Wednesday 7 May 2014


In Serbian, there are two main words for father: tata and otac (pronounced otats) and four words for mother: mama, mati, matera, majka.

tat(a) - father
mat(a) = root for mother in Slavic languages

In Serbian expression TATAMATA means someone who knows all and can do all. Literal meaning of this expression is "father and mother", "parent", "ancestor", "progenitor", "creator", the one from which all knowledge comes from.

In Serbian we also have these two words:

baba (grandmother), deda (grandfather). 

"Baba"  is a type of stone statue, an idol whose meaning and purpose is still debated. It is presumed that they are associated with the cult of the ancestors. These stone images, anthropomorphic stone sculptures, range in height from 1 to 4 m. 

The word baba in Serbian also means "kamen, utvrda" (stone, fortress). We see this from the following names for fortresses in Serbia: Baba "grad Orlovića Pavla" (Baba, the fortress of Orlović Pavle, 10 km east of Paraćin; Baba Vida "Tvrdava Vidin" (Vidin fortress) and Baba Finka "Utvrdenje Hajduk Veljka" (The fortress of Hajduk Veljko). So baba just means a stone.

The earliest anthropomorphic stelae date to the 4th millennium BC, and are associated with the early Bronze Age Yamna Horizon, in particular with the Kemi Oba culture of the Crimea and adjacent steppe region. Those in Ukraine number around three hundred, most of them very crude stone slabs with a simple schematic protruding head and a few features such as eyes or breasts carved into the stone. Some twenty specimens, known as statue menhirs, are more complex, featuring ornaments, weapons, human or animal figures.

The simple, early type of anthropomorphic stelae are also found in the Alpine region of Italy, southern France and Portugal. Examples have also been found in Bulgaria at Plachidol, Vezevero, and Durankulak. The example illustrated above was found at Hamangia-Baia, Romania.

The distribution of later stelae is limited in the west by the Odessa district, Podolsk province, Galicia, Kalisz province, Prussia; in the south by Kacha River, Crimea; in the south-east by Kuma River in the Stavropol province and Kuban region; in the north by Minsk province and Oboyan district of the Kursk province (in some opinions even the Ryazan province), Ahtyr district in the Kharkov province, Voronej province, Balash and Atkar districts in the Saratov province to the banks of Samara River in Buzuluk districts in the Samara province, in the east they are spread in the Kyrgyz (Kazakh) steppe to the banks of the Irtysh River and to Turkestan (near Issyk Kul, Tokmak district), then in upper courses of rivers Tom and Yenisei, in Sagai steppe in Mongolia (according to Potanin and Yadrintseva).

The Cimmerians of the early 1st millennium BC left a small number (about ten are known) of distinctive stone stelae. Another four or five "deer stones" dating to the same time are known from the northern Caucasus.

From the 7th century BC, Scythian tribes began to dominate the Pontic steppe. They were in turn displaced by the Sarmatians from the 2nd century BC, except in Crimea, where they persisted for a few centuries longer. These peoples left carefully crafted stone stelae, with all features cut in deep relief.

Early Slavic stelae are again more primitive. There are some thirty sites of the middle Dniestr region where such anthropomorphic figures were found. The most famous of these is the Zbruch Idol (c. 10th century), a post measuring about 3 meters, with four faces under a single pointed hat (c.f. Svetovid). Boris Rybakov argued for identification of the faces with the gods Perun, Makosh, Lado and Veles.

The following picture shows examples of Baba statues from Eurasian steppes: 1. Stone statue standing above a burial site in Central Asia. 2. A statue presently standing in the garden of the Bishkek museum, Kyrgyzstan. 3. Scythian statue holding a cylindrical vessel from Kiev, Ukraine. 4. Statue from the Autonomous Republic of Tuva, Russia. 5. From the city of Taraz - Jambul Oblast of Kazakhstan (2).

There are two types of "Baba" statues.

First type are the statues of male warriors, fully armed, are made of monolithic boulders that were first roughly hewn, then skillfully turned into low relief shapes with a chisel. Most of these warriors were portrayed as wearing a helmet, a broad belt with a sword, battle axe, and a heavy necklace testifying to their status. Typically, there were three or four items found on them – horn, quiver, dagger, and/or sword. These are male ancestor, progenitor statues. Sometimes these male ancestor statues are just phallic shaped standing stones.

Second type are statues portraying a woman with naked breasts and hands near or on her vagina. These are female progenitor statues. Sometimes these statues are stylized female shaped standing stones.

