Handmade Pendant ‘Axe of Perun’
The ornament was produced in full compliance with amulets, discovered during excavations in Gnezdovo mounds, Sarkel, Bilyarsk, Kemsk necropolis.
Axe is authentic also with other Slavic amulet– an axe which blade is engraved with astrological symbols, found in the Ryazan region.
Silver Axe of Perun is a very powerful sign, symbolizing the power of a man, the purity of intentions of the defender of his land and loved ones. Axe of Perun serves as a kind of lens that increases the strength of a warrior. At first, amulet allows to accumulate the strength, then – to splash it out in the direction conceived.
In Perun people saw the highest fairness and justice. Amulet is an excellent talisman for people with military specialties, who constantly deal with risk.
If you have a serious matter, if you are at a crossroads and need to make a responsible decision, this amulet will help to cut the knot of doubt, to take the right decision, giving force to achieve the goal.
It should also be mentioned that the Axe of Perun is the weapon of Thunderer. And after the rain with thunder and lightning the ground becomes fertile, giving their owners wealth.
Amulets 'Axe of Perun'. Prototype of a product.
The cult of the supreme god Perun can be found almost in all Slavic tribes, but above all among the eastern Slavs. Talismans “Axe of Perun” were pendants in the form of axes with ornaments - concentric lines and circles symbolizing the sun and the lightning.
There were also runes applied on them to increase their magical properties.
In fact, in the Slavic mythology there is no clear mention of the fact that the axe was Perun`s weapon: his first weapon was the mace, the second was the sword. But some experts on the history of medieval culture provide facts that the main weapon of Perun was the axe.
The history of the appearance and spread of the Axe of Perun amulets
The cult of Perun - the god of thunder and rain, witnessed among almost all the Slavic peoples; most clearly it is seen in Paganism of the eastern Slavs. Thor was Scandinavians` god of thunder and lightning. Thor is linked with iron pendants - hammers, well known from finds in Scandinavia, Finland and Baltic States.
At the end of IX-X centuries the Scandinavian squads brought such pendants in Yaroslavl Volga; there are some in Gnezdovo mounds. In Ancient Rus there is an analogy of "the hammers of Thor" (Mjolnir hammers) - tiny iron, bronze, sometimes leaden pendants, known as "the axes of Perun". Some of them are ornamented with concentric circles and zig-zag lines, in which the researchers see the symbols of the sun and lightning.
The ornamental figures on the miniature axes of type IV (pagan amulets imitating the battle axes with the elongated blade and semi-circular cut in the base) V.P. Darkevich interpreted as symbols of lightning (zigzag line), and the heavenly bodies (concentric circles). Rybakov, A.V. Uspenskaya, Ja.E. Barovsky, M.A. Sagaidak also wrote about the space symbolism of the amulets` ornament.
It is more likely, however, that these figures are related to the ornamental compositions on the grand battle-axes of the same type. Axes of type IV, inlaid with sterling silver, are usually considered not only as a military weapon, but also as objects that symbolize a special social status of their owners, distinguishing them from the ordinary soldiers. Ornamentation of these axes varies in detail, but the general scheme of the decor in most of them is the same.
Inlaid patterns on the battle-axes are the back short cross lines on the neck of the miniature axes, double border at the edges of the side faces, zigzag line with circular grooves running along the edge of the blade, a stylized imitation of the fringe made of triangular tabs on the ends of the circles going down to the edge of parade axes of type IV.
The border of two parallel lines and the short cross sections between them imitates similar inlaid patterns placed on the battle-axes parallel to the edge of the blade.
It is essential that miniature axes had not only the individual elements of the ornaments of real battle axes, but also ornamental compositions themselves, as far as possible in the manufacture of an amulet of about 5 cm.
There is no complete confirmation whether to consider the circle pattern to be the symbol of heavenly bodies. It is well known that the circular pattern in the 11 - 13th centuries had been widespread and was used to decorate a wide variety of subjects from amber crosses to bone combs and from temporal rings and bracelets to the handles of knives and awls. Undoubtedly, the circles on the slavic amulets in the form of axes had purely ornamental value.
The earliest find is made in the burial in the estate of the Tithe Church in Kiev. This is the burial of the boy that by diversity, richness of equipment and method of burial in the wooden house, was one of the squad. The burial was committed before the construction of the church (989); this can be seen by the things and dirham pendants` coinage of 911-912 years, it may be referred to the middle of the X century. Miniature axe found is metalwork. Location of the pagan pendant in the burial is unknown.
The following findings of the axes are also associated with male burials of X-XI centuries. Here, these miniature handmade pendants are the symbols of military weapon; they take their traditional place in the burial – by the side or at the feet of the dead.
In 1985 in the mound near the village Gorodishe of Vladimir province, the axe-pendant with the remains of a wooden handle was lying near the right thigh bone. On the chest of the dead was the bracteate of Samanid dirham. During the excavations of N.A. Makarov on the north bank of the White Lakeof the Kema River in 1981, 1982 and 1984, the axes amulets were found in four Slavic graves of XI century (boys and a young man 17-19 years of age). The pendants lay at thigh bones or legs, always in the singular.
The axes-amulets were also found in female burials of XI-XII centuries. They were found along with other amulets and did not take certain place in the burial. In the woman's burial of the Maria repository of XII-XIII centuries the axe was found with beads in the necklace.
