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Stratum plus. 2022. No3

Yu. A. Prokopenko (Stavropol, Russian Federation)

Elements of the Hearth Cult Complex in the Funerary Practice of the Population of the Central Ciscaucasia in Scythian and Sarmatian Periods

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Pages: 267-279 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.55086/sp223267279

The article discusses the cult objects found in the burials of the Scythian and Sarmatian times of the Central Ciscaucasia: metal chains, vessels with pebbles and chains, bronze cauldrons, cauldron-shaped pendants, etc. Using the legends of the Nart sagas about Batraz, the God of Thunderstorms and the Lightning, and ethnographic data on the above cult objects, the author reconstructs elements of a complex cult of hearth. Two different variants for cauldron-shaped pendants and chains finds both on the sites of steppe cultures of Scythians and Sarmatians and in the autochthonous burials of Koban culture in the territory of the Central Ciscaucasia indicate the coexistence in the region of two substantially similar hearth cults: steppe (Indo-European) origin, first brought by the Scythians, later by the Sarmatians, and autochthonous (Indo-European) origin, known from the Middle Bronze Age (finds of bronze pot-shaped pendants), cultivated by the population of Koban culture. Finds of vessels with pebbles and chains, cauldron-shaped pendants and other objects associated with the hearth cult in the burials of the last centuries BC in the foothill areas of the Central Ciscaucasia — the area with the mixed population, suggest a symbiosis of the two cults, similar by type, but different by their origin.

Keywords: Central Ciscaucasia, hearth cult, cauldrons, vessels with chains, pot-shaped pendants, Nart sagas, God of Thunderstorms and Lightning, sun-fire cult, the tree of life

Information about author:

Yuriy Prokopenko (Stavropol, Russian Federation). Doctor of Historical Sciences. North Caucasian Federal University. Pushkin St., 1, Stavropol, 355009, Russian Federation
E-mail: [email protected]
ORCID: 0000-0001-7060-5054


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