at the Indo-Arian sacrifices to the fire god Agni associated with horses as well. So I compare the name Yaga with Old Indian yagya 'sacrifice'. This personage (= Old Russian pagan goddess called Makosh'?) is closely related to the fire god Agni. Baba-Yaga personifies the winter condition of the earth (Shepping 1997: 154).

11. Two silver bowls discovered in a Sarmatian barrow mound of the Zhutovo cemetery were dated to 2nd century B.C. - 1st century A.D. (Mordvintseva 2000: 146, figure 2; 151). Both vessels are decorated with the figures of eagles. One of the bowls contains sign 72 be, see figure 20.

eaglep.gif
Figure 20.

I compare the word be with Russian bit' (the root bi-) 'to beat', cf. also the name of the Russian pagan god thunderer Perun 'The one who beats' (Vasmer 1987: 246). It is a hint at the Scythian sky god Papai. Interestingly, eagles are associated with the Greek god Zeus and Roman god Jupiter who are the sky deities; besides, an eagle is carrying and throwing the arrow of thunder in the Russian folklore (Afanasiev 1996: 147). The wordplay is quite possible: cf. Old Russian Perun, Indo-European *Per(kw)unos 'god thunderer' (28), Russian berkut 'golden eagle'; Old Indian garuda 'eagle', garjh 'to thunder', garda 'dark shade', Russian grom 'thunder', groza 'thunderstorm', grohot 'crash; thunder', grad 'hail'.

A silver plate discovered in the same barrow mound (Mordvintseva 2000: 145, figures 1 and 2) contains signs, see figures 21 - 23.

teller1.gif
Figure 21.

teller2.gif
Figure 22.

teller3.gif
Figure 23.

The record presented in figure 21 reads 77 76 01 (cf. sign 18 of the Phaistos disk) garada, cf. Old Indian garuda 'eagle', garjh 'to thunder', garda 'dark shade', Russian grom 'thunder', groza 'thunderstorm', grohot 'crash; thunder', grad 'hail'. So this inscription is connected with the cult of the sky god, too. Both signs, 77 ga (cf. sign 18 of the Phaistos disk) and 76 ra, presented in figures 22 and 23 are the single word gara. This is a variant of the word garada.

A silver goblet discovered in the same barrow mound (Mordvintseva 2000: 147, figure 3, 2) contains signs, see figures 24.

kubok.gif
Figure 24.

Signs 33 33 read rar(a), cf. Slavonic Rarog 'fire bird', Czech raroh 'falcon' (29).

So all the inscriptions written down on the artifacts from this barrow mound are referred to the sky god.

12. A record is presented in the Neizats burial ground (Dashevskaya 1991: 94, table 38, figure 6, II - II), see figure 25.

triangle.gif
Figure 25.

A triangle is depicted near signs 80 72 20 ma peco, cf. Scythian ma 'the sun', Old Indian panca 'five', Russian pyat' 'five'. Besides, the triangle may represent a mountain (Shilov 1995: 477). I think that this record is devoted to the Scythian god Agni 'Fire' associated with number five. Perhaps the mountain symbolises a burning heap of brushwood dedicated to this god. In fact, the god Agni plays the main role in sacrifices according to the Indo-Arian mythology (Neveleva 1975: 85).

13. A mirror was discovered in a Sarmatian burial, near the Vinogradny small village, the Rostov-on-Don Territory, Russia. Now it is in the Azov Museum of local lore (Maximenko 1998: 250, figure 67, 4; 281). The signs of the mirror apply to a calendar, it is a variant of the Meotian-Sarmatian calendar. The Sarmarian mirror contains the round (the sun) in the centre; the four groups consisting of three lines denote the four seasons. The signs referring to these seasons are presented in figure 26.

calend.gif
Figure 26.

All the four records contain the turned signs dividing each two signs and representing the motion of the sun. The first section (the winter) includes the sign of a trident and sign 56 pa, cf. Old Indian apa 'a quantity of water; to drink', pa 'to drink; drinking'. The sign of the trident reads kup- 'water'. The second section (the spring) includes the sign of a bull (cow) and signs 46 02 yero, cf. Russian yary, yarostny 'furious', yarovoy sev 'spring sowing', bychok-yarovik 'bull'. The third section (the summer) includes the sign an eagle above the sun as well as the sign of a trident together with sign 15 mo 'the sun'. In my opinion, they are the marks of the Semik feast devoted to the god Perun (June 4 or near the Orthodox feast of the Trinity) and of the Kupala feast (June 24) or of the day of slipping of reapers (August 15) (30). The forth section (the autumn) includes the signs of a serpent and a horse's head. The dates of a snake feast of the Slavs are September 12 - 14 (31).

A round artifact was discovered at the Scythian ancient settlement Belsk (Shramko 1999: 45, figure 7, 10; 46). It is a calendar device. The twelve radial lines denote twelve months of a year. They denote four seasons (four months (the summer?); two months; three months; three months).

14. Several signs are depicted on a wall of a building of the Scythian Naples (Dashevskaya 1991: 60, table 4, figure 1), see figure 27.

loshsk.gif
Figure 27.

This text has been partly deciphered. The text 12 10 76 reads surya 'the sun', cf. Old Indian surya 'the sun'. Near this word there is the sign of the solar horse. Sign 26 ru corresponds to Old Indian ru 'light', and the sign of an arrow denotes the sun, cf. Old Indian ban 'arrow' and bhanu 'the sun'. In the figure of the solar horse one can distinguish sign 33 ra 'the sun' (32). The same sign with the same meaning is attached to the figure of the solar horse's head of the Meotian-Sarmatian calendar, see figure 28.

horse1.gif
Figure 28.

The word 12 "rectangle" (33) 33 67 s(o)var(a)gi 'sky', cf. Old Indian svarga 'sky', Old Russian Svarog'' 'the name of a pagan god'. The hatched segments are symbolic designations of the sky or clouds. Sign 05 reads ja, cf. Old Indian ja 'born', Russian dozhd' 'rain'. Signs 11 10 12 10 33 read b(o)u surya 'the deity/light Surya', cf. Old Indian bhut 'being; person; demon', bhaah 'light'.

15. Several signs are represented on an early Scythian pottery vessel discovered at the Zaporozhye Territory, Ukraine; it was dated to the second half of 7th century B.C. (Leskov 1972: photo 10), see figures 29 - 31.

potsg1.gif
Figure 29.

potsg2.gif
Figure 30.

potsg3.gif
Figure 31.

I have distinguished sign 77 (cf. sign 18 of the Phaistos disk) ga (see figure 29), the three united triangles (see figure 30) and the sign of the water/rain (see figure 31; cf. the corresponding sign 66 ta of Linear B). One can offer several interpretations of this record. I translate the word ga as '(solar) bull; cow', cf. Old Indian go 'bull; cow'. Maybe, this text reports about the Indo-Arian god Trita 'Third', or about the third footstep of the Indo-Arian god Visnu, or about the Indo-Arian god Indra having the epithets tridivecvara 'the ruler of the third sky' and trilokeca 'the ruler of the three worlds', or about the three cosmic kingdoms of the Indo-Arian god Rudra (34).

16. Several signs are depicted on the handle of a mirror discovered in the mausoleum of the Scythian Naples (Dashevskaya 1991: 129, table 73, figure 1), see figure 32.

invri.gif
Figure 32.

The handle ends with the stylised figure of a serpent. I have distinguished sign 33 ra 'the sun'; sign 16 ha of the Phaistos disk and sign 55 nu surround eight dots (a calendar symbol); they give the word han(u), cf. Old Indian han 'to kill'. Furthermore, above the serpent there is a crown. I suppose that this text and picture inform that the sun god Indra (Targitai) kills the serpent Vritra or Susna, cf. the name Vrtrahan 'The destroyer of Vritra' which is an epithet of the god Indra.

17. A bronze cauldron was discovered in a Sarmatian burial, Mokry Chaltyr', the Rostov-on-Don Territory, Russia. It was dated to 1st century B.C. - 1st century A.D., now it is in the Azov Museum of local lore (Maximenko 1998: 232, figure 49, 4; 278). The cauldron is decorated with signs 76 80 rama, see figure 33.

sheep.gif
Figure 33.

This word is comparable with Old Indian remi 'ram', ramb 'lamb'. The ram is an incarnation of the Scythian fire god. On the other hand, the signs may be read as 76 07 ra di 'the sun -- the shine/the sky', too, cf. Scythian ra 'the sun', Old Indian dyo- 'day; the sky', di 'to shine', Dyaus 'the sky god'.

This vessel has the two handles that show up as parts of the sun disc with three rays. Under one of the handles there is sign 46 ye, see figure 34.

aya1.gif
Figure 34.

I suppose that it is the word aya meaning 'vitality'.

Besides, this artifact contains a sign represented in figure 35.

thrsun.gif
Figure 35.

This sign depicts the three suns, perhaps it is the sun located on the third sky where the sun deity Indra rules.

Bronze cauldrons were discovered in Sarmatian burials, Verkhneyachenkov and Krasny (Kudinov), the Rostov-on-Don Territory, Russia. They were dated to 1st century B.C. - 1st century A.D., now it is in the Azov Museum of local lore (Maximenko 1998: 232, figures 49, 6; 278; 188, figure 5, 3). The handles of these vessels look like parts of the sun disc with three rays. On each artifact there is sign 46 ye, see figures 36 and 37.

aya2.gif
Figure 36.

aya3.gif
Figure 37.

The same sign is inscribed on a Scythian pot discovered at Belyaus (Dashevskaya 1991: 74, table 18, figure 1), see figure 38.

aya4.gif
Figure 38.

I believe that in all the cases this sign denotes the word aya 'vitality'.

Another bronze cauldron was discovered in a Sarmatian burial, Krasny (Kudinov). It was dated to 1st century B.C. - 1st century A.D., now it is in the Azov Museum of local lore (Maximenko 1998: 232, figures 49, 1; 278). The handles of this vessel also look like parts of the sun disc with three rays. On this artifact there is sign 33 ra, see figures 39.

rasun.gif
Figure 39.

It is the word ra 'the sun'.

The speciphic shape of the handles -- the three solar rays -- may denote the sun on the third sky. Interestingly, the figure of the Scythian supreme sun goddess Tabiti discussed hereabove is also decorated with the three rays.

A bronze cauldron with ordinary handles was discovered in a Sarmatian burial, Elanskaya, the Rostov-on-Don Territory, Russia. It was dated to 1st century B.C. - 1st century A.D., now it is in the Azov Museum of local lore (Maximenko 1998: 232, figure 49, 13; 278). On this artifact there is sign 43 ai, see figures 40.

ptiai.gif
Figure 40.

I think that this sign denotes the word aya 'vitality'.

Two signs are presented on a Scythian statue, Zavetnoe, the Crimea, Ukraine (Dashevskaya 1991: 98, table 42, figure 10), see figure 41.

antst1.gif
Figure 41.

Signs 46 05 read ya ja, i.e. aya 'vitality' and ja 'born', cf. Old Indian ja 'born'.

18. A Scythian silver rhyton was discovered in the Karagodeuashkh barrow, Republic of Adygea, Russia. It was dated to 4th century B.C., now it is in the Hermitage (Anfimov 1987: 166-7). On this artifact there is the following motif: a panther is tearing a deer to pieces. On the figure of the panther I have distinguished the solar sign and sign 12 so, cf. Scythian so 'bright; look; eye; heat; shine; to shine', see figure 42.

spanth.gif
Figure 42.

I think that the picture of the rhyton depicts the god Indra killing his father, the sky god Papai/Dyaus. It is a symbolic description of a solar eclipse. Interestingly, Old Indian sardula signifies 'panther; lion; leopard; tiger; best; excellent; pre-eminent', and Old Indian sura signifies 'panther; lion; tiger; strong; powerful; mighty or valiant man; warrior; hero', cf. also surya 'the sun'.

19. There are different motifs on a Scythian silver mirror from the Kelermes barrow No 4, near the Kelermesskaya village. It was dated to 7th - 6th century B.C., now it is in the Hermitage (Anfimov 1987: 64-5). This mirror is divided into eight sections. The winged goddess holding two panthers is Tabiti, or Usas, or Api, the wife of the sky god Papai/Dyaus. I prefer to choose the third variant. Indeed, the sign of the rain is represented on her dress, see figure 43.

gdss1.gif
Figure 43.

Moreover, twelve "patterns" are represented on the dress; one of them is shown in figure 44.

gdss2.gif
Figure 44.

I read the "pattern" as signs 77 77 gaga (cf. sign 18 of the Phaistos disk), and this word is comparable with Old Indian gagana 'sky'. Each sky is a "specific" one connected with the earth in a certain month. The goddess Api holds two panthers, otherwise her sons, the twin brothers Indra and Agni. One can try to decode other motifs of this mirror. The drawing depicting a lion, a bull, and a boar reports about the deities Indra, Vala and Rudra. Personages of some sections may be constellations. A ram is an incarnation of the fire god Agni; a goat is an incarnation of the Indo-Arian deity Aja Ekapad connected with the deities Pusan, Indra and Varuna. A bear may be a symbol of some feasts celebrated on March 24, April 12, May 9 and September 14 in the Slavonic pagan beliefs (35). A griffin fighting with two persons symbolises the gold-guarding griffins and Hyperboreans. Two winged deities holding a column correspond to Atlas who, according to the Greek beliefs, supports the vault of heaven in the land of the Hyperboreans (36). Greek Atlas (Atlantos) 'Atlas' may come from Old Indian atulaniya 'incomparable' or ati 'extremely; very', Scythian (a)lan 'deer'.

NOTES

1. Cf. also Russian hranit' 'to keep; to preserve' and horonit' 'to bury'.

2. See Vasmer 1986: 159.

3. Cf. also Old Indian pat 'to fall; to go down into hell; to set (below the horizon)'.

4. Cf. also Old Indian apa 'a quantity of water; to drink', pa 'to drink; drinking'.

5. According to the Scythian beliefs, the rite of libations is associated with deities (Galanina, Domansky and Smirnova 1981: 67).

6. It should be borne in mind that Scythian rhytons -- vessels for wine -- resemble horns. Cf. also Old Indian rohis 'kind of deer'.

7. See Vasmer 1986: 528.

8. See Vasmer 1987: 150-1.

9. See Trubachev 1981: 11.

10. See Shilov 1995: 228.

11. See Shilov 1995: 234.

12. Cf. also Old Indian soma 'elixir'.

13. See Grintser 1992.

14. I think that the name Indra signifies 'Man; Brave Person', cf. Greek andreios 'male; manly; brave'. See also (Shilov 1995: 529).

15. See Toporov 1991c.

16. See Ivanov and Toporov 1991: 529, figure.

17. See Toporov 1992a. Besides, it may be the Indo-Arian god Prajapati or demon Emusa (Toporov 1992b: 71).

18. See Toporov 1991a: 396.

19. See Vasmer 1987: 629.

20. See Vasmer 1986: 310.

21. See Diachenko 1993: 972.

22. See Toporov 1991b. The words Ga-Kolo (Rjabchikov 1998: 7) of the Phaistos disk may be translated as 'The bull/cow -- the sun'.

23. See Raevsky 1992: 446.

24. See Lelekov 1991.

25. Slavonic *jedr 'vigorous' connected with Indra (Toporov 1991c: 535) may be compared with the morpheme tar of Targitai.

