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Amali insignia

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  • Beril Haggman
    Albareiks, One could speculate in the Gothic insignia (you seem to have documented their mentioning well) not being of Germanic origin, maybe Sassinid origin,
    Message 1 of 13 , Aug 1, 2001
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      Albareiks,

      One could speculate in the Gothic insignia (you seem
      to have documented their mentioning well) not being of Germanic
      origin, maybe Sassinid origin, as you point out.

      In the Swedish translation of _Getica_ two different
      translations in 246 and 278 are used. Once "mark of
      distinction" (utmaerkelsetecken) and once insignia
      (insignier). But that don't carry much siginificance
      compared to the latin original. Insignia are of course mainly today
      preserved within the church (for bishops and archbishops)
      but crown, spire, and apple are also still royal insignia.
      There are a number of Visigothic crowns, but they
      are used for church decoration.

      Few Ostrogothic graves preserved have as far as I know
      not yielded much and to my knowledge there are no
      identified Gothic royal graves. Remains descriptions
      in sources like _Getica_. But with no descriptions there
      it seems unlikely that something could be found elswhere
      with Cassiodorus and Ablabius unavailable.

      Good luck, though, in your search. Please keep the list
      informed if you find anything.

      Gothically



      > I am familiar with Childeric's seal, but there seems to have been a Gothic
      > insignia as well. In _History of the Goths_ Wolfram mentions such an
      > insignia several times: "The origin of the Ostrogoths had left traces not
      > only in the tribal memoria but also in their insignia" (337); "only part of
      > the royal treasure, such as the Codex Argenteus and the royal insgnia- must
      > have reached Pavia and Verona, in time, where it formed the core of a new
      > treasure" (351); Totila is described as "Clad in magnificent armor bearing
      > the royal insignia and seated on his splendid charger, he performed the
      > 'djerid,' the artistic lance ride of the steppe nomads" (360); "Aligern
      > surrendered the city of Cumae to the imperial forces and relinquished the
      > royal insignia he had continued to guard even after the death of his
      > brother," (362).
      >
      > I don't have _the Roman Empire and its Germanic Peoples_ with me, but there,
      > I believe that Wolfram indicates that the Amali used the Sassinid royal
      > insignia, which is supposedly a "crescent moon enclosed in a circle with
      > ribbons streaming on both sides." It seems to reflect earlier the
      > Faravahar: a Zoroastrian symbol, which is a winged circle that reminds me of
      > the Gothic eagle fibulae, which is also a winged circle. The main
      > difference is that the Faravahar has a man's upper body instead of an eagles
      > head on the top part of the central circle.
      >
      > In Jordanes, the royal insgnia is mentioned at least twice:
      >
      > "It appears that at the death of their king, Hermanaric, they [Ostrogoths]
      > were made a separate people by the departure of the Visigoths, and remained
      > in their country subject to the sway of the Huns; yet Vinitharius of the
      > Amali retained the insignia of his rule" (XLVIII-246) .
      >
      > "Now when Valamir was dead, the Goths fled to Thiudimer, his brother.
      > Although he had long ruled along with his brothers, yet he took the insignia
      > of his increased authority and summoned his younger brother Vidimer and
      > shared with him the cares of war, resorting to arms under compulsion"
      > (LIV-278).
      >
      > Stanko Guldescu writes about such an insignia in the History of Medieval
      > Croatia, the Hague, 1964. I found this on the internet but I can't find the
      > link right now:
      >
      > "On many shields found in Bosnia, and which antedate the Moslem conquest,
      > the typical device represented is that of the moon and star, the design
      > which appears on the shield of Theodoric and other Ostrogothic kings, as
      > well as on the mosaics that date from the period of Ostrogothic rule at
      > Ravenna. Also there is to be found on many of the oldest Bosnian gravestones
      > shields with this same device which was so popular among the Ostrogoths. The
      > German consul at Sarajevo in the last century was inspired by the noted
      > historian, Theodor Mommsen, to undertake a study of Bosnian antiquities. He
      > deduced a definite connection between the strange appearing Bosnian
      > tombstones and the Ostrogoths who ruled Bosnia and worked its mines from the
      > latter part of the fifth to at least the middle of the sixth century."
      >
      > It seems safe to say that there was an Amali royal insignia. There must
      > somewhere be either a primary source which descibes the composition of the
      > insignia in direct relation to the Goths, or a surviving artifact(s)
      > attributed to the Goths which bear a depiction of the insignia. If anyone
      > knows of any such sources or artifacts, I would be most grateful.
    • sunburst
      Hails Bertil! ... That would appear to be so. Still, it seemed to have an importance to the Amali kings after Ermanaric. ... Right, so some of these
      Message 2 of 13 , Aug 2, 2001
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        Hails Bertil!

