KHAIREDINOVA E.A. Finger Rings with the Image of Archangel Michael of the Late 6th – 7th Centuries from Crimea


Elzara A. Khairedinova

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

Institute of Archaeology of Crimea of the Russian Academy of Sciences,

Prosp. Akademika V.I. Vernadskogo, 2, 295007 Simferopol, Russian Federation

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Abstract. Introduction. In the Early Middle Ages, Crimea was in the sphere of influence of the Eastern Roman Empire. In the material culture of the Early Medieval population of Crimea imprinted with archaeological monuments “Byzantine components” are quite clearly visible. The group of jewellery that clearly demonstrates the Byzantine influence includes bronze finger rings with the image of Archangel Michael originating from the GothoAlanian burial grounds of the South-Western Crimea and from the necropoleis of the Kerch Peninsula. The article substantiates the attribution and dating of the finger rings, reveals a circle of analogies, interprets the meaning of the images, and also considers the peculiarities of wearing this type of jewellery.

Methods. The author determines dating of the Crimean findings by the accompanying inventory in the graves. The paper reveals a circle of analogies for the attribution of the finger rings, analyzes findings from the territory of the Eastern Roman Empire and from areas with political and economic ties.

Analysis. In the late 6th – 7th centuries bronze finger rings with the image of Archangel Michael imported from Byzantium and produced in local workshops on imported samples were popular in Crimea. The signet ring of variant A of the late 6th – the first quarter of the 7th cc. with a profile portrait of the Archangel and the monogram of his name, undoubtedly, refers to Byzantine products brought from Asia Minor. The two finger rings of variant B engraved with the face and the almost full-length figure of the Archangel were made by Bosporan artisans in the 7th century on the Byzantine samples. The finger rings from Crimea depicting the Archangel belonged to young women who had a high social status. They were worn on hands, as a rule, on the right forefinger and in breast necklaces that connected fibulae. Christian symbols and plots placed on signet rings, in the view of the ancient Christians, should have given the jewellery the properties of an amulet which protected the person wearing it from all sorts of troubles.

Results. The presented finger rings depicting Archangel Michael are an important source for studying the early stage of the history of Christianity in the South-Western Crimea and the Bosporus. Findings of this kind testify to the unity of culture in the Christian world and are a good example of close economic and cultural ties between the region and the Byzantine Empire in the Early Middle Ages.

Key words: South-Western Crimea, Bosporus, Crimean Goths, Byzantine jewellery, finger rings, amulets, Archangel Michael.

Citation. Khairedinova E.A. Finger Rings with the Image of Archangel Michael of the Late 6th – 7th Centuries from Crimea. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2019, vol. 24, no. 6, pp. 32-46. (in Russian). DOI:

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Finger Rings with the Image of Archangel Michael of the Late 6th – 7th Centuries from Crimea by Khairedinova E.A. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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