THE ANCIENT SCYTHIA

According to the accounts of the Scythians their nation is the youngest. And here is the way it occurred:

The first inhabitant of this country uninhabitable at that time was a man named Targitai. As Scythians say parents of Targitai were Zeus and the daughter of the river Borisphen (this I certainly do not believe, in spite of their statements). Targitai from such a generation and he had three sons: Lipoksai, Arpoksai and the youngest  Kolaksai. Gold items fell from the sky during their reign in the Scythian land: plow, yoke, ax and bowl. The first to see these subjects was the oldest brother. As soon as he came to pick them up gold was caught by fire. Then he stepped back and the second brother came closer and again the gold was on fire. So the heat of flaming gold drove the two brothers away but when came the third and the youngest brother the flame burnt out and he took the gold into the house. Therefore, older brothers agreed to give the kingdom to the younger.

So as they say there was a Scythian tribe called avhatami descended from Lipoksaisa, from the middle brother traspie and katiar tribes and from the youngest brother the king a paralat tribe. All the tribes are collectively called Scoloti i.e. the royal. The Greeks also call them Scythians.

Archaeologists refer the formation of specifically Scythian culture  to the VII century BC.

Among the art products found in the burial of the Scythians the most interesting objects are decorated in animal style: quiver and scabbard lining, swords handles, parts from a bridle kit, plaques, handles of the mirrors, buckles, bracelets, and hryvnas etc. Along with images of animals figures (deer, elk, goat, bird of prey, fantastic animals, etc.) there  can be scenes of animals’ fighting (often an eagle or other predator tearing a herbivore). Images were performed in low relief with the help of forging, embossing, die-casting, stamping and carving, often from gold, silver, iron and bronze. Rising to the images of totemic ancestors in the Scythian time they represented different spirits and played the role of the magical amulets; in addition they may have symbolized strength, deftness and courage of a warrior.