        >One could speculate in the Gothic insignia (you seem
        >to have documented their mentioning well) not being of Germanic
        >origin, maybe Sassinid origin, as you point out.


        That would appear to be so. Still, it seemed to have an importance to the
        Amali kings after Ermanaric.

        >In the Swedish translation of _Getica_ two different
        >translations in 246 and 278 are used. Once "mark of
        >distinction" (utmaerkelsetecken) and once insignia
        >(insignier). But that don't carry much siginificance
        >compared to the latin original. Insignia are of course mainly today
        >preserved within the church (for bishops and archbishops)
        >but crown, spire, and apple are also still royal insignia.
        >There are a number of Visigothic crowns, but they
        >are used for church decoration.


        Right, so some of these references to insignia may not be to a particular
        symbol, but to some piece of regalia such as a diadem or crown.

        >Good luck, though, in your search. Please keep the list
        >informed if you find anything.


        Thank you, and if I find anything, I will let you know.

        Albareiks
      • Beril Haggman
        Albareiks, Thanks for your latest. Did some additional research but found no details on the Amali insignia. Eruli Eruli royal insignia seem to have at one
        Message 3 of 13 , Aug 3, 2001
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          Albareiks,

          Thanks for your latest. Did some additional
          research but found no details on the Amali
          insignia.

          Eruli

          Eruli royal insignia seem to have at one
          stage been taken by Lombard King Tato
          "vexillum, quod bandum appelant" (a banner). Also Rodulf's
          helmet would have been an insignia.

          Theoderic the Great (vestis regia=royal dress)

          He sported a lance and shield as we know from
          the Roek Stone and other sources.

          Totila, 6th century AD

          He is said to have a helmet, that could have
          had Iranian or Byzantine origin art work.

          Athalaric and Amalaswintha

          Seen reference that on coins they carried pilos (don't
          know what pilos is?) as head ornament. Also a collar
          cloak has been mentioned and in the case of
          Amalaswintha a tiara.

          Langobard and Visigothic kings were to some degree
          crowned. Evidence from the Monza and Guarrazar treasures).

          The wearing of trabeas by Visigothic kings is mentioned
          in some material (trabea=a cermonial toga).

          But of Amal insignia descriptions no trace so far.

          Gothically

          Bertil
        • M. Carver
          on 8/3/01 12:27 AM, Beril Haggman at mvk575b@tninet.se wrote: Athalaric and Amalaswintha Seen reference that on coins they carried pilos (don t know what pilos
          Message 4 of 13 , Aug 3, 2001
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            on 8/3/01 12:27 AM, Beril Haggman at mvk575b@... wrote:

            Athalaric and Amalaswintha

            Seen reference that on coins they carried pilos (don't
            know what pilos is?) as head ornament. Also a collar
            cloak has been mentioned and in the case of
            Amalaswintha a tiara.


            Liddell and Scott say for Pilos from classical Greek sources:

            I wool or hair made into felt, used as a lining for helmets; for shoes. II
            anything made of felt, a felt skullcap like the modern fez. 2 a felt cloth.
            3 a felt cuirass.

