MAIASP. 2021. No. 13

I.Yu. Schaub (Saint Petersburg, Russia)

Gorgon in the religion of Maeotes

DOI: 10.53737/2713-2021.2021.44.40.021

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Pages: 701—714

The immense popularity of the images of the Gorgon Medusa (mainly the gorgoneus) on various artifacts found in the mounds of Scythia and the Bosporus is usually explained by the apotropaic significance of her image, which was due to the influence of Greek culture on the barbarians. However, the finding of the golden gorgoneus, which was the main object of worship in one of the Maeotian sanctuaries near the village of Ulyap (Adygea), cannot be interpreted in this way. The similarity between the Gorgon Medusa and the ancient Chechen and Ingush Mother goddess Tusholi, who was worshiped in the form of an ominous mask, suggests that the Maeotes saw in the gorgonea the image of one of the main hypostases of the Great Goddess, who was also worshiped by other local tribes of the Black Sea region. In addition, among the barbarians, who practiced the ritual cutting off of the human head and religiously revered it, the gorgoneus should have been associated with this cult.

Key words: antique archaeology of the Black Sea region, Scythia, Bosporus, Adygea, Maeotes, Chechens, Ingush, religion and cults, Gorgon Medusa, Tusholi, Great Goddess, cult of the severed human head.

Received December 15, 2021

Accepted for publication December 30, 2021

About the author:

Schaub Igor Yurievich (Saint Petersburg, Russia). Dr. habil. (History), Institute of the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences