Medieval Finger Rings with Pentagram in the South-Western Crimea: Origin, Distribution, Dating Cover Image

Средневековые перстни с пентаграммой в Юго-Западном Крыму: происхождение, распространение, датировка
Medieval Finger Rings with Pentagram in the South-Western Crimea: Origin, Distribution, Dating

Author(s): Anna V. Mastykova
Subject(s): History, Archaeology, Cultural history, Middle Ages, 6th to 12th Centuries
Published by: Издательский дом Stratum, Университет «Высшая антропологическая школа»
Keywords: Crimea; Byzantium; Balkan region; Middle Byzantine period; funerary sites; pentagram / pentalpha rings
Summary/Abstract: A finger ring with a pentagram was found in tomb 7 of the Gorzuvity necropolis, which served as the basis for this research in order to study the origin and the distribution of such jewelry, to identify analogies and to clarify their dating. Parallels from the South-Western Crimea and from other territories of the Byzantine world are given. A study of sample of such rings allowed us to identify several features that are most characteristic of the 10th—12th centuries. On this basis, the ring with pentalpha from Gorzuvity necropolis was previously dated to the 9th—11th centuries, not excluding the 12th century. Perhaps, with the help of the natural science methods implemented at present time, we will be able to clarify this date. The pentagram rings are of Byzantine origin, since they were distributed both in Byzantium itself and in its adjacent territories. Considering the finds from closed complexes, the rings appear in the 6th—7th centuries, the most widespread being from the 9th to the 11th centuries, their number dropping in the 12th century. Apparently, it was not an expensive mass production, these products being worn by citizens and residents of settlements. Such rings had an apotropaic character, because the image of the pentagram was supposed to ward off misfortune and evil from a person, whereas the signs of wear indicate that these jewelries were worn daily. Pentagram rings certainly reflect Byzantine fashion, they demonstrate the aesthetic and religious preferences of the peripheral population and testify to a uniform culture in the Byzantine world in the Middle Ages.