  • Deer (eg in Steppe wind sets, Deer Pectoral, Steppe deer and others) is the most common and studied is the image in Scythia. It was a totem of this nation.
  • Toksakis is the king of the second tribe. He owned lands west from the Dnieper to the Crimea to the lands of taurs. Toksakis translated from Iran is «fast deer».
  • Panther is a symbol of strength and power. It is a symbol of the Scythians, as a nation of warriors. In peacetime the panther was depicted lying down and sleeping. At the same time when there was a war the panther was depicted baring standing on outstretched legs. Scythians identified the silhouette of the sleeping panther from the picture of the full moon craters.
  • Bars is a multi-valued and meaningful symbol. He was a defender of justice in the mythology of the Scythians. As the supreme judge he looked at what was happening from the divine heights.
  • Snake as a symbol, is represented in almost all mythologies, and is associated with land fertility, female energy, water, rain, on the one hand, and the hearth, fire (especially heavenly fire), and the male fertilizing beginning on the other.
    Living in our steppes Scythians worshiped snakes, believing in their descent from the supreme god Papaya “snake-legged” goddess Api. This “women-snake” is the mother of the Scythians the founder of the Scythian tribes is often depicted on billboards, quivers and armors of warlike nomads. The Slavs associated snakes with Perun. Snakes had a few values and purposes (as characters). Images of snakes – small snakes decorated ancient vessels with water. Snakes of Perun suites symbolize divine clouds, lightened, powerful outburst of the disaster. These snakes are hydra-headed. You cut one head and the other will grow and throw fire (lightning). Firedrake is the son of the sky mountains (clouds). These snakes kidnapped beauties (the moon, stars, and even the sun). Snakes can quickly turn into a boy or girl. This is due to the rejuvenation of nature after the rain after each winter.
    Snakes are guardians of untold treasures and medicinal herbs living and dead water. Hence the snake-doctors and symbols of healing are taken from this.
  • Falcon. Scythian wanderers called themselves sokoloty according to their falcon totem. Falcon is related to the representation of all the peoples of the cult of the Sun – Circle or Kolo (even the ancient Egyptians depicted solar deity Horus – Khor as a falcon). The word falcon itself means “the one accompanying the Sun-Kolo.” Therefore, in the Scythian fine arts of “animal style” connecting story is a falcon tearing a snake. The meaning of this story is about the change of epochs when the Cimmerian (snake) era in Steppe was replaced by sokolotsk (falconry) era. So in this descriptive aspect the historic victory of Scythians sokolots over the Cimmerian tradition is celebrated, the fact of replacement of the steppe Cimmerian Deva culture to Scythian Ahura.
  • Griffin is a fantastic, mythical creature, symbolizing the Scythian domination over the two spheres of being: the ground (lion) and air (eagle). The image of a griffin united symbols of an eagle (speed) and the lion (power, courage). The combination of the two most important animals indicates a general favorable character of the creature. Griffin personifies the sun, power, alertness, retribution. Mythical griffins in ancient Scythia helped to keep the accumulated treasures of the Scythians.
  • Simargl (Semargl) presumably is the patron of seeds and roots, guardian of vegetation. Appears also in national believing as the god of fire. He portrays a fantastic creature with the head of a dog, a pair of legs, the bird’s wings and scaly body entwined with vine which ends with a snake tail.
  • Osprey. Scythians transferred the properties of animals to the one who wore jewelry. Therefore, images of strong, fast animals and birds are often being seen. Osprey is a feathered predator, which is included to the Falcon order, Ospreys family. Large bird with black and white color of the wings.
  • Harrier is a light weighted bird of prey, with long wings and a long tail; usually they hover close to the ground, holding the V-shaped wings and sometimes performing amazing in agility pirouettes. Meadow harrier lives hunting for running, sitting or crawling, but not flying fowl.
  • Crane. In the east, the crane symbolizes vigilance, longevity, wisdom, loyalty, honor. Image of a crane flying to the sun is a symbol of social aspirations, his snow-white body is the symbol of purity, red head is the fire of life. Cranes on a par with storks and nightingales are considered “God’s birds” in Rus. Their symbolism is connected with the sun. Throughout the world, the crane is a symbol of communion with the gods.
  • Elephant. Around 512 century BC Darius (the Persian king) has decided to carry out an invasion against the Scythians of the Black Sea, which endured a resounding defeat, described by Herodotus. As you know, the army of the Persians couldn’t manage without elephants, pulling rank on the opponents.
    Currently, elephant’s huge mass of steel and clumsiness became metaphorical . However, elephant, first and foremost is a symbol of strength: as gentle and loving so as violent and destructive. The elephant is also a symbol of power, discernment, prosperity, happiness, represents the element of the earth, memory, wisdom, longevity, loyalty, patience, compassion.
  • Lizard is a brisk, fleet footed animal. It is a symbol of agility, elusiveness and also rebirth. The last-mentioned is connected with the ability of lizards to leave its tail to the capturer, which re-grows after that. Lizards as they hide themselves in the shadow during the heat of the day are considered the guardians of the shadows as well as the guardians of sleep and dreams. Moreover lizard may symbolize the unconsciousness and the shadow of our inner world. Lizard was considered a good omen in Egypt and in the ancient world, where it is sometimes associated with wisdom. It has become an attribute of allegorical images of Logics.
  • Winged horse is the Sun or the cosmic horse. He represents pure intellect, innocence, life and light; it is managed by heroes. Scythians worshiped their sun god (Goytosir) in the form of chariots and horses. Indo-Iranians associated the movement of the sun across the sky with running horses or chariots.

Religious system of the Scythians is a complex entity that emerged on the basis of tribal beliefs. Herodotus mentions eight deities worshiped by the Scythians. This Popeye, Api, Targitai, Tabitha, Goytosir or Oytosir, Argimpasa or Artimpasa, Tagimasad (according to Herodotus he was worshiped only by Royal Scythians) and the deity whose name the father of history does not mention, but compares it with the Greek Ares. Some of the names of our products are also connected with Scythian deities:

  1. Api (Apia) is Popeye’s wife, the goddess of earth and water, the progenitor of the Scythians. Was esteemed as Giving birth to all and Protectress of all. She was being depicted on protective equipment.
  2. Flower Medusa – Gorgon is being precisely identified with the goddess Api.
  3. Argimpasa (Artimpasa) is the goddess of both human and animal fertility and abundance. Greeks associated her with Aphrodite. She is known for her images as the queen of animals. The priests of the cult Artimpasy (Anar and energy) were involved in the dictum of the prophecies and the searching for intruders.

