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The Sword God
The Sword God

Author(s): Maya Vassileva
Subject(s): History, Archaeology, Fine Arts / Performing Arts, Cultural history, Architecture, Visual Arts, Ethnohistory, Local History / Microhistory, Ancient World
Published by: Институт за балканистика с Център по тракология - Българска академия на науките

Summary/Abstract: The paper offers an analysis and reinterpretation of relief No 82 displayed in hall B of the most famous Hittite rock complex-sanctuary near Yazılıkaya. The relief, which represents a human head and body formed by lion protomes complemented with two more vertical lion’s images with heads downwards, shapes the grip of a sword. A part of its blade is also depicted below the described composition. The author proposes instead of the generally accepted identification of the sword figure with Nergal to perceive the image as Ullikummi – a monstrous stone giant in Hurrian mythology – whose functions are semantically close to those of Ubeluri, and a parallel is proposed with Atlas in Greek mythology. The cosmogonic elements in the figure of the mediator Ullikummi are indicated, as well as the structure of the stone relief from Yazılıkaya, which is developed in three zones: a human head at the tip of the grip, lion’s figures shaping the actual grip, and the blade that is presented as if struck into the ground. In conclusion, emphasising the parallels between ancient Greek and Middle East mythologies, the author recalls the information in Herodotus about the Thracian and Scythian Ares worshipped as iron sword.

  • Issue Year: 2011
  • Issue No: 19
  • Page Range: 81-87
  • Page Count: 7
  • Language: English