Noted Ukrainian archaeologist, Terenozhkin, insisted that the stone statues were placed along the perimeter of the Scythian state,  and that they were regarded as deities that stood guard of the Scythian lands.

The origin of the name Baba is unclear. It could be derived from Slavic word baba meaning grandmother, progenitor. In Serbian word "babica" means midwife, word "babičenje" means labour. The name can equally come from from Turkic word baba meaning father.

It is very interesting that we find these Baba statues in the north of Ireland, in the area which was in the Early medieval times inhabited by people of Cruithin (Pictish) origin. 

Baba stones:



Northern Ireland



These statues are extremely unusual for Ireland. We don't know their exact original location or whether there were more of these statues around Ireland. Were these boundary markers of the western border of the Scythian empire?
Crom Cruach or Cromm Crúaich, also known as Cenn Cruach or Cenncroithi, was a deity in pre-Christian Ireland, reputedly propitiated with human sacrifice, whose worship is said to have been ended by St. Patrick. According to an Irish dinsenchas ("place-lore") poem in the 12th century Book of Leinster, Crom Cruach's cult image, consisting of a gold figure surrounded by twelve stone figures, stood on Magh Slécht ("the plain of prostration") in County Cavan, and was propitiated with first-born sacrifice in exchange for good yields of milk and grain. He is related to the later mythological and folkloric figure Crom Dubh. The festival for Crom Cruach is called Domhnach Crom Dubh, Crom Dubh Sunday.
Serbian tradition records existence of stone circles with a central stone or totem in the centre of the circle. The main standing stone or totem, was called Baba, meaning progenitor. 

Here is an example of one of those stone "baba" stones from Stip in Makedonia:

What is very interesting is that it seems that Baba stones are linked to calendar and the end of the year.

In Christian chronicles from 13th century, pagans were called "babuni", probably because they made and worshiped stone idols called baba. These babuni were in Christian chronicles accused of making and worshipping stone idols. These stone idols were in Christian chronicles named as "Kumir".

Below are two baba stones. First picture is Scythian Baba stone. The other picture is baba, kumir, stećak standing stone from Bosnia. 

Please note how the face is created with the the same symbol. This is glagolitic letter V, first letter of words vid (sight, light, sun), vede (knowledge). This is the first letter of the name of the sun god Vid, sveti Vid, Svetovid. The design looks similar to the ideogram for Leo (zodiac). The Leo constellation is connected in almost every way to the sun. In the zodiac, Leo is a fire sign and represents those born in the summer months. In ancient times, the constellation lined up almost perfectly with the summer solstice. Leo's brightest star, Regulus, was often called the "Red Flame" and was thought to contribute to the heat of summer. Today middle of the Leo falls on the 2nd of August, the day of thundering sun Ilios, Perun, Crom Dubh. There are numerous representations of thunder and sun gods as well as mother goddesses, goddesses of the land and fertility standing on lions, or between lions. It is the symbol of the longest day, the position on which the sun is highest in sky, and closest to the equator.

The following picture is very interesting. According to the excellent book "STEĆCI, LAŽ I BOGUMILI", it shows Višnji Bog (High God) with his Son Božić (Little god). These type of stone images date from the time of mixed christian pagan religion which existed in Serbia called "Poluverci" which means half believers. These people Christianized old Slavic gods Svarog and Svarožić (Dabog, Hromi daba, Chrom Dubh) and continued worshiping them as Father and son. Please note the same glagolitic symbol V for Vid, Sight, Light, Sun.

Here is another example of Baba stone from Bosnia. Please note the white horse of Svetovid symbolizing the summer solstice under the sun cross:

Crom Dubh was then probably regarded as the progenitor, the ancestor of the Fomori, Pomori, Pomorjani in the same way that Hromi Daba was regarded as progenitor of the Serbs.

This is anthropomorphic "cross", originally probably a Baba stone, on the rock-monastery of Skellig Michael in county Kerry:

Here is another one from Kilbroney county Down:

The following three anthropomorphic "crosses", Baba stones belong to the same type. In the first row, the first one is Scythian Baba standing stone from Ukraine, the second one is Baba, kumir, stećak standing stones from Bosnia. In the second row, the first one is fallen Baba standing stone from Bulgaria, and the second one is an anthropomorphic "cross", Baba stone from Kilbroney, county Down, Ireland. These are all identical, prechristian symbols. 

What is very interesting is that these type of crosses are in Hungary called "Cuman" Crosses. 