            Matþaius


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • sunburst
            Hails Bertil! ... Interesting. Is the pilos reference from Jordanes Pilleatai, or is there another reference for such? I have seen a number of Gothic coins,
            Message 5 of 13 , Aug 3, 2001
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              Hails Bertil!

              >Seen reference that on coins they carried pilos (don't
              >know what pilos is?) as head ornament. Also a collar
              >cloak has been mentioned and in the case of
              >Amalaswintha a tiara.


              Interesting. Is the pilos reference from Jordanes Pilleatai, or is there
              another reference for such? I have seen a number of Gothic coins, but none
              of the figures
              on them were wearing any type of felt hat (thanks Matthaiu!). Maybe Dirk
              would know if such a depiction exists?

              Albareiks
            • keth@online.no
              ... Could it be something like a Phrygian cap? I also have a picture of Amalaswinthas head, which is a bust made of smooth stone. She wears an ornament in her
              Message 6 of 13 , Aug 3, 2001
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                Matþaius wrote:

                >on 8/3/01 12:27 AM, Beril Haggman at mvk575b@... wrote:
                >
                >Athalaric and Amalaswintha
                >
                >Seen reference that on coins they carried pilos (don't
                >know what pilos is?) as head ornament. Also a collar
                >cloak has been mentioned and in the case of
                >Amalaswintha a tiara.
                >
                >
                >Liddell and Scott say for Pilos from classical Greek sources:
                >
                >I wool or hair made into felt, used as a lining for helmets; for shoes. II
                >anything made of felt, a felt skullcap like the modern fez. 2 a felt cloth.
                >3 a felt cuirass.

                Could it be something like a Phrygian cap?

                I also have a picture of Amalaswinthas head, which is a bust
                made of smooth stone. She wears an ornament in her hair that
                looks like a chain and in the front there is something that looks
                like a little medallion with 3 little hangers attached too it.
                I also have a photo of a colden medallion that show Theoderic
                en face. "rex theodericv spivsprincis" the Latin text says.
                He wears Roman attire and holds up in his left hand somthing that
                looks like an apple, and on top of the apple is a little angel(?)
                holding what lookes like a plume and a diadem. The plume could
                be a quill for writing, and the diadem looks a bit like a Greek
                omega. Maybe these are the royal insignia that you were looking
                for? Apart from that there isn't much concrete symbolism, except
                for a kind of abstract art that seems to make a point of displaying
                not symbols, but rather ornaments. What I do see, however, is
                Theoderic's monogram on top of some capitels. (stone pillars)
                By ornamental I mean flowers and wavy bands and things like that.

                What you do find are the various bird forms, but they wouldn't
                be vultures, I don't think, because there are no such birds
                in Northern Europe, though there might be some in Iran (?)
                Then there are the many belt clasps and fibulae. But here
                to the decorative patterns are remarkably abstract. Definitely
                not symbolic in the sense of the later heraldic symbolism.
                Perhaps these were 12th century artists who represented
                Theoderic in the style of the artist's own century, which caused
                him to look like a 12th century knight with shield and lance?
                In that case heraldic symbols may have been added to the shield
                by the artist. But such symbols probably only represented
                the artist idea of what kind of "coat of arms" the legendary
                king might have used. I do see a star on one medallian from Spain,
                but from the context (Maria with Child) it is clear that it is
                the Star of Bethlehem. I do not recall seeing many stars in
                Germanic ornament/symbolism. Usually what you see, if you look
                closely, are sometimes serpents, one-headed and two-headed ones.
                Or other animals. Also many small concentric circles often
                stamped on combs and ornaments such as belt buckles. Does any
                one know what they might have signified? Crescents I have seen
                as ornament/symbols in some cases, but not often. Crescent with
                star sounds like the Turkish flag to me.

