Teuta, also known as *Teutana in Illyrian, was the queen regent of the Ardiaei tribe in Illyria from about 231 BC to 228/227 BC. After her husband Agron’s death in 231 BC, she became the regent for her stepson Pinnes and continued Agron’s policy of expanding in the Adriatic Sea. This led to a conflict with the Roman Republic over the effects of Illyrian piracy on regional trade.
In 229 BC, one of the Roman ambassadors was killed by Illyrian pirates, giving Rome the pretext to declare war against Teuta. She surrendered after losing the First Illyrian War in 228 BC. Ancient sources on her life are biased as they were written by Greek and Roman authors who were hostile towards Illyrians and their queen, either for political or misogynistic reasons.
In the following centuries, the Romans advanced, conquering all of the Balkans, and the traces of once-mighty Illyrian tribes slowly faded away. Nowadays, very little is know about who their language and culture.
In this article, I will try to shed some light on that matter.
A mysterious Rhaetic inscription
I have recently translated multiple Rhaetic inscriptions, and I have written a separate article about this work. One of the longer inscriptions stood out to me, because it includes the name Theutha.
The bronze fragment bears an inscription, but its intended use (as either a torque or a broken cup) and its precise date are unknown. Nevertheless, we can determine with a high degree of certainty that it dates back to the 5th-2nd century BCE, based on the style of the Rhaetic alphabet letters used in the inscription.
According to the official interpretation, the inscription reads: tevashnistesiutikuthiuthisastvilititerinasthi – and the only word that is read with some certainty is “Thiuthi”.
My interpretation of the letters
The easiest way to explain my translation would be to first break this original text into separate words that I designated, and then mark the sound values that I had changed in my reading. Note that every letter of the text stays in the same place – only the sound values change.
Original text: tevashnistesi utiku thiuthis astv ilitite risnasthi My reading: reyashnistedi uriku thiuthis asty ilirire disnathi
To clarify, I only altered the sounds of three letters. The reason this text has never been translated before is because there is still disagreement among scholars about the original pronunciation of some letters. Those changes are:
R instead of T: In the Old Italic alphabets, the horizontal line in the letter T was written only on one side, making it similar to the Greek R (P). I tested this approach with other inscriptions and it worked. For example, words that scolars transcribe as “tani” and “taian”, I read as “rani” and “raian” – queen and king.
D instead of R: After I assigned a different letter to the R sound, I also had to change the letter that was marked as R in the original text (only one instance, in the last word). This was not a difficult task as I already tested this in other inscriptions that I had translated, and it worked. There are clearly two D letters in the original text, but only the second one was transcribed by the scolars.
Y instead of V: If you look at the original, engraved letters in the picture, the letter transcribed as V actually looks like a Phoenician Y. I decided to test this option, based on the hunch that the seafaring nation of the Adriatic peoples, that the Illyrians were, would have been very familiar and possibly influenced by the Phoenician alphabet.
My translation of the text
Besides Thiuthi, when I started to translate this text I had already known two other words.
The first of these words is uriku, meaning “to the chieftain”. For example, in another Rhaetic inscription I have found uriku catavelauni – to the chieftain of Catalauni (Detailed explanations with more examples are in the highlighted article above).
After that, I immediately recognized the second word as “Ilirire”, which designates the Illyrian people, of whom Theutha was a queen. This discovery excited me, and I wondered whether the object bearing the inscription could have belonged to Theutha herself!
Putting these three words together, I got: uriku thiuthis asty ilirire, meaning “to the chieftain of (the tribe designated by the first word) from Thiuthis of the house of Illyria (plus the last word).
Asty(a) – house. The word astya in Sanskrit means “house”.
In Hinduism, for example, the suffix “-astya” is sometimes added to the names of certain groups or lineages. Here are a few examples of names or groups that use the “-astya” suffix:
Vasishta Gotra: “Gotra” refers to a lineage or clan, and the Vasishta Gotra is one of the most prominent and ancient lineages in Hinduism. The suffix “-astya” is sometimes added to the name of this lineage, resulting in the name “Vasishta-Astya”.
Harita Samhita: The Harita Samhita is a text on Ayurveda (a system of traditional medicine) that is attributed to the sage Harita. In some versions of the text, the suffix “-astya” is added to Harita’s name, resulting in the name “Harita-Astya Samhita”.
Vishvamitra-Astya: In some Hindu traditions, the sage Vishvamitra is sometimes referred to as “Vishvamitra-Astya”. The exact meaning or significance of this suffix in relation to Vishvamitra is not entirely clear.
It’s worth noting that the “-astya” suffix is not a common or productive suffix in modern language, and its usage is mostly limited to specific cultural or historical contexts in Hinduism.
This was an interesting discovery, as my other translations of the Rhaetic texts had already revealed Sanskrit words Rani a Rayan, deisgnating “queen” and “king”.
As for Theutha, her name is often translated via Germanic teutéh, meaning “people”. In other words: “of the people”.
But there is another famous Rhaetic inscription, on the helmet from Nagau, where all scolars read the word “teiva” as “god”, from the PIE root deiw. And I believe that the sound “TH” in Theuthas reflects the same change.
In other words, Theutha (also Teutana in ancient texts) could have simply meant “goddess”, or it could have been a female name of Teodan – “god given”. In this way it would be similar to modern Slavic names Bogdan and Bogdana, and their Greek versions Teodor and Teodora.
Finally, Teutana could also be a form of Tatiana, which is said to be an ancient Roman/Sabine name, but nowadays it is only popular in Slavic countries.
Reyashnistedi – the mysterious tribe
I swaped the sound of V for Y only after hours of fruitless search for “Revashnistedi” or anything that sounds even similar to that. This made me realise that one more letter of this part of the text must have been read correctly. And I realised that it must be V, as the other letters are not that questionable.
After this change, it was relatively easy to find the missing tribe: Ragusa, Ragusina and Raguxa – they are all variations of a name of an ancient republic, centered around the modern-day Dubrovnik, Croatia.
In the Greek alphabet, Ragusha would be spelled as Ραγκούσα (Ragkoúsa).
There was only one small problem: The Byzantine emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos wrote that the city was likely founded in the 7th century. In other words, if we rely on that text, the city couldn’t have existed during the Teutha’s reign. But what if the text was wrong? He wrote this three centuries after it had allegedly happen.
However, there is another city of Ragusa, this time in Sicily, Italy. The earliest mention of this name is unkown, but the city is over 2,000 years old.
The etymology of Ragusa is uncertain. In recent years there have been attempts to connect it to Albanian word “rrush”, meaning grape, from hypothetical (but not attested) Proto-Albanian rāguša meaning “berry”.
However, there is a much better explanation via Slavic languages. The root of this word was probably “rog” meaning “horn”, derived from Proto-Balto-Slavic “ragas”.
All around the world, the word “horn” is used in geography to designate a place, if this place has a distinctive shape or feature that resembles a horn.
There are many place names that incorporate the word “horn” or its equivalents in other languages, such as “Horn” in Germany, “Cap de la Horn” in France, and “Cape Horn” in Chile. These names typically refer to a geographic feature such as a cape or promontory that has a shape resembling a horn.
It goes without saying, both Croatian Ragusa (Dubrovnik) and Ragusa in Sicily, match that discription.
It would be really interesting to learn when was Ragusa in Sicily named. My guess is that the name dates at least to the queen Teutha, and those times when the Illyrians were still one of the prominent naval forces in the Adriatic and Meditteranian regions. And this inscription might prove this.
The word Regashnistedi sounds like a compund word. If we imagine that the first part relates to “from Ragusha”, we get somehing like “Ragushni”, sounding very much the same to how modern Slavs would call inhabitants of Ragusha. So what is the meaning of the suffix stedi?
In Slavic languages, the “-stedi” suffix is sometimes found in surnames that indicate a person’s origin from a specific place or region. For example, the surnames “Kumstedi” and “Mukstedi” in Croatian and “Grudstedi” in Serbian may indicate that the person or their ancestors came from places called “Kum”, “Muk” and “Grud”.
“Croatian Surnames” by Franjo Racki, published in 1896, provides information on the origin and meaning of many Croatian surnames, including “Kumstedi” and “Mukstedić”. The book is available online through the Croatian State Archives website.
Dictionary of American Family Names” by Patrick Hanks, Kate Hardcastle, and Flavia Hodges, published in 2003, includes information on the origin and meaning of surnames from various cultures and languages, including Slavic surnames. The book includes a reference to “Vrbanstedić” as a Serbian surname.
If we suppose that Ragusa existed during prehistoric times, situated in the same location where it currently stands, then it would have shared a border with the Ardiaei tribe, led by Teutha. Teutha controlled the southern part of the Adriatic coast. Here we see the perfect context for the gift – a symbol of goodwill towards the neighboring chieftain!
In conclusion, the updated translation would go as follows: Regashnistedi uriku Thiuthis asty Ilirire disnathi – To the chieftain of the Ragusians, from Thiuthisa of the house of Illyria (plus the final word “disnathi”).
The last piece of the puzzle
There is only one word left to decode, and this word probably relates to Illyria, as everything that was of importance has already been said. I can’t be absoultely certain about its meaning, but the translation I found seems fitting.
The verb “дыснати” (dysnati) is a form of the adjective “дысна” (dysna), which means “bright” or “shining” in Old Church Slavonic. The verb form “дыснати” can be translated as “to shine” or “to be bright.”
In Old Church Slavonic, the word “дысна” could be used to describe the brightness of a star or the radiance of a precious stone. It was also used in a metaphorical sense to describe spiritual radiance or divine light.
The word “дысна” is related to other Slavic words with similar meanings, such as the Russian word “свет” (svet), which means “light,” “brightness,” or “radiance.” These words are all derived from the Proto-Slavic root “*dis-” meaning “to shine,” which is also related to the English word “day” and the Latin word “dies,” both of which also have meanings related to light and brightness.
Overall, “дыснати” is a verb that conveys a sense of brightness, radiance, or shining, and was commonly used in Old Church Slavonic to describe both physical and metaphorical forms of illumination.
In conclusion, the full inscription reads: To the chieftain of Ragusians, from Thiuthis, of the house of the bright (holy) Illyria.
If my interpretation is correct, this lovely message exposes an aspect of Illyria that has been forgotten for a long time. Illyria was a culturally advanced and spiritual nation, governed by the Aryan people whose language was undoubtedly Slavic.
And last, but not least, Queen Teutha wrote these words herself!
In 1812, a collection of 26 bronze helmets was discovered in Ženjak near Negau, Duchy of Styria, which is now Negova, Slovenia. These helmets are believed to date back to around 450-350 BC and are of a typical Etruscan ‘vetulonic’ shape, which is also known as the Negau type. Although it is unclear when the helmets were buried, it is believed that they may have been left at the Ženjak site for ceremonial purposes.
One of the helmets, known as “Negau B,” features an inscription in a northern Etruscan alphabet. The exact date of the inscription is uncertain, but it is believed to be as old as 350-300 BC.
The inscription is written as: 𐌇𐌀𐌓𐌉𐌙𐌀𐌔𐌕𐌉𐌕𐌄𐌉𐌅𐌀///𐌉𐌐 – harigastiteiva\\\ip
There have been various interpretations of the inscription over the years, but the most recent one, proposed by Tom Markey in 2001. translates it as “Hariχasti teiva,” which means “Harigast the priest” (from the word *teiwaz, meaning “god”).
It is believed that Harigast is a Germanic, Celtic name, and for this reason, the village of Ženjak was highly valued by German archaeologists during the Nazi era and was even briefly renamed Harigast during World War II.
I agree with the interpretation of the letters on the Negau helmet, and I also agree with the meaning of the word “teiva” – “god”. However, I think that I have a more accurate translation for the word Harigasti.
I have recently translated quite a few of Rhaetic inscriptions, and I have not come across any indications of Germanic names. What I did find, are a few inscriptions with similar words. Take for example, this bone, inscribed with the word Haristhu.
The two inscriptions are both in the Rhaetic script, but there are differences between them. In the second example, the supposed Germanic word “gast” is absent, and the final letter is a Greek tetha instead of “t.”
This made me question the mainstream approach and wonder what the alternative meaning of this word could be. And I believe I found it.
