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Religious views of West Alania tribes in the 5-9th centuries

m. I. Mikhaylov


In the 5-9th CENTURIES

Work is presented by department of history and museology of the Krasnodar state university of culture and arts.

The research supervisor - the candidate of historical sciences, associate professor N.E. Berlizov

In article on the basis of the analysis of written sources the author considered a difficult complex of religious views of West Alania tribes in the 5-9th centuries in which not only the representations taken from paganism, Christianity, Judaism and, perhaps, Zoroastrianism are combined, but also there is their mixture.

The author of the article considers a difficult complex of religious views of Western-Alan tribes in the 5th-9th centuries on the basis of the analysis of written sources. Notions taken from paganism, Christianity, Judaism and, probably, Zoroastrianism are not only combined in this complex, but also mix there.

Religious views Alan still attract genuine interest of many researchers. Being on a joint of two civilizations, Alana were not only aggressive allies of great powers, but also could create really unique spiritual culture which not only absorbed a vliya - ny the world religions spread by powerful neighbors but also kept own ethnic foundations. Religious beliefs Alan during the studied period are a difficult complex of representations, vzya-

ty of paganism, Christianity, Judaism and, perhaps, Zoroastrianism in which stage-by-stage change of one religion another is not traced and there is their mixture.

Below the sources anyway shedding light on this problem are analyzed. At the same time if influence of world religions finds reflection in written sources, then about the place of primordially Iranian and Caucasian pagan beliefs it is possible to judge more by data of archeology and ethnography.

Interesting data about Alania yaza - a chesky pantheon Peripl of Pontus supports "Evksinsky", written by the anonymous author about the 5th century. The text of the document says: "From Kazek to Feodosiya, the become empty city which has port, 280 stadiyev or 37.3 miles; before it is the Greek city, colony miletyan... Nowadays, however, Feodosiya is called Ardavda that means in the Alania or tavrsky Semibozhny language" [2, page 460]. In our opinion, V.I. Abayev [1] and A. To Alya-man [2, page 461] absolutely fairly connect the Alania name of Feodosiya with the cult of seven gods taking the important place in religious views Alan. It should be noted that V. Miller also mentions the sanctuary existing in Ossetia Avd dzuar - meaning seven dzuar or seven Saints [9, page 443]. V.I. Abayev traces a cult of seven gods throughout rather big period, beginning from Herodotus's Scythians [1]. At the same time it separates seven Scythian gods from seven "amshaspan-d" of Zoroastrianism as the semibozhny pantheon was an ancient all-Aryan cliche which was inherited by both Scythians, and Zoroastrianism [1].

Also the cult of the sun and fire which it is mentioned in poems by the Armenian poet Frik (13th century) was one of the main, most likely. There are two passages in which it is told about alana. The first mentions "an alan, the son of the Sun", the second - "east Alan" (from there where there is the sun) [2, page 388]. V.I. Abayev interpreted it as "alan that the sun honors". Considering Herodotus's certificate about weight-getakh: "... from gods honor only the sun to which sacrifice horses", and the Ossetian cult name Hi^sepp "the gold sun" and Hiyu Higssepp - "the sun of the sun", it places a cult of the sun at the head of all Alania pagan pantheon [1]. Also tell the numerous archaeological materials considered by V.A. Kuznetsov about wide circulation of a cult of fire and the sun [6, page 284]. At -

seen certificates allow to claim that during the period from VI to the 12th century a solar cult Alan took the important place in religious views, safely coexisting with officially adopted Christianity in the 10th century.

Alan took an important place in beliefs a cult of the dead. The only written source known to us mentioning worship of ancestors was left by Claudius Mary Victor in the work L1vSha ("Truth"). Primitive religions he mentions a cult of the dead in retreat: "Business especially bad that has visibility of virtue because initially all people devoted themselves to this infinite filth, making gifts to spirits of the dead to what nowadays Alana's certificate; each of them instead of gods esteemed the ancestors" [2, page 81].

A. Aleman assumes that Mary Victor describes custom which witness Alania groups of Gallia, perhaps, in Rhône Valley, could have him. Mary Victor describes beliefs Alan, settled in Europe. Considering that the last profits there from the field of resettlement North Caucasian Alan, during an era of Great resettlement of the people, quite natural is represented existence of the same cult at Alan, remained in the Caucasus. Especially as existence of a cult of the dead at Alan is confirmed by materials of ethnography and archeology [6, page 292].

The cult of the god of war which existence is demonstrated by Ammian Martsel-lin also belongs to all-Alania cults. ".on stick to the earth on barbaric custom a naked sword and reverentially worship it." [2, page 72]. Worship of a sword is compared with the hero of narts-whom of the epos Batrazom, on the one hand, and with an image of Uastyrdzhi, the patron of soldiers and travelers with another [6, page 293]. Both Batraz, and Uastyrdzhi not unreasonably can for - nyat the place of the Alania god of war. A row special issle-is devoted to this question

Religious views of West Alania tribes in U-1H of centuries

giving [6, page 294] in this connection we do not stop on all its ethnographic and archaeological aspects.