                Best regards
                Keth
              • Beril Haggman
                Keth, So the question is if Amalaswintha was of of Amal royal blood? Probably yes as Ermanaric was Theoderic s forefather. But Albareiks is looking for Amali
                Message 7 of 13 , Aug 3, 2001
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                  Keth,

                  So the question is if Amalaswintha was of
                  of Amal royal blood? Probably yes as
                  Ermanaric was Theoderic's forefather.
                  But Albareiks is looking for Amali insignia
                  from an earlier time, before, I guess, Bysantian
                  influence was becoming notecable.

                  Older insignia (without details) are mentioned
                  in _Getica_ in connection for instance once
                  with King Tiudimir.

                  Gothically

                  Bertil

                  Maybe these are the royal insignia that you were looking
                  for?
                • dirk@smra.co.uk
                  Hi Keth and the others, there is a depiction of a noble Roman women (believed to be Amalasuentha, but not certain) wearing this Phrygian Cap. I can positively
                  Message 8 of 13 , Aug 6, 2001
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                    Hi Keth and the others,

                    there is a depiction of a noble Roman women (believed to be
                    Amalasuentha, but not certain) wearing this Phrygian Cap. I can
                    positively say that there are no coins of any Ostrogothic ruler
                    showing that type of head-gear. I remember that as a sign of royalty,
                    an Ostrogothic king wore his hair unparted, but I am not sure about
                    the exact source!

                    The depiction of Theoderic on the gold medallion shows him holding a
                    globe with the Roman goddess victory on top. Otherwise, his atire is
                    that of a noble Roman. There is no depiction of Amalasuentha on any
                    coin. Not even here name appears on a coin. There is also no portrait
                    of Athalaricus. Theodahat was the first and only Ostrogothic rule to
                    show his real, life-like portray on a coin. On these coins he is
                    wearing what some people called a Spangenhelm, others despribed it as
                    crown of Italy. He wears a large cross around his neck. Theodahatus is
                    depicted as a slightly fat man, with neck-long hair and a moustache.
                    The reverse is again the Roman Victory.

                    On coins of Baduila, the king is presented in frontal view. The
                    portrait is highly stylised, but a moustache is discernable on better
                    specimines. Baduila also wears the 'Spangenhelm' (i.e. crown of
                    Italy). None of the Ostrogothic coins show an Amal insignum of any
                    type. However, as I said earlier, the Theodric monogramme seemed to
                    have been used in that way on coins, artwork and documents.