The word “eukháristos” (also spelled “eucharistos”) is a Greek adjective that means “thankful” or “grateful.” It is derived from the words “eu,” meaning “well” or “good,” and “kharis,” meaning “grace” or “favor.”
In the Christian faith, the term “eucharist” is used to refer to the sacrament of Holy Communion or the Lord’s Supper, in which bread and wine are consecrated and consumed in remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice. The term “eucharist” comes from the Greek word “eukharistia,” which means “thanksgiving” or “gratitude,” and reflects the idea of giving thanks for God’s grace and favor.
Moreover, this word appears in Septuagint, Genesis6.8, around 300-200 BCE – the same period when the Negau helmet was made.
Νωε δὲ εὗρεν χάριν ἐναντίον κυρίου τοῦ θεοῦ.
Nōe dè heûren khárin enantíon kuríou toû theoû.
Noah found grace [or favor] before the Lord God.
The English word “charisma” has the same root, and the same is probably true for the Russian “хороший”.
To sum up, I do not think that Harigast is an individual’s name, nor that “teiva” meant “priest.” Rather, I believe that the Negau helmet was created for a warrior and that the purpose of the inscription was to seek divine support for victory. Whether the helmet was deposited for ritual reasons at a later time is not pertinent to this interpretation.
In simple terms, “Harigasti Teive” probably meant: God bless.
Furthermore, the G sound was sometime inerchangable with ST, as it was marked by the same letter. An alteranative reading could therfore be “Haristasti teive”. I think that this reading sounds more natural. We can even break the words differently to get “Haristas ti teive” – “Bless this, god(s)”, or “Haristas Titeive” – “Bless Titius”. The name “Titus” or “Titius” is believed to have originated from an ancient Latin word, “titi,” which means “honorable” or “respectable.” This word is related to the Latin verb “tueor,” which means “to protect” or “to safeguard.” As such, the name “Titus” is often interpreted as meaning “defender” or “protector,” and it was a popular name among ancient Romans who valued the virtues of honor and loyalty.
Note that the reading “Haristas” in the last two cases would sound similar to the Greek Christos – Χρίστος, Christ. That may not be a conicidence, but rather a coninuation of an ancient sacred formula.
The Mars of Todi is a large bronze figure of a warrior, believed to have been made in Etruria for the Umbrian tribe and dating back to the late 5th or early 4th century BCE. It was discovered near Todi, on the slope of Montesanto, on the property of the Franciscan Convent of Montesanto. The statue is currently in the possession of the Museo Etrusco Gregoriano, which is a part of the Vatican Museums.
The statue is thought to have been an expensive offering, possibly to the Etruscan god of war, Laran, and was likely placed at a religious sanctuary. It had been buried under travertine stones, possibly as part of a ritual, and was left undisturbed until its discovery in 1835. The statue is considered one of the finest examples of “prestige” works from Etruria found in Umbria during this period and is believed to have come from a workshop in Orvieto, which was known for producing bronze sculptures.
The inscription is located on the lower part of the breastplate, and it is written in Umbrian using Etruscan characters. This marks the beginning of the epigraphic tradition in this area of Umbria. As for the meaning of the text, scolars believe that it was written by a man Celtic origin, not Etruscan. They explain this annomaly by a fact that Tuder was cosmopolitan city during the Archaic period.
The inscription is inetrpreted as “Ahal Trutitis dunum dede“, which translates to “Ahal Trutitis gave [this as a] gift“.
Questioning the commonly accepted translation
At first glance, it appears that the Mars of Todi was a votive figure placed in a temple as part of a religious ritual, and the initial interpretation of its message seems appropriate, albeit somewhat unremarkable. However, there are several important issues with this translation that need to be addressed.
To begin with, the term “Celt” is not particularly informative as it can be applied to a broad range of different groups. Additionally, it is unclear why a person of Celtic origin would choose to offer such a costly figurine in an Etruscan temple that is dedicated to Etruscan deities.
Furthermore, there do not seem to be any historical records that mention individuals named Ahal and Trutius. The names only appear in the inscription on the Mars of Todi statue. For this reason, I guess, it was convenient to label them as “Celtic”.
Lastly, the origin of the sound value “D” in the inscription “dunum dede” is unexplainable. None of the Old-Italic scripts indicate the use of this letter in this manner, and this speculation appears to be more of a hopeful assumption than a scientifically grounded approach.
Questioning a few sound values
We saw that the common approach is to read this text from right to left, resulting in a message: Ahal trutius dunum dede
I concur with the interpretation of the first three letters, as they are widely recognized. However, the fourth letter could potentially be interpreted as J (pronounced as Y) rather than L. This is because these two letters are frequently mistaken for one another, given that they are represented by the same symbol in different orientations. Additionally, it appears that there was no consistent agreement regarding the correct orientation of this symbol even in ancient times.
The second remark is that the sound R in Trutius (D) should actually be read as it is written – D. This claim is backed up by the Cammunic alphabet. I already tested this in another translation and it worked.
At the same time, the sign that was labeled as D, should probably read “L”, as that is exactly how it looks like.
And finaly, the last letter in the first line, that looks like a reversed N should be read as “O”. This is an officialy accepted reading for this sound in the Old Italic alphabet, no need to modify it.
By putting it all together, we get the following text: AHAJTDUTIUSILIUOUMLELE
I made the word spacing as follows: AHAJT DUTI USILIU OUMLELE
Translation: Usiliu (the Etruscan sun god Usil) have mercy on Ahay’s daughter.
Each word explained
Ahajt duti – daughter of Ahay. Unlike “Ahal Trutitis”, the name Ahay is well-attested.
The name “Achae” or “Achaios” appears in several ancient texts, particularly in Greek mythology and history. Here are some examples:
Achaeus, son of Xuthus and Creusa, grandson of Hellen, and founder of the Achaeans, a tribe in ancient Greece.
Achaios, a warrior who fought on the side of the Trojans in the Trojan War, according to Homer’s Iliad.
Achaeus, a tragic poet from Eretria who lived in the 5th century BCE.
Achaeus, a son of Zeus and Lamia, who became the king of Lydia.
Achaeus of Eretria, a Greek historian who lived in the 3rd century BCE.
The names “Achaeus” and “Achaios” are variants of the same name and refer to the same individuals in different contexts.
The word “duti” is how the word for “daughter” (dъťi) is officialy reconstructed in Proto-Slavic. I have already found this same word in another 5th century BC text – The Kjolmen inscription (see the linked article).
Therefore, I read these words as “daugher of Ahay” with the final T sound matching the declension (Ahayt – of Ahay).
Uisiliu – Usil, (Vocative) – god of the sun and ressurection
Usil was the Etruscan god of the sun and light, and was associated with divination, prophecy, and augury. He was also sometimes depicted as a warrior or hunter, and was associated with youth and vitality.
Usil was one of the most important gods in the Etruscan pantheon, and was often depicted in Etruscan art and iconography. His name appears in several inscriptions and texts, including the Liber Linteus, a linen book written in Etruscan that was discovered in Egypt in the 19th century.
It is worth noting that the spelling of Etruscan names can vary depending on the source and language, and “Usil” is sometimes also spelled as “Usel” or “Aplu.”
Usil was typically depicted as a youthful and handsome god. In many Etruscan artworks, he is shown holding a torch or a bundle of light rays, which symbolize his role as the god of the sun and light. In some depictions, Usil is also shown holding a bow and arrow or a spear, emphasizing his associations with hunting and warfare. This is exaclty how the statue in question looks like, but the scolars assume that he was holding a patera – libation bowl (now lost). Judging by the stance of the “Mars of Todi” perhaps the missing object wasn’t a patera, but a spear or a torch?
Moreover, Usil was often depicted in a frontal pose, facing the viewer directly, with a serene or benevolent expression, similar to that of Jesus in Christian iconography. His image was sometimes incorporated into Etruscan funerary art and tombs, perhaps as a symbol of hope and renewal. This fits the description of the “Mars of Todi” – a face Otto Brendel decribed as a “large, empty face”.
oumlele – have mercy, have pity. This word can only be understood throgh Old Church Slavonic:
омьлети (omĭleti) – meaning “to forgive”
омьлость (omĭlost’) – meaning “mercy” or “forgiveness”
“Oмьлость” (omylóst’) can be translated as “mercy” or “pity.”
Here are some examples of the word “омьлость” (omylóst’) in Old Church Slavonic texts:
From the Ostromir Gospels (11th century): “Господь ѥсть милость и ѥсть омьлость” (Gospodĭ estĭ milost’ i estĭ omylóst’) which can be translated as “The Lord is mercy and is pity.”
From the Life of St. Alexius (13th century): “Бысть же и егда толико пожела и омьлость Божию” (Byst’ že i egda toliko požela i omylóst’ Božiju) which can be translated as “And when he so desired, he received the mercy of God.”
From the Tale of Igor’s Campaign (12th century): “И како не биста отцы нынѣ гнѣвливи ко мне, прости ми, Боже, коѧкоже ѥсть омьлость твоя” (I kako ne bista otcы nyne gněvlivi ko mne, prosti mi, Bože, kojakozhe est’ omylóst’ tvoja) which can be translated as “And even if my fathers are now angry with me, forgive me, God, as your mercy is.”
Here are some references:
“A Church Slavonic Handbook” by Francis J. Thomson.
“Old Church Slavonic Grammar” by Horace G. Lunt.
“An Introduction to Old Church Slavonic” by Brian D. Joseph and Todd B. Krause.
“The Old Church Slavonic Gospel of John” edited by Henry R. Cooper Jr.
In other words, the phrase Uisilius Oumlele can be understood as a same formula as Kyrie Eleison – “Lord have mercy”, but five centuries before Christ! In modern Slavic languages, this phrase is slightly reminiscent of the words from this text: Gospodi – Lord and pomiluj – mercy (господи помилуй).
As for the name Usilus, it is also tempting to connect it with “Vasileus” (βασιλεύς) – a Greek term that means “king” or “ruler”. It was commonly used in ancient Greece to refer to the monarchs of various city-states, and later on it became the official title for the king of Greece. In Christianity, “vasileus” can also refer to Jesus Christ as the “King of Kings” or the “King of Glory”. This title is used to signify Jesus’ authority, sovereignty, and divine nature as the ruler of all creation.
As I understand it, the “Mars of Todi” statue does not depict a god of war, but instead represents the god of the sun. It was placed in his temple with the hope of receiving blessings from the god. It is unclear whether the daughter herself expressed this wish or if it was someone wishing her well. Additionally, it is not clear if this was a prayer for the living or for the dead, with the hope of receiving blessings in the afterlife.
I believe that my translation is more fitting for the following reasons:
My translation is based on the universally accepted sounds for the letters of the Old Italic alphabet. It does not require any leaps or assumptions, such as reading “L” as “D” or reading a reversed “N” as “N” (which is also not attested anywhere).
In my translation, I uncovered a human message that is specific, rather than generic like “gave gift.” This message reveals a clear purpose and motive behind commissioning such an expensive piece of artwork, with the intention of leaving it in the temple.
Lastly, the fact that I used the Slavic language to decode the inscription should not be surprising. This is the third 5th-century BC inscription on this blog that I have translated in this way, and there will be more to come. To ensure accuracy, I want to clarify that I am not asserting that the Etruscans were synonymous with the Slavs. Some of the translated texts attributed to the Etruscan civilization could not possibly be of Slavic origin. Nonetheless, I am suggesting that certain neighboring groups, who have been given indistinct and uninformative titles, may have had Slavic roots. These groups could have coexisted with the Etruscans for just as long, if not longer. Their alphabet was similar, but slightly different from the Etruscan alphabet. And the inscription in question clearly belongs to that corpus, and not the Etruscan.
In 1962, Ludowico Muscardo discovered an object south of Verona, Italy, which became known as the “Sword of Verona.” However, the original object has been lost, and the only remaining representation of it is a copy based on Muscardo’s drawings, which is currently housed in the Manischlassi-Errico museum in Verona. The object resembles a sword, but there is uncertainty whether it might have been a scepter or a similar type of object.
What’s noteworthy about the “Sword of Verona” is that it bears an inscription in an Old Italic alphabet that resembles the Venetic style. This inscription has enabled scholars to date the object back to the 5th century BC.
