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Geography of Journal Authors

Stratum plus. 2019. No3

L. I. Babenko (Kharkiv, Ukraine)

Military Topics of the Pectoral from Tolstaya Mogila




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Pages: 261-284


From the first sight, among the images and plots of the Pectoral from Tolstaya Mogila, the military topics is secondary. However, upon a closer view, more deep association of pectoral and different sides of military domain reveals. Gorytus in the upper frieze central scene are the thinnest volume prototype model. The Gorytus semantics is determined by their peculiarity of position and the decoration of plots with scenes of fight of a serpentine personage with a cat predator. A shirt of mutton fur, which is interpreted by many as a khvarenah symbol, could also have a utilitarian function as a coat of mail with a military belt attached to it. As for social attribution of the central scene characters, the dominant opinion is that they belong to the military class — either like kings or like archers. The pectoral composition in a whole can be associated with the military domain; as it narrates about destiny of its owner, his passing through the military initiations for obtaining higher status. At the bottom of the pectoral conception there could be a transformation of associations chain of the images (shield of Achilles — shield-pelta — breastplate), which are also directly connected to the military domain. The idea of hinge mounting is most likely adopted from the construction of the helmets. The connection with the military culture is also reflected by the burial complex composition. All of this allows stating the deep association of the pectoral with the military culture domain and allows considering its function as an attribute of military initiation and of a high status.


Keywords: Scythia, Tolstaya Mogila, pectoral, gorytus, armament, warfare


Information about author:

Leonid Babenko
(Kharkiv, Ukraine). M. F. Sumtsov Kharkiv Historical Museum. Universytetska St., 5, Kharkiv, 61003, Ukraine
E-mail: [email protected]

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