26. See Ivanov and Toporov 1991: 529.

27. See Vasmer 1986: 297, 273.

28. See Ivanov and Toporov 1992a.

29. See Ivanov and Toporov 1992b.

30. See Rybakov 1987: 177-90; Vlasov 1993: 129; Belyakova 1995: 215-6, 218-9.

31. See Vlasov 1993: 111.

32. This ancient Egyptian name of the sun god Ra is preserved in the Russian words raduga 'rainbow' < *ra duga 'arc of the sun' and zarya 'dawn' < *sa ra 'the sun (is shining)'. Cf. Old Indian ravi 'the sun', vi 'bird; horse'.

33. See Rjabchikov 1998: 23.

34. See Toporov 1992c; 1992d; Serebryany 1991; Shilov 1995: 201; Neveleva 1975: 109; Toporov 1992a.

35. See Vlasov 1993: 110-1, 118.

36. See Zaytsev 1991: 280.

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Dashevskaya, O.D., 1980. O skifskikh kuril'nitsakh. Sovetskaya arkheologiya, 1: 18-29.

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Ivanov, V.V. and V.N. Toporov, 1992b. Rarog. In: S.A. Tokarev (ed.) Mify narodov mira. Vol. 2. Moscow: Sovetskaya Entsiklopediya, p. 368.

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Vlasov, V.G., 1993. Formirovanie kalendarya slavyan. Ranny period. In: N.L. Zhukovskaya and S.Y. Serov (eds.) Kalendar' v kul'ture narodov mira. Moscow: Nauka, pp. 102-44.

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

Published 12 May 2001.

Sergei V. Rjabchikov, Krasnodar, RUSSIA.


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THE INTERPRETATION OF SCYTHIAN, SARMATIAN AND MEOTIAN-SARMATIAN MOTIFS AND RECORDS


CAIS

According to the History of Herodotus (Books III and IV), the Arimaspi, men with one eye, lived on the north near the gold-guarding griffins and the Hyperboreans

Of course, this story is a reflex of the Scythian mythology. The name Arimasp- is Scythian; I read it as Ar ima (a)s pa 'An Aryan has [one] eye', cf. Scythian ar 'Aryan', ima 'he has', as 'bright; look; eye', pa 'to shine; to appear; to seem' or 'to protect', cf. also Old Indian arya 'excellent; respectable; dear; master; mistress', Russian imet' 'to have', imya 'name', yasny 'clear; bright; fine', Old Indian us 'to shine', bha 'to shine; to appear; to seem', pa 'to protect'. On the other hand, the name of the Argippaeans, the sacred and fair people (The History of Herodotus: Book IV), may be derived from Ar gipp- 'An Aryan is kept/is dead', cf. Russian gibnut' 'to perish; to be killed', gibel' 'death', gubit' 'to kill', Old Indian gup 'to keep; to preserve' (1). Obviously, this people symbolises the dead in the Scythian beliefs. Moreover, the country of Argippaeans is a symbol of the place of the dead in the Scythian religion. Greek Yperboreos 'Hyperborean, lit. 'Living behind Boreas, on the north'' is also a hint at the Scythian place of the dead, cf. Greek Boreas 'the god of the north wind' which comes from Scythian bor- 'to take', cf. Russian brat' 'to take', Old Indian bharati 'he carries, takes away' (2). Scythian eorpata signifies 'Amazon', lit. 'A killer of a husband', eor signigies 'husband', pata signifies 'to kill' (The History of Herodotus: Book IV). Really, eor is a variant of Scythian ar 'Aryan', and pata correlates with Old Indian pat 'to hew; to cut' (3). According to the History of Herodotus (IV), the source of the river Hypanis and the place where it rises is named Exampei 'The sacred ways'. I translate this name as 'The earth (A)pi', or 'The earth (goddess) (A)pi (associated with the water/rivers)' (4) , cf. Old Indian ksam 'earth', Russian zemlya 'earth', zemnoy 'earthly'. In fact, comparing Scythian myths included in the History of Herodotus (Book IV), I conclude that the earth goddess Api '(The goddess) drinks' corresponds to a daughter of the river Borysthenes (Dnieper). Let us examine several names of the Scythian kings (The History of Herodotus: Book IV). The name Ariant (Ari(a) ant) means 'The Aryan (royal) eagle', cf. the ancient term ant 'Slav', Etruscan antas 'eagle'. The name Ariapith (Aria pith) means 'The Aryan (royal) drink' (5), cf. Old Indian pita 'drunk', Russian pit'e 'drink'. The name Spargapith (Spa rga pith) means 'The abundance of the drink', cf. Old Indian sapat 'fullness; perfection; beauty', ruh 'growth; rising', Old Church Slavonic rog'' 'strength; advantage', Russian rog 'horn' (6). The name Idanthirs (Idan thyrs) means '(A person) passing the river Tanais, i.e. Don', cf. Scythian tan 'water', Old Indian danu 'trickling liquid' (7), Russian dno 'bottom (of river, etc.)', Old Indian tir 'to pass'. The name Sauly (Sa uly) means 'This is the shine', cf. Old Indian sa 'that; he', ullah 'to shine'. The name of the Scythian king Skilur (Dashevskaya 1991: 44) consists of two Scythian words, skil 'falcon' and ur 'bright; to shine', cf. Old Indian ullah 'to shine'. I believe that two virgins from the Hyperboreans, Arga and Opis (The History of Herodotus: Book IV), are indeed the Scythian goddesses. The goddess Opi(s) is Api, the Scythian goddess of the earth. The goddess Arga is either the goddess Argimpasa (cf. Scythian ar 'Aryan', Russian yary, yarostny 'furious', yarovoy sev 'spring sowing', bychok-yarovik 'bull', Old Indian go 'bull; cow') or the same goddess Api (in this case Arga is Ar ga 'The Aryan earth', cf. Greek ga, ge 'earth', Gaia 'the earth goddess', or A-rga 'The abundance', cf. Old Indian ruh 'growth; rising', Old Church Slavonic rog'' 'strength; advantage', Russian rog 'horn'). The name of the Scythian goddess Ditagoia (Dashevskaya 1991: 44) consists of two Scythian words, dita 'child' (cf. Russian ditya 'child') and goi associated with the fertility. One can try to translate four names of Scythians. The name Anahars signifies 'Without the joy', cf. Old Indian a 'not', na 'not', harsa 'joy'. The name Gnur signifies 'A killing (person)', cf. Old Indian ghna 'killing; destroying'. In this name there is the suffix r, cf. the corresponding Russian suffix ar. The name Lik signifies 'A face', cf. Russian lik, litso 'face'. The name Orik signifies 'An eagle', cf. Gothic ara, Hittite haras, Russian orel 'eagle', Greek ornis 'bird' (8).

One can decode several Scythian, Sarmatian and Meotian-Sarmatian motifs and inscriptions. I use my own translation scheme for reading the Scythian (Proto-Slavonic) signs.

1. Several signs are depicted on a wall of a building of the Scythian Naples, the Crimea, Ukraine (Dashevskaya 1991: 60, table 4, figure 1), see figure 1.

Figure 1.

The deity holding two mirrors and radiating light (cf. the three rays above the head) is undoubtedly the Scythian supreme sun goddess Tabiti. Actually, this goddess is represented as a queen who is sitting on a throne and who is holding a mirror (Galanina, Domansky and Smirnova 1981: 50, photo; 67). Now one can study the signs inscribed near the figure of the goddess. They are the syllables 59-72-33 75 09 Tabera vese 'Knowing Tabiti', cf. Old Indian tap '(of the sun) to scorch; to heat; to warm', tapas 'heat', Old Church Slavonic toplo 'warm', Old Indian vid 'to know', veda '(she) knows', Old Church Slavonic veshchy 'wise; knowing'.

Interestingly, the Russian fairy tales inform about a queen looking in a magic mirror (Propp 1998: 398). In my view, it is a reflex of the Scythian mythology.