The “sword”, and the inscription looked like this:
Previous translation attempts of Spada di Verona
Despite numerous attempts, the inscription on the “Sword of Verona” has never been translated successfully. One of the main challenges is that some of the individual letters used to represent certain sounds are still uncertain. Another difficulty is that we don’t have the original object and must rely on possibly erroneous interpretations based on the copy, which may not accurately reflect the original inscription.
Here are some examples that demonstrate the challenges in translating the inscription:
Alternative A (by G. Tomezzoli):
Transliteration: faniniufikuremieshitifasuvakhikvelisunes -> fanin i ufik u remieshi i itifas u vakh ik velis u nes.
Translation: War and mutilation are to the Romans and the fury is to their god Bacchus, Velis is with uS.
Alternative B (from V. Chudeenov):
Transliteration: raniniufikuremleshipivauvakhikvelisunes -> rani ni ufik u remleshi i piva u vakh ik velis unes.
Translation: The wounds are not the mutilations among the Romans; when you are drinking together with Bacchus, Veles has them (already) carried away.
Indeed, the interpretation of the inscription on the “Sword of Verona” faces challenges such as uncertain letters and word spacing. However, it is noteworthy that two attempts to translate the inscription were made based on the Slavic language. Both interpretations also tried to match the idea of an inscription that would be fitting for a sword, given the object’s shape and appearance. Despite these attempts, the exact meaning of the inscription remains unknown.
More about detail about each translation are provided in the linked article. However, I find them both unconvincing, and for two good reasons:
I don’t believe that this object represents a sword. To me it looks more like a scepter, made for a ruler.
If the style of writing is dated to the 5 century BC, the inscription is unlikely to contain any mentions of the Romans.
There is one aspect of the “Sword of Verona” inscription that everyone seems to agree on: it should be read from right to left. However, there is some disagreement over the interpretation of certain letters in the inscription. For example, G. Tomezzoli assigned the sound “F” to the first letter, which is a common interpretation of the symbol. However, this results in multiple instances of the letter “F” appearing in unusual places, which makes the inscription difficult to relate to any known language.
On the other hand, Chudeenov’s interpretation of the “Sword of Verona” inscription, which assigns the sound “R” to certain letters, seems more natural. This approach may be based on the similarity of the inscription’s letter to the Greek and Cyrillic letter “R,” which is written in a similar way to the symbol “P.” However, this interpretation creates another problem that Chudeenov did not seem to notice. The twelfth letter in the inscription (D) is commonly regarded as “R” in these scripts. Chudeenov also reads it as “R,” despite the fact that it would be illogical to have two different letters (P and D) representing the same sound.
The fact that the sound of the letter “D” is not represented in the modern interpretation of these alphabets raises a question: what if Chudeenov is correct in assigning the sound “R” to certain letters, but the twelfth letter actually represents the same sound as the letter “D” in the Latin alphabet? This idea was the starting point for my translation of the inscription on the “Sword of Verona.”
Here is the full alphabet, in which I highlighted the letters in question. Source: Wikipedia
Based on these observations, I believe that the letter “D” in the “Sword of Verona” inscription represents the missing sound of “D,” while the letter “F” should be read as “R.” This is the only alteration I made to the original interpretation. The order and reading of all other letters remains the same. In this way, I was able to derive the following text:
From right to left: raniniurikudemleshiishrasuvakhikvelisines
I decided to break the text in the following way:
Rani Niuriku Dem Leshiish rasuva kh Ikve Lisines
Translation: The Queen of Noricum, Demigod Leshiish, engraved (this) for Icavus from Licina.
Rani is a Sanskrit word, meaning “Queen” or “Princess”. Source: rani
Niuriku – This word reminds me on Noricum. Noricum was an ancient region located in modern-day Austria and parts of Slovenia and Hungary. In the 5th century BC, Noricum was inhabited by a tribe called the Norici. They were known for their metalworking skills and traded their products with neighboring peoples. During this time, Noricum was not yet a unified political entity, but rather a loose collection of tribes with their own chieftains and territories. The Norici were often in conflict with neighboring tribes, such as the Taurisci to the east and the Raeti to the south. The Greek historian Herodotus mentioned the Norici in his writings in the 5th century BC, describing them as a people skilled in the art of metalworking.
I decided to go with this translation for the following reasons:
The words “Rani Niuriku” seem to be in the right declination, if the meaning is “The Queen of Noricum”.
The inscription is officialy called Rhaetic and Venetic, and these were the neigbours of the Norici.
Noricum existed in the 5th century BC – the same period when this inscription was written.
Also in the 5th century BC, Herodotus wrote about the Norici in great detail, labeling them as one of the strongest and most influental tribes in the region.
Here are a some quotes about the Norici from the Histories of Herodotus:
“The Norians are a people who dwell on the banks of the river Danube, and they are skilled in metal-working. They have mines of silver and iron, and produce the finest iron in the world.” (Herodotus, Histories, 4.49)
“The Norians are the only barbarians who use four-horse chariots in their wars, and they are skilled at archery and horsemanship.” (Herodotus, Histories, 5.9)
“The Norians, who inhabit the country to the north of the Alps, are a powerful and warlike people, who have always been fiercely independent. They are skilled in the arts of war and are particularly adept at using the bow and arrow.” (Histories, 4.49)
“The Norians are a free and independent people, and they are proud of their freedom. They are skilled in the arts of war and have successfully resisted attempts by neighboring peoples to subdue them.” (Herodotus, Histories, 4.49)
“The Norians are a people who use chariots in their battles, and are the only nation who do so among the barbarians that inhabit these parts.” (Herodotus, Histories, 5.9)
The etymology of the name Noricum is unkown. According to Wiktionary, it is so ancient that it predates the arrival of the Celts. Interestingly, deep in the steppes of Russia, there is a small village that matches the exact spelling from my reading letter-to-letter. That place is called Niurik (Нюрих). Unfortunately, at the time of writing this article, I wasn’t able to find anything about its history or etymology.
DEM – Demigod. After the previous introduction, it is to be expected to hear the name of the queen. However, all combinations that I tried yielded no results. For this reason I decided to go with a well-attested formula that appears in the Latin inscriptions of a later date.
One example is a tombstone inscription found in Rome which reads “DEM · VIRO · NIDI · FIL · MARTIALIS · CONIVX · FECIT” which can be translated as “To the Demigod, husband of Nidia, son of Martialis, his wife made this.” Here, “DEM” is believed to be a reference to a deified ancestor or a local deity. Another example is a tombstone inscription found in Pompeii which reads “DEM · VEN · VENERIAE” which can be translated as “To the demigod Ven, and to the goddess Venus.”
In conclusion, the belief that royals were demigods was not uncommon, particularly in the 5th century BC. This was a time when such beliefs were prevalent.
Leshiish – Finaly, Leshiish would have to be the name of the queen. The suffix -ish sounds like a deminutive, but apart from that I couldn’t make much sense out of it. The word “lesha” apparently means “woman” in Urdu and Arabic, while in Slavic languages it would mean “tree or forest”. See lesh. However, this is just guesswork.
rasuva – engraved, drawn. In Old Church Slavonic “рисꙗти” (risyati) meant “to draw”. The word is derived from “резать” (rezat’) – meaning “to cut, engrave”.
kh – to, for. In Old Church Slavonic, “kh” (х) is a preposition meaning “to” or “for”. It is often used to indicate direction, purpose or goal of an action. For example:
Дай мне книгу k храма. (Day mne knigu kh hrama.) – Give me the book for the temple.
Я пошел к реке. (Ya poshel kh reke.) – I went to the river.
Ikve – a personal name.
There are many examples of this name in ancient texts. However, they are all of a later date and contain the Latin suffix -us.
Icavicus: This was a name found on an ancient Roman milestone in the region of Noricum. This name is mentioned in “Römische Reichsstraßen zwischen Enns und Adria” by Helmut Rizzolli, published by Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften in 2007.
Icavus: This was a Celtic name found in ancient Gaul and Germania. This name is mentioned in “The Names of the Ancients” by C.J. Suetonius Tranquillus (translated by J.C. Rolfe), published by Harvard University Press in 1914. It is also mentioned in “The Celts: A History from Earliest Times to the Present” by Bernhard Maier, published by Edinburgh University Press in 2003.
Icavensis: This was a tribe in ancient Spain that may have been related to the Icavus name mentioned above. This tribe is mentioned in “The Celtic Encyclopedia” by Harry Mountain, published by Universal Publishers in 1998. It is also mentioned in “The Celts: A Very Short Introduction” by Barry Cunliffe, published by Oxford University Press in 2003.
For this reason, I believe that the name is a good match, and that the spacing between words must start here.
Lisines – (perhaps “from Licina”) Based on the translated text, the logical next question is where Ikav was from. One possibility for this toponym is a place called Licina. This is supported by the declination of the word, which matches the meaning of the inscription.
There was a place called “Licina” in Noricum, located near the present-day town of Radstadt in Austria. It was an important center for iron production during the Roman period. This is where Ikav might have lived. In modern times, toponyms called Lisina (clearing, area of land within a wood or forest devoid of trees) are scattered all over Slavic lands – too many to name here, but it is a fact that can be easilly verified, on Google maps for example.
Regarding the queen, we would expect to find her in the capital city. In ancient times, the main city of Noricum was Virunum. It was located in what is now Austria, about 130 km west of Radstadt. Virunum was the capital of the Noric Kingdom and an important hub for trade and commerce.
The Sword of Verona or the Scepter of Noricum?
If my understanding is accurate, this would indicate that the object in question was a scepter rather than a sword. The scepter was a symbol of royal authority and power, and giving a scepter as a gift was a way for a monarch to demonstrate favor and recognition of someone’s importance.
In many ancient cultures, the scepter was an important part of the regalia of a monarch. It was often a long, ornate staff made of precious metals and adorned with jewels, and it was carried by the king or queen as a symbol of their authority. The scepter was also sometimes used as a ceremonial weapon, and in some cultures, it was believed to have magical powers.
In addition to being carried by the king or queen, scepters were also sometimes given as gifts to other rulers, important officials, or visiting dignitaries. These scepters were often specially made and decorated to reflect the recipient’s status and importance, and they were considered valuable symbols of the relationship between the two rulers or between the ruler and the recipient.
There are many examples of ancient kings and queens giving scepters as gifts to important people. Here are a few:
In ancient Egypt, the pharaohs were often depicted holding a scepter called the “hekat,” which was a symbol of their power and authority. The hekat was sometimes given as a gift to other rulers or high-ranking officials.
In ancient Greece, the scepter was known as the “skeptron,” and it was often used in assemblies to indicate who had the floor to speak. The scepter was also sometimes used as a symbol of authority by rulers, and it was given as a gift to allies or to honor important achievements.
In medieval Europe, monarchs often carried a scepter as part of their regalia. The scepter was a symbol of their authority and power, and it was sometimes given as a gift to other monarchs or to high-ranking officials. For example, in the 14th century, King Edward III of England gave a scepter as a gift to the Black Prince, his son and heir.
In ancient China, the emperor’s scepter was called the “ruyi,” and it was a symbol of his power and authority. The ruyi was often given as a gift to important officials or as a token of recognition for exceptional service.
The fact that the gift was presented by the queen and not the king is quite intriguing and raises several questions.
Translating ancient texts written in an unverified alphabet is a challenging task, and it’s possible that I may have made some errors during the process. Despite this, I am confident that my translation provides the most accurate and reasonable interpretation.
It may come as a surprise that I relied on Slavic languages to translate this text. However, this is not the first, nor will it be the last article on this blog that delves into this subject matter. As I mentioned earlier in the text, I am not even the first person to propose this theory.
If accurate, my translation could provide a fascinating glimpse into the forgotten history of Noricum, revealing two names, one of which has not been previously recorded or verified.
The period, style, and geographical names in my translation correspond to what we know about the object and its era in historical records. Moreover, my theory doesn’t require the object to have travelled great distances, although it has traversed many years. The distance between Radgast, ancient Licina, and Verona (where the object was discovered) is approximately 350 kilometers / 220 miles.