In medieval times, the tradition of erecting Baba stones was continued by Cumans, a nomadic Turkic tribe of uncertain origin. 
Cumans inhabited a shifting area north of the Black Sea and along the Volga River known as Cumania, where the Cuman-Kipchaks meddled in the politics of the Caucasus and Khwarezm. Many eventually settled to the west of the Black Sea, influencing the politics of Kievan Rus', the Golden Horde, the Second Bulgarian Empire, Serbia, the Kingdom of Hungary, Moldavia, Georgia and Wallachia. Cuman and Kipchak tribes joined politically to create the Cuman-Kipchak confederation. The Cumans were nomadic warriors of the Eurasian steppe who exerted an enduring impact on the medieval Balkans. The basic instrument of Cuman political success was military force, which dominated each of the warring Balkan factions. Groups of the Cumans settled and mingled with the local population in regions of the Balkans. Those Cumans that settled in the Balkans were the founders of three successive Bulgarian dynasties (Asenids, Terterids, and Shishmanids) and the Wallachian dynasty (Basarabids). But, in the cases of the Basarab and Asenid dynasties, medieval documents refer to them as Vlach (Romanian) dynasties. They played an active role in Byzantium, the Kingdom of Hungary, and Serbia, with Cuman immigrants being integrated into each country's elite.
The Cumans originally lived east of the large bend of the Yellow River in China. They entered the grassland of Eastern Europe in the 11th century, from where they continued to assault the Byzantine Empire, the Kingdom of Hungary, and Kievan Rus'. The vast territory of the Cuman-Kipchak realm consisted of loosely connected tribal units who were the dominant military force but were never politically united by a strong central power. There was no state or empire of Cumania. Despite their historical status, the ethnic origins of the Cumanians are uncertain. The Cumans were reported to have blond hair, although their anthropological characteristics suggests that their geographical origin might be in Inner-Asia, South-Siberia, or as Istvan Vassary states - east of the Yellow River in China. al Marwazi, in his writings (c. 1120) states that the 'Qun" people came from the northern Chinese borders - "the land of Qitay" (possibly during a part of a migration from further east). After leaving the lands of the Kitans, they entered the territory of the Shari/Sari people. From there the Cumans eventually reached the southern Russian steppes. It cannot be concluded whether the Cumans conquered the Kipchaks or simply represent the western mass of largely Kipchak-Turkic speaking tribes.

The name ‘Kipchak’/’Qipcak’ was not in use amongst the Cumans; ‘Qun’, Quman' was used. The Cumans' name in German was Falones, Phalagi, Valvi, Valewen, Valani. In Polish it was Połowcy, Plauci (Kumanowie), in Russian it was Половцы, Polovtsy, in Ukrainian it was Половці, Polovtsi, in Czech it was Plavci. German name mean "yellow", in reference to the color of the Cumans' hair. The Slavic word Polov, Plau, Plav means Blue but also Blond. Kuman means "pale yellow" in Turkic. So all the people who came in contact with Cumans named them "Golden", "Blond", because they must have been unusually blond compared with all the people that they came in contact with. This is very unusual for Turkic people and Central Asian people of Mongol origin. Genetically, Cuman people are Europeans of mostly R1a, G2a and R1b genetic types.
In his work "Cumans in medieval Serbia", Aleksandar Uzelac says: 
First contacts between Cumans and Serbs took place at the end of the 11th – beginning of the 12th century. Cuman presence in Serbian lands is attested from mid 13th century, when, according to a western contemporary source, group of nomads fled from Hungary and found refuge in Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia during the Mongol invasion (1241-1242). As mercenaries, Cumans participated in the struggle between king Stephen Uroš I and his son Stephen Dragutin in the years of c.1271-1276. Dramrgutins younger brother and successor king Stephen Uroš II Milutin (1282-1321) also employed Cuman horsemen, totaling 2.000 in number, thus being the largest foreign military contingent in Medieval Serbia. They apparently also represented royal bodyguard. In 1312 they were ceded to Byzantine emperor Andronicus II. Eight years later, Milutin vainly insisted on their return; eventually in 1327 Cumans were settled on Aegean islands.In Serbian sources written in the first half of the 14th century (Lives of Serbian kings, by archbishop Daniel II and his successor) Cumans were always mentioned under their proper name; distinguished from other eastern peoples – Tatars, Alans and Turks. In later texts (so-called Old Serbian Chronicles, dated from late 14th century) this trait fades, due to the temporal distance from the events they describe and also due to the penetration of byzantine manner of using archaic instead of contemporary ethnonyms in Serbian medieval literature. Therefore, its not surprising that in those documents one can find term Scythians instead of Cumans. Another result of this process was that Cuman acquired new meaning "heathen, pagan", as in the text commonly known as Bulgarian Apocryphal Chronicle. In the royal charters of Nemanjić dynasty dated from 13th-14th century, there are many personal names and place-names of Cuman origin. Their frequency and diffusion indicates that the influence of those resilient, warlike and omnipresent nomads, although indirectly, had been far greater in Medieval Serbia than one can discern from scarce information regarding their military service. Their stronghold was in the Area of south Carpathian mountains of Eastern Serbia. 
So Cumans continued the Scythian tradition of building Baba stone idols and both Romans and Serbs considered Cumans to be descendants of Scythians. But did Cumans build the "Cuman" crosses? 

