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Scythian pantheon.

As Scythians, probably, had no writing, we are compelled to address to antique sources, most important of which is 4 book of Herodot's "History" where seven deities of a Scythian pantheon are listed and two versions of a legend about an origin of Scythians - the unique Scythian myth kept entirely are stated. The variant of the same myth is given also Diodor Sicilian. "According to Herodot into structure of a pantheon entered seven deities that reflects ancient Indo-Iranian tradition. At the supreme place of hierarchy is Tabiti, on average - Papay and Api, on the lowest -Hoytosir, Argimpasa and two deities, which Scythian names are not named by Herodot. All these gods are identified by Herodot as: Hesta, Zeus and Gaia, Apollo, Aphrodite, Heracles, and Ares. As Herodot wrote the most powerful, and numerous of Scythian tribes - Imperial Scythians - worshipped to Poseidon which at them was called Tagisamad. <...> Deities of average and partly the lowest level appear and in 'Legend about an origin of Scythians'. Most full this myth is stated Herodot in the first version. In the uninhabited territory, after received name Scythia, from marriage Zeus and daughter of Borisphen (Dnepr) the first person - Targitay is born. Three his sons become ancestors of various parts of Scythian people <...>. The sky gold subjects - a plough, a poleaxe and a bowl fell. At attempt of two senior brothers to come nearer to them gold is ignited, but with approach younger one fire dies away and Kolaksay seizes sacred attributes. It is perceived as a sign. Kolaksay and his posterity become lords Scythia. Kolaksay

divides Scythia into three empires between his sons, and sacred gold to which Scythian tsars annually make a sacrifice is kept in greatest of them. To these relics it is connected, according to Herodot, any ritual reproduced on an annual Scythian holiday: the person who has slept with them open-air, less than in one year inevitably died. <...> According to Diodor Zeus's wife there is a maiden given birth by the ground having below of a belt a snake body. Their son was named Scyth <...> This myth is stated differently in other versions. The main character identified with Heracles, comes in Scythia after fulfilment of some feats. Then the tired hero falls asleep, and at this time at him horses vanish. Having gone on searches, Heracles finds out a cave in which the fantastic essence - women-snake lives. She informs, that horses are stolen by her, and agrees to return them only on condition that the hero will enter with it marriage connection. From this union three sons - ancestors of the peoples are born. Heracles, leaving from Scythia, leaves the spouse one of two bows and a belt with the bowl attached to him and puts a condition that after achievement maturities they have tried to pull this bow and to be surrounded with this belt. <...> The Winner in this test becomes the younger brother the Scythian from whom conduct the sort. 1997. Scythian kings" (Myths of nations of the world. v. 2, pp. 446 - 447). Identification Kolaksay with Heracles specifies that the ancestor of Scythian kings belongs to type of the Cultural Hero.

Magnificent Scythian art can add the data of references. It has passed some stages of the development. D.S. Raevsky gives such periods of Scythian art: 1) epoch of great campaigns to Forward Asia - 8 - 7-th centuries. B.D.; 2) epoch of independent development - 6 - 5-th centuries. B.D.; 3) epoch of the Greek influence - with 5 -th century. B.D.

The initial stage is characterised by occurrence in art of Scythians of the first anthropomorphic images (under influence of Middle East civilisations). These are ornaments on sword sheath from Melgunovsky barrow - winged geniuses about trees (typically Mesopotamian plot) and Kelermes silver rithon. Last represents for us especial interest. The centaur bearing on his shoulder a tree with adhered to it a deer is pictured there. This motive is present at folklore modern Ossets where ability to bear on his shoulder the biggest tree with body of deer acts as a parameter of physical power of the hero. Amazingly, but we find a similar plot in Etruscan art as an ornament of a vase. There are beside the centaur the hero struggling with a lion (Heracles?) on Kelermes rithon. The person with arrow, probably attacking with rear of two- or free-headed dog (Cerberus?) also is shown on Etruscan vase. Cerberus in its turn whether submits a paw to the centaur, whether attacks him. Another the same centaur behind is tormented with a lion. Both Kelermess and Etruscan centaurs are similar even in details.

It is interesting, that some Etruscan frescos from a tomb in Campania represent the winged sphynx tormented with a lion in precisely the same way. Here is pertinent to recollect, that "Maris (forefather Avsonids), Элиан, along with many authors, considered as the most ancient people of Italy, was centauro-morphs essence (Etruscan and the Mediterranean, 1990, 123). Italic Mars, to be exact Mamers (Marmar, March) was very significant deity. By Roman tables 3 - 2-th centuries B.D. he initially patronised agriculture and anything general had no with Greek Ares. "The custom was connected to his cult ver sacrum ('sacred spring') <...> (Plin. Nat. host. 3 - 110; Strab. 5 - 4,2; Verg. Aen.7 - 750): during threatened danger the tribe let's vow to Mamers (Mars) sacrifice young growth of cattle or babies for disgust of disaster. Babies, as against young growth of animals did not kill, and after achievement of majority moved for limits of territory of a tribe. Them called Mamertins (from name Mamers)" (Myths of nations of the world, 1998. v. 1, p. 578). Young people moved thus were, naturally, are compelled by a sword to extract to themselves a place in life. That is we see a way, following which the agrarian deity of growth and fruitfulness has turned in military. (By the way, mercenaries - Mamertins have played a considerable role in the pre-Roman history of Sicily). However long time the Italics kept primary understanding Mamers as the God of Earth Powers. The Samnits - the main opponents of Rome in Italy, minted a coin, with the image of the bull - the sacred animal of Mamers, trampling legs Roman shewolf. (interesting example inversion uses in political ends of popular iconographic circuits torment). Memory that the wolf is the immemorial opponent of the God of Earth Powers and the henchman of the God of the Thunder here has had an effect. The Romans, as is known on the first place in the ideology have put the Jove, which though was the God of the Clear Sky, but (similarly to similar deities of some Mediterranean peoples - Etruscan Tin, Greek Zeus) has merged good luck the Thunder in a uniform image. The Samnits, on the contrary, honoured Mamers more and went in fight, having dressed helmets with the image of horns of the sacred bull (we shall recollect ritual horned helmets of peoples of the Bronze Age, and also the Celts and the ancient Germanics). They were supported by the Celts in this struggle. Probably, the question was two various ways of development of ancient Europe.