The etymology of Verona is uncertain. The closest Slavic match would be a popular toponym Vrana, Vranje, Vranany, meaning “a place of crows”. However, in the light of everything stated so far, I find this name interestingly similar to the Noric capital of Virunum.
PART 2 – Putting the theory to the test
There is another similar, 5th century BC Rhaetic inscription, from an ancient handle, that sounds similar to this one. It was first pubkished by Meyer in 1901. Its meaning is unknown. It reads:
taniun : lashanaule / utiku : terunies: sxaistala
This script is somewhat different, and it is labeled as the Sanzeno alphabet. However, if we change the letters in the same way as I described above, we get a different reading:
Translation: The queen Yashanuye (or the queen of the Iaziges) the chieftain of the Reduni bestowed
Each word explained:
Raniun – Once again, this word be derrived from “rani” meaning “queen, princess”. The suffix -un would match the declination, in accordance with my translation (“to the queen”).
Yashanauye – This could be a personal name – Yashana. However, I am more inclined that it relates to the tribe of Iaziges. The Romanian city Yashi is named after them.
The Iaziges were a tribal confederation of people who lived in the region of modern-day Hungary, Romania, and Serbia during the late Iron Age and early Roman period. They are believed to have been a branch of the larger group of people known as the Sarmatians, who were nomadic Iranian-speaking tribes that lived in the Eurasian steppe. They were known for their skilled horsemanship and military prowess.
Uriku – Urik is a well-attested name. Apparently, it is derived from the Germanic name “Eurich” or “Erich,” which means “ruler” or “king.” This name was also popular in Germany and other parts of Europe during the Middle Ages. “Uriku” would mean “to Urik” – it is in the correct declination. There is a Slavic version of this name too – Yurik.
I translated this word as “chieftain” as it appears in numerous inscriptions, so it is highly unlikely that it was designating a personal name. As we will soon see, the word for the king was “rianu” from Sanskrit “raja”, which later resulted in the English word “royal”. On the other hand, the title “urik” later appears on Celtic coins as “rix”, and this word probably also has roots in Sanskrit, where “rishi” designates “accomplished and enligthened person”.
Redunies – of the Reduni.
The name “Reduni” appears in several ancient inscriptions and texts, including a Latin inscription found in Genoa that reads “MONUMENTVM VICTORIIS REDVNORVM” (“Monument to the Victories of the Reduni”). This suggests that the Reduni were a significant and important people in the region, and that they may have been involved in military conflicts and conquests.
Other ancient sources mention the Reduni as being one of several Ligurian tribes that inhabited the region during ancient times. The Ligurians were an indigenous people of Italy who inhabited the region before the arrival of the Romans, and they were known for their fierce resistance against Roman conquest and assimilation.
Overall, while the exact history and culture of the Reduni people is not well-documented, it is clear that they were an ancient tribe that inhabited the region of Liguria in northern Italy during the Iron Age and Roman period, and that they were an important and significant group in the region.
CIL 5, 7225: This is the quited Latin inscription found in Genoa
Livy, History of Rome, 5.33-34: In his work History of Rome, he mentions the Reduni as one of several Ligurian tribes who fought against Rome in the 4th century BC.
Strabo, Geography, 4.1.4: In his work Geography, he mentions the Reduni as a Ligurian tribe that lived in the region of modern-day Genoa.
Pliny the Elder, Natural History, 3.47: He also mentions the Reduni as a Ligurian tribe who lived near Genoa.
Polybius, Histories, 2.19: In his work Histories, he mentions the Reduni as a Ligurian tribe who were allies of Carthage during the Second Punic War (218-201 BC).
shaisraya – gifted, bestowed.
“Shai” could be a variant of the Old Church Slavonic word “shai” (шай), which means “gift” or “present.”
In Old Church Slavonic, there is a suffix “-sraya” or “-zraya” (in Cyrillic: “-зраꙗ” or “-сраꙗ”) which can be added to a noun or an adjective to form an abstract noun indicating quality or state. This suffix is similar in function to the English suffix “-ness”.
If the female form is “rani”, as in Sanskrit, one would expect to see a term similar to “raya” or “rayan” to designate a king. And this is precisely what we see in the next inscription, engraved on a figurine of a horseman.
Official transcription: Tianusa taniun
My transcription: Rianus a Raniun (the letter A is clearly separated in the inscription) – from King to the Queen
According to scolars, this texts reads “tianusatan”.
However, with my reading we get: Rianu Saran – “… to the king of Serrenians?”
And here is another one, engraved on a beuatiful figurine, reminiscent of the Indian sculptures in form and style:
My translation would read: Ya Thudusi Rianu Saranin – or I, Theodosia, to the king of Serrenians.
The form Ya – I is unexpected, as OSC word would have been “az”. Perhaps this is not the best translation and the word should be read as “Yathudusi” – perhaps “daughter of Yathu”. I am not sure about the exact meaning, but I am sure that this is a personal name. For this reason I decided to leave it as Theodosia, which is well-attested.
Saran, Saranin – following the logic of the previous formulas, we shold expect the name of a tribe. Unfortunately, no such tribe is recorded. In terms of sounding similar, the closest match would be the Serenians. The Serenians were an ancient Slavic tribe that lived in what is now Serbia and Bosnia. They were mentioned in various historical records from the 6th to the 10th century AD, and were known for their fierce resistance to foreign invaders, including the Byzantine Empire and the Avars. Unfortynately, nothing is known about their history prior to the 6th century, so this fact cannot be confirmed.
However, there was a similar sounding tribe in the Balkans before them.
The Serretes were an ancient Thracian tribe that lived in the region of present-day Bulgaria and Greece. They were part of the wider Thracian culture, which was a group of tribes that inhabited the Balkans during the Iron Age and classical period.
The Serretes were known for their military prowess and were often hired as mercenaries by neighboring states. They were also involved in trade and commerce, and were known for their silver mines and production of high-quality wool.
During the Hellenistic period, the Serretes came under the influence of the Greek kingdoms and were eventually conquered by the Macedonian Empire under Alexander the Great.
An ancient town still stands in Macedonia, known as Serres. Herodotus mentioned it in the 5th century BC as Sires.
Official transcription: *ekiesiutikutanin / metlinile
My transcription: *ekiesi uriku Ranin Meryainiye
Translation: To the chieftan of *ekiesi, (from) the queen of Meryans.
By now, the name Urik, and “rani” – “queen” should be clearly understood. Folllowing the formula from the previous inscriptions, we can conclude that *ekiesi relates to Urik’s people. Unfortunately, the first letter is not clear, making it difficult to reconstruct the name of the tribe.
As for Meryans, they were an ancient tribe that lived in what is now modern-day Turkey, in the region known as Mera. Little is known about their origins, but they were likely a part of the larger Luwian culture that inhabited the area during the Bronze Age. In other words, they thrived precisely in the period around 6th century BC, which is the date of this inscription.
The Meryans are mentioned in a number of ancient texts and inscriptions, including the Hittite annals, which describe their interactions with the Hittite Empire. According to these sources, the Meryans were a powerful and independent tribe that maintained close relations with the Hittites.
During the Late Bronze Age, the Meryans came into conflict with the expanding Assyrian Empire. The Assyrian King Tiglath-Pileser I led a military campaign against the Meryans and other Luwian tribes, eventually defeating them and incorporating their territories into the Assyrian Empire.
Following the collapse of the Assyrian Empire in the 7th century BCE, the Meryans once again emerged as an independent tribe. They played a role in the political and cultural life of the region for several centuries, but little is known about their activities during this period.
By the time of the Roman Empire, the Meryans had been assimilated into the wider culture of the region.
Example 6 – a confirmation that “urik” means “chieftain”
This one is easy to explain. Instead of ketanuvaleutiku it should be read as “ketanuvale uriku” – to the Chieftan of Catalunians.
The Catalauni, also known as the Catalans, were an ancient people who lived in the region of modern-day Catalonia in northeastern Spain. The exact origins of the Catalauni are unclear, but they were likely a mixture of indigenous Iberian peoples and various other groups who migrated to the region over time. They also appear in Belgium, in modern-day Champagne region.
They are mentioned as Catalaunos by Eutropius in 4th c. AD. According to Wikipedia, The ethnonhym Catalauni is probably a latinized contracted form of Gaulish *Catu-uellaunoi (‘war-chiefs, chiefs-of-war’), deriving from the stem catu- (‘combat’) attached to uellauni (‘chiefs, commandants’). The name Catuvellauni, borne by a Celtic tribe of southern Britain, is thus likely related.
The Rhaetian language was a language spoken in ancient times in the region of the Alps, primarily in what is now Switzerland, Austria, and Italy. It was spoken by the Rhaetian people, who were an ancient Alpine culture that inhabited the area from at least the 5th century BC until the Roman conquest in the 1st century BC.
The Rhaetian language is poorly attested. Most of what is known about the language comes from inscriptions on stone monuments and other artifacts, as well as from references to the language in ancient Roman and Greek texts.
The Rhaetian language is believed to have been an Indo-European language, although its exact classification within the Indo-European family is unclear.
The translation of these texts was accomplished by adjusting a few sound values, which is a common approach given that scholars have not yet come to a consensus on how certain letters were pronounced in the past.
With my approach, it is now possible to read and understand many ancient inscriptions that were previously labeled as gibberish and stored in museum vaults. As a result, the history of the Slavic people will likely need to be re-evaluated and re-written.
In 1965, an inscription was found on a grave slab near the village of Kjolmen in Bulgaria. The grave was destroyed by tractor-plowing, but artifacts such as metal plates armor, a spear tip, a sword, and broken earthen vases were found. The absence of skeletal remains suggests that the burial rite was cremation. The age of the grave is estimated to be from the 6th century BC based on its content and is believed to be a Thracian burial. See Woudhuizen, F. C. (2000-2001) – The Earliest Inscription of Thrace. The letters and the style of writing are also typical for that period.
The slab is now at the Sofia Archaeological Museum.
The text of the Kjolmen inscription
Numerous scientific publications exist regarding the text in question, and there is a widespread consensus on the sound values assigned to each letter. Nonetheless, some scolars maintain that certain letters might have been inaccurately transcribed. Additionally, the absence of clear word boundaries presents a considerable challenge during the translation process.
It quickly becomes apparent that some of the letters in the text are incorrect. For instance, the letters in the last row could hardly have a meaning in any language. Nevertheless, given that the text is engraved on a tombstone, it is unlikely to be mere gibberish.
After some time, I was able to translate the entire text by altering the values of just two letters. The order of the letters remained unchanged – I only inserted word separations where necessary.
The reason why I opted to change these two letters is completely justifiable. It is widely known that in other ancient scripts, such as Venetic, Raetian, and Camunic, these pairs of letters are frequently mistaken for one another. As a result, I decided to test this theory with the text in question.
The letters that I changed are L – Y, and G – L. In the picture below, you can see why it is so easy to confuse them.
Once this was done, I got the following text (the changes are marked in bold):
Original – ΙΛΑΣΝΛΕΤΕΔΝΛΕΔΝΕΝΙΔΑΚΑΤΡΟΣΕΒΑΡΟΖΕΣΑΣΝΗ ΝΕΤΕΣΑΙΓΕΚΟΑ, ΝΒΛΑΒΑΗΓΝ
My text: IYASNYETEDNYEDNENIDAKATROSOEBAROZESASN NETESAILEKOA NBYAVAHLN
In other words, this is the same text as the original, except that all L’s are now Y’s, and all G’s are now L’s! Note that I haven’t changed any of the letters – just the sound values assigned by modern scolars.
Separating the words
Once I began inserting word separations, I was astounded by how effortlessly the text could be read in any of the Slavic languages.
Here is the final result:
IYASNYE TEDNY EDNENI DATATRO SOEBA ROZESA SN NETESA
I LEKO A NBY A VA HLN
Translation: Teodan of the Yaseni. From his daughter Edna with Rozesa and Netesa.
And (may it be) easy (for him) as in heavens, so in earth.
In other words, this could be interpreted as an epitaph for a king of Yaseni tribe, written by a woman name Edna or Edneni, and mentioning two other female names. Another option is that all four individuals were cremated. Of course, this cannot be confirmed.
