KHAIREDINOVA E.A. Finger Ring Amulets with the Image of the Holy Rider of the 7th Century from the 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 Vernadskogo, 2, 295007 Simferopol, Russian Federation

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Abstract. Introduction. The group of jewelry with Christian symbols that existed in the Crimea in the early Middle Ages includes cast bronze rings, on a flat shield of which the image of a holy rider with a cross in his hands is engraved. The rings were found in the South-West Crimea in the burial grounds near the village of Luchistoe, Skalistoe and EskiKermen, as well as in Kerch at the early medieval necropolis of the Bosporus, in the burials of the 7th century.

Methods. For the attribution of published products, a circle of analogies is identified, findings from the territory of the Eastern Roman Empire are analyzed. The iconography of the holy rider is compared on various subjects. In the Crimea, three of the published finger rings were found in in situ burials, as part of a closed complex, together with tools with a narrow dating, which makes it possible to clarify the time of existence of this type of products in the region and to determine the method of wearing it.

Analysis. The plot depicted on the finger rings has an undeniable resemblance to the scene of the solemn entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, described in all four Gospels and well known from the numerous pictorial monuments of the early medieval period. The iconography of that scene originated in the era of Constantine the Great, under the influence of imperial art and in many ways corresponded to the Triumphal entry of the emperor to Rome or any large city of the empire. The image of Christ the rider on the Crimean finger rings belongs to the iconographic type, which became widespread in the 6th–7th centuries, mainly in Egypt, the Syro-Palestinian region and Asia Minor. The quality of execution of the published rings from the Crimea allows us to speak about their local production. Byzantine products that came to the peninsula thanks to stable trade relations with the empire or were brought by pilgrims from holy places served as models for the Crimean artisans. In the minds of ancient Christians, the image of Christ the rider had a powerful protective power. Placed on the shield of the ring, it endowed the decoration with the properties of an amulet, protecting the person wearing it from all troubles. The rings originating from Crimea belonged to a teenage girl and young women who wore them on their hands – on the right index or ring finger, or in special belt bags, in which, in addition to utilitarian items, various amulets were also put.

Results. The study of rings makes it possible not only to expand knowledge about jewelry that existed in the early medieval times, but also to replenish our information about the daily life of the Christian population of the early medieval Crimea.

Key words: Byzantium, Crimea, Christian iconography, the entrance to Jerusalem, the holy rider, finger rings, amulets. Citation. Khairedinova E.A. Finger Ring Amulets with the Image of the Holy Rider of the 7th Century from the Crimea. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2021, vol. 26, no. 6, pp. 52-67. (in Russian). DOI:

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Finger Ring Amulets with the Image of the Holy Rider of the 7th Century from the Crimea by Khairedinova E.A. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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