The Slavic pendants in the form of axes were also found near Grekhov creek (Uglich), near the Yablonovo village and Liplyavo (Poltava region), but more often they are met at the settlements: Old Ryazan , Vyshgorod, settlement on the Menka River (nowadays – Minsk).
It can be assumed that the production of these pendants began in X century in Kiev, where few copies of pendants-axes were found, including a unique leaden axe, ornamented with circles, zigzags and parallel lines. The axe imitates one of the oldest types of ancient axe with a massive wide blade and the recess on the inside. In the XI century production of such axes-amulets became serial; there appeared standard forms such as Perun`s Broadaxe, which were cast from bronze.
Pendants-axes were found in the layers of the XI century in Novgorod, Drogichin, Suzdal. On the territory of ancient Rus 26 finds are known. Single copies were found in Sarkel, Bilyarsk; Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Finland, Sweden, Denmark.
In the era of the first Kiev princes the cult of Perun gained a military character. Oleg, Igor and Svyatoslav and their squads during the conclusion of agreements with the Greeks swore by Perun – their God. They took an oath on the swords in front of the idol of Perun. Thus, pendants-amulets in the form of the swords refer to the military aspect of the cult of Perun.
The earliest pendant was found in the squad burial of X century in Gnezdovo. The pendant was iron and with silver eyelet.
All the other known pendants are bronze. They are standard; the hanging hole is located in the center of the blade. By archaic form of the handle archaeologists refer the bronze amulets to the end of X-XI centuries. However, during the excavation in Suzdal citadel and Serensk, Minsk zaymische and Kiev, the pendants were found in the cultural layers of the XII century. Probably the same time are the two pendants from the settlement Sakhnovka and the one found on the mound Devichgora.
No less important is another observation: more than half of the findings are associated with the cities. Among 46 axes found within the borders of Rus, 23 were found in the cultural layer of the cities - Kiev, Vyshgorod, Knyazha Gora, Vopiy, Terebovl, Novgorod and Staraya Russa, Byelaazyorsk, Old Ryazan, Suzdal, settlements in Menke, Drogichin Nadbuzhskiy, Belaya Vezha. Four more copies come from the border strongholds – Torgovitskoye and Liplyavskoye settlements; two amulets found in the city's cemeteries of Belaya Vezha and Kleschino (near the village Gorodische of Lake Pleshcheyevo), four copies from the squad burial place on the river Kema in Belozerye.
Two amulets were found on the territory of the usual villages (Grekhov Creek, Blagoveshcheniye) and only three - in ordinary village mounds (Kolchino, Mitiaevo, Olenino). It is noteworthy, however, that in the mounds at Grekhova Creek and the Olenin burial the battle-axes were found, so rare for ordinary rural sites.
The geography of the findings clearly indicates that the axes-amulets were not widespread among the rural population. The owners of the pendants were mostly dwellers of the cities, military forts and detachment settlements. Symptomatic are the findings at the border crossings: in the south, southeast and west of Rus, that is in the areas, which particularly often had been the scene of hostilities.
Outside Rus the axes were found on the territory of the province of Perm, on Vetluga, in Volga Bulgaria, on Vaygach, in Estonia, Poland and Finland – areas where Russian vigilantes collected the tribute, or where they committed military campaigns. In Kem necropolis, in burial Olenin and in the barrows near the village Gorodische, the finds conclude the axes-amulets and the real battle axes, which indicates that they belong to the owners of the same surroundings.
Originally axe hung on the belt of a warrior. Axes of similar shape were used as military weapons. After a while there appeared amulets, which were designed to protect soldiers from the enemy, cut off the bad intentions of others, slanders, libels, providing the owner inaccessibility for detractors. It was believed that on the battlefield a person wearing the amulet was under the patronage of Perun. Amulet was designed to take away from the noble all the arrows, spears and blades of the sword. It was also believed that the maximum effect can be achieved in case if the patron of the owner of the Slavic talisman acted Perun himself.
But this amulet was also used by people who did not have a direct relation to war. Axe of Perun, like God himself, was a symbol of the deep unity of Race (those who were on Earth and gods-ancestors), the symbol of the unity of Kind.
According to the legend, Perun used an axe in the fight against the Serpent who absorbed the sunlight. Perun won the fight and locked him in a dungeon.
For this reason, Axe of Perun is considered to be not only a symbol of protection against physical damage, but also gives the owner the power to overcome the circumstances caused by the interference of the dark forces and therefore appears to be a universal talisman.
Nevertheless, the Axe of Perun was used not only by men, but also by women in a variety of rituals and ceremonies (weddings, giving the name, childbirth). In the latter case, the axe was laid at the porch of the house – it was supposed to chase away evil spirits. If the husband put the axe under the bed during childbirth it cut off the pain of woman in labor. During the weddings, the circle was outlined with the amulet; it protected the newlyweds from the evil eye, defilement and other misfortunes.
But this talisman has a side effect – it can overspend the force of the owner. It concerns people who are constantly switching to different tasks and unclearly set themselves the goal. Internal discipline is extremely important: even in times of peace a true warrior tracks down the enemy within, killing in a certain moment the excessive pride, love of power and ambition.