The Scythians and Sarmatae were in my opinion the Proto-Slavs (the Indo-Aryans). The name of the Scythian goddess Ditagoia (Dashevskaya 1991: 44) consists of two Scythian words, dita 'child; connection' (cf. Old Indian diti 'connection', Russian ditya 'child') and goi associated with the fertility (cf. Old Indian gaya 'house; household; family; offspring; sky', Iranian (Avesta) gaya 'life'). The name of the Bosporan king Douptounos (Duptun) (Tsvetaeva 1979: 113) contains the Scythian/Sarmatian words dup 'oak' (cf. Russian dub 'oak') and tun 'air; to blow' (cf. Old Indian tula 'air', Russian dut' 'to blow', dunovenie '(of wind) breath'). It is possible that this name reflects the cult of the sky god preserved in the cult of the Russian pagan thunder god Perun (1). Let us examine some Scythian and Bosporan names (Shcherbina 1910: 281-96). The name of the Scythian king Aritharn consists of Scythian/Sarmatian ar 'Aryan' and tarn 'fire; horse; carrying across; saviour; protector; clean; clear'; this name (Ari(a) tarn) signifies 'The Aryan fire (horse; saviour; protector; crossing)', cf. Old Indian arya 'excellent; respectable; dear; master; mistress', tara 'fire; horse; carrying across; saviour; protector; clean; clear', tarane 'in crossing'. The name of the Bosporan king Pharnak includes the root farn (cf. Old Indian para 'highest; supreme; guardian; keeper') and the suffix ak which is comparable with Russian suffixes ak, ek/ok. The name of the Bosporan kings Kotis (Kot) contains Scythian/Sarmatian kot 'carriage; military transport'. The Scythian name Asokomas (Aso kom-) 'The bright (solar) horse', cf. Scythian/Sarmatian aso 'bright; clear; solar' and komo 'horse', Old Russian komon' 'horse'. The name Komosaris (Komo sar- ) of the wife of the Bosporan king Perisad I means 'The mare -- the dawn', cf. Scythian/Sarmatian komo 'horse', sarya 'dawn', Russian zarya 'dawn'. The name of the Bosporan queen Targitao is comparable with the name of the Scythian/Sarmatian god Targitai. A Bosporan name, Ardinzianos (Ardinzian) (Tsvetaeva 1979: 112), consists of Scythian/Sarmatian ar 'Aryan', din 'day' and zian 'shine; light; radiance; the sun'; this name (Ar din zian) signifies 'An Aryan (by name) 'The daylight'', cf. Old Indian dina, Etruscan tin- (2), Russian den' 'day', Scythian/Sarmatian so 'bright; look; eye; heat; shine; to shine', Russian siyanie 'radiance', English shine.
One can decode several Sarmatian motifs and inscriptions. I use my own translation scheme for reading the Scythian (Proto-Slavonic) signs.
1. It is known that the name of the Bosporan king Aspurgus written down by the Proto-Slavonic signs is represented together with cruciform and wavy grooves on several bricks of the ancient Bosporan town Gorgippia (modern Anapa) (3). In my opinion, the cruciform signs read (a)ya 'vitality'. The wavy signs read as Sarmatian kup- 'water', since this word is included in another name of Aspurgus, Rescuporis I (Re s kupor).
Let us consider signs inscribed on the marble sculpture No 2 of the lion from the ancient town Olbia (Ukraine); now it is in the Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia. An interesting combination of Sarmatian symbols (Drachuk 1975: table L) is presented in figure 1.
The signs of an arrow/a bow are the solar symbols. First of all, the wordplay is quite possible: cf. Old Indian bana 'arrow' and bhanu 'the sun'. Besides, Old Indian svaru signifies 'arrow; sunshine; thunderbolt; sacrifice'; an arrow or a spear are the symbols of the sun in the Slavonic beliefs (5). Let us consider several signs inscribed on the marble lion No 2 (Drachuk 1975: table L), see figure 3 (in this and other cases I do not show some minor signs).