                    cheers,
                    Dirk





                    --- In gothic-l@y..., keth@o... wrote:
                    > Matþaius wrote:
                    >
                    > >on 8/3/01 12:27 AM, Beril Haggman at mvk575b@t... wrote:
                    > >
                    > >Athalaric and Amalaswintha
                    > >
                    > >Seen reference that on coins they carried pilos (don't
                    > >know what pilos is?) as head ornament. Also a collar
                    > >cloak has been mentioned and in the case of
                    > >Amalaswintha a tiara.
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >Liddell and Scott say for Pilos from classical Greek sources:
                    > >
                    > >I wool or hair made into felt, used as a lining for helmets; for
                    shoes. II
                    > >anything made of felt, a felt skullcap like the modern fez. 2 a
                    felt cloth.
                    > >3 a felt cuirass.
                    >
                    > Could it be something like a Phrygian cap?
                    >
                    > I also have a picture of Amalaswinthas head, which is a bust
                    > made of smooth stone. She wears an ornament in her hair that
                    > looks like a chain and in the front there is something that looks
                    > like a little medallion with 3 little hangers attached too it.
                    > I also have a photo of a colden medallion that show Theoderic
                    > en face. "rex theodericv spivsprincis" the Latin text says.
                    > He wears Roman attire and holds up in his left hand somthing that
                    > looks like an apple, and on top of the apple is a little angel(?)
                    > holding what lookes like a plume and a diadem. The plume could
                    > be a quill for writing, and the diadem looks a bit like a Greek
                    > omega. Maybe these are the royal insignia that you were looking
                    > for? Apart from that there isn't much concrete symbolism, except
                    > for a kind of abstract art that seems to make a point of displaying
                    > not symbols, but rather ornaments. What I do see, however, is
                    > Theoderic's monogram on top of some capitels. (stone pillars)
                    > By ornamental I mean flowers and wavy bands and things like that.
                    >
                    > What you do find are the various bird forms, but they wouldn't
                    > be vultures, I don't think, because there are no such birds
                    > in Northern Europe, though there might be some in Iran (?)
                    > Then there are the many belt clasps and fibulae. But here
                    > to the decorative patterns are remarkably abstract. Definitely
                    > not symbolic in the sense of the later heraldic symbolism.
                    > Perhaps these were 12th century artists who represented
                    > Theoderic in the style of the artist's own century, which caused
                    > him to look like a 12th century knight with shield and lance?
                    > In that case heraldic symbols may have been added to the shield
                    > by the artist. But such symbols probably only represented
                    > the artist idea of what kind of "coat of arms" the legendary
                    > king might have used. I do see a star on one medallian from Spain,
                    > but from the context (Maria with Child) it is clear that it is
                    > the Star of Bethlehem. I do not recall seeing many stars in
                    > Germanic ornament/symbolism. Usually what you see, if you look
                    > closely, are sometimes serpents, one-headed and two-headed ones.
                    > Or other animals. Also many small concentric circles often
                    > stamped on combs and ornaments such as belt buckles. Does any
                    > one know what they might have signified? Crescents I have seen
                    > as ornament/symbols in some cases, but not often. Crescent with
                    > star sounds like the Turkish flag to me.
                    >
                    > Best regards
                    > Keth
                  • Francisc Czobor
                    ... I have read somewhere that the bird-shaped fibulae of Goths and Gepids, representing birds of prey, are due to Iranic influence. On the other hand, the
                    Message 9 of 13 , Aug 7, 2001
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                      --- In gothic-l@y..., keth@o... wrote:
                      > ...
                      > What you do find are the various bird forms, but they wouldn't
                      > be vultures, I don't think, because there are no such birds
                      > in Northern Europe, though there might be some in Iran (?)

                      I have read somewhere that the bird-shaped fibulae of Goths and
                      Gepids, representing birds of prey, are due to Iranic influence.
                      On the other hand, the Goths knew the eagles, since there is a word
                      for these birds in Gothic: ara, having cognates in other Germanic
                      languages (OE earn, Eng. ern(e), MLG arn, Germ. dial. Aar, etc.)

                      Francisc
                    • dirk@smra.co.uk
                      ... Hi Francisc, eagles lived all over Europe in these days and they are still living in the Alps and other parts and they played an important role in the
                      Message 10 of 13 , Aug 7, 2001
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                        --- In gothic-l@y..., "Francisc Czobor" <czobor@c...> wrote:
                        > --- In gothic-l@y..., keth@o... wrote:
                        > > ...
                        > > What you do find are the various bird forms, but they wouldn't
                        > > be vultures, I don't think, because there are no such birds
                        > > in Northern Europe, though there might be some in Iran (?)
                        >
                        > I have read somewhere that the bird-shaped fibulae of Goths and
                        > Gepids, representing birds of prey, are due to Iranic influence.
                        > On the other hand, the Goths knew the eagles, since there is a word
                        > for these birds in Gothic: ara, having cognates in other Germanic
                        > languages (OE earn, Eng. ern(e), MLG arn, Germ. dial. Aar, etc.)
                        >
                        > Francisc

                        Hi Francisc,

                        eagles lived all over Europe in these days and they are still living
                        in the Alps and other parts and they played an important role in the
                        mythology of many peoples. For the Romans it was usually associated
                        with the dead and the eagle carried the soul of the dead away to
                        heaven. Ostrogothic 40-nummi coins show a sitting Eagle, spreading its
                        wings and turning its head backwards. This eagle is, most likely
                        aluding to Roman traditions rather than Gothic beliefs, as this would
                        be in keeping with the design on other Ostrogothic coins (Romulus and
                        Remus, Roma-head, Victory, etc.)

                        cheers,

                        Dirk
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