Here is the translation, word by word:
First line of the text
IYASNYE – “of the Yaseni”. The Yaseni were a medieval Slavic tribe that lived in the area now known as eastern Poland and western Belarus. They were part of the larger group of East Slavic tribes, which also included the Krivichi, Dregovichi, and Radimichi. The Yaseni were mentioned in early chronicles, including the Primary Chronicle, which was compiled in the 12th century. They were known for their skill in archery and horseback riding, and they played a role in the early history of the Kievan Rus, a medieval state that emerged in the 9th century and eventually became the basis for modern-day Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. The Yaseni were eventually assimilated into other neighboring Slavic tribes, and their distinct identity disappeared over time.
Truth be told, we do not have any historical records of the Yaseni prior to the 12th century. However, it is worth noting that a tribe of Krivi was mentioned in the RG Veda.
TEDNY – Teoda is a well-attested Slavic name, that it could also mean “king, ruler” – from the Gothic masculine form þiudans ‘king’ (derived from an earlier *teuto-nos ‘master of the people’). The name of Illyrian queen Teuta comes from the same root. The suffix Y is matching the previous word, of the Yaseni.
EDNENI – In Bulgarian, the name “Edna” is a feminine form of the word “edno,” which means “one” or “single.”
SOEBA – “with”. In Old Church Slavonic, “soeba” (сѡба) is a preposition that can have several meanings depending on the context in which it is used. Some possible meanings include “with,” “in the company of,” “in the possession of,” or “together with.” Vaillant, A. (1950). Grammaire comparée des langues slaves. Tome I: Introduction, phonétique, flexion. Paris: Librairie C. Klincksieck.
ROZESA – A Slavic name Ruzica means “liitle rose”.
SN – The preposition “and” in Old Church Slavonic is usually expressed by the word “sъ” (s with a backslash). This preposition is typically used to indicate association or accompaniment, among other things. For example, “sъ bratom” means “with brother.”
NETESA – A name similar to well-attested Russian name Natasha.
Second line of the text
I – “and” The word “and” in Old Church Slavonic is “и” (pronounced “ee”).
LEKO – “Easy” – 2,500 years later, and the modern Bulgarian the word is exactly the same – “leko”. The Old Church Slavonic word is легъкъ (legŭkŭ).
A – “or, as”. In modern Balkan languages, A (Ah) can sometime mean or/as, usually in the poetic manner.
NBY – “in the sky, heavens”. The word for “sky” or “heavens” in Old Church Slavonic is небо (nebo), from Proto-Slavic “neba”.
A – “or”. In modern Balkan languages, A (Ah) can sometime means OR.
VA – “in”. The word for “in” in Old Church Slavonic is “vъ” (pronounced “vuh”).
HLN – “clay, earth” – In Old Church Slavonic, “hlin” and “hlen” both refer to “clay” or “earth”.
It appears that I am not the first individual to suggest a link between the Kjolmen inscription and the Slavic language. Unfortunately, in my view, their translation attempts were significantly inaccurate. Here is the reference: The Inscription Nr. 6858 from Kjolmen (Bulgaria)
Anyhow, if my translation is correct, the implications of this discovery are enormous, and here are four compelling reasons why:
If my analysis is correct, this would make the Kjolmen inscription the oldest known inscription in any Slavic language, predating other documented examples by over 1,000 years.
If the text is indeed easily understood in modern Slavic languages, this would suggest that the Slavic languages have undergone relatively little change over the past 2,500 years, placing them among the oldest languages of Europe.
If the Kjolmen inscription is indeed written in a Slavic language, it would provide firm evidence of Slavic presence in the Balkans at least 1,000 years prior to the traditionally accepted migration of Slavic peoples in the 6th century. Moreover, if the burrial demonstrates similar customs to those of the Thracians, it could suggest that there was little difference between the two cultures.
Last but not least, the final phrase of the inscription, “as on heavens so on earth,” bears a striking resemblance to the well-known Christian quote. However, this presents a significant challenge since the Kjolmeni quote dates back to 500-600 years BCE, long before the emergence of Christianity. How can that be explained?
Is the Kjolmen inscription authentic?
Despite the significant implications of this discovery, some individuals may dispute the credibility of the Kjolmen inscription. However, there are several reasons why this is unlikely to be the case:
The stone slab on which the Kjolmen inscription was found was discovered in 1965 and has been well-documented since then. If someone had a hidden agenda and tampered with the inscription, it is unlikely that they would have waited so long for someone to attempt to translate it to reveal their actions. Additionally, the fact that numerous scholars attempted to translate the text but failed suggests that the inscription has not been intentionally altered, and that previous attempts at translation may have been hindered by a reliance on Ancient Greek lexicon rather than a focus on Slavic language structures.
The Kjolmen inscription has been dated by numerous scholars based on various factors such as burial offerings and the style of letters used in the inscription. While there may be some variation in the estimated date of the inscription, it is widely accepted that the inscription dates back the 6th century BC, although a few experts suggest that it could be a bit younger, dating it to the 4-5th century BC.
The presence of certain words in the Kjolmen inscription, such as “data” for daughter, which have only recently been reconstructed as Proto-Slavic, suggest that the inscription is authentic and not a modern forgery. Furthermore, the absence of the soft sign letter in the inscription is consistent with the time period it is believed to date from, as this letter did not yet exist in the Slavic alphabet at that time.
In conclusion, it is highly unlikely that someone in 1965 would have had the knowledge and skill to create such a convincing forgery, especially given the detailed documentation of the discovery and the numerous attempts by scholars to translate the inscription over the years.
While it is true that the authenticity of the Kjolmen inscription has never been seriously disputed, it is always important to maintain a critical and skeptical approach when evaluating historical artifacts and their interpretations. However, the evidence presented thus far, including the detailed documentation of the discovery, the consistent dating by scholars, and the linguistic analysis supporting the Slavic origin of the inscription, strongly suggest that it is an authentic and significant historical artifact – one that could completely rewrite Slavic history as we know it.
The inscriptions at Dholavira are written in the Indus script, which is one of the oldest writing systems in the world. However, the Indus script remains largely undeciphered, so the meaning of the inscriptions is still a mystery. Dholavira is one of the largest and most well-preserved sites of the Indus Valley Civilization, which existed from approximately 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE.
One of the most significant Dholavira inscriptions is found on a large stone block in Building 10 of the site. Building 10 is a multi-level structure that is believed to have been used for public or administrative purposes.
The inscription in Building 10 consists of ten large signs or characters that are incised into the stone block. The signs are arranged in a linear sequence, and each one is approximately 37 centimeters tall.
The significance of this inscription is still a matter of debate among archaeologists and scholars.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding its meaning, the inscription in Building 10 is considered one of the most important discoveries at Dholavira. Its large size and prominent location suggest that it was a significant element of the site’s architecture and may have held great significance for the people who lived and worked there.
The language of the Indus Valley Civilization remains a subject of debate and speculation.
Some scholars have proposed that the language of the Indus Valley Civilization may have been Dravidian, a family of languages still spoken in South India. This hypothesis is based in part on the presence of Dravidian languages in the region today, as well as the similarities between the Indus script and later Dravidian writing systems.
Other scholars have suggested that the language of the Indus Valley Civilization may have been related to the Indo-European languages, which include Sanskrit and modern-day Hindi, as well as many European and Central Asian languages.
However, there is currently no definitive evidence to support either of these hypotheses.
Scripts that succeded the Indus script
After the decline of the Indus Valley Civilization, the region was ruled by a number of different empires and kingdoms, each of which developed their own scripts for writing. Some of the scripts that succeeded the Indus script in the region include:
Brahmi script: The Brahmi script is one of the oldest writing systems in India, dating back to the 3rd century BCE. It was used to write a variety of Indian languages, including Sanskrit, Prakrit, and Pali.
Kharosthi script: The Kharosthi script was used in the northwest of the Indian subcontinent, particularly in the region that is now Pakistan and Afghanistan. It was used to write a variety of languages, including Gandhari and Sanskrit.
Gupta script: The Gupta script was developed during the Gupta Empire, which ruled much of northern and central India from the 4th to the 6th century CE. It was used to write Sanskrit and other languages.
Devanagari script: The Devanagari script is one of the most widely used writing systems in India today. It developed from the Brahmi script and is used to write a variety of Indian languages, including Hindi, Marathi, and Nepali.
Based on the list of scripts that followed the Harappan script, it appears that the Brahmi script would be the most logical starting point since it was the oldest and most influential. Additionally, the Sanskrit language seems like the most probable candidate for the language that was written in this script.
Comparing letters of the Brahmi script with the Dholavira signboard
Our Western writing systems have existed for thousands of years and have remained relatively unchanged. The Indus Valley script and the Brahmi script, on the other hand, are separated by only one thousand years. As a result, we might expect that at least some of the letters in the two scripts are similar, and that they still represent the same sounds.
Following this logic, I got the following list:
A few notes about each letter
One of the letters that has the highest probability of being a match is the one I labeled as “M”. This letter appears very similar in Brahmi script as well as in most regional scripts that were derived from Brahmi script. However, Brahmi script is believed to have its origins in Aramaic, which, in turn, was developed from Phoenician script. Aramaic also influenced ancient Turkic alphabets and others. In most of these languages, the letter M has a similar appearance. To illustrate this point, here are examples of the letter M from Hittite glyphs and Old Turkic alphabets:
On the side note, the first Sanskrit speakers recorded in history were actually the Mittani, who were the neighboures of the Hittites.
Some of the other letters, are almost a perfect match, when Brahmi script is compared with the Dholavira signboard. These letters are B, N and R. However, letters B and N are rotated.
Regarding the letter TH, the wheel symbol used in Dholavira script is unique and has no identical symbols in any other scripts except for possibly the Phoenician script and the Ethiopian script, which both have a similar-looking letter TH. These two scripts are also derived from the Arameic script. In the Brahmi script, the letter TH is also circular, but with a dot instead of a cross.
And finally, the two most problematic letters where the one that I matched with the sound YA, and the mysterious glyph that represents the leaves of the peepal tree.
The first letter, YA, poses two problems. Firstly, it appears differently in various versions of the Dholavira signboard, resembling either an X or ^, which is somewhat frustrating. I went with the value of YA after examining the original photo, and taking into consideration that the letter X was not commonly used in this region while that there are plenty of letters similar to ^. Initially, I attempted to match it with the symbol GA of the Brahmi script, which is possibly a better match, as YA appears to be a stylized version of the same symbol. However, in some other regional scripts, such as Karoshti, the symbol ^ represents the sound YA, which was a better fit for my translation. This is not a huge leap, as Karoshti and Brahmi share the same root and have many common letters.
The peepal leaf sound was a mystery. However, it seems that some eminent scholars proposed a value KA.
Here are some references that discuss this interpretation:
Asko Parpola, an eminent scholar of Indology and one of the leading experts on the Indus script, has suggested that the peepal leaf glyph may represent the sound “ka” based on comparative studies of the Indus script with other ancient scripts. Parpola has discussed this in several of his publications, including:
Parpola, Asko. 1994. Deciphering the Indus script. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Parpola, Asko. 2005. Study of the Indus script. In: South Asian Archaeology 2003: Proceedings of the 17th International Conference of the European Association of South Asian Archaeologists, Volume 2, edited by Catherine Jarrige and Vincent Lefevre, 747-759. Paris: Editions Recherche sur les Civilisations.
Gregory L. Possehl, another noted scholar of the Indus Valley Civilization, has also suggested that the peepal leaf glyph may represent the sound “ka.” Possehl has discussed this in his book “The Indus Civilization: A Contemporary Perspective,” published in 2002.
Possehl, Gregory L. 2002. The Indus Civilization: A Contemporary Perspective. Walnut Creek: AltaMira Press.
My attempt of translation of the Dholavira signboard
Reading the assigned sounds from left to right yielded no results. However, when I tried reading from the opposite side, I got the word M-TH-TH-R-YA. Mathathreya?
Who is Mathathreya?
Mathathtreya, also known as Lord Dattatreya, is a Hindu deity who is considered to be a combined avatar of the Hindu gods Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Dattatreya was born in the Satya Yuga, at the begiining of time, in the first of the four Yugas or epochs of Hindu cosmology, which is said to have lasted for over 1.7 million years.
