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RE: Re: [sig] Use of the cross of St George in 12th/13thC Rus?

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  • L.M. Kies
    Poklon ot Sofya! ... I m assuming you ve found Paul Wickenden s article: http://www.goldschp.net/archive/rusheraldry.html This is what I know about the
    Message 1 of 3 , May 21, 2007
      Poklon ot Sofya!

      --- "Sam W (wOOt / Kotek" <wootduosmaster@...>wrote:
      >> Was the St Georges cross used as a device/banner in
      >> pre-mongol Rus'?
      >> Also, what about dyed horse tails?
      >------- Original Message -------

      I'm assuming you've found Paul Wickenden's article:


      This is what I know about the subject, excerpted from http://www.strangelove.net/~kieser/Russia/Armor/armor.html

      "The banner, styag, was very important in battlefield communication and movement. Before battle, the army formed up around the banner and it continued to function for orientation in the chaos of combat, indicating the progress of battle, and serving as a rally point. If the enemy "reached and hewed down the banner," defeat was imminent, and this event was usually followed by the retreat of the army - the battle's result determined by the fate of the banner. For this reason, taking the banner was a major battle objective and the most intense fighting took place around it. Originally, the banner was decorated with the prince's emblem, but by the end of the 14th century, the image of Christ was placed on the banner and about that time, the banner also began to be called the znamya. Banners were also granted to certain armies, to the voyevodes, and allied princes as marks of respect and honor. (Sloan)
      The Lay of Igor's Campaign [a pre-Mongol epic poem] describes Igor's banner as a white flag on a red staff, ornamented with a red-dyed horsetail in a silver socket. (Nicolle 1996). An illustration in another of Nicolle's books shows a red banner with a gold fringe with an image of St. George, and a black horsetail. (Nicolle 1999). "

      This implies that only the princes and commanders had banners. I have not seen reference to use of the _Cross_ of St. George as a heraldic device, only the image of St. George slaying the dragon.

      Obviously variations of the cross form are prominent in the Riurikid prince symbols that Paul reproduces in his article on Russian heraldry. These symbols are similar to some of those found recorded by Kolchin (in Drevnyaya Rus Byt i Kultura) as marks on the bottoms of ceramic pots, which are apparently pre-Mongol.

      Email me off-list, and I'll send you a scan of the relevant Kolchin image. (SIG list does not accept attachments.)

      The cross of St. George would be problematic for SCA heraldry. The "St. George Cross" - a red cross on a white background - is the national flag of England and various other nations, and is prominent in the history of the Crusades. Variations of red crosses on a white background are symbols of the the Templars, the International Red Cross, etc. The "Cross of St. George", a cross pattee with an image of St. George according to Wiki, is the emblem of the "Order of St. George" which is a prestigious Russian military award. The "George Cross" - a silver cross with image of St. George - is the highest civilian award for gallantry in the British Commonwealth.

      In summary, evidence of pre-Mongol Russian heraldry is scarce - we known they had battle banners, we believe the princes put their symbols on them. We have very little evidence that petty lords, which most of us are, had such banners, but we know from the Kolchin pots that "commoners" left their mark. But the St. George Cross is not very useable in SCA armory, whether or not it was used in pre-Mongol Rus.

      I hope this helps. Paul may know more.

      K tvoim uslugam,


      Lisa M. Kies, MD aka Lady Sofya la Rus
      Mason City, IA aka Shire of Heraldshill, Calontir
      "Si no necare, sana." "Mir znachit Pax Romanov"

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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