ZASETSKAYA I.P. Phalerae from the Mound Sadovy and the Image of the ‘Tarandrus’


Irina P. Zasetskaya

Doctor of Sciences (History), Chief Researcher, Department of Archaeology of Eastern Europe and Siberia,

State Hermitage Museum,

Dvortsovaya Emb., 34, 194000 Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation

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Abstract. This paper is devoted to the content of the composition on the phalerae from the mound Sadovy and to the related issue about the existence of the ‘tarandrus’ image in the art of Eurasian nomads. L. S. Klein identifies one of the depicted characters with the mythical tarandrus and considers the images on the waistbands from Siberian collection and the collection of the Katandinsky mound (the 5th – 3rd cc. BC) as its prototypes. On the basis of this assumption, L.S. Klein draws conclusion that the movement of Sarmatians to the West took place from the areas of the Irtysh and Ishim rivers. According to the descriptions by the ancient authors, the tarandrus looks like a large hoofed animal from the deer family and has a special power to change its color according to the environment. L.S. Klein’s definition of the tarandrus as a mythical deer with the characteristics of four different animals has been rejected by the written sources. Ancient authors compared the tarandrus to an ox just to underline a big size of this animal. A comparative analysis of stylistic features and the plot’s content show that the studied items had presented different images and scenes. The items which contain the images of animals are important sources for studying the history of nomads. Hence, their wrong interpretation can cause visual and historical mistakes.

Key words: the mound Sadovy, plot, animal style, ancient authors, phalerae, Pliny the Elder, Aristotle.

Citation. Zasetskaya I.P. Phalerae from the Mound Sadovy and the Image of the ‘Tarandrus’. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4, Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2018, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 126-137. (in Russian). DOI:

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Phalerae from the Mound Sadovy and the Image of the ‘Tarandrus’ by Zasetskaya I.P. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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