He is also known as the “Lord of Wisdom” or “Great Sage.” He is depicted with four arms, holding a conch shell, a discus, a lotus, and a mace. According to some traditions, Mathathreya is considered as the future avatar of Vishnu who will appear at the end of the current Kali Yuga (the last of the four yugas or cosmic ages in Hinduism) to restore order and righteousness on earth.
Mathathreya is described as one of the prime disciples of the ancient sage Vedavyasa, who is credited with compiling and composing the Vedas.
Here are some examples of Sanskrit texts that mention Mathathreya:
The Bhagavata Purana: This Hindu text describes Mathathreya as one of the ten avatars of Lord Vishnu, who appeared in the form of a great sage to teach wisdom and spirituality to humanity.
The Brahma Sutras: This text of the Vedanta school of philosophy mentions Mathathreya as one of the prime disciples of Vedavyasa, who received the knowledge of the ultimate reality (Brahman) from his guru.
The Mahabharata: This epic Hindu text refers to Mathathreya as one of the sages who witnessed the conversation between the Pandava prince Arjuna and Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita.
The Buddhist canon: In Buddhist texts such as the Pali Canon and the Mahayana sutras, Mathathreya is described as a future Buddha who will appear in a future age to teach the Dharma and lead sentient beings to enlightenment.
Jain Agamas: In the Jain tradition, Mathathreya is considered as one of the four tirthankaras of the present cosmic cycle, who preached the Jain teachings and attained liberation from the cycle of birth and death (samsara).
The Aryan connection
According to some theories, Mathathreya is a compund word, meaning “of three mothers”, refering to his combined nature of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. This name sounds very similar to that of Hermes Trismegistus, who was also said to have three mothers. Other theories, connect the name Mathathreya to that of Mithras, the god of light in Indo-Iranian mythology.
In any case, this mythological archetype is really ancient, and it would have been known to the Indus Valley Civilization. Mathathreya was the one who blessed Arjuna before the battle, and this battle, if it ever really happened, could have only happened while Indus Valley Civilization still thrived.
The lord of the elements and spirits
Mathathreya was said to have 24 gurus. They were all elements of nature. The Sanskrit word “butha” (भूत) means “element”, “being”, “spirit”, or “entity”. And this is perhaps the second word that we can read on the Dholavira signboard – BU-THA.
Therefore, the first two words of the Dholavira signboard could read MATHATHREYA BUTHA
After that, the peepal leaf symbol gave me a lot of headaches. I kept the proposed value KA. The last two syllables would read NA-THA. In Sanskrit, “natha” (नाथ) means “lord” or “master”. It is often used as a suffix in compound words to indicate someone who is a master or expert in a particular field or discipline. For example, “yoganatha” would mean “master of yoga”
The final translation, with the help of AI
As I am not a Sanskritist, I had to use AI to check if my assumptions are correct. I entered these words in ChatGPT and got a confirmation that they are grammaticaly correct.
Mathathtreya butha ka natha – “Lord Dattatreya, who is the one who protects and nourishes all beings.”
Moreover, ChatGPT provided me with similar examples from Sanskrit litterature.
Mathathtreya puṇya pāvana nātha” appears in the Mahabharata, which means “Lord Dattatreya, the sanctifier of merit and our protector.”
Mathathtreya vade bhutavidya” – This means “Mathathtreya spoke about knowledge of the elements” and occurs in the Vishnu Purana.
To summarize, this translation is based on the most recognizable script and language from the time period, and the message is consistent with the style and ideas of that era. To verify its accuracy, the sound values I assigned should be applied to translate another inscription. However, I must note that I am not aware of any other inscription that uses only these symbols. This means that more Indus Valley symbols must be deciphered before we can attempt to translate other inscriptions.
“There is geometry in the humming of the strings, there is music in the spacing of the spheres.” – Pythagoras
Pythagoras believed that the universe was governed by mathematical laws and that the planets and stars emitted a musical tone as they moved through space. He believed that the distance between the planets and stars corresponded to the length of musical strings, and that the frequencies of their vibrations created a celestial harmony.
We are not capable of hearing this eternal music, created by the movement of the heavenly bodies, but it still affects us. This is the main underliing idea of astrology.
Seven planets are enough
The ancients knew only seven planets because they were the only ones visible to the naked eye from Earth. The seven classical planets known to the ancients were the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.
It wasn’t until the invention of the telescope in the 17th century that astronomers discovered new planets beyond the seven classical planets. The first new planet discovered was Uranus in 1781, followed by Neptune in 1846, and Pluto in 1930. Contemporary astrologers rushed to add these new planets to the zodiac, butchering the original order and harmony created by the ancients. In more recent times, astronomers have discovered thousands of other planets beyond our solar system, known as exoplanets. Too many for the twelve signs of the zodiac. It became evident that this effort was futile.
However, there are also those who continued practising the traditional astrology. They don’t deny that there are many other planets in the universe. They simply believe that the “music” of these planets does not affect us any more than loud music in some club on the other side of the city would. In other words, it doesn’t mean that it is not there – it is just too far to be relevant.
In ancient astronomy, the celestial spheres were hypothetical, concentric, transparent spheres that carried the celestial bodies, including the sun, moon, planets, and stars. In this model, each planet was associated with a particular sphere that carried it around the Earth. The seven classical planets known to the ancients were associated with the following spheres:
Moon: The Moon was believed to be carried by the first sphere, which was the closest to Earth and was also associated with the element of Earth.
Mercury: Mercury was associated with the second sphere, which was associated with the element of Water.
Venus: Venus was associated with the third sphere, which was associated with the element of Air.
Sun: The Sun was associated with the fourth sphere, which was associated with the element of Fire.
Mars: Mars was associated with the fifth sphere, which was associated with the element of Aether or Quintessence.
Jupiter: Jupiter was associated with the sixth sphere, which was also associated with Aether.
Saturn: Saturn was associated with the seventh and outermost sphere, which was associated with the fixed stars and the Prime Mover, the ultimate source of all motion in the universe.
The original zodiac
The seven classical planets are assigned to the following zodiac signs:
Sun: The Sun is associated with the zodiac sign of Leo, which is a fire sign known for its warmth, creativity, and leadership qualities.
Moon: The Moon is associated with the zodiac sign of Cancer, which is a water sign known for its emotional sensitivity, intuition, and nurturing qualities.
Mercury: Mercury is associated with the zodiac signs of Gemini and Virgo. In Gemini, Mercury is expressed as communication, intellectual curiosity, and adaptability, while in Virgo, Mercury is expressed as practicality, attention to detail, and analytical thinking.
Venus: Venus is associated with the zodiac signs of Taurus and Libra. In Taurus, Venus is expressed as sensuality, beauty, and material abundance, while in Libra, Venus is expressed as harmony, balance, and social grace.
Mars: Mars is associated with the zodiac signs of Aries and Scorpio. In Aries, Mars is expressed as action, courage, and individuality, while in Scorpio, Mars is expressed as intensity, passion, and transformation.
Jupiter: Jupiter is associated with the zodiac signs of Sagittarius and Pisces. In Sagittarius, Jupiter is expressed as expansion, growth, and optimism, while in Pisces, Jupiter is expressed as spirituality, compassion, and imagination.
Saturn: Saturn is associated with the zodiac signs of Capricorn and Aquarius. In Capricorn, Saturn is expressed as discipline, responsibility, and ambition, while in Aquarius, Saturn is expressed as innovation, reform, and intellectual detachment.
Here is an image I made for another article:
At the bottom of this picture we see that the Sun and The Moon rule only one constellation. The rest of the planets rule two constellation each, and they are facing each other on the wheel of the zodiac.
The music of the Spheres
It is not a secret that the twelve constellation and twelve musical notes are connected. It is just not very often that we see how.
The first step is to understand how the planets relate to the musical notes. And here the ancients simply followed the order of the spheres we described above. It starts with the Moon, being the closest to Earth, and it ends with Saturn, who lies in the last, seventh sphere.
Moon – C
Mercury – D
Venus – E
Sun – F
Mars – G
Jupiter – A
Saturn – B
Now, the easiest way to relate this to the constellations of the Zodiac is to show it on a piano.
First, we assign the planets to the musical notes, according to the list provided by the ancient authors (here shown in red). After that, the zodiac signs are easy to determine. As we saw, except for the Sun and the Moon, each of the planets rules two constellations – one for the light part of the year, and the other for the dark one.
This is how the zodiac signs and planets relate to the musical scale. But there is more.
Days of the week and the Circle of fifths
In astrology, each planet is associated with a particular day of the week. However, if we follow the same order of the accending spheres that we just described, we get something like this:
Monday – Moon – C
Wednesday – Mercury – D
Friday – Venus – E
Sunday – Sun – F
Tuesday – Mars – G
Thursday – Jupiter – A
Saturday – Saturn – B
On the other hand, if we rearange the days, so that they follow their usual order, we get a random set of notes.
Monday – Moon – C
Tuesday – Mars – G
Wednesday – Mercury – D
Thursday – Jupiter – A
Friday – Venus – E
Saturday – Saturn – B
Sunday – Sun – F
However, this order is only random at the the first glance. What it actually represents is the Circle of Fifths.
The Circle of Fifths is a diagram that represents the relationships among the twelve tones of the chromatic scale, their corresponding key signatures, and their associated major and minor keys. The circle is arranged clockwise and contains all of the notes in the chromatic scale, with each note separated from its neighbors by an interval of a fifth (or a fourth, depending on the direction you travel around the circle).
Starting from any note on the circle, you can move clockwise to the next note by going up a fifth (or down a fourth), and you can move counterclockwise to the next note by going up a fourth (or down a fifth). This pattern repeats until you have returned to your starting note.
The circle of fifths is a useful tool for musicians, composers, and music theorists to understand the relationships between different keys, and to create chord progressions and modulations in their music.
And indeed, if we start from the note C, and and then move clockwise, the first seven notes match those depicted by the order of the days of the week: C, G, D, A, E, B, F.
Music of the Decans
Decans are a system of dividing each of the 12 zodiac signs into three equal parts of 10 degrees each. As each zodiac sign spans over 30 degrees, this means that there are 12 x3, or 36 decans in total. Each decan is ruled by a different planet and has its own set of characteristics and meanings. This means that besides the ruling planet of each sign, there are also two other planets of minor importance for each of the constellation of the zodiac.
Ancient Egyptians used decans. One of the earliest known depiction of decans is from the tomb of Pharaoh Seti I (c. 1279–1213 BCE) in the Valley of the Kings, where a depiction of the decans can be seen on the ceiling of the burial chamber. In art, decans were usually depicted as boats carrying three deties, with the dominant one in the middle. Ancient Egyptians believed that just as the Sun travells through decans over the course of a year, human soul travels too, in the afterlife. The Book of Nut explains decans in great detail.
Decans were also practical for daily observations of the stars. As every astronomer knows, the width of one finger of a streched arm equals two degrees on the night sky. Therefore a palm of the hand would determine a decan (5 fingers x 2 degrees), and three palms is the width of one constellation of the zodiac.
Starting with Aries, the list of decans and the corresponding planets goes as follows:
Aries: Mars, Sun, Jupiter
Taurus: Venus, Mercury, Saturn
Gemini: Mercury, Venus, Saturn
Cancer: Moon, Mars, Jupiter
Leo: Sun, Jupiter, Mars
Virgo: Mercury, Saturn, Venus
Libra: Venus, Saturn, Jupiter
Scorpio: Mars, Sun, Venus
Sagittarius: Jupiter, Mars, Sun
Capricorn: Saturn, Venus, Mercury
Aquarius: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars
Pisces: Jupiter, Mars, Moon
Now, as you may guessed, we can turn these planets into notes and see what kind of music do the decans make.
Aries: G, F, A
Taurus: E, D, B
Gemini: D, E, B
Cancer: C, G, A
Leo: F, A, G
Virgo: D, B, E
Libra: E, B, A
Scorpio: G, F, E
Sagittarius: A, G, F
Capricorn: B, E, D
Aquarius: B, A, G
Pisces: A, G, C
One way to see this is as a melody of 12 bars, in a 3/4 rhytm, where each note is a quarter long. I tested it and it sounds really interesting.