Let us examine a bronze buckle from the ancient town Chersonesus (near modern Sevastopol, the Crimea, Ukraine) (Drachuk 1975: table XV, figure 1; figure 2, 1; 143). A pair of a arrow/a bow is depicted on it, see figure 4.
Let us examine a Sarmatian gold flat crampon discovered in the Seversky barrow, the Seversky district, the Krasnodar Territory, Russia. It was dated to 2nd century B.C., now it is in the State Historical Museum, Moscow, Russia (Anfimov 1987: 190). Three groups of four rounds demonstrate the motion of the sun throughout a year. Two groups containing five and six dots respectively denote eleven months (or the fifth and sixth months). Besides, there are two signs of the World Tree, the calendar semicircles with several (from four to ten) dots (cf. sign 12 of the Phaistos disk) as well as several signs of arrows on this artifact. I believe that these arrows are the solar symbols.
2. Now one can decode some signs inscribed on the marble lion No 2 (Drachuk 1975: table L), see figure 5.
3. It is necessary to correct my interpretation of a record published earlier. Let us examine the Kerch slab from the ancient town Panticapeum, the capital of the Bosporan kingdom (modern Kerch, the Crimea, Ukraine), now it is in the Kerch Museum of local lore. Some Sarmatian symbols depicted on this slab (Drachuk 1975: table XXXV) are presented in figure 6.
4. Some symbols are depicted on the Kerch slab (Drachuk 1975: table XXXVI), see figure 7.
5. Some symbols are depicted on the Kerch slab (Drachuk 1975: table XXXV), see figure 8.
Some symbols are depicted on the Kerch slab (Drachuk 1975: table XXXV), see figure 9.
6. Several Sarmatian signs are inscribed on an anthropomorphic grave-stone from Kerch (Drachuk 1975: table XXXI, figure 7; 152), see figure 10.
A statuette of the god Mitra killing a bull was discovered in Panticapeum (Toporov 1992b: 156, photo). On this figure one can read sign 23 mu (cf. Old Indian mu 'funeral pile'), the zigzag sign (the symbol of the sky and the sky deity) and signs 73 59 76 Mit(a)ra 'Mitra'. Mitra is the Iranian and Indo-Aryan sun god (Toporov 1992b, 1992c). This name is incorparated in the name Mithridates of the Bosporan kings (15). The word dat- is comparable with Old Indian data 'cleansed; given'.
7. Several Sarmatian signs depicted on a wall of the cave of Ak-kaya I, Belogorsk, the Crimea, Ukraine (Drachuk 1971: 31, figure 9) are presented in figure 11.
8. Different signs are inscribed on the marble lion No 1 (Drachuk 1975: table XLIV), see figure 12.
Now it should be well to correct my readings of Sarmatian records on a silver plate discovered in a Sarmatian barrow mound of the Zhutovo cemetery (Mordvintseva 2000: 145, figures 1 and 2), see figures 13 - 15.
To the left of the solar bird inscribed on the marble lion there is the word 72 be. As has bee shown earlier, this word is comparable with Russian bit' (the root bi-) 'to beat', Perun 'The one who beats' (the name of the Russian pagan god thunderer who corresponds to the Scythian sky god Papai/Dyaus). The name 08-80 Yama is presented twice. To the right of one of these words written near the solar bird there is the row of symbols. They are signs 59 a 76 Tara 'Targitai'; the sign of a horse associated with sign 33 ra 'the sun'; the symbolic designation of the top of a house's roof decorated with a pair of horses, under it there is another design of a pair of horses; the design of a pair of horses, above this figure one can distinguish sign 33 ra 'the sun' and signs a 09 54 aseva, cf. Old Indian asva 'horse'. Then I read the sign of Goi(tosir) united with sign 33 ra 'the sun'. Near this name there is sign 72 be denoting the thunder (sky) god. I suppose that it describes the procreation function of the sky (cf. Russian dozhd' 'rain', Old Indian ja 'born').