Having considered the written certificates on the main pagan cults which reached our days Alan, one may say, that all of them took very important place in the system of their pagan beliefs. However in the territory of the Western Alania during the considered period there were also other religious trends, such as Judaism, Christianity and, perhaps, Zoroastrianism.

So, for example, R.R. Rudnitsky assumed that rocky burials appeared as a result of penetration into Alania of Zoroastrianism. The obvious evidence of penetration of new religion, according to R.R. Rudnitsky, is temple construction, namely the so-called nizh-nearkhyzsky round temple and the temple on the Hou-marinsky ancient settlement which are not pagan, but Zoroastrian [10, page 77]. In the same work it is claimed that the Zoroastrianism was approved as the state dogma in the Western Alania from the second half of the VII in beginning 10th century and then it was forced out by Christianity.

We do not divide this hypothesis of R.R. Rudnitsky, however it should be noted that the Zoroastrian communities really could take place in the Western Alania. The facts given in R.R. Rudnitsky's work as archaeological confirmations of existence of Zoroastrianism at Alan to the same extent can be connected with the general Indo-Iranian beliefs on the basis of which both the Zoroastrianism, and Vedism, and beliefs of the North Iranian nomad tribes of a skifo-massagetsky circle developed. At the same time the hypothesis is interesting and below we will try to find arguments in its advantage.

The ideas of Zoroastrianism could get into the Western Alania during an era irano-vizan-tiyskh wars. Very limited part of Alania society interested in strengthening Iranian vliya-

could be followers of this religious trend

a niya in the region. Are not known to us, any significant mentions of Zoroastrianism at Alan in works of ancient authors, except for an indirect mention of its penetration into Ciscaucasia, the left Mansour's Abu&l-Kasim better known under a nickname of Fiurdosi. In the work "Book by Tsars" he writes that in the period of board Lukhraspa the prophet Zardusht destroyed idolatry and restored ancient honoring of fire. Lukhrasp's successor Kay Gushtasp sent the son Isfandiar with an order to turn the world into true belief: "The tsar's son, the brave warrior, bypassed all countries with the army. He passed Rhum and Hindustan, was transported through the sea and darkness; everywhere Isfandiar explained [religion sacraments] on command of the Almighty God" [2, page 460]. Despite the lack of a direct mention of Alania in a source it is impossible to exclude a possibility of penetration of Zoroastrianism to alana as a result of missionary activity of Persians during an era of the irano-Byzantine wars. Also R.R. Rudnitsky's version about penetration of mazdeistsky beliefs together with the Sughd merchants who used the Great silk way lying through Alania is admissible. However it should be noted that Zoroastrianism Alan did not leave a noticeable mark in religious views [1]. Anyway the Zoroastrianism traces allocated by R.R. Rudnitsky completely disappear by 9th century. Final mixture of elements of Zoroastrianism with traditional pagan beliefs Alan against the background of which to distinguish the last practically not perhaps could cause their disappearance.

No later than the 9th century on the territory of the Western Alania the Judaism which was the state religion of Khazar Khanate gets. Two sources in Hebrew demonstrate to it: "Cambridge document" and Veniamin Tudel-sky's Travel" [2, page 431]. V.A. Kuznetsov notes that influence of Judaism on Alan did not postpone

noticeable print. However it not absolutely so. We were interested in the following fragment of "The Cambridge document": "But in days of Veniamin of the tsar all people against Khazaria rose... on instigation of the tsar Ma-kedona. Only the tsar Alan was help for Khazars as a part them respected the Judaic law too" [2, page 434].

Here Alana are mentioned as allies of Khazars. At the same time they helped a khaganate as part of them adhered to Judaic religion. The Christianity in Alania was not approved yet, though got to alana in the second half of the 7th century. And, as a result, influence of Byzantium was limited. In our opinion, participation western Alan in war on the party of a khaganate could be dictated also by religious views Alan if to assume that some part of Alania ruling elite judaized. The important place is taken by dating

the taken place events which are developed during government of the tsar Veniamin. V.A. Moshin assumed that Veniamin of rules in the second half of the 9th century M.I. Artamonov transferred it for the period of about 913/914 [3, page 481]. O. Pritsak carried board of Veniamia to 880-900 [4]. A.P. Novoseltsev, in our opinion fairly, calling in question M.I. Artamonov's dating, connected time of government of Veniamin with the second half of the 9th century [8]. In the 10th century in the Western Alania the Christianity extends, the power passes to provizantiysk to the adjusted ruling clique, and the union with Khazaria is represented improbable at this time. Thus, the alano-Hazaria alliance could be concluded only in the second half of the 9th century, and religious views of a ruling clique of the Western Alania could play not the last role in this question.


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John Flores
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