Furthermore, on the same wall near the examined fragment there is the drawing of a house and three syllables, 26 67 09 rukise. I suppose that this house is the symbol of a Scythian town; the word rukise compares with Indo-Arian ruksa- 'light-coloured' from which in O.N. Trubachev's opinion (9) Russian Rus 'Russia' came. So the Russian terms Rus 'Russia', russky 'Russian' have indeed the ancient origin.

A fragment of an anthropoid statuette was discovered at the Scythian ancient settlement Belsk, the Poltava Territory, Ukraine (Shramko 1999: 44, figure 6, 17; 45). It is a female figurine decorated with the sign of the sun, see figure 2.

Figure 2.

It is the designation of the sun goddess Tabiti.

2. A treated fragment of a sheep's bone was discovered at the Scythian ancient settlement Belsk (Shramko 1999: 44, figure 6, 25; 46). It is decorated with sign 04 te, see figure 3.

Figure 3.

This word may be compared with Old Indian tejas 'fire; heat; intense heat; brightness', Greek teko 'to smelt', Russian tayat' 'to thaw'. I think that this artifact is connected with the cult of the Indo-Arian god Agni 'Fire'. In fact, the sheep are associated with Agni in the Indo-Arian beliefs (Shilov 1995: 216). Interestingly, some Scythian stands of hearths discovered in different places, the Crimea, Ukraine (Dashevskaya 1991: 60, table 8, figures 1 - 8), are decorated with the sheep's heads. So the sheep is a symbol of the Scythian fire god.

3. The design of a dog and signs are presented on a wall of a crypt of the of the Scythian Naples (Dashevskaya 1991: 95, table 39, figure 6), see figure 4.

Figure 4.

I read the words 12 75 sove 'dog' (cf. spaka 'dog', svaka 'wolf' mentioned in the Avesta and Rigveda (10), Russian sobaka 'dog') and 23 26 m(u)ru connected with Old Indian mr 'to die; to kill', Russian umirat' 'to die', mertvyy 'dead'. It is known that skeletons or bones of sacrificed dogs were found in the Indo-Arian graves (Shilov 1995: 228-36). In Y.A Shilov's opinion (1995: 233), bones of dogs from Indo-Arian graves are signs of resurrection. Besides, two dogs accompanying the dead are presented in some Indo-Arian motifs (Shilov 1995: 231-2). It is possible that the dog depicted in figure 1 corresponds to the Iranian mythological dog-bird Semurv (11); in this instance signs read 75 26 veru and 12 23 somu. The expression veru Somu means 'to the fire of (the deity) Somu', cf. Russian varit' 'to boil', Etruscan verse 'fire' (12).

4. A picture is presented on a wall of a crypt of the Scythian Naples (Dashevskaya 1991: 95, table 39, figure 8). A boar is surrounded by two dogs; a horseman and a singer are depicted near a hole. The plot may be decoded using the data of the Indo-Arian mythology. The two dogs belong to Yama, the king of the dead (13). The hole denotes this personage, the wordplay is quite possible: cf. Old Indian Yama 'king of the dead', Russian yama 'hole'. The horseman is the god Indra, the king of gods (the sun is his eye) (14), an inspirer of singers; he killed the demon Emusa incarnated in the boar by an arrow (15). The name Emusa is comparable with Old Indian mus 'to obscure light; thief; to steal, to rob; to break or to cut in pieces; to destroy'. Arrows are depicted on the picture, too. The wordplay is quite possible: cf. Old Indian bana 'arrow' and bhanu 'the sun'.

The same crypt contains another picture (Dashevskaya 1991: 95, table 39, figure 1). A pair of the heads of horses is represented on the top of the roof of a house; arrows are presented around this sacred building. These two heads correspond to figures and images of a pair of the heads of horses as well as solar symbols of the Indo-Europeans (16). Apparently, the Scythian signs of horses have the same meaning. They may also signify asvattha, the axis of the world in the Indo-Arian beliefs. The arrows are in my opinion the solar signs.

5. A Scythian silver tip of a gold-incrusted lying boar is from the Ulyap barrow No 1, near the Ulyap village, Republic of Adygea, Russia. Now it is in the State Museum of Oriental Art, Moscow, Russia (Anfimov 1987: 142; Leskov and Lapushnian 1987: 35, figure XXIII; 54). It is the incarnation of a deity, as the boar's body ends with a stylised griffin beak. I suppose that it is a design of the Indo-Arian god Rudra incarnated in the boar (17). Signs are depicted on it, see figure 5.

Figure 5.

Signs 23 33 read mura, cf. Old Indian mura 'rushing; impetuous'.

The same barrow contained the Scythian tip of a gold head of a deer with silver antlers. Now it is in the State Museum of Oriental Art (Anfimov 1987: 142-3). An eye of this deer has a form of sign 14 do, cf. Old Indian dyo- 'day; the sky', Dyaus 'the sky god'. The wordplay is quite possible taking into account the variation of the sounds r/l: cf. Old Indian harina 'deer; the sun; white colour; having rays', Old Russian elen' 'deer', Greek elios 'the sun'. The Russian female name Svetlana may be divided into parts svet 'light' and (a)lan(a) 'fallow deer; deer', cf. also Old Indian sveta 'white'. Besides, an eye of the Indo-Aryan god Indra is the sun.

A sign and several designs are depicted on a badge discovered in the mausoleum of the Scythian Naples (Dashevskaya 1991: 122, table 66, figure 25), see figure 6.

Figure 6.

The mask of the god Papai/Dyaus is united with a deer (it is his incarnation) and sign 15 mo 'the sun'.

6. The design of two trees and several signs are presented on a wall of a Scythian crypt from the village Ozernoe, the Crimea, Ukraine (Dashevskaya 1991: 95, table 39, figure 7), see figure 7.

Figure 7.

I think that the figures of both trees represent respectively the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge or vice versa known in the Bible (Genesis 2: 8), in the Egyptian and Babylonian mythologies (Tokarev 1991). The signs of rhombi may be read ai, cf. Hittite eia 'the World Tree', Old Indian ayus 'life; vitality; vigour; long life' (18), Russian yaytso 'egg', German Ei 'egg'. The whole text on the wall reads THE TREE WITH SIX BRANCHES, Ai; Ai, THE TREE WITH FOUR BRANCHES; Ai, sign 14 = Do, cf. Old Indian dyo- 'day; the sky'. It may be the designation of the Indo-Arian sky god Dyaus. On the other hand, the trees with the two and three pairs of branches may denote the interval between the second and third months, or February-March. The World Tree with three pairs of branches and the sign of the rhomb (ai) are depicted on a Scythian silver rhyton with a ram's head of its tip from the Karagodeuashkh barrow, Republic of Adygea, Russia. It was dated to 4th century B.C., now it is in the Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia (Anfimov 1987: 162-3). I believe that the ram's head denotes the constellation of Aries (the Ram) associated with April. A Scythian silver rhyton tipped with a Capricorn's head was discovered in the Seven Brothers barrow No 4, near the Varenikovskaya village, the Anapa district, the Krasnodar Territory, Russia (Anfimov 1987: 106-7). Scythian gold rhytons tipped with a dog's head and a ram's one (Anfimov 1987: 112-3) were discovered in this barrow as well. They were dated to 5th century B.C., now they are in the Hermitage. I think that the three designs denote the constellations of Capricornus (the Sea Goat), Canis Major (the Greater Dog) or Canis Minor (the Lesser Dog), and Aries (the Ram) respectively.

Now one can try to decipher the motif of a Scythian gold plate which covered a vessel. This artifact was also discovered in the Seven Brothers barrow No 4; now it is in the Hermitage (Anfimov 1987: 115). Here an eagle tears a lamb to pieces. Three petals are depicted near the eagle. Seven petals and sign 12 so are depicted under the figure of the lamb, see figure 8.

Figure 8.