Also in the collection “Ancient Scythia” contains the following symbols and names:

  • The Tree of Life is a special tree in the biblical book of Genesis planted by God in the midst of the Garden of Eden. Bears fruit that give eternal life 12 times a year and has leaves for the healing of the nations.
  • Vine (also jewelry Scythian vine) is a symbol of fertility and life. It is the Tree of Life and in some traditions the Tree of Knowledge. Sometimes it is dedicated to the dying gods. Vine with grapes symbolizes fertility and passion, the wild vine means deceit and treachery.
  • Wheel is a symbol of solar energy. Sun is the center and spokes of a wheel are the rays. Wheel is an attribute of all solar gods and earthly rulers. It also symbolizes the life cycle, rebirth and renewal, nobility, variability and changes in the material world (the circle is the limit of the material world, and the center is a «immovable engine», the cosmic source of light and power).

The spinning wheel is connected to the cycles of events (birth, death and rebirth) and the destiny of man. In everyday Lady’s Luck wheel (Wheel of Fortune) is a symbol of the ups, downs and unpredictability of fate.

  • Sun is one of the twelve symbols of power, the main symbol of constructive energy. The heat source is the sun vitality, passion, courage and eternal youth. As the source of light it represents the knowledge and intellect. In most traditions Sun is a symbol of masculinity. The sun also is the life, vitality, embodied character of the person, the heart and its aspirations. Sun and Moon are silver and gold, the king and queen, soul and body, and so on.
  • Labyrinth symbolizes earth, the Universe, incomprehensibility, motion, complex problem, a bewitched place. It is a symbol of mystery, mystique having a plurality of different interpretations often contradictory and sometimes frightening. Images of the labyrinth on the houses are considered as amulets for protection against hostile forces and evil spirits. Graves, burial caves and burial mounds in the shape of a labyrinth to protect the dead and do not allow them to come back.
  • Plaque (also as a set Blinchicki) were used to decorate horse harness, quivers, shields, as well as women’s jewelry.
  • The swastika (also products Tripoli snakes) (symbol «卐» or «卍») is a cross with curved ends («spinning») directed either clockwise or counter it. The word «swastika» a composite of the two Sanskrit roots: «su» – good, benefit, and «asti» – life, existence, ie «welfare» or «well-being». There is also another name for the swastika – «gammadion», as the Greeks saw a combination of four letters «gamma» in swastika.

Swastika is one of the oldest and most widespread symbols. The swastika was used by many nations of the world. It was at the weapons, items of everyday life, clothing, flags and coats of arms, also was used in decorating the churches and houses.

As a symbol swastika has lots of meanings and for the majority of people they were positive. Thus for the majority of ancient nations it was a symbol of the movement of life, the sun, light, well-being, happiness and creativity. This is one of the ancient and archaic polar signs, the indicator of perceptible motion of the sun around the earth, and dividing the year into four parts – the four seasons. The character captures two solstices: summer and winter and the annual motion of the sun. However, the swastika is considered not only as a solar symbol but also as a symbol of fertility of the land. It has the idea of four corners of the world centered around an axis. Swastika also suggests the idea of movement in two directions: clockwise and counterclockwise. Like the «Yin» and «Yang» it is the dual character: spinning clockwise represents the masculine energy, counterclockwise – female. In ancient Indian scriptures they distinguish male and female swastika that depicts two female and two male deities.

