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

THE INTERPRETATION OF THE RECORD ON A SARMATIAN SWORD FROM THRACE

by Sergei V. Rjabchikov

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.

sword1.gif
Figure 1.

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.

REFERENCES

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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