I translate the word (a)so as 'the sun; to shine; clear', cf. Scythian as 'bright; look; eye', Russian siyat' 'to shine', Old Church Slavonic siyati 'to shine', prisoe 'heat', Old Indian caya 'shine' (19). The seven petals denote the seventh month, or July. Therefore the three petals denote the third month, or March. Hence the lamb is a symbol of the constellation of Aries (the Ram) associated with April. I suppose that the eagle is a symbol of the sun: cf. Old Indian suparna 'eagle; (figuratively) the sun'. So this picture describes the transition from the spring to the summer.

A Scythian inscription performed by the Greek letters contains in particular the names of Iamah and his father, Somah (Dashevskaya 1991: 27-8). One can suppose that the first name means 'The great vitality' (cf. Old Indian ayus 'life; vitality; vigour; long life', maha 'great; big', Russian moguchiy 'mighty'), and the second name means 'The great sun'.

Several signs are depicted on a Scythian silver badge discovered in the Neizats burial ground, the Crimea, Ukraine (Dashevskaya 1991: 130, table 74, figure 11), see figure 9.

Figure 9.

Signs 12 05 76 read so jara, 'the old sun', cf. Scythian so 'bright; look; eye; heat; shine; to shine', Old Indian jara 'old age'. The one petal denotes the first month, or December. So it is a description of the death and the resurrection of the sun, i.e. the designation of the Scythian god Goitosir.

Let us examine a Scythian brooch discovered in the Chernorechensky burial ground, the Crimea, Ukraine (Dashevskaya 1991: 121, table 65, figure 17). This artifact is divided into eight sections. It should be remembered that number four as well as number eight are connected with the symbols of the World Tree (Bessonova 1983: 82-3). Therefore no wonder that in the centre of this brooch there is the sign of the sun with some rays, see figure 10.

Figure 10.

Another Scythian brooch was also found in the same burial ground (Dashevskaya 1991: 121, table 65, figure 18). This artifact is divided into four sections; the rhomb ai is presented in its centre; the four signs of the sun denote the motion of the sun throughout a year.

7. There are different motifs on a Scythian gold sword sheath and hilt from the Kelermes barrow No 1, near the Kelermesskaya village, the Giaginsky district, the Krasnodar Territory, Russia. They were dated to 7th - 6th century B.C., now they are in the Hermitage (Anfimov 1987: 58-9). First of all, two winged gods are disposed bilaterally along the World Tree decorated with the solar signs. Near them the signs of the Phaistos disk (Rjabchikov 1998) known as a decorative version of the writing of Linear A are engraved. Sign 35 ve of the Phaistos disk depicts a branch, cf. Old Indian vaya, Old Church Slavonic veya 'branch' (20). The word ve is comparable with Old Indian vah 'to blow', vata, vayu 'wind', Russian veyat' 'to blow', veter 'wind'; sign 38 of the Phaistos disk reads ho; the word ho is comparable with Old Indian ha 'the sun', hu 'to sacrifice (in the fire)'. I think that the winged gods denote Hyperboreans, and the whole plot denotes their country (the place of the dead). The linguistic verification is quite possible: cf. Russian sever 'north' which might originate from the expression se ver 'this is fire/top'. Griffins are depicted on the sheath, too. They are the gold-guarding griffins mentioned in the History of Herodotus (Book IV); the zigzag signs are engraved on the figures of some of them. Perhaps they are the symbols of the lightning. In the Indo-Arian beliefs, the zigzag denotes the god Dyaus (Shilov 1995: 452). Moreover, the zigzag may denote a dwelling, a palace, a mountain, a land (Shilov 1995: 455). On the tip of the sheath there is a vignette decorated with the twelve semicircles (they are symbols of the twelve months of a year divided into four seasons). On the upper part of the sheath there is the figure of a deer. It is a symbol of Papai, the Scythian god of the sky. Plenty of the rounds (solar signs) as well as the rhombi ai (Hittite eia 'the World Tree', Old Indian ayus 'life; vitality; vigour; long life', Russian yaytso 'egg', German Ei 'egg') are represented on the hilt. According to the Indo-Arian beliefs, the rhomb is a symbol of fertility (Shilov 1995: 189); this sign also denotes the goddess Aditi, the mother of deities (Shilov 1995: 452). Besides, the signs of rhombi are the signs of the growth of winter crops in some cases (Shilov 1995: 466).

A deer and a tree with seven branches are presented on a Meotian-Sarmatian pitcher dated to 2nd century B.C. (Leskov and Lapushnian 1987: 143, photo 68). I think that this deer is the sky god Papai standing near the World Tree.

8. Now one can interpret the inscription on a Scythian censer from the Belyaus burial ground, the Crimea, Ukraine (Dashevskaya 1980: 21, figure 3), see figure 11.

Figure 11.

Five sections divided by vertical lines include sings as follows: 37; 77, THE TREE with eight pairs of branches, 77; 56 56 "rhomb"; 37; 77, THE TREE with night pairs of branches, 77. Sign 37 reads Ti, cf. the name Dyy of the Old Russian pagan god of the sky (21), cf. also Old Indian dyo- 'day; the sky', di 'to shine', Dyaus 'the sky god'. Both trees may denote the interval between the eighth and ninth months, or August-September. In this context signs 56 56 "rhomb" read Papai, and it is another name of the Scythian sky god. Sign 77 reads ga, cf. Old Indian go 'bull; cow'. Indeed, the bull is an incarnation of the god Dyaus in the Indo-Arian mythology (22). As has been shown earlier, the name Papai may correlate with Old Indian payate 'he gives to drink'. In fact, the rain of the Indo-Aryan god Dyaus is a semen to produce the new, in particular, the deities.

9. Now one can decode the motif represented on a Scythian gold rhyton discovered in the village Merdzhany near the town Anapa, the Krasnodar Territory, Russia (Bessonova 1983: 111-2, figure 31; Anfimov 1987: 135-6). I have distinguished the following features: the World Tree with three pairs of branches (March 22, the vernal equinox); the goddess Tabiti sitting on a throne; the skull of a horse at a stake; the horseman Targitai (Tar gita 'The giving (god)') holding horn of plenty. The skull of a horse denotes December 22, the winter solstice, and the god Targitai denotes June 22, the summer solstice. Midway between these two dates the Tree (March 22) is situated.

It is reasonably safe to suggest that the Scythian god Targitai corresponds to the Indo-Aryan god Indra. The latter deity has epithets 'Generous' and 'Donor'. Let us examine one of figures depicted on a Scythian bone plate from the Gayman's Grave dated to 4th century B.C. (Bessonova 1983: 19, figure 1). A hero kills a dragon. I believe that here the god Indra kills either the dragon (serpent) Vritra or the serpent Susna. According to the Indo-Arian beliefs, the god Indra associated with the sky and the sun as well as the god Agni 'Fire' are twin brothers. On the other hand, according to the Greek historian Diodorus, the brothers Pal and Nap are the forefathers of the Scythians (23). The name Pal is comparable with Russian palit' 'to burn; to scorch', Old Indian paridahyate 'is burning' (cf. also dah 'to burn'), and the name Nap is comparable with Old Indian nabhas 'sky', Russian nebo 'sky'. So the name Pal is another name of the god Agni, and the name Nap is another name of the god Indra. The latter character is the junior sun of Prajapati. It immediately follows that the name of the Greek god Apollon 'Apollo' having unclear etymology derived from Old Indian aparam 'junior'. It seems plausible that Greek Apollo is a reflex of the Indo-Arian god Indra. It is felt that Indra plays the role of the Scythian chthonic (sun) deity called Goitosir, and the role of the Scythian sun deity called Targitai. Scythian goi associated with the fertility is comparable with Old Indian gaya 'house; household; family; offspring; sky', Iranian (Avesta) gaya 'life'. The god Goitosir may be compared with Gaya Martan, the ancestor of mankind in the Iranian mythology (24). It is known that Indra is an inspirer of singers; the wordplay is quite possible: cf. Old Indian gaya 'house; household; family; offspring; sky' and gaya 'song'.

