Make your own free website on

Fantalov Alex


Speciality 24.00.01 - the theory and a history of culture

The dissertation on competition of a doctor degree of cultural science

2.1. Sources iconography of the basic mythological types.

In distribution of mythological ideas Krete-Minoans culture had the important value. It played a role of binding bridge between peoples of Asia and Europe. Unfortunately, it is primordial Krete linear letter "З" till now is not deciphered, so as a unique source of our knowledge of Minoan mythology is served with art. But also it gives fair food for reflections.

Surprisingly, but already here we face with a triad which, according to the concept submitted in the given thesis, was widely distributed among Indo-European peoples later. The Minoans venerated Goddesses-mothers, a sacred axe - labiris with two edges and "sacred horns " which were frequently represented, for example, above an entrance in a temple (Taylour, 1983). The image of Goddess - mother, perhaps, does not require special explanations, but is allowable to assume, as other two symbols belong to independent deities. The axe in later times was indispensable attribute of the god of a thunder. By the way, this poleaxe reminds hammer of Thor - Scandinavian God of Thunder very much. The sacred horns derivate an image of the person - bull in mind. Here it is pertinent to result a plot extremely popular in Crete art - so-called "games with the bull" or "bull leaping". The young men jumping through the skipping bull are usually shown, but there are and more intricate plots. Here is how Taylor describes two interesting monuments (ill. 1.): "On two gold bowls stages of the cycle, dangerous sports which could have religious value are shown. On the first bowl it is shown as the bull it is allured by means of the cow. The bull is seized unawares by the sportsman and bull legs are joined. On the second bowl the bull is represented captivated and struggling. But further it seems delivered and bringing down the fury on two athletes, one of which is exposed to danger of death" (Tailor, 1983, 122). Though these bowls concern later, at Mycenian period and are found near to Sparta, they, certainly, show a plot borrowed in Crete culture. "Bull leaping" was mythologem, caused the Greek legend about the Minotaur.

"The Figure of the Man-bull as has shown already Ludolf Malten in his basic research, has the history ascending at West Asia art 4 thousand B.D. And for a way of the long development it could be included in various mythological contexts <...> The Man-bull embodied eternal circulation with its life and death... " (Etruscan and the Mediterranean, 122). On Mesopotamian seals struggle against the Man-bull is represented. The same character is shown on a seal from Harappa, whose civilisation is in touch with Mesopotamian one. Later, the Man-bull struggling with animals appears in art of Luristan. All this conducts us to West Asian Great Goddess, near to which there was her son (and sometimes the spouse), killed and reviving (Babylon Ishtar and Tammus; west Semitic Asirat and Balu etc.). Crete goddess-mother is variant of this image. And her satellite could be represented with the bull head (and strongly pronounced man's attribute), as on round Minoans seals.

In Minoan art there is one more image, though and not being the independent character. This certain a creature, that like wolf. We see a procession of these animals making a gift to the goddess. Knossos art shows the wolf conducting the bull... Where? For memory there comes a plot of torment. And it is valid stages of murder of the bull or "Minotaur" was frequently represented in Knossos. On a question on what deity was the master of the wolf, the answer will be given below.

Minoan civilisation rendered the strongest influence on European peoples, down to British Isles (Wessex culture), that admits as many scientists. About an integrated role of the goddess - mother wrote, for example, Э. James: "Worship of the Mother-goddess was an integrated element of megalithic cultures" (James, 1959, 45). "That there was a unique Great Goddess who was also the Mother-earth, Mistress of animals, Lady of fertility, Lady of Underworld and the war goddess who was esteemed at first on Crete and then on continent in Minoan- Mycenaneans cult, almost undoubtedly, contrary to statement Nilsen that these functions are submitted by set of independent deities, everyone with the attributes." (In the same place, p. 250). M. Gimbutas, in the "The Civilization of the goddess", speaks about agrarian Neolithic civilization of Europe worshipping the Goddess. The given matriarchal civilisation in which the peace, creative beginning prospered, was destroyed with arrival from the East Europe representatives of culture of fighting axes - soldiers on chariots. (Gimbutas, 1991). Similar reasonings go in a channel of modern feminism - rough, malicious men have turned into slavery of peaceful and intellectual women. What was a society of the Great Goddess, we do not know. A. Holan, in the work "Myth and symbol " (which it will be considered below), approved, that opposite, Neolithic religion was the terrible phenomenon and the Goddess horrified (that partly proves to be true from similar Middle East cults). That together when the Indo-European captures Central and Western Europe (that has approximately coincided there with the beginning of a Bronze Age) here their came new religious representations are unconditional only. The main thing from them the priority of the man's beginning above female, which has lost the space scale, was, being located henceforth only as elements of the earth. Thus Indo-European representations have influenced fair influence of the previous cultures, is especial in iconographic sphere.

It is usually considered that one of innovations was idea of the heavenly god. Certainly, gods of the sky existed in ancient oriental civilisations and earlier. But in Indo-European culture this character had a distinct originality, as the patron of a breeding community. As the warrior was considered as the full member of such collective, the god of the sky was allocated also with military function. Because with reference to Bronze Age of the Central and Western Europe we have no written certificates again, it is necessary to address to iconography and also to involve a philological material of later epoch and related cultures.

