The Swastika: The Earliest Known Symbol & its Migrations
Dispersion of the Swastika
the subject. But on the upper part of one of its faces appears an inscription, boldly and deeply incised, of forty-four characters arranged horizontally in six lines. These are of so remarkable a type as to have puzzled every philologist and paleographer who has attempted their decipherment. The late Alexander Thomson, esq., of Banchory, Scotland, circulated a photograph and description of this monument among antiquarians with a request for their decipherment of it. Various readings have been given by the learned gentlemen, who have reported it to be Hebrew, Phenician, Greek, Latin, Aryan, Irish, and Anglo-Saxon respectively. Brash (1) gives his opinion that the inscription is in debased Roman letters of a type frequently found in ancient inscriptions, its peculiarities being much influenced by the hardness of the stone at the time of cutting and the subsequent weather wear of ages. The interest of this monument to us is that the third character in the fourth line is a Swastika. It is indifferently made, the lines do not cross at right angles, two of the ends are curved, and the two others bent at a wider than right angle. There are four characters in the line closely following each other. (See. p. 797.)
The Logic stone, in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, bearing Ogam characters, contains a figure or mark reported by George M. Atkinson as a Swastika. (2)
On the Celtic crosses of Scotland certain marks appear which are elsewhere found associated with Swastika, and consequently have some relation therewith. The "Annam Stone: bears the mark of a Swastika (left) within three concentric circles, around the outside of which is a circle of dots. (3)
Ludwig Müller reports the Swastika in Scotland and Ireland on Christian tombs, associated with Latin crosses. (4)
A sculptured stone in Ireland (fig. 215) shows on the face three varieties of the cross, a Greek cross in a circle, a Swastika with square ends turned to the right, within a rectangle, and a ogee (tetraskelion) turned to the right, enclosed in a quatrefoil. (5)
An Irish bowl showed a Swastika thus . Dr. R. Munro (6) reports from the Crannog of Lesnacroghera country, Antrim, Ireland, two pieces or disks of thin bronze, repoussés (fig. 216), bearing the sign of the Swastika and having the four arms of the spirals turned to the left. The similarity of this figure with those shown on the shields of the Pima Indians of New Mexico and Arizona (figs. 257 and 258) is to be remarked. Fig. 217 shows a triskelion of symmetric spirals turned to the right. In the crannog of Lochlee, near Tarbolton, a bronze pin was found (fig. 218), the head of which was enclosed in a ring. On one side of the head was engraved a Greek Cross, on the other was a normal Swastika turned to the right. The same Crannog furnished a piece of ash wood five inches square, which had been preserved, as were all the other objects, by the peat, on which was carved a triskelion (fig. 219) after the form and style of those on the Missouri mound pottery.
Gallo Roman Period.
France. --- The employment of the Swastika in France did not cease with the Bronze
or Iron ages, but continued into the occupation of Gaul by the Romans.
Fig. 220 represents a stone altar erected in the south of France among the Pyrenees about the time of the advent of the Romans. It has a Swastika engraved on its pedestal. The upper arm has been carried beyond the body of the sign, whether by intention is not
1. "Ogam Inscribed Monuments," p. 359, pl. xlix. [Back]
2. Ibid., p. 358, pl. xlviii. Back
3. Greg, Archæologia, XLVIII, pt. 2, pl. 19, fig. 27. Back
4. "La Migration des Symboles," p. 49. Back
5. Zmigrodzki "Zur Geschichte der Suastika," taf. 6, fig. 248. Back
6. "Lake Dwellings of Europe,: p. 384, pl. 124, figs. 20-22. Back