According to the Indo-Arian beliefs, the god Indra kills his father. An interesting plot is presented on a Scythian gold plate from a barrow near village Gyunovka (Bessonova 1995: 117, figure 34). A horseman is situated near the World Tree identified by the rhombi ai presented above and under it; this personage kills a deer. I think that this picture depicts the god Indra killing his father, the sky god. The latter is identified by the sign of a club depicted under the design of the deer.

According to the Indo-Arian beliefs, Saci, a mysterious character, is the wife of Indra (Neveleva 1975: 73). I believe that her name signifies 'The moon', cf. Old Indian sasi 'the moon'. Now one can decipher the design of an artifact discovered in the Kul-oba barrow, the Kerch Peninsula, the Crimea, Ukraine (Bessonova 1983: 117). A horseman kills a hare by a javelin. It is possible that the horseman is the sun god Indra, and the hare is an incarnation of the moon goddess Saci/Sasi: the wordplay is quite possible, cf. Old Indian sasi 'the moon', sasa 'rabbit'. This story is preserved in a Lithuanian legend: the goddess of sun cut her husband, the god of moon, by a sword (Afanasiev 1996: 313). In more ancient times, the sun was a male, and the moon was a female. A tip looking like a horse's head was discovered in the Ulyap barrow No 2 near the village Ulyap, Republic of Adygea, Russia (Anfimov 1987: 87). This artifact was dated to 6th - 5th century B.C., now it is in the Hermitage. The horse's head symbolises the sun god Indra, and two figures of hares located instead of the nostrils symbolyse the moon goddess. Now the meaning of another name of Indra's wife, Indrani, is clear: it is split into the name Indra and the word ni, cf. Old Indian ni 'down'.

The sun deity Indra rules on the third sky (Neveleva 1975: 61, 65, 68). A pottery vessel was discovered in a Sarmatian burial, near the Donskoy village, the Rostov-on-Don Territory, Russia. Now it is in the Azov Museum of local lore (Maximenko 1998: 220, figure 37, 6). The three strips represented on the vessel demonstrate in my opinion the three skies. The sign of the sun located above them depicts the sun god Indra.

Two riders and several signs are depicted on a Scythian grave-stone from Bakhchisaray, the Crimea, Ukraine (Dashevskaya 1991: 100, table 44, figure 6). The two signs are presented on the figure of a personage, depicted at the left, see figure 12.

Figure 12.

Signs 80 09 read mase 'the moon', cf. Old Indian mas 'the moon'. The signs may read as 07 09 Dise 'Dyaus, the sky god' as well.

A column of the signs are presented under the figure of this personage, see figure 13.

Figure 13.

Signs 59 05 59 15 read tyaja tamo 'the disappearance of the darkness', cf. Old Indian tyaj 'to leave; to abandon', tamas 'darkness'.

At last, a personage, depicted at the right, holds a horn, the two signs are presented under his figure, see figure 14.

Figure 14.

Signs 59 33 read Tar(a), cf. Old Indian da 'to give', Russian dar 'gift', Old Indian tara 'fire; horse; carrying across; saviour; protector; clean; clear'. The name Tar(a) is a variant of the name Targitai (25). Again, the figure of the horseman holding of horn of plenty is a symbol of this god. The decoded plot may describe the marriage of the sun and the moon (26). Interestingly, in A. Afanasiev's (1996: 317) opinion, the name of the Scythian moon goddess includes the words vaita 'hunt; pasture' and surus 'fast'.

The words tamo and Tar compare with the name of the ancient Russian town Tamatarha.

Two signs are depicted on a pot discovered at the Scythian ancient settlement Tarpanchi, the Crimea, Ukraine (Dashevskaya 1991: 80, table 24, figure 4), see figure 15.

Figure 15.

I read the name 59 33 Tar(a) 'Targitai'. Perhaps this god is a donor of the new crops in the Scythian mythology. On the other hand, the god Indra is associated with the fertility, he brings the abundance and crops.

10. Let us consider the designs and signs depicted on Scythian spindles discovered at different places of the Crimea, Ukraine (Dashevskaya 1991: 115, table 59, figures 1-5). A deer and a goat are depicted on the first spindle (Dashevskaya 1991: 115, table 59, figure 1). I think that the deer is an image of the sky god. The goat (cf. Old Indian aja 'goat', ajam, ajah 'unborn') may be an image of the Indo-Arian deity Aja Ekapad connected with the deities Pusan, Indra and Varuna (Toporov 1991d; Shilov 1995: 208-15). A pair of deer in different positions is represented on two spindles (Dashevskaya 1991: 115, table 59, figures 4 and 5). They demonstrate the movement of the sky or the sun, cf. Old Indian vartula 'spindle', vartulas 'round', Old Church Slavonic vreteno, Russian vereteno 'spindle', Old Church Slavonic var'' 'heat', Armenian varim 'I am kindling', German warm 'warm' (27). Old Indian vartula 'spindle' may be split into var (cf. Old Indian vartma 'path', vart 'to turn; to move', vardh 'to multiply; to increase; to grow', varsa 'year') and tula (cf. Old Indian tula 'balance, weighing scales', tur 'to pass').

Several signs and designs are depicted on a spindle (Dashevskaya 1991: 115, table 59, figure 2), see figure 16.

Figure 16.

The word 75 33 33 verar(a) is associated with terms mentioned above. Several animals are gathered near the sitting deity. Since a she-deer is located in the immediate neighbourhood of this god, this is Dyaus/Papai. On the other side of the spindle there are the designs of clouds and sign 37 ti, see figure 17.

Figure 17.

The name Ti correlates with the name Dyy of the Old Russian pagan god of the sky, cf. also cf. Old Indian dyo- 'day; the sky', di 'to shine', Dyaus 'the sky god'.

Interestingly, the Old Russian masterpiece The Song of Igor's Host contains the following passage: Svist zverin v''sta, zbisya Div, klichet vr''hu dreva, velit poslushati zemli neznaeme -- Vl''ze, i Pomoriyu, i Posuliyu, i Surozhu, i Korsunyu, i tebe, T'mutorokan'skyi bl''van. Here Div (cf. Old Indian div 'sky') is equal to Dyaus. He is on the sky (lit. 'above a tree'), besides, he is associated with animals.

Two designs are inscribed on a spindle (Dashevskaya 1991: 115, table 59, figure 3), see figures 18 and 19.

Figure 18.

Figure 19.

I have distinguished the stylised figure of a horse as well as signs 59 33 Tar(a) 'Targitai' in figure 18. Actually, the fiery horses correlate with the god Indra (Bessonova 1983: 65). A "hair" of the tail of Targitai's horse is separated; four hair are depicted in figure 19. According to the Indo-Arian beliefs, an incarnation of Indra is a horse-hair. Let us consider the Russian fairy tale Zolotoe vereteno (A gold spindle). A girl, Annushka, dropped a spindle into a well. Her step-mother demanded that she took it out. The girl went down to the well's bottom. She met a white old man, the master of the water of the well. He said that Baba-Yaga had got the spindle; he said how to go to her, too. The girl met horses that asked to take one hair from their tails. She did so. Then she came to the house of Baba-Yaga, and so on. At last, Annushka got a gold spindle and the gold. Interestingly, in some versions of this fairy tail, a girl got the cattle (Korepova 1992: 496). Thus the Scythian myth is reflected in the Russian fairy tail. One can realise the meaning of the component Yaga of the name Baba-Yaga (the Old woman Yaga). This personage tries to roast a hero in an oven according to several Russian fairy tales. Sometimes she gives him a horse. I believe that these events are a hint at the Indo-Arian sacrifices to the fire god Agni associated with horses as well. So I compare the name Yaga with Old Indian yagya 'sacrifice'. This personage (= Old Russian pagan goddess called Makosh'?) is closely related to the fire god Agni. Baba-Yaga personifies the winter condition of the earth (Shepping 1997: 154).

