Let us study Scythian/Sarmatian signs inscribed on the golden tip of the hilt of a Sarmatian sword which was discovered in the Roshava Dragana barrow of Bulgaria (Buyukliev 1995: 41, figure 3), see figure 1. This artifact was dated to 1st - 2nd century A.D.
Three groups of the signs are divided by signs 69 tu or 26 ru, cf. Old Indian du 'to burn', Russian dym 'smoke', Old Indian ru 'cutting; dividing; to break; war; battle', Russian rubit' 'to hew'. According to the Indo-Arian mythology, the fire god Agni is situated in the three spheres of the Universe (on the sky; in the chthonic water; among people) at the same time (Raevsky 1994: 204). The sword is a symbol of this god in the Scythian beliefs.
Each of the three groups consists of two pair of three signs; the central sign of each triad is the symbol of the sun. The two suns denote the brothers twins Agni and Indra.
The first group reads 12-THE SUN-12; 12-THE SUN-12 so-THE SUN-so; so-THE SUN-so 'the sun-THE SUN-the sun; the sun-THE SUN-the sun'; the second group reads 33-THE SUN-33; 26-THE SUN-01 ra-THE SUN-ra; ru-THE SUN-da 'the sun-THE SUN-the sun; the war/battle-THE SUN-gift/heat'; the third group reads 72-THE SUN-72; 33-THE SUN-72 be-THE SUN-be; ra-THE SUN-be 'the god thunderer-THE SUN-god thunderer; the sun-THE SUN-the god thunderer'.
This inscription describes the three spheres of the Universe (the sky -- the sun; the people -- the war/battle/gift/heat; the water -- the god thunderer) where the god Agni (the sword) is situated.
Buyukliev, H., 1995. K voprosu o frakiysko-sarmatskikh otnosheniyakh v I - nachale II veka n.e. Rossiyskaya arkheologiya, 1: 37-46.
Raevsky, D.S., 1994. Skifsky panteon: semantika struktury. In: V.Y. Petrukhin (ed.) Istoriko-etnograficheskie issledovaniya po fol'kloru. Sbornik statey pamyati Sergeya Alexandrovicha Tokareva. Moscow: Vostochnaya Literatura, pp. 198-213.
Copyright © 2001 by Sergei V. Rjabchikov. All Rights Reserved.
Published 9 July 2001.
Sergei V. Rjabchikov, Krasnodar, RUSSIA.
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