Charm pendants found among the Roman-time antiquities of the south-eastern Baltic region 

Kulakov V.I. (Moscow, Russian Federation)


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The article is aimed at tracing the origin of Roman pendants (referred to as charms in Baltic archaeology), dating them and, if possible, determining their semantic meaning. The analysis of these artefacts, found among the antiquities from the mouth of the Vistula River and south-eastern Baltic states, leads to the following conclusions. Hellenistic glass pendants in the form of amphorisks were supposedly the predecessors of charm pendants in question. In the early Roman time, German masters began to imitate them in the form of amber 8-shaped pendants. On the western edge of the Baltic world, these pendants appeared in phase C1b. In the Masurian Lake District, bronze charm pendants of the subtypes Mączyńska 530a, 530 spread somewhat earlier. They were a symbol of the divine power of Donar/Heracles, displaying his club. Pendants in the form of pinheads, occasionally found among the antiquities of the Aesti in the final phase of Roman time, are genetically ascending to these finds. Presumably, they can be associated with Scandinavian two-eyed hollow pendants, which were used to keep incense. In the Merovingian era, the tradition of using these types of pendants among the Prussians faded.

Key words: south-east Baltic, pendants, Mace of Heracles/Donar.


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

Submitted: 21.10.2019

Accepted: 19.12.2019

Article is published: 02.03.2020


Kulakov V.I.

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