11. Two silver bowls discovered in a Sarmatian barrow mound of the Zhutovo cemetery were dated to 2nd century B.C. - 1st century A.D. (Mordvintseva 2000: 146, figure 2; 151). Both vessels are decorated with the figures of eagles. One of the bowls contains sign 72 be, see figure 20.

Figure 20.

I compare the word be with Russian bit' (the root bi-) 'to beat', cf. also the name of the Russian pagan god thunderer Perun 'The one who beats' (Vasmer 1987: 246). It is a hint at the Scythian sky god Papai. Interestingly, eagles are associated with the Greek god Zeus and Roman god Jupiter who are the sky deities; besides, an eagle is carrying and throwing the arrow of thunder in the Russian folklore (Afanasiev 1996: 147). The wordplay is quite possible: cf. Old Russian Perun, Indo-European *Per(kw)unos 'god thunderer' (28), Russian berkut 'golden eagle'; Old Indian garuda 'eagle', garjh 'to thunder', garda 'dark shade', Russian grom 'thunder', groza 'thunderstorm', grohot 'crash; thunder', grad 'hail'.

A silver plate discovered in the same barrow mound (Mordvintseva 2000: 145, figures 1 and 2) contains signs, see figures 21 - 23.

Figure 21.

Figure 22.

Figure 23.

The record presented in figure 21 reads 77 76 01 (cf. sign 18 of the Phaistos disk) garada, cf. Old Indian garuda 'eagle', garjh 'to thunder', garda 'dark shade', Russian grom 'thunder', groza 'thunderstorm', grohot 'crash; thunder', grad 'hail'. So this inscription is connected with the cult of the sky god, too. Both signs, 77 ga (cf. sign 18 of the Phaistos disk) and 76 ra, presented in figures 22 and 23 are the single word gara. This is a variant of the word garada.

A silver goblet discovered in the same barrow mound (Mordvintseva 2000: 147, figure 3, 2) contains signs, see figures 24.

Figure 24.

Signs 33 33 read rar(a), cf. Slavonic Rarog 'fire bird', Czech raroh 'falcon' (29).

So all the inscriptions written down on the artifacts from this barrow mound are referred to the sky god.

12. A record is presented in the Neizats burial ground (Dashevskaya 1991: 94, table 38, figure 6, II - II), see figure 25.

Figure 25.

A triangle is depicted near signs 80 72 20 ma peco, cf. Scythian ma 'the sun', Old Indian panca 'five', Russian pyat' 'five'. Besides, the triangle may represent a mountain (Shilov 1995: 477). I think that this record is devoted to the Scythian god Agni 'Fire' associated with number five. Perhaps the mountain symbolises a burning heap of brushwood dedicated to this god. In fact, the god Agni plays the main role in sacrifices according to the Indo-Arian mythology (Neveleva 1975: 85).

13. A mirror was discovered in a Sarmatian burial, near the Vinogradny small village, the Rostov-on-Don Territory, Russia. Now it is in the Azov Museum of local lore (Maximenko 1998: 250, figure 67, 4; 281). The signs of the mirror apply to a calendar, it is a variant of the Meotian-Sarmatian calendar. The Sarmarian mirror contains the round (the sun) in the centre; the four groups consisting of three lines denote the four seasons. The signs referring to these seasons are presented in figure 26.

Figure 26.

All the four records contain the turned signs dividing each two signs and representing the motion of the sun. The first section (the winter) includes the sign of a trident and sign 56 pa, cf. Old Indian apa 'a quantity of water; to drink', pa 'to drink; drinking'. The sign of the trident reads kup- 'water'. The second section (the spring) includes the sign of a bull (cow) and signs 46 02 yero, cf. Russian yary, yarostny 'furious', yarovoy sev 'spring sowing', bychok-yarovik 'bull'. The third section (the summer) includes the sign an eagle above the sun as well as the sign of a trident together with sign 15 mo 'the sun'. In my opinion, they are the marks of the Semik feast devoted to the god Perun (June 4 or near the Orthodox feast of the Trinity) and of the Kupala feast (June 24) or of the day of slipping of reapers (August 15) (30). The forth section (the autumn) includes the signs of a serpent and a horse's head. The dates of a snake feast of the Slavs are September 12 - 14 (31).

A round artifact was discovered at the Scythian ancient settlement Belsk (Shramko 1999: 45, figure 7, 10; 46). It is a calendar device. The twelve radial lines denote twelve months of a year. They denote four seasons (four months (the summer?); two months; three months; three months).

14. Several signs are depicted on a wall of a building of the Scythian Naples (Dashevskaya 1991: 60, table 4, figure 1), see figure 27.

Figure 27.

This text has been partly deciphered. The text 12 10 76 reads surya 'the sun', cf. Old Indian surya 'the sun'. Near this word there is the sign of the solar horse. Sign 26 ru corresponds to Old Indian ru 'light', and the sign of an arrow denotes the sun, cf. Old Indian ban 'arrow' and bhanu 'the sun'. In the figure of the solar horse one can distinguish sign 33 ra 'the sun' (32). The same sign with the same meaning is attached to the figure of the solar horse's head of the Meotian-Sarmatian calendar, see figure 28.

Figure 28.

The word 12 "rectangle" (33) 33 67 s(o)var(a)gi 'sky', cf. Old Indian svarga 'sky', Old Russian Svarog'' 'the name of a pagan god'. The hatched segments are symbolic designations of the sky or clouds. Sign 05 reads ja, cf. Old Indian ja 'born', Russian dozhd' 'rain'. Signs 11 10 12 10 33 read b(o)u surya 'the deity/light Surya', cf. Old Indian bhut 'being; person; demon', bhaah 'light'.

15. Several signs are represented on an early Scythian pottery vessel discovered at the Zaporozhye Territory, Ukraine; it was dated to the second half of 7th century B.C. (Leskov 1972: photo 10), see figures 29 - 31.

Figure 29.

Figure 30.

Figure 31.

I have distinguished sign 77 (cf. sign 18 of the Phaistos disk) ga (see figure 29), the three united triangles (see figure 30) and the sign of the water/rain (see figure 31; cf. the corresponding sign 66 ta of Linear B). One can offer several interpretations of this record. I translate the word ga as '(solar) bull; cow', cf. Old Indian go 'bull; cow'. Maybe, this text reports about the Indo-Arian god Trita 'Third', or about the third footstep of the Indo-Arian god Visnu, or about the Indo-Arian god Indra having the epithets tridivecvara 'the ruler of the third sky' and trilokeca 'the ruler of the three worlds', or about the three cosmic kingdoms of the Indo-Arian god Rudra (34).

16. Several signs are depicted on the handle of a mirror discovered in the mausoleum of the Scythian Naples (Dashevskaya 1991: 129, table 73, figure 1), see figure 32.

Figure 32.

The handle ends with the stylised figure of a serpent. I have distinguished sign 33 ra 'the sun'; sign 16 ha of the Phaistos disk and sign 55 nu surround eight dots (a calendar symbol); they give the word han(u), cf. Old Indian han 'to kill'. Furthermore, above the serpent there is a crown. I suppose that this text and picture inform that the sun god Indra (Targitai) kills the serpent Vritra or Susna, cf. the name Vrtrahan 'The destroyer of Vritra' which is an epithet of the god Indra.

17. A bronze cauldron was discovered in a Sarmatian burial, Mokry Chaltyr', the Rostov-on-Don Territory, Russia. It was dated to 1st century B.C. - 1st century A.D., now it is in the Azov Museum of local lore (Maximenko 1998: 232, figure 49, 4; 278). The cauldron is decorated with signs 76 80 rama, see figure 33.

Figure 33.

This word is comparable with Old Indian remi 'ram', ramb 'lamb'. The ram is an incarnation of the Scythian fire god. On the other hand, the signs may be read as 76 07 ra di 'the sun -- the shine/the sky', too, cf. Scythian ra 'the sun', Old Indian dyo- 'day; the sky', di 'to shine', Dyaus 'the sky god'.

