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Stratum plus. 2022. No3

H. V. Vertiienko (Kyiv, Ukraine)

Lux Tenebrarum in the Beliefs of the Ancient Iranian-speaking Peoples

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Pages: 239-252 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.55086/sp223239252

The motive of the gods/deceased sitting on the golden “places/thrones” in the Otherworld in the beliefs of the Iranian-speaking peoples of antiquity is considered. It has been preserved in three Avestan sources: Videvdat 19; Aogemadaeca § 12 and Yasht 15. The Iranian vocabulary uses the following words to designate the “throne”: OP. gāθu- (perhaps, this meaning is acquired from the Akkadian equivalent kussû); Av. gātu- (with second meaning “place”); MP and NP gāh. According to the Middle Persian accounts, association with the light is what characterizes the habitat of the celestials and righteous people created by Ahuramazda. The souls of the righteous who have reached Garodman join the golden environment and sit on the thrones made of gold; they are dressed in gold and shine from within. The lower world of Ahriman and sinners is completely filled with darkness. In the Ossetian tradition, the image of the goddess of the Underworld, sitting on the “golden chair”, as well as a golden-haired young man who meets the deceased, has been preserved. This goddess is a reminiscence of the Sarmatian-Alan and Scythian representations. For the Iranian-speaking nomads, an important element of integration into the Afterlife world was the motive of the posthumous infernal (equestrian) journey. Before reaching the Afterlife, the soul of the deceased had to overcome the path through the space of the Otherworld darkness. Possibly, gold was used as a “source of light” in this path, namely, gold objects of burial assemblage, such as sewn appliqués for clothes and headdresses, and elements of horse equipment.

Keywords: Iranian-speaking peoples, gold, throne, light, Otherworld

Information about author:

Hanna Vertiienko (Kyiv, Ukraine). Candidate of Historical Sciences. А. Yu. Krymskyi Institute of Oriental Studies, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. M. Hrushevsky St., 4, Kyiv, 01001, Ukraine
E-mail: [email protected]
ORCID: 0000-0002-2104-0058


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