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Copyright © 2002 by Sergei V. Rjabchikov. All Rights Reserved.

THE EARLIEST PROTO-SLAVONIC/GREEK STRING FIGURE?

by Sergei V. Rjabchikov

My investigations made it possible to cast some light on different aspects of the pre-Greek civilization of the Crete (Rjabchikov 1998a). In my opinion, the texts of these people written down in Linear A correspond to the Proto-Slavonic (Indo-Aryan) language. For example, sign 75 we of Linear A (B) represents a twisted string, cf. Old Indian ve 'to braid; to plait; to make into a web or web-like covering', Russian vit' 'to twist'. The name of a Greek mythological character, Gorgon Medusa 'goddess with the snakes instead of the hair', came from the Proto-Slavonic words gor 'the fire', gon 'to whip up; to drive', me 'the sun; solar' and duza 'strong' (Rjabchikov 1999). According to a Scythian myth mentioned in the History of Herodotus (Book IV), she is decorated with features of a serpent instead of the legs. It is known that Gorgon plays the role of a protection in the Scythian and Greek mythologies (Galanina, Domansky and Smirnova 1981: 138). The face of Gorgon is engraved on a Scythian grave-stone from the Crimea, Ukraine (Dashevskaya 1991: 99, table 43, figure 1b; 27); here a horseman and some Scythian/Sarmatian (Proto-Slavonic) signs are depicted, too (Dashevskaya 1991: 99, table 43, figure 1a), see figure 1.

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Figure 1.

I read the words 14 14 33 Do Dor(a) as the name Thothorses of a Bosporan king that is usually written in the form 14-76 Dor(a) (Rjabchikov 2000). Interestingly, the name Do Dor(a) agrees structurally with the name Gorgon, cf. Old Indian dyo 'day', English day, Old Indian dru 'to run; to hurry', English to drive, Russian drapat' 'to scarper', doroga 'road'.

It is deemed that a Greek string design, Plinthios Brokhos (D'Antoni 1997), dated to around A.D. 100, is the earliest registered string figure. Is it correct? A mask of Gorgon Medusa (so-called Medusa Rondanini) is held in the Glyptothek of Munich, Germany; it is a copy of an original created probably by the famous Greek sculptor Pheidias (Phidias) in fifth century B.C. (Becher 1978). One can notice the interlacing of the snakes below her face. The pattern resembles the segment of a string figure, is not it? I think that early string figures were invented in the Indo-Aryan states Mitanni (1) and Scythia, and then they were introduced in Greece. The manipulations with strings are associated with demons and witchcraft in the beliefs of the Russians (Zabylin 1880: 410-2; Shepping 1997: 202-3), descendants of the Scythians and Sarmatians, therefore it is difficult to find the original Russian string figures now...

NOTE

1. See Rjabchikov 1998b.

REFERENCES

Becher, I., 1978. Medusa. In: Irmscher, J. and R. Johne (eds.) Lexikon der Antike. Berlin – Leipzig: VEB Bibliographisches Institut Leipzig, p. 348.

D'Antoni, J., 1997. Plinthios Brokhos: The Earliest Account of a String Figure Construction. Bulletin of the International String Figure Association, 4: 90-4.

Dashevskaya, O.D., 1991. Pozdnie skify v Krymu. Arkheologiya SSSR. Svod arkheologicheskikh istochnikov. Vol. D 1-7. Moscow: Nauka.

Galanina L.K., Y.V. Domansky and G.I. Smirnova, 1981. Skify. Putevoditel' po vystavke otdela istorii pervobytnoy kul'tury Gosudarstvennogo Ermitazha. Leningrad: Iskusstvo.

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

Rjabchikov, S.V., 1998b. String Figures in Mitanni? Bulletin of the International String Figure Association, 5: 291.

Rjabchikov, S.V., 1999. On the Slavonic Origin of Greek Gorgon Medusa and Minotauros. "THE SLAVONIC ANTIQUITY" Home Page: http://slavonicweb.chat.ru/sl17.htm.

Rjabchikov, S.V., 2000. The Preliminary Report on the Decipherment of the Proto-Slavonic Writing System. "THE SLAVONIC ANTIQUITY" Home Page: http://slavonicweb.chat.ru/sl27.htm.

Shepping, D.O., 1997. Mify slavyanskogo yazychestva. Moscow: TERRA.

Zabylin, M., 1880. Russky narod, ego obychai, obryady, sueveriya i poeziya. Moscow.


Copyright © 2002 by Sergei V. Rjabchikov. All Rights Reserved.

Published 11 March 2002.

Sergei V. Rjabchikov, Krasnodar, RUSSIA.


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