This vessel has the two handles that show up as parts of the sun disc with three rays. Under one of the handles there is sign 46 ye, see figure 34.

Figure 34.

I suppose that it is the word aya meaning 'vitality'.

Besides, this artifact contains a sign represented in figure 35.

Figure 35.

This sign depicts the three suns, perhaps it is the sun located on the third sky where the sun deity Indra rules.

Bronze cauldrons were discovered in Sarmatian burials, Verkhneyachenkov and Krasny (Kudinov), the Rostov-on-Don Territory, Russia. They were dated to 1st century B.C. - 1st century A.D., now it is in the Azov Museum of local lore (Maximenko 1998: 232, figures 49, 6; 278; 188, figure 5, 3). The handles of these vessels look like parts of the sun disc with three rays. On each artifact there is sign 46 ye, see figures 36 and 37.

Figure 36.

Figure 37.

The same sign is inscribed on a Scythian pot discovered at Belyaus (Dashevskaya 1991: 74, table 18, figure 1), see figure 38.

Figure 38.

I believe that in all the cases this sign denotes the word aya 'vitality'.

Another bronze cauldron was discovered in a Sarmatian burial, Krasny (Kudinov). It was dated to 1st century B.C. - 1st century A.D., now it is in the Azov Museum of local lore (Maximenko 1998: 232, figures 49, 1; 278). The handles of this vessel also look like parts of the sun disc with three rays. On this artifact there is sign 33 ra, see figures 39.

Figure 39.

It is the word ra 'the sun'.

The speciphic shape of the handles -- the three solar rays -- may denote the sun on the third sky. Interestingly, the figure of the Scythian supreme sun goddess Tabiti discussed hereabove is also decorated with the three rays.

A bronze cauldron with ordinary handles was discovered in a Sarmatian burial, Elanskaya, the Rostov-on-Don Territory, Russia. It was dated to 1st century B.C. - 1st century A.D., now it is in the Azov Museum of local lore (Maximenko 1998: 232, figure 49, 13; 278). On this artifact there is sign 43 ai, see figures 40.

Figure 40.

I think that this sign denotes the word aya 'vitality'.

Two signs are presented on a Scythian statue, Zavetnoe, the Crimea, Ukraine (Dashevskaya 1991: 98, table 42, figure 10), see figure 41.

Figure 41.

Signs 46 05 read ya ja, i.e. aya 'vitality' and ja 'born', cf. Old Indian ja 'born'.

18. A Scythian silver rhyton was discovered in the Karagodeuashkh barrow, Republic of Adygea, Russia. It was dated to 4th century B.C., now it is in the Hermitage (Anfimov 1987: 166-7). On this artifact there is the following motif: a panther is tearing a deer to pieces. On the figure of the panther I have distinguished the solar sign and sign 12 so, cf. Scythian so 'bright; look; eye; heat; shine; to shine', see figure 42.

Figure 42.

I think that the picture of the rhyton depicts the god Indra killing his father, the sky god Papai/Dyaus. It is a symbolic description of a solar eclipse. Interestingly, Old Indian sardula signifies 'panther; lion; leopard; tiger; best; excellent; pre-eminent', and Old Indian sura signifies 'panther; lion; tiger; strong; powerful; mighty or valiant man; warrior; hero', cf. also surya 'the sun'.

19. There are different motifs on a Scythian silver mirror from the Kelermes barrow No 4, near the Kelermesskaya village. It was dated to 7th - 6th century B.C., now it is in the Hermitage (Anfimov 1987: 64-5). This mirror is divided into eight sections. The winged goddess holding two panthers is Tabiti, or Usas, or Api, the wife of the sky god Papai/Dyaus. I prefer to choose the third variant. Indeed, the sign of the rain is represented on her dress, see figure 43.

Figure 43.

Moreover, twelve "patterns" are represented on the dress; one of them is shown in figure 44.

Figure 44.

I read the "pattern" as signs 77 77 gaga (cf. sign 18 of the Phaistos disk), and this word is comparable with Old Indian gagana 'sky'. Each sky is a "specific" one connected with the earth in a certain month. The goddess Api holds two panthers, otherwise her sons, the twin brothers Indra and Agni. One can try to decode other motifs of this mirror. The drawing depicting a lion, a bull, and a boar reports about the deities Indra, Vala and Rudra. Personages of some sections may be constellations. A ram is an incarnation of the fire god Agni; a goat is an incarnation of the Indo-Arian deity Aja Ekapad connected with the deities Pusan, Indra and Varuna. A bear may be a symbol of some feasts celebrated on March 24, April 12, May 9 and September 14 in the Slavonic pagan beliefs (35). A griffin fighting with two persons symbolises the gold-guarding griffins and Hyperboreans. Two winged deities holding a column correspond to Atlas who, according to the Greek beliefs, supports the vault of heaven in the land of the Hyperboreans (36). Greek Atlas (Atlantos) 'Atlas' may come from Old Indian atulaniya 'incomparable' or ati 'extremely; very', Scythian (a)lan 'deer'.

NOTES

1. Cf. also Russian hranit' 'to keep; to preserve' and horonit' 'to bury'.

2. See Vasmer 1986: 159.

3. Cf. also Old Indian pat 'to fall; to go down into hell; to set (below the horizon)'.

4. Cf. also Old Indian apa 'a quantity of water; to drink', pa 'to drink; drinking'.

5. According to the Scythian beliefs, the rite of libations is associated with deities (Galanina, Domansky and Smirnova 1981: 67).

6. It should be borne in mind that Scythian rhytons -- vessels for wine -- resemble horns. Cf. also Old Indian rohis 'kind of deer'.

7. See Vasmer 1986: 528.

8. See Vasmer 1987: 150-1.

9. See Trubachev 1981: 11.

10. See Shilov 1995: 228.

11. See Shilov 1995: 234.

12. Cf. also Old Indian soma 'elixir'.

13. See Grintser 1992.

14. I think that the name Indra signifies 'Man; Brave Person', cf. Greek andreios 'male; manly; brave'. See also (Shilov 1995: 529).

15. See Toporov 1991c.

16. See Ivanov and Toporov 1991: 529, figure.

17. See Toporov 1992a. Besides, it may be the Indo-Arian god Prajapati or demon Emusa (Toporov 1992b: 71).

18. See Toporov 1991a: 396.

19. See Vasmer 1987: 629.

20. See Vasmer 1986: 310.

21. See Diachenko 1993: 972.

22. See Toporov 1991b. The words Ga-Kolo (Rjabchikov 1998: 7) of the Phaistos disk may be translated as 'The bull/cow -- the sun'.

23. See Raevsky 1992: 446.

24. See Lelekov 1991.

25. Slavonic *jedr 'vigorous' connected with Indra (Toporov 1991c: 535) may be compared with the morpheme tar of Targitai.

26. See Ivanov and Toporov 1991: 529.

27. See Vasmer 1986: 297, 273.

28. See Ivanov and Toporov 1992a.

29. See Ivanov and Toporov 1992b.

30. See Rybakov 1987: 177-90; Vlasov 1993: 129; Belyakova 1995: 215-6, 218-9.

31. See Vlasov 1993: 111.

32. This ancient Egyptian name of the sun god Ra is preserved in the Russian words raduga 'rainbow' < *ra duga 'arc of the sun' and zarya 'dawn' < *sa ra 'the sun (is shining)'. Cf. Old Indian ravi 'the sun', vi 'bird; horse'.

33. See Rjabchikov 1998: 23.

34. See Toporov 1992c; 1992d; Serebryany 1991; Shilov 1995: 201; Neveleva 1975: 109; Toporov 1992a.

35. See Vlasov 1993: 110-1, 118.

36. See Zaytsev 1991: 280.

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