KHAIREDINOVA E.A. Byzantine Finger Rings with the Inscription ΦΩС ΖΩΗ from Burials of the Crimean Goths


Elzara A. Khairedinova

Сandidate of Sciences (History), Head of Department of Mediaeval Archaeology,

Institute of Archaeology of Crimea, Russian Academy of Sciences,

Prosp. Vernadskogo, 2, 295007 Simferopol, Russian Federation

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Abstract. Introduction. Among the Byzantine jewelry products, which were worn by the Crimean Goths in the era of the early Middle Ages, there are the silver finger rings of the second half of the 7th century, on the round flap of which the Greek inscription ΦΩС ΖΩΗ is engraved.

Methods. Dating of Crimean findings is determined upon accessory inventory in burials. For attribution of the finger rings, a circle of analogies is revealed, findings are analyzed from the territory of the former Eastern Roman Empire.

Analysis. The formula ΦΩС ΖΩΗ descends to The Gospel of John and appears to be the symbolic designation of Christ. For many centuries it has been associated with a cross, regardless of its shape and purpose – whether it is an individual cult object, or an image on the jewelry product, clothing accessories or on the walls of the rooms. The finger ring with the cut monogram ΦΩС ΖΩΗ was not only a piece of jewellery, but also a kind of amulet, which is like a cross, was supposed to protect the wearer from all troubles. In the South-Western Crimea, the finger rings were worn by both men and women, who had a high social status. The finger ring, found in the сemetery near the village of Luchistoe, belonged to a young Christian lady named Georgia, who died in the second half of the 7th century.

Results. The presented finger rings with a cross-shaped inscription ΦΩС ΖΩΗ are an important source for studying the early stage of the history of Christianity in the South-Western Crimea. Findings of this kind testify to the unity of culture in the Christian world and are a good example of the close economic and cultural ties of the region with the Byzantine Empire in the era of the early Middle Ages.

Key words: South-Western Crimea, the Crimean Goths, Byzantine jewelry products, finger rings, Christian symbols.

Citation. Khairedinova E.A. Byzantine Finger Rings with the Inscription ΦΩС ΖΩΗ from Burials of the Crimean Goths. 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. 5, pp. 88-104. (in Russian). DOI:

Лицензия Creative Commons

Byzantine Finger Rings with the Inscription ΦΩС ΖΩΗ from Burials of the Crimean Goths by Khairedinova E.A. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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