In the previous chapter, we saw how the ancient tuning of the A note to 432 HZ matches the numbers obtained from the astronomical precession. We also saw how the numbers 36, 72, 108 and 144 related to the most common tempos in music. In this chapter we added the notes and the harmony. It is a window to the way the ancients saw the music and the universe, a reflection of the balance and the harmony we seem to have lost.
In Hinduism, there is a concept of “yugas,” which are cycles of time that repeat in a specific order. According to Hinduism, there are four yugas, each with a decreasing level of righteousness and morality. These four yugas are:
Satya Yuga: Also known as the “Golden Age,” the Satya Yuga is the first and the longest yuga, lasting for 1,728,000 years.
Treta Yuga: The Treta Yuga follows the Satya Yuga and lasts for 1,296,000 years.
Dwapara Yuga: The Dwapara Yuga follows the Treta Yuga and lasts for 864,000 years.
Kali Yuga: The Kali Yuga is the current and the shortest yuga, lasting for 432,000 years.
After the completion of one cycle of the four yugas, which lasts for a total of 4,320,000 years, the cycle repeats itself, with the Satya Yuga beginning again. This cycle is known as a “mahayuga” or “chaturyuga.” It is said that 1,000 mahayugas make up a “kalpa,” which is the longest yuga, lasting for 4.32 billion years. This number is the biggest number ever mentioned by any ancient civilization.
A hidden message
How did the ancients come up with these large, specific numbers? What is the underlining pattern?
The fact is that they depict a ciclical process, so I wondered what would happen if I represent these four yugas in a circle.
If we represent the four yugas in a circle, with the Satya Yuga starting at the top, the Treta Yuga to the right, the Dwapara Yuga at the bottom, and the Kali Yuga to the left, the proportion of the circle that each yuga takes would be based on its duration.
To calculate the proportion, we can use the following formula:
proportion = duration of yuga / total duration of all yugas
The total duration of all four yugas is:
1,728,000 + 1,296,000 + 864,000 + 432,000 = 4,320,000 years
So, the proportion of each yuga would be:
Satya Yuga: (1,728,000 / 4,320,000) x 360° = 144°
Treta Yuga: (1,296,000 / 4,320,000) x 360° = 108°
Dwapara Yuga: (864,000 / 4,320,000) x 360° = 72°
Kali Yuga: (432,000 / 4,320,000) x 360° = 36°
Therefore, if we represent the four yugas in a circle, the Satya Yuga would take up 144 degrees of the circle, the Treta Yuga 108 degrees, the Dwapara Yuga 72 degrees, and the Kali Yuga 36 degrees.
And these numbers are not coincidental. These are some of the most revered numbers of the ancient world.
In ancient Babylonian, 36 was considered a sacred number and was used as a basis for their system of measurement, with 36 being equal to one “double hour” (which consisted of 18 “regular” hours). In ancient Egypt, the number was also sacred. 36 “decans” were a group of stars that were used to track time at night. The decans were divided into three groups of 12, each associated with one of the three seasons of the year. The number 36 was associated with the goddess Ma’at, who represented order and truth.
In ancient Greece, Pythagoras believed that the number 36 was a “perfect” number, as it was equal to the sum of its divisors (1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 12, and 18). Pythagoras also believed that the number 36 represented the sum of the four elements (fire, air, water, and earth) and the four qualities (hot, cold, wet, and dry). Pythagoras must have been on to something, as in physics, the number 36 is related to the number of quarks in the universe. Quarks are elementary particles that combine to form protons and neutrons, which make up the atomic nucleus. There are six different types of quarks, and each type can have one of two possible spin states. This means that there are a total of 36 possible combinations of quarks and spin states.
In Judaism, the number 36 is associated with the “Lamed-Vav Tzadikim,” or the 36 righteous people who, according to tradition, are always present in the world at any given time to maintain its balance and prevent its destruction. In Buddhism, the 36 “dharmas” are a list of principles or teachings that are considered essential to the practice of Buddhism.
Similarly, the number 36 appears in various other cultures, from China to Mesoamerica, often related to astronomy.
The ancient Egyptians and Babylonians divided the sky into 36 constellations, each spanning 10 degrees of arc along the ecliptic (the apparent path of the Sun across the sky). The number 72 was associated with this system because it is twice 36, and represents the number of years it takes for the equinoxes to move one degree along the ecliptic due to precession. This period of time is known as a “Great Year” or “Platonic Year.”
In ancient Egypt, the number 72 was seen as sacred and was associated with the god Thoth. It was also used in the design of the Great Pyramid of Giza, which has an angle of 72 degrees at its apex.
In Christianity, the number 72 appears in the Bible in several contexts. For example, Jesus sent out 72 of his followers to spread his message, and there are also 72 generations listed in the genealogy of Jesus.
In Islam, the number 72 is associated with martyrdom, as it is believed that there are 72 virgins waiting in paradise for those who die fighting in the cause of Allah.
In Hinduism, the number 72 is associated with the chakras, which are energy centers in the body. There are said to be 72,000 nadis or energy channels in the body, and the chakras are located at the intersections of these channels.
In Kabbalistic Judaism, the number 72 is associated with the “Shem HaMephorash,” a secret name of God that is said to consist of 72 letters. The name is derived from Exodus 14:19-21, which describes how God led the Israelites through the Red Sea using a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire. The 72 letters are said to correspond to the 72 angels or “names of God” that are associated with each of the degrees of the zodiac.
I already wrote a separate article on this number, so for the sake of brevity I will not repeat myself here.
The number 144 has been significant in many ancient cultures, religions, and belief systems. Here are a few examples:
In Tibetan Buddhism, a mala typically consists of 108 beads, which are used to count the repetition of a mantra or prayer. However, larger malas with 144 beads are also used for longer or more complex practices. In traditional Chinese medicine, the human body is believed to contain 144 acupoints, or specific points on the body where needles can be inserted to stimulate the flow of qi (energy) and promote healing. In Revelation 21:17, the number 144 is used to describe the measurement of the wall of the New Jerusalem, which is said to be 144 cubits high. The Great Pyramid of Giza has a base perimeter of approximately 1,440 cubits, which is exactly 10 times the number 144.
In Revelation 7:4-8, the number 144,000 is mentioned as the number of people who will be sealed with the seal of God on their foreheads during the end times. Estimates suggest that there were originally around 144,000 casing stones that covered the entire surface of the pyramid of Gyza. In the Mayan calendar, 144,000 days make up one baktun.
Besides relating to the note A with the frequencies of 108 HZ and 432 HZ, the numbers 36, 72, 108, and 144 are Numbers 36, 72, 108 and 144 are great reference points for a musical tempo.
For example, in 4/4 time, which is one of the most common time signatures in Western music, a tempo of 36 BPM would mean that there are 36 quarter notes (or their equivalent) in one minute. This would be a very slow tempo, and is often used for ballads or other slow, contemplative pieces.
Similarly, a tempo of 72 BPM would mean that there are 72 quarter notes (or their equivalent) in one minute. This is a moderate tempo that is often used for pop songs, rock ballads, or other mid-tempo pieces.
A tempo of 108 BPM would mean that there are 108 quarter notes (or their equivalent) in one minute. This is a faster tempo that is often used for dance music, hip-hop, or other up-tempo pieces.
Finally, a tempo of 144 BPM would mean that there are 144 quarter notes (or their equivalent) in one minute. This is a very fast tempo that is often used for electronic dance music, punk rock, or other high-energy pieces.
I’ve already discussed the general symbolism of Tetraktys in great detail, so we will now only see how these numbers reflect the same proportions.
As we saw, there are four yugas in total, and the shortsest one, the Kali yuga, lasts 432,000 years. If we assign this value to each of the dots, we get all of the other yugas. In the second row we will have 2 x 432,000, which equals to 864,000 years – the duration of the Dwapara yuga. In the similar way, we get the Treta yuga in row tree, and Satya yuga in the row four of the Tetractys.
This is interesting, because the concept of yugas predates Pythagoras for hundreds, if not thousands of years.
Similarly, if we repeat this process, but this time with a base of 36, we get the numbers 72, 108 and 144. And this is very intertesting for another reason. These numbers represent degrees of a circle, and they ammount to 360 degrees in total. We get the same number in Tetractys – 10 x 36.
In the Pythagorean geometry, the first raw of Tetractys represents a dot, the second a line, the third a triangle and the fourth a square. Only the circle was missing, until now.
It is clear that the durations of the four yugas are not some random numbers. They were obtained through advanced astronomical knowledge.
We already saw how it takes Sun 72 years to shift for one degree of the zodiac, in a phenomena called precession of the equinoxes. As each of the zodiac signs has 30 degrees, that means that it take 30 x 72, or 2,160 years for the Sun to move from one sign to another.
432,000 years of the Kali yuga equal to 200 such periods, as 200 x 2,160 = 432,000. In case of Dwapara yuga, the number is 400 x 2,160 = 864,000 and so on… In other words, one cycle is finished only after the Sun changes zodiac sign 2,000 times (2,000 x 2,160 = 4,320,000 year – the full cycle of the four yugas)
The number 108 is considered a sacred and significant number in many spiritual and religious traditions.
In Hinduism, the number 108 is considered a sacred number and is associated with various beliefs and practices. For example:
The ancient Indian scriptures, known as the Upanishads, contain 108 teachings.
There are 108 beads on a mala (prayer beads) used for meditation and reciting mantras.
There are 108 sacred sites throughout India.
There are 108 energy lines, or nadis, that converge at the heart chakra.
In Buddhism, the number 108 is also considered significant. For example:
There are 108 delusions or defilements that a person must overcome in order to achieve enlightenment.
There are 108 beads on a Buddhist mala used for meditation and reciting mantras.
There are 108 prostrations in certain Buddhist rituals.
In addition to these traditions, the number 108 is also significant in other spiritual and religious practices, including certain forms of yoga and in the Japanese martial art of karate. In music, where note A4 is set to 432 Herz, the “natural” interval, 108 Herz is the frequency of A2 and 216 Herz is the frequency of the A3 note. When it comes to tempo, 108 beats per minute is the border between Andante and Moderato.
In search of the Enlightenment
As we saw, the Buddhists believed that this number is somehow related to enlightenment. But the idea is older than Buddhism, as it is surely not a coincidence that there are 108 Upanishads and 108 prayer beads in Hinduism.
However, I couldn’t help but notice that similar parallels exist even in Norse mythology. According to Norse mythology, Odin suspended himself from the world tree Yggdrasil for nine days and nine nights in order to gain knowledge and wisdom. During this time, he also suffered and made sacrifices, including sacrificing one of his own eyes to the well of Mimir. This experience is known as the “sacrifice of Odin” or “Odin’s ordeal”.
I’ve read different versions of this myth, and what they all have in common is that they insist on the “nine days and nine nights” part. Why were the nights and days always separated? Perhaps because there are 12 hours in a day and 12 hours in a night. And 9 x 12 = 108. In other words, Odin had to go through two 108-hour cycles.
Is this a coincidence? Perhaps. However, very similar symbolism exists in Hinduism. Namely, Lord Shiva has 108 beads on his mala, and he is often depicted with two malas, making a total of 216 beads.
In Buddhism, the number 216 is associated with the sacred mantra “Om Mani Padme Hum.” This mantra consists of six syllables, and there are 36 different combinations of these syllables. Multiplying 36 by 6 gives 216, so the number 216 is considered significant in the recitation of this mantra.
In astrology and numerology, the number 216 is often associated with spiritual growth, wisdom, and enlightenment. It is also considered a powerful number for manifestation and creating positive change in one’s life.
But is there more to it? What is the true hidden meaning behind these numbers?
The answer might be surprisingly simple. Nakshatras are the lunar mansions used in traditional Indian astronomy and astrology to divide the 360 degrees of the zodiac into 27 equal parts. These 27 Nakshatras are then divided into four groups or categories, known as Padas. In other words, there are 108 Padas in a year. The Padas can only be observed during the night time, but in order to get the duration of the full year, we need to add the daylight hours, which would be equal to another 108 Padas, 216 in total. This is what the black and white beads around Shiva’s neck represent. And this is why Odin spent 9 days and 9 nights hanging from a “tree”.