The interesting information is given with rock drawings of Scandinavia. Ellis Davidson approves that they mean existence of the organised religious cult and priests. Thus she doubts available at that time temples and considers, that ritual action passed on open air. (Davidson, 1967, 65). Among the figures represented on rocks some it is much more than others, that can specify their divinity (one of ways to show the superiority of the god over the person). Stages of fights and, hence - various kinds of the weapon are frequently shown: axes, swords, spears. Axes are most popular. They are represented in the kind brought for impact. Swords, on the contrary, are usually shown hanging on a belt and as though underlining a man's sexual nature. Spears meet less often, but are usual in stages of fights. Concerning, whether the given subjects indicators of any gods are, there are various opinions. From mythological texts and monuments of art we know, that in more later time to the basic mythological types there corresponded with the certain kind of the weapon (especially prodigality the given scale has achieved in India). The sword usually was an accessory of only heavenly god, while an axe - the God of Thunder. Now prevalence was received with the theory, that a primary Supreme deity of Indo-European pantheon was the god of the sky. Partly it is based on given comparative-historical linguistics. The significant contribution here belongs to domestic researchers I.I. Ivanov and V.N. Toporov. "In Indo-European mythological system the main object was designated by a basis deiuo, "the day shining sky", understood as the Supreme deity (and then and as a designation of the god in general and a class of gods)" (Myths of nations of the world, 1998, т. 1, 528). From here Indian Dyaus, Balt Dievas, Greek Zeus, Italic Jove, German Tiw, Scandinavian Tyr, Celtic Teutat, Hittite Tiwat, Etruscan Tin. He was the Supreme patron of breeding collective, the god of all armed men of a tribe. In the majority Indo-European traditions we see him already pushed aside by other gods, as though "left on rest" (here Indo-European mythologies differ from mythologies of other peoples a little). In it that circumstances, probably, has an effect that the fixed sources concern to time disintegration of tribal community and promotion of other social groups and other gods.

In a case with Bronze Age, the problem consists in difficulty of allocation iconographic features of the heavenly god. We can see that on the Scandinavian rocks except for images of the weapon, such subjects, as a chariot are shown. From the Central Europe the models of chariots concerning this time are found. It is known what role in an ancient history the given invention has played. The Indo-European society of Bronze Age was a society of fighting chariots. The chariot, no less than use of the horse, and the metallurgy advanced on those times, gave significant advantages. In 2 thousand B.D. the Indo-Europeans come to the Western Europe, Forward Asia, India, Iran, are distributed up to Shang China. Owing to high cost, the chariot was the privilege of aristocracy that is reflected in burial places. Proceeding from later mythological material, the chariot and an axe mentioned above is attributes of the God of Thunder which is distinct from the God of Sky. They form indispensable his iconography attributes, kept practically in all Indo-European traditions as it will be shown below. So, with the big share of confidence it is possible to assume, that the basic deity western (and it is equal also east) Indo-Europeans at late Bronze Age was the god of a thunder expressing then ideology of leaders of military teams. The god of the sky (in connection with stratification of a tribal society) at this time was pushed already aside from the Supreme role (the given situation is reflected in the most ancient Indo-European mythological texts - Rigveda and Hittite-Luwian sources). However it is necessary to tell, that he has not quitted the stage at all, keeping in many cases nominal leadership and under the certain circumstances (for example, secondary "democratisation") returning to himself authority. Besides, it is necessary to note the tendency existing in a number of cultures to merge of images of two heavenly gods - the God of Thunder and the God of Sky.

Among images of Bronze Age of Europe the significant place is occupied with animals. The symbolics, connected with the bull is most distributed here. Davidson gives the description of an interesting Scandinavian monument: " the Groove on a rock from Torsbo, Bohuslan shows the man, holding horn. A number most likely represents the husband struggling with the bull and putting it on knees. " (Davidson, 1967, 56). Here we observably direct analogy with Crete-Minoans "bull leaping". Horns as a symbol also were so popular. In a bog in Vix, Zealand within the Second World War has found two fine helmets with the bullhorns. From Denmark the small bronze figure of the person in sitting position on which head the similar helmet (ill flaunts is known. 2.).

Except for the bull there were images of a wild boar, the horse and a deer. Near to a wild boar the sword, and as it will be shown below frequently appears, they are symbols of the heavenly god. The horse and a deer play a similar role and are connected to the image of a solar disk.

Thus, we see, that in spite of the fact that the Indo-Europeans much have changed in lives of Europe, some basic religious images (the Goddess, the Man-bull, somebody with an axe) were kept, though the parity between them began others. Probably, this continuity is connected to borrowing by conquerors rich local iconography traditions and its adaptation to the purposes. Such picture, in particular, was observed, when Myceneans - the first Greeks have replaced Crete-Minoans. They already had writing (the so-called linear letter "B") which is deciphered. Due to this, we know, that in middle 2 thousand B.D. Typically Greek gods well identified with Indo-European gods of other traditions were already esteemed: Zeus , Hera, Athena , Artemis, Poseidon, Dionysus, Ares, Apollo? Thus a lot of plots, such as the baby - Zeus, saved on Crete by his mother Reya or Crete Minotaur are typically Minoans plots.

But that the religions of the Indo-European and those whom they have won, initially had the general features is possible also, originating in even more extreme antiquity. However the decision of last question leaves for frameworks of the present work.


2.2. Mythological characters in Celtic culture.

Images of Celtic deities.




 For consultations or tutoring: history, political science, cultural science, art criticism, painting and theories of composition; purchase of pictures and also installing of advertising - E-mail: