Zmeeviki

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Zmeeviki

 

(snake amulets), ancient pendant amulets made of bronze or copper and less frequently of silver, gold, or stone; they were usually circular or oval, but sometimes octagonal. On the obverse, the zmeeviki had representations of Christian saints; on the reverse were human heads or figures, bordered by six to 14 snakes (hence the name), and incantational inscriptions. An ability to protect against calamities and illnesses was ascribed to the zmeeviki. The Byzantine ones are the oldest in existence. The best known of the ancient Russian zmeeviki is the so-called Chernigov Grivna, which dates from the llth century. It was found in 1821; judging from the inscription, it belonged to Vladimir Monomakh.

REFERENCES

Orlov, A. S. “Amulety ‘Zmeeviki’ Istoricheskogo muzeia.” In the book Otchet Gosudarstvennogo istoricheskogo muzeia za 1916–1925 gg. Moscow, 1926, supplement 5.
Rybakov, B. A. Remeslo drevnei Rusi. [Moscow] 1948.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.