Russian version

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


by Sergei V. Rjabchikov

Let us consider the reverses of two coins of the Scythian king Skilur (Zubar 1996: 47, figures 2 [7], [8]). The name of this king consists of two Scythian words, skil 'falcon' (cf. Russian sokol 'falcon') and ur 'bright; to shine; height; quick' (cf. Old Indian ullah 'to shine', Russian yur 'height', yurky 'quick'). This name is comparable with the name of the Russian fairytale character Finist Yasny Sokol 'Finist -- the Bright Falcon', cf. also the Russian expression svet yasen sokol 'the light -- the bright falcon' associated with the ideas "bright; clean; quick" (Afanasiev 1996: 84, 146). Therefore Russian sokol 'falcon' may contain the root kol- (kolo 'the sun') (Demin 1997: 121).

The Greek text of the first coin is BASILEWS SKILOUROU OLBIO '(A coin) of the king Skilur from Olbia'. The Scythian signs of this coin are depicted in figure 1.

Figure 1.

The sign of an arrow is a solar symbol. The wordplay is quite possible: cf. Old Indian bana 'arrow', bhanu 'the sun; brightness; light or ray of light', bhana 'light; lustre'. On the other hand, A. Afanasiev (1996: 242) compares a spear and solar rays in the Russian beliefs. Two signs read from right to left, they are sign 12 so (cf. Scythian so 'bright; look; eye; heat; shine; to shine') and a round denoting the sun (cf. Old Russian kolo 'round; wheel', Russian koleso 'wheel' < kole so 'round-shine', kalit' 'to heat', Latin caleo 'to be hot, warm', calor 'summer heat', Old Indian kara 'ray of light; sunbeam', kalya 'dawn; morning'). These signs read so-kolo (cf. Russian sokol) 'falcon', literally 'shine-round', i.e. 'the sun'. The sign of the arrow may read ur- 'quick/high/bright'. So all the three signs read s(o)-kol-ur- 'Skilur' ('The Quick/Bright Falcon' or 'The Quick/High/Bright Sun').

The Greek text of the second coin is BASILEWS SKILOUROU '(A coin) of the king Skilur'.

Figure 2.

The Scythian record of this coin (see figure 2) read from left to right, it contains the same text Skilur as in figure 1.

I conclude that these are the Scythian-Greek bilingual sources.

Now one can study the obverses of other two coins of the Scythian king Skilur (Zubar 1996: 47, figures 2 [3], [5]). A wheel (cf. Old Russian kolo 'round; wheel'), otherwise a solar sign (1), is attached to each face of this king.


1. See Ivanov 1992: 462.


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

Demin, V.N., 1997. Tayny russkogo naroda. V poiskakh istokov Rusi. Moscow: Veche.

Ivanov, V.V., 1992. Solyarnye mify. In: S.A. Tokarev (ed.) Mify narodov mira. Vol. 2. Moscow: Sovetskaya Entsiklopediya, pp. 461-2.

Zubar, V.M., 1996. Ol'viya i Skilur. Rossiyskaya arkheologiya, 4: 44-50.

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

Published 19 November 2001.

Sergei V. Rjabchikov, Krasnodar, RUSSIA.

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