The swastika can be «correct» and reverse. Accordingly, the swastika having the opposite direction symbolizes darkness, destruction, «night sun» in ancient Rus. Both swastika were simultaneously used in ancient times. It has a deep meaning: day follows night, the light replaced the darkness, the new birth is replaced by death and this is the natural order of things in the universe. Therefore, there were no «bad» and «good» swastikas in ancient times they were perceived as one.

  • Spiral (also Yule, Tangle, Whirlwind decorations) is a very complex and multi-valued symbol. But first of all it is a symbol of great creative (life) force. The spiral is a symbol of time, cyclical rhythms, changing seasons, birth and death, phases of «aging» and «growth» of the Moon, and the Sun itself. Spiral shapes are very often being found in nature. From spiral galaxies and to whirlpools and tornadoes, from mollusk shells to drawings on human fingers, and even the DNA molecule has the shape of a double helix.
  • Axe (ax) is a symbol of power, thunder, fertility, rain brought by heavenly gods, and gales, correction of mistakes, sacrifice, support and assistance. It is also a widespread symbol of sovereignty associated with the ancient gods of the sun. Double ax (Double Axe) represents the sacred union of the god of the sky and goddess of the earth, thunder and lightning. Sometimes ax blade looking like half moons symbolize the moon, or the unity of opposites. It is also a symbol of supreme power and strength.
  • Thor’s hammer. Thor in Germanic-Scandinavian mythology is one of the aces, the god of thunder and storm, protecting the gods and men from giants and monsters. Hammer was the part of the magic Thor’s outfit. The name of Thor’s battle hammer was Mjollnir which could once mean the word «lightning». Iron Hammer Mjollnir forged for the god by the brothers-dwarfs is a symbol of the creative and destructive forces, the source of fertility and luck. It had a massive striker, short handle and always hit the target herewith returning to the owner, like a boomerang. Hammer served gods and men as protection from giants and had many magical properties: affected the fertility and death, could return life animals to life, blessed marriages. All myths involving the participation of Thor indicate unlimited destructive capabilities of his hammer; like the Slavic Perun, Thor was a destroyer of evil, which in Germanic-Scandinavian mythology personified the Giants-jetunes. They tried to steal the hammer to ensure that Thor would come to their country without it and without a belt force. Thor’s hammer is a symbol of the creative energy of masculinity, as well as the embodiment of strength opposing everything that threatens the natural order of things.
  • Aratseya’s flower is a plant of South Asia, Africa and the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Patches with a picture of this flower were found during excavations of Melitopol mound (burial 4 century BC).
  • Fraternization scene. Sewed plaque depicting two Scythians is one of many discovered during the excavations of the famous mound Solokha. More than 130 plaques of various sizes were found lying along the legs of the Scythian “king”. There were four holes for sewing for a band (“stripes”) along the wide trousers On each of them. Scythians bonded friendship with a fraternity ritual. Friends mingled drop of blood in a cup of wine and then each of them dipped into the bowl their swords, arrows, ax and spears. Then those who entered the alliance prayed to gods and proclaimed an oath, and then, with a noble witnesses drank the content of the bowl. The ancient Greek writer Lucian gives an explanation of the Scythians: «Three people are the most who are allowed to join the unions because who has a lot of friends seems to us like the public harlots and we think that the friendship of such a man is divided between many and can not be strong».
  • Scythian archer is the original from the stripes found during excavations at Kul-Oba mound near Kerch. Scythian burial mound itself the 4 century BC was opened in 1830 near the city of Kerch.
  • Lily symbolizes purity, peace, resurrection and kingship. Dedicated to all the Goddesses, Virgins, The Mother, The One. In addition, the lily symbolized fertility of Goddess of the Earth, and afterwards the gods of heaven. Lily is a symbol of fertility for the Egyptians but lotus is more common to this meaning. In Greco-Roman mythology (which was taken from the Scythians) lily means purity. Lily grew out from the milk of Hera and is the emblem of Hera (Juno) and Diana as a sign of virginity. In Minoan culture lily is the main attribute of the goddess Britomartis. In Sumerian-Semitic tradition lily means fertility and fecundity.