"Rings and weapons” oath of the old Russians: Slavic and Germanic context
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ROMANCHUK, Aleksey. "Rings and weapons” oath of the old Russians: Slavic and Germanic context. In: Stratum plus. 2018, nr. 5, pp. 143-405. ISSN 1608-9057.
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Numărul 5 / 2018 / ISSN 1608-9057 /ISSNe 1857-3533

"Rings and weapons” oath of the old Russians: Slavic and Germanic context

Pag. 143-405

Romanchuk Aleksey12
1 Şcoala Antropologică Superioară,
2 Institute of Cultural Heritage
Disponibil în IBN: 16 aprilie 2019


Origin of “rings and weapons” oath of 10th century's Old Russians is addressed through a comparative analysis of Germanic and Slavic traditions. It was demonstrated that many Slavic peoples used weapons oaths. For some of them (Serbs, Bulgarians, Slovaks, Czechs) it is impossible to explain these oaths by Scandinavian influence. Celts used weapons oaths, too. A comparison between Slavic and Germanic traditions of weapons oaths demonstrates some essential differences in the key semantic and ritual details. The Old Russian weapons oaths are close to Slavic tradition. “Ring oath” existed in Slavic tradition of betrothal. An analysis of linguistic and ethnographic data allows us to suppose the for-Slavic origin of this ring oath. Besides, we can think that this is a reminiscence of a previously existed Slavic tradition of “ring oaths” in some other contexts as well. Celts and Romans use rings in betrothal too; Celts vow by torques. All these facts make us think that ring oaths were common for many Indo-European peoples too. A comparison between Old Russians' and Germanic ring oaths shows an important difference, too. Namely, Old Russians vowed by taking their own rings off and putting them down on the ground. In contrast, Scandinavians (as well as all Germans) vow with sanctuary rings, putting them on during the ritual of oath. It looks like the Old Russians' “rings and weapons” oath appeared as a result of their longtime contacts with Slavs.

Celts, Germans, oath, Old Rus, Old Russians, rings, Scandinavians, Slavs, weapon