Etruscan variant of Mamers named Maris, but, apparently, he was not horned and it was represented as the centaur or a sphynx - an ancient image which ancestors of the Etruscans taken out from East Mediterranean. Probably, it is another iconography variant of the God of Earth Powers, that indirectly proves to be true the Greek myth about Hiron. Pious centaur Hiron was the tutor of many the hero (Tesey, Iason, Dioscuri), the god of medicine Asclepius and Heracles's and Prometey's friend, being in opposition Zeus (the given collision corresponds to close relations of the God of Earth Powers and the Cultural Hero. The winged bull-morphed an essence with the human heads, submitted on 'Kserx's propileus'. In K.V. Trever's opinion (which it is supported by many researchers) images of Gopatshah - the demigod, the patron of large horned cattle and legendary king in Persian mythology are given here (Trever, 1940, v. 2). Scythians could borrow an image of a centaur-sphynx in the same place, where also ancestors of the Etruscans and ancient Persians - in art of Forward Asia, during great Scythian campaigns. From here surprising iconography similarity which has lain on general ideological basis.

After the termination of Scythian intrusions to Forward Asia which was caused by creation there a great Persian monarchy, there has come the period concerning independent development of Scythian art. It is characterised by almost full disappearance anthropomorphic images and their replacement by 'animal style'. Rayevsky supposes that it was connected to the termination of contacts to east civilisations, the Greek cities at coast of Black Sea just arose. Besides animal images are able to reduction conformity with the mythological system more easy. (Rayevsky, 1985, 104-106). "... For a long time animals were used as an evident paradigm, attitudes between which elements, could be used as the certain model of life of a human society and a nature as a whole (first of all in aspect of fertility and cyclicity)". (Myths of nations of the world, 1998, v. 1, 440). It agrees given A.I. Shkurko, from 843 images 7-6-th centuries B.D. Animal style of a forest-steppe zone the deer, a mountain goat, the ram, the horse are submitted 537 times; predatory animals (mainly cats) - 103 times; birds (basically predatory) - 162 times. (Shkurko, 1975, 9). That the predatory animal was frequently replaced by a predatory bird is connected to representation about a presence the other world simultaneously in the sky and under the ground (Rayevsky, 1985). This Rayevsky's idea supports reasons of A. Holan mentioned above that the lord of the underground world, having shape of a predatory animal, rose in the sky to the spouse, the Great Goddess in an image of an eagle. As shows the present research, both an eagle and an animal in later times are connected with the God of Thunder.

"Deserves thus attention, that griffin in treatment of Greek-Scythian art is an essence combining features of a predatory bird and a lion, zoomorphic embodiments both the other worlds - top and bottom <...> 'This' the world, the world mortal, simbolised with the deer, a goat, the ram, the horse resists to 'other' to the world, the world of death in its variants" (Rayevsky, 1985, 150). Hence, we can treat numerous images of torment in Scythian art as reflection all of the same collision of struggle of the God of Earth Powers and the God of Thunder (through features of the last the ancient image of the ruler of the underground world appears through).

Special role in products of animal style the deer. "The deer devoted to the Great Goddess, has received independent value, was intelligent as the image of Scythian totem" (Chlenova, 1962, 195). Chlenova speaks about distribution deer motives far to the east with 6-5-th centuries B.D., connecting it with Scythian influence, and marking, that in post Scythian epoch of the image of deers again almost completely disappear on this space (see in the same place, with, 194-195). Really, Altai represents an interesting material. In the barrow (the Altay steppes), on one of the buried horses there was a mask topped with horns, made of a skin. The horse has replaced a deer, but representation that last should accompany with the person in a next world remained (it is like Holan's thought). And totem value of the deer and its role of medium in a next world - all this extremely important also confirms treatment of the given image as embodiments of the Cultural Hero. According to V.I. Abaev the Scythians interpreted a deer as their totem animal, than and explains its popularity in art. V.I. Abaev compares the term 'Sakes' with Ossetic 'sag' - 'deer' (from Iranian Saka - 'branch', 'horn'). Other hypothesis, the truth, connects the tribal name of Sakes (close relatives of Scythians) with Indo-Iranian 'ksatra' - a designation of estate of soldiers). As a vivid example of deer totemism the Lappish legend about man-deer. It is necessary to recollect and about stag horns Cernunnos , and about Hittite 'the god on the stag' Runda.

It is interesting, that at south-east coast of Spain the stone sculptures of deers made by ancient Iberians, and all in the typical sacrificial pose (also images of the sphynxes are found in the same place- the Iberian religion belonged to the Mediterranean world).

Fantalov Alex


Speciality 24.00.01 - the theory and a history of culture

The dissertation on competition of a doctor degree of cultural science

Mythology of Scythian and Persian Hero.




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