Interestingly, number 108 was sacred even for the ancient Egyptians. They too, obtained it through astronomy. Namely, they belived that the Sun (as well as human soul) travel across the sky in 36 boats, each carrying 3 dieties – a toal of 108 gods and goddeses.
As always, when I want to see the “bigger picture” my first go-to place is astronomy. And 108 seems to be an important number here. The diameter of the Sun is approximately 108 times the diameter of the Earth, while the average distance between the Earth and the moon is approximately 216 times the diameter of the Moon. Moreover, the diameter of the moon is approximately 2160 miles, and it takes the moon 27.3 days to orbit the Earth, which is 2160 hours.
Interesting. But there is more.
The precession of the equinoxes, which is a slow movement of the Earth’s axis, has a cycle of approximately 25,920 years. As the path of our planet around the Sun is not circular, the position of the stars relative to the Earth gradually changes over time. On the spring equinox, the Sun will rise behind one of the twelve constellations of the Zodiac for a period of 2160 years (25,920 / 12), before moving to the next one.
These 2160-year cycles are known as Astronomical ages, and we are currently living in the Age of Pisces.
There is no doubt that the ancients knew about these cycles, and knew how to calculate them. And it seems that number 108 was the key for these calculations. Namely, we can easily get the number 25,920 by multiplying numbers 108 and 240. At the same time, the number 2,160 = 108 x 20.
The ancient heritage
In order to consider the possibility that the number 108 was originally used to calculate complex astronomical phenomena and shifts of the Astronomical ages, we must first find some tangible evidence. And indeed, in India, one of the holiest festivals known as Kumbh Mela takes place every 12 years. However, the most important of the Kumbh Mela festivals take place every 108 years (9 x 12 years) and every 144 years (12 x 12 years). The latter is known as the Maha (Great) Kumbh Mela.
What is the meaning behind these long counts? In my opinion, the ancient sages knew that human life is too short to follow these great cycles, so they broke it down into smaller numbers, which are easier to understand and observe.
The last Maha Kumbh Mela was held in 2013 in Allahabad, India. It was attended by an estimated 100 million people, making it the largest peaceful gathering of humans on Earth.
The next Maha Kumbh Mela is scheduled to be held in 2157. I find it interesting that this number is so close to the number 2160 – which marks the duration of one Astronomical age. We are currently in the year 2023 of the New Era because it was approximately that many years ago that the Sun first appeared on the background of the Pisces constellation, during the spring equinox. And it seems like the next Maha Kumbh Mela of 2157 will be a perfect marker for the transition to the Age of Aquarius.
If Maha Kumbh Mela happens every 144 years, that means that there are exactly 15 such festivals in a cycle of 2160 years, and if we go back from the year 2157, we end up in the time of Christ, around the year 2-3 BC. That is an interesting coincidence, isn’t it?
But why would the ancients be so concerned with these long counts in the first place? Is it because they knew that our planet goes through some cyclical and extremely dramatic changes along its path?
Some say that the Age of Aquarius will be the age of information and enlightenment. But there are also those who foresee floods and other cataclysmic events. Even the Holy Scriptures talk about the Apocalypse. What if the climate change that melts the ice of the Arctic and the Antarctic is unavoidable, being a part of a natural cycle that takes place every time the Sun enters Aquarius?
Only Odin will know. Just like the Egyptian Horus, he left one eye to shine in the daylight and left the other to shine at night. Their diameters are based on numbers 108 and 216. And we, the mere mortals, we have to deal with our own 108 delusions before we reach enlightenment.
I’ve always been fascinated by the mysterious bronze age culture of ancient China, known as Sanxingdui. On the surface, these strange figurines look so different from anything else. However, looking at some recent discoveries, I couldn’t help but notice that one particular group of figurines reflects a very popular ancient theme, that was once quite widespread across the globe. This is a story about that discovery.
The top half of the image above shows the Sanxingdui figurines. The first two stand in the same, unusual pose, which immediately reminded me of the familiar representations of Shiva carrying the goddess Ganga back to Earth. The first one of these looks like a dragon with a human torso, while the second is clearly a dragon, landing on the bull’s head. The following two figurines represent birds, or bird-like creatures, standing on a pole, in a similar pose. And finally, all that is reflected in a Chinese dragon of the Tang dynasty, of a later date. However, even modern Chinese dragons are often depicted in a similar way.
In other words, we see that a similar symbol has been used for (at least) 2,500-3,500 years. What could be the story behind it?
Dragon hybrids in different cultures
Depictions of dragons go back to the dawn of time, and there were numerous cultures that had them in their lore. However, some light motifs never change. For example, Scythians loved portraying dragons in their art. But then again, Scythian dragons look very similar to those of ancient Greeks, Etruscans, Romans, Phoenicians, and other Medditteranian cultures.
Moreover, just like in Sanxingdui, these dragons are often hybrids and can have a head of a human, bull, bird, horse, or even elephant. And also, they are usually depicted in a similar pose.
Whenever I see a common theme connecting different epochs and cultures, the first connection that I look for is the astronomical one. And sure enough, one of the biggest constellations of the night sky is Draco – the dragon. Besides being the biggest, this constellation is positioned high in the northern sky, and therefore visible at any time of the year.
Moreover, the shape of this constellation is very similar to the representations from ancient art.
Being the closest to the Polar star, Draco constantly rotates around it. Perhaps that is why many ancient dragons were depicted wrapped around a pole or a tree. At the same time, Typhoon is another famous dragon of Greek mythology. His name means (whirl)wind. Even today, we use this word in the same way. This is just another reference to Draco’s rotation around Polaris. The same is probably true for the famous symbol Ouroboros – a dragon eating its tail.
However, this brings us to another important question. If the ancients really represented the Draco constellation, why did they do it?
The shifting polar star
The thing is, our polar star was not always Polaris, as it is now. Due to the movement of Earth’s rotational axis, from 3,942-1,793 BC, this role belonged to the star Thuban, which is a part of the Draco constellation. Then, from 1,793-1,000 BC, it was Kappa Draconis that took its place – another star of the Draco constellation.
This simply means that for almost 3,000 years, the stars of the Draco constellation were pointing to the true North. Without a doubt, this fact was of great importance for any ancient traveler. And this fact is also very important for our story because Kappa Draconis still marked the true North when the Sanxingdui figurines were made.
A trip back in time
With a help of modern technology, we can actually travel back in time and see what the night sky looked like at any given moment. For this purpose, I used a free software called Stellarium, and the date I chose was the spring equinox of 4,000 BC.
In the screenshots below, we can see that if one looked toward the eastern horizon, just before dawn, he would have seen the Sun rising in the Taurus – the bull, constellation. Then, if he faced west, he would have seen Aquila – the eagle. Facing north, he would have seen Draco – the dragon and facing south, Cetus – the sea monster, another dragon-like creature.
In other words, if someone wanted to know when spring will begin, he simply had to wait for this arrangement of the constellations in the night sky.
What is also important is that here we have all of the three main symbols of Sanxingdui figurines – a dragon, a bull, and a bird. Note also that Aquila looks like a bird standing on a pole (the Milky Way)
Bull-headed water dragons
On this blog, I’ve already written extensively on the star lore related to the spring equinox in Taurus, so I will not repeat myself here. However, it is worth noting that some of the ancient dragons were bull-headed. At the same time, they were seen as water spirits, guardians of the springs. One of the most famous examples is Greek Achelous, although in reality Greeks inherited this od from the ancient Thracians, as in the Thracian language “achel” apparently meant “water”. Achelous was slain by Heracles, who was himself an offspring of a dragon mother, according to the Scythian tradition.
It is not difficult to imagine what is the symbolism in question. The spring is the time when the waters are “released” and the springs come alive again. Nowadays, scholars believe that even the story of the Minotaurus is just another parallel. However, I disagree with that notion. I believe that the slaying of the Minotaurus has to do with the shift of the spring equinox from Taurus to Aries.
Anyhow, I only wrote this paragraph in order to introduce another important parallel – and that is the connection with water. Namely, in the first image, we saw a descending Shiva, bringing the goddess Ganga to Earth. Ganga is the goddess of water, representing the Milky Way in the sky, and the major river on Earth. In this episode, Shiva brings her back, after a long period of drought. At the same time, Shiva’s animal is the bull – Nandi, which goes to show that all of these myths speak the same language – that of astronomy.
Polaris takes over
As we saw, from 1,000 BC onwards, the north started its shift towards Polaris. This change was gradual, and for a long period of time, the true north was between Draco and Ursa Minor constellations. And it seems that from around 500 BC, ancient art started to reflect this change. Dragons are still related to water, but now they often accompany sailors, as we often see in Phoenician art. This is logical, as knowing how to locate the north was the single most important thing for navigation. At least from the 6th century BC, many ancient cultures started depicting Hippocampus – a hybrid between a sea dragon and a horse. Phoenicians even had a famous ship named hippo, and this ship was probably the original gift that Danaeans gave Troyans. Note also that the following depictions are identical to the Scythian dragon we saw earlier.
However, these sea dragons are now often accompanied by a dolphin, and it looks like in the end they were perhaps completely replaced by this new symbol.
Little bear or a dolphin?
Around the same time, dolphins appear even in India. And the connection is with none other than goddess Ganga, who often rides on one. In a way, this is logical, as there are river dolphins in the Ganges river. However, these striking similarities are too interesting to be so easily dismissed as pure coincidence.
The constellation Delphinus was known to the ancients. It lies next to Aquila, at the edges of the Milky Way. This could explain why Ganga, who represents the Milky Way rides one. However, this constellation is so small and insignificant. At the same time, its shape is almost identical to that of Ursa Minor.
This made me wonder, what if there was a forgotten star lore that saw Ursa Minor as a dolphin?
The story of Delphi oracle
The ancient Greeks considered the oracle of Delphi to be the center of the world. The oracle was so ancient that even ancient Greeks had mythological stories of its origins. It was one of the most important sites in their world.
Now, according to some Greek myths, the oracle got its name due to the fact that Appolo took a shape of the dolphin before he slayed the dragon – Python, which lived in a cave there. I was eighteen years old when I visited Delphi and heard this story, and I remember how I couldn’t wrap my head around it. The fact is that the oracle lies high up in the mountains, and of all the animals, the dolphin somehow sounded like the weirdest choice. Not to mention that he also had to slay a dragon in that form.
However, from this perspective, the story finally makes sense. I believe that this is a simple astronomical allegory, marking the shift of north from Draco (Python) to Ursa Minor (Dolphin).
Indeed, in ancient mythology, the dolphins were regarded as helpers of the sailors, more so than invisible sea dragons. And from this same period, we have a plethora of myths that included dolphins. Dyonisyus transformed Etruscan pirates into dolphins so that they can repay for their sins by helping others on the sea. They were considered messengers of the sea god Poseidon. Taras, the son of Poseidon was saved by a dolphin after a shipwreck. And recently, in Calabria, archaeologists discovered an ancient hall filled with mosaics of dragons and dolphins.
However, the most unusual direct connection between dolphins and dragons comes from another Greek myth about the Delphi oracle. According to this version, Apollo didn’t slay Python, but a female dragon named Delphyne. For this reason, I believe that a dolphin represented more than a minor constellation, and represented the Polar star instead – the center of the universe worshiped at the center of the world.
For thousands of years, and across different continents, dragons were one of the most popular motifs in ancient art. It seems that originally they were an auspicious symbol. Then, something changed, and all the biggest heroes became dragon slayers. Perhaps the most logical explanation is that this myth became outdated with the astronomical shift that took place.
These dragons are often hybrids, as most of the constellations usually are. There could be many reasons for this, and I didn’t want to dwell more on that in this already long article. However, it would be logical to assume that nomadic peoples of the steppe would prefer the horse motif, as they had little to no idea of what dolphins look like. Copying from another drawing, one could easily mistake a dolphin for an elephant (compare the Indian medallion below with Ganga’s dolphin above)
Makara, another Indian representation of the dragon, was said to represent the Capricorn constellation. All these small inconsistencies are expected when we are dealing with a myth so ancient and widespread. But at the same time, they might prevent us from seeing the similarities, which are much more numerous and obvious. And so I will end this article with one last image. It is a familiar story that talks about the dragon, the woman, and the eagle – the markers of the new astronomical shift that is on the way.