Types of maces in the culture of Early Medieval Prussians

Kulakov V.I. (Moscow, Russian Federation)


             page 97103


There are two known versions of maces in the culture of early medieval Prussians: staffs and krivula (crooked staffs). The data presented in this article has allowed the author to draw the following preliminary conclusions about the use of various forms of maces by the Prussians: (1) In the Early Middle Ages (presumably already at the beginning of the first century AD), the population of the southeastern Baltic used staffs/maces with different tops symbolizing the social status of its owner. (2) A mace, which had obviously no practical significance judging by its insignificant length, can be seen in the left hand of Prussian stone sculptures, depicting legendary princes Bruteno and Widewuto. In the sculptures right hand, there is a sacrificial drinking horn. Obviously, both a mace and a horn were attributes necessary for offering sacrifices. (3) Curved branches of the krivula trees, which belonged to priests of various ranks and specialties, were primarily of ceremonial significance. Judging by the preservation state of the Insterburg collection exhibits, such krivulas were used by the Prussians including in the Modern Era. (4) With a certain degree of caution, it can be assumed that in the pre-order time straight staffs/maces were among sacrificial attributes of the Prussian society representatives of various social ranks. Priests of different levels used crooked staffs (krivula) in the course of religious ceremonies.

Key words: the Prussians, period of the Early Middle Ages, attributes, social and cult values.


DOI: 10.20874/2071-0437-2019-45-2-097-103


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Submitted: 09.04.2019

Accepted: 01.04.2019

Article is published: 28.06.2019


V.I. Kulakov

Institute of Archeology RAS, Dm Ulyanova st., 19, Moscow, 117036, Russian Federation