Considering that we know that word Cuman became synonym for "pagan", were these crosses erected by Cumans as in Cuman people or Cumans as in Pagans? A lot of the "Cuman" Crosses, Cumirs, Kumirs, have Slavic religious symbols, like solar wheel of Svetovid:

Like on this "Solar" cross from Romania: 

Here are some more anthropomorphic crosses from across Central Europe. First row: Bosnia, Serbia, Albania (Serbian Monastery), Romania, Hungary. Second row Belarus.

The same areas reported as Cuman Strongholds in medieval Balkans are also areas where we find Vlahs, Celts. These are the areas along the Carpathian mountains and Balkan mountains. These are the same areas where we find Celtic Crosses and High Concentration of R1b Y chromosome. There are numerous Celtic archaeological finds from all over Balkans. Are there any people whose name sounds similar to Cumani but who are associated with Celts? 

There are: Cimmerians, Cimbri, Cumru. 
The Cimmerians or Kimmerians (Greek: Κιμμέριοι, Kimmerioi) were an ancient Indo-European people living north of the Caucasus and the Sea of Azov as early as 1300 BC. Herodotus thought the Cimmerians and the Thracians closely related, writing that both peoples originally inhabited the northern shore of the Black Sea, and both were displaced about 700 BC, by invaders from the east. Whereas the Cimmerians would have departed this ancestral homeland by heading east and south across the Caucasus, the Thracians migrated southwest into the Balkans, where they established a successful and long-lived culture. Premodern historians asserted Cimmerian descent for the Celts or the Germans, arguing from the similarity of Cimmerii to Cimbri or Cymry. It is unlikely that either Proto-Celtic or Proto-Germanic entered western Europe as late as the 7th century BC; their formation was commonly associated with the Bronze Age Urnfield and Nordic Bronze Age cultures, respectively. It is, however, conceivable that a small-scale (in terms of population) 8th century "Thraco-Cimmerian" migration triggered cultural changes that contributed to the transformation of the Urnfield culture into the Hallstatt C culture, ushering in the European Iron Age. Later Cimmerian remnant groups may have spread as far as to the Nordic Countries and the Rhine River. An example is the Cimbri tribe, considered to be a Germanic tribe hailing from the Himmerland (Old Danish Himber sysæl) region in northern Denmark.
Serbian medieval Nemanjić dynasty claimed descent from Cimmerians. 

What happened here? Did Cumans mix with Cimerians, Celtic Vlahs and Slavs and create a hybrid culture in Central Europe? Probably. But all these people also shared the same old cultural roots which go back to the times of Scythians and Cimmerians.  

We find thousands of these anthropomorphic crosses in the Central Europe, in the area between Balkans and Baltic which was in medieval times inhabited mostly by Slavs. It seems that the only other place where they are found in Europe is Ireland.

Who were the people who built these Baba stones and anthropomorphic crosses in Ireland? How and when did they arrive there, and how come not a word can be read about them in any modern history of Ireland? The old histories of Ireland are not so silent. The old histories talk about Scythians who came to Ireland from the Caspian sea, but these old histories are ignored by modern historians as "fanciful" and "ridiculous". 
In his book "The origin of the Irish race" Mallory expressed scepticism regarding the book if invasions and as an example of how fanciful it is it quoted the part which tells us how the Nemedians sailed from the Caspian Sea all the way to Ireland. Mallory says that this being impossible, the chapter is and example of a later construction which was composed to link the Irish to Scythians and ultimately Christianity. In my opinion this exact chapter certifies that the book of Invasions was compiled from actual old histories. It was later doctored to suit changing ethnic, political and religious needs, but the original material was not an invention but a true description of events that actually happened. 

It seems that a lot of this "Scythian" heritage in Ireland is concentrated in the North of Ireland, in the area which was in the Early medieval times inhabited by people of Cruithin (Pictish) origin. This is also the place where we find Dál Riata and their king Gabran, Raven (or maybe Goat or Horse). In my next post I will talk about Gabran his son Aed dan and their patron saint Golub ban. 

One last thing:

In Irish mythology, the Badb or Badhbh (Pronounced baib, bab) is a war goddess. She is known to cause fear and confusion among soldiers in order to move the tide of battle to her favoured side. In Irish legends, Badb is associated with war and death, appearing either to foreshadow imminent bloodshed or to participate in battles, where she creates confusion among the soldiers. As a harbinger of doom, she appears in a number of different guises, of which the most common are an old hag and a screaming raven or crow. The fact that war goddess Badb appears as a raven is interested considering that raven (bran, vran) was the war symbol of Continental Celts (Gals). Gal actually means Raven in an archaic south Serbian dialect. 
The fact that she appears as an old hag as well creates another very interesting possibility. Baba in Slavic languages means grandmother, old hag. Did baba stone statue get its name from Badb or did Badb get its name from Baba statues? The first Baba statues of this type were found in Ukraine. I wander which part of Ukraine. Was it Galicia....According to archaeological data, Celts came to the Balkans from Galicia. Galician symbol is a raven crow. Badb was one of the Tuatha, the northerners. Ulster, the land of Ulaid was the only place where we find La Tene, central European Celtic artefacts, and this is where we find warrior Scythian Baba statues. 

Does this then put equality sign between Celts and Scythians? La Tene organic designs are predated with exactly the same early Scythian designs....

This could be very important and is definitely worth exploring in more detail...


  1. Very, very interesting Serbian Irish. I've never heard of them before.

  2. especially cumans

  3. The ancestor idols among Abraham's Kushite people were called "teraphim" which relates to the word tera, meaning priest. The ruler-priest lines passed these from the father to the son appointed to rule. It appears that there was always a set, one male and one female. These too often had a cross shape, not unlike the Egyptian ankh.

  4. This is really fascinating to read. I'm Serbian, and reading your article put a few things I encountered growing up into perspective. Interestingly enough, my husband is of Irish origin. Our respective cultures may have more in common than we realize

  5. To your coupling of Crom Cruach/Dubh and stone rings in Serbia, you may want to connect the circle called Lough Gur (Limerick). It is the largest in Ireland but has little of the elaboration seen at Avebury plus Stonehenge in England (but then neither do most of the rest of the other 900 or so stone rings in the British Isles).
    The connection with Crom and the Lough Gur circle comes with the Irish name of Rothana Cruim Dubh translating as Wheel/Ring/Circle of Crom. Nor is this the only Crom linkage with Irish stone rings. On Magh Slecht (= Plain of Prostations)isc said to stand the Killycluggin stone circle. Its broken slab(s) are thought to connect with the reference in the Dinnshenchus (= Place-lore [of Ire.]) story of Patrick destroying the shrine of Crom. This smacks to me of proving just how important the cult of Crom was, given that it seems the early Irish Church had to invoke the figure of Patrick in the account of the destruction of Crom's shrine, whereas in other places where early Christianity occurs anything Pre-Christian is simply absorbed not destroyed.

    1. Thank you Harry. I already wrote two posts about Crom Dubh and Grange Circle. You can find them here:

      Crom Dubh is one of the most important mythological characters preserved in the world. It gives us the key for unlocking pretty much all the ancient religious beliefs which are linked to R1(a or b) haplogroup. Irish Crom Dubh, Serbian Hromi Daba are just the remnants of the old Grom Div, the Thunder Giant, The original Sky God of the R1 people...

  6. Here's some more. Regrettably there's no dates.

  7. Very old cross culture in Alps

  8. I added any information on taw and tanit cult.

  9. I would like to add that "kum" in Bulgaria is the "best man" in a wedding and can mean between men someone who is as close as a brother. So he name Kumani may have gone along the lines of "nashenetz", which translates roughly as "one of ours" :D pure conjecture, yet all around the world people have referred to themselves as "the people" ;) and a kum is a very important person in one's life in the old tradition.

  10. The word "kum" meaning the best man at the wedding or the person holding a child while it being baptized/introduced into the commons beliefs system, thus connected families with a special bond through generations where they call each other "kumovi" as plural of "kum"- is pretty common all over Balkans despite religion versions.