VIKINGS OR RUSSIANS. NEW RESEARCH CONCERNING 
THE BASARABI-MURFATLAR COMPLEX Cover Image
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VIKINGI SAU RUSI. NOI CERCETĂRI ASUPRA COMPLEXULUI DE LA BASARABI-MURFATLAR*
VIKINGS OR RUSSIANS. NEW RESEARCH CONCERNING THE BASARABI-MURFATLAR COMPLEX

Author(s): Vladimir Agrigoroaei
Subject(s): History
Published by: Muzeul Naţional al Unirii Alba Iulia

Summary/Abstract: The previous hypothesis concerning the Basarabi-Murfatlar complex (dated c. Xth-XIth centuries) implied the existence of a Viking community or of a certain number of passing-by Vikings. Studying all five fulcrums of this pro-Scandinavian hypothesis, we reached different conclusions: 1. the “dragons” depicted in the C1 chamber and in various other parts of the complex are not of a sure Scandinavian pattern; 2. the “Viking ship” in the B3 church’s parecclesion has a low keel, no sails, and, in spite of its resemblance to the Oseberg ship’s spirals, is not of a Scandinavian pattern either; 3. the labyrinth does not imply a Northern motif, it may derive from anywhere else; 4. the “Northern type” skeletons in C1 and C2 chambers haven’t been classified, and the grave inventory does not resemble at all to the Viking graves’ inventory of the same period: 5. the RAINPILPE name is not of a Scandinavian origin. Secondly, we have later focused our research upon the Russian and steppe influences, as represented by three drawings on the complex’s walls: 6. we have identified one of the drawn warriors with a Kievan Rus’, wearing a kolchuga and a tapered helm; 7. another warrior, this time a rider, may have been a steppe archer; 8. our most important discovery – the presence of kniaz Svyatoslav of Kiev’s tamga on the B3 central church’s western wall. The previous hypothesis considered the above-mentioned drawing as a stylized bull-head, but its likening with kniaz Vladimir and Mstislav’s tamgas, the omission of the crosses (probably a post-988 attachment – Russian christening by Vladimir), also linked with kniaz Svyatoslav of Kiev’s two campaigns in the Southern Danube area (969-972), led us to the conclusion that the drawing is this leader’s tamga. It is this way that, instead of discovering a sure Viking presence in the Basarabi-Murfatlar complex, we discovered that of a most famous Kievan kniaz. The possible Scandinavian influence in the unsure dragon and ship patterns may be thus explained through the Northern links and origins of the early Kiev princedom.

  • Issue Year: 43/2006
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 25-49
  • Page Count: 25
  • Language: Romanian