Under the row of the signs of horses -- the symbols of the Indo-Aryan god Agni 'Fire' -- there are signs 76 80 rama and the sign (determinative) depicting a ram's head (the rhomb with two "horns"). This word is comparable with Old Indian remi 'ram', ramb 'lamb'. It should be stressed that the ram is also an incarnation of the fire god. Near the sign of the ram's head there are the connected signs 23 mu 'funeral pile' and 12 so 'bright; look; eye; heat; shine; to shine'. I suppose that this fragment informs about the sacrifices of horses and cattle during Scythian/Sarmatian funerals (The History of Herodotus: Book IV).
The word 72 01 pe-da may be compared with Old Indian pada 'footstep; step; mark'; the sun sign is united with sign 02 ro, cf. ra 'the sun'. The sun sign and the line inscribed under it denote 'the connection of the sun'. Three shorter lines together with the determinative -- a curved line -- denote the three steps of the Indo-Arian god Visnu incarnated in a horse (17). The names of the gods 59-33 Tar(a) 'Targitai' and Goi(tosir) 'Goitosir' are written here. The rhomb ay(a) means 'vitality'.
Near the decoded signs inscribed on the marble lion No 1 and shown in figure 12 there are signs (Drachuk 1975: table XLIV), see figure 16.
Near the decoded signs inscribed on the marble lion No 1 and shown in figure 12 there are signs (Drachuk 1975: table XLIV), see figure 17.
Near the decoded signs inscribed on the marble lion No 1 and shown in figure 12 there are signs (Drachuk 1975: table XLIV), see figure 18.
On the marble lion No 1 there are signs (Drachuk 1975: table XLIV), see figure 19.
On the marble lion No 1 there are signs (Drachuk 1975: table XLIV), see figure 20.
9. Some symbols are depicted on the Kerch slab (Drachuk 1975: table XXXV), see figure 21.
10. Let us consider the tip of a spear discovered in Münchenberg, Germany (Drachuk 1975: table XIX, 2; 149), see figure 22.
2. See Rjabchikov 1988: 19.
3. See Tsvetaeva 1979: 65. Some data concerning this king are collected in Tsvetaeva 1979: 15-6.
4. Cf. Russian yasny 'clear; bright; fine', Old Indian us 'to shine', Scythian so 'bright; look; eye; heat; shine; to shine'.
5. See Afanasiev 1996: 242-3.
6. See Ivanov and Toporov 1992a.
7. Cf. parallels in the Indo-Arian beliefs: see Shilov 1990: 140-1; 1995: 180, 182.
8. See Ivanov and Toporov 1991: 529, figure.
9. See Shilov 1995: 452. The lightning is represented on a Bosporan coin (Shcherbina 1910: 286).
10. See Toporov 1991: 534; 1992.
11. See Shilov 1995: 508. Y.A. Shilov compared the Indo-Arian god Yama with the ideas 'hole; grave'; see also my interpretation of a Scythian plot.
12. See Shcherbina 1910: 283, 285, 287.
13. The name Agar (Shcherbina 1910: 285) (A gar) of the Scythian king means in my opinion 'From the fire; fiery', cf. Old Indian gharma 'heat', Russian goret' 'to burn', gar' 'burning'. Interestingly, the form As of the sun deity is presented in an Old Russian text written down by the the signs of the "cherty i rezy" (pre-Cyrillic) script (Rjabchikov 1998: 13).
14. See Shcherbina 1910: 298.
15. See Shcherbina 1910: 287, 295.
16. See Diachenko 1993: 387.
17. See Serebryany 1991; Shilov 1995: 201.
18. See Diachenko 1993: 1098.
19. See Botvinnik 1992.
20. See Toporov 1991: 534; Shilov 1995: 365.
21. See Rjabchikov 2000: 14, 18, 19, 21, 34.
22. See Usov 1997: 58.
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Copyright © 2001 by Sergei V. Rjabchikov. All Rights Reserved.
Published 24 May 2001; revised 6 August 2001 (the interpretation of the name Pharnak).
Sergei V. Rjabchikov, Krasnodar, RUSSIA.
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