The Swastika: The Earliest Known Symbol & its Migrations
Dispersion of the Swastika
sometimes adorning the corners of the tunics and togas as a large medallion, as shown in the figure. (1)
Waring, in his "Ceramic Art in Remote Ages," discoursing upon the Swastika,
which he calls fylfot, shows in pl. 43, fig. 2 (quoting from Delamare), the base of a column from a ruined roman building in Algeria (fig. 137), on the torus of which are engraved two Swastikas, the arms crossing at right angles, all ends bent at right angles to the left. There are other figures (five and six on the same plate) of Swastikas from a roman mosaic pavement in Algeria. Instead of being square, however, or at right angles, as might ordinarily be expected from mosaic, they are ogee. In one of the specimens the ogee ends finish in a point; in the other they finish in a spiral volute turning upon itself. The Swastika has been found on a tombstone in Algeria. (2)
Mr. R. B. Mcleod, of Invergordon Castle, Ross-shire, Scotland, reported (3) that, on looking over some curious bronze ingots captured at Coomassee in 1874, during the late Ashantee war, by Captain Eden, in whose possession they were at Inverness, he had found some marked with the Swastika sign (fig. 138). These
specimens were claimed to be aboriginal, but whether the marks were cast or stamped in the ingot is not stated.
Classical Occident --- Mediterranean.
Greece and the Islands of Cyprus, Rhodes, Melos, and Thera.
Swastika has been discovered in Greece and in the islands of Archipelago
on objects of bronze an gold, but the principal vehicle was pottery; and
of these the greatest number were the painted vases. It is remarkable
that the vases on which the Swastika appears in the largest proportion
should be the oldest, those belonging to the Archaic period. Those already
shown as having been found at Naukratis, in Egypt, are assigned by Mr.
Flinders Petrie to the sixth and fifth centuries B. C., and their presence
is accounted for by migrations from Greece.
The Greek and Egyptian meander not the same as the Swastika. --- Professor Goodyear says: (4) "There is no proposition in archæology which can be so easily demonstrated as the assertion that the Swastika is originally a fragment of the Egyptian meander, provided Greek geometric vases are called in evidence."
Egyptian meander here means the Greek fret. Despite the ease with which he says it can be demonstrated that the Swastika was originally a fragment of the Egyptian meander, and with all respect for the opinion of so profound a student of classic ornament, doubts must arise as to the existence of the evidence necessary to prove his proposition. Figs. 139, 140, 141 and 142
1. Forrer, "Die Gräber- und Textilfunde von Achmim- Panopolis." p. 20. [Back]
2. Bull. Soc. Francaise de mumism. ct d'archéol., II, pl. 3, p.3. Back
3. "Ilios," p. 353. Back
4. "Grammar of the Lotus," p. 352. Back