This is a stone statue from Armagh, Ulster, Ireland, (pre-christian / pre- 5th c.). It represents a man with a lion’s head. It was discovered and first recorded during the reconstruction of the Armagh cathedral in the late 19th century.
The statue is still kept inside the Armagh cathedral with other strange stone slabs and statues found in the area:
Ulster is the same place where we find the only Scythian Baba stones found in Ireland. Like this one called Tanderagee Idol which is also kept in the Armagh cathedral.
Or this one from Boa Island:
I wrote about Baba stones here. It is amazing that we find thousands of these Baba statues from Central Europe to Central Asia….A lot of these statues were found in South Baltic area. The only other place where these statues are found west of South Baltic is Ulster, Northern Ireland. I proposed that this shows the cultural link between South Baltic and Ulster, showing the cultural influence of the South Baltic area on Ulster probably linked to the presence of the same population in both areas.
The man with the lion’s head is another proof of this cultural link. The man with a lion’s head is a very strange image indeed. But this carved slab from the Armagh cathedral is not the only representation of this image.
A group of bronze idols was discovered in mid 18th century in the lake Tollensesee near Prillwitz in Mecklenburg, South Baltic. These idols are today known as Prillwickie idols. The first information about their discovery was published in 1768. Many of them bear Slavic inscriptions in runic letters. A significant number of the figures shows the characters with lion heads and lush manes. Here is one:
Finding of these idols was a big event in Europe at the time and initially researchers commonly accepted their authenticity. The authenticity of the finds was confirmed by many scientific authorities of the time, such as Lawrence Surowiecki, Joachim Lelewel and Wojciech Cybulski.
The authenticity of the alleged findings of Prillwitz was challenged in the mid-nineteenth century. They were alleged to be “clumsy bronze replicas of other idols unrelated to Slavs….probably forged by a goldsmith from a nearby town….”
The whole debate about the authenticity of these idols has restarted again. It is not entirely certain whether the figures are the work of a forger…
Prillwitz idols are now kept in a museum in Schwerin (Slavic Zverin).
Is it possible that the originally “authentic” idols were proclaimed to be “forgeries” during the rise of the German nationalism in the 19th century which tried to remove any mention of the existence of the Slavic culture in German lands? Is it possible that this idol form Armagh actually proves the authenticity of these Pomeranian idols? I believe that it does.
The Armagh statue was first recorded during the reconstruction of the Armagh cathedral in the late 19th century. This means that the Pomeranian figurines are genuine as the Armagh statue was recorded 100 years after the Pomeranian figurines.
The importance of this is impossible to emphasize….
It is hard to believe that some Pomeranian goldsmith from a small village of Prillwitz would have known about this obscure statue hidden in Armagh cathedral and that he made his “clumsy copies” that look exactly like the Armagh lion man. And if he did why would he had done it? What I think we heave here is a proof that the Pomeranian figurines are authentic ancient Slavic idols and that the Armagh stone slab is just another proof of the South Baltic, Slavic, Scythian influence on Ulster.
Now that we know that the Pomeranian idols are authentic, and considering that the Pomeranian idols have Slavic texts inscribed on them in runic alphabet, this shows that Slavs did use runic alphabet to write. This confirms the words of Chernorizets Hrabar, early medieval missionary among Slavs, who said that “Slavs wrote using several foreign alphabets and their own alphabet which he called cuts and notches”…This means that Slavs had alphabet before Cyrilic and Glagolitic alphabets were invented for them by Christian missionaries.
Baltic Slavs who lived in Pomerania, Pomorje, Fomorie and other Western Slavs had a god called Radegast of which we have many medieval records but of which we know very little. What is interesting is that the lion headed idol with the duck on his head from the Prillwickie idols group has inscription on identifying it as Radegast. Here is another depiction of the lion headed man with the duck on his head from the Prillwickie idols group:
This is one of the Prillwickie idols group statues from south Baltic.
This is another sculpture from the Prillwickie idols group.
If we look closely to the head of this idol we see that it has changed into what seems like a bull’s head. It seems that there are indeed two related images, the bull and lion. The obviously lion headed Radegast, the idol with the duck on his head, has bull’s head on his chest. The below image indeed could be either bull headed or lion headed, it is not clear. Crom Dubh, Hromi Daba, Grom Div, The Thundering Sun Giant, was often associated with the bull and is said to have been the bull or that bull was his sacrificial animal. Summer, the growing season, starts in Bull (Taurus) and ends in Lion (Leo). The Lion headed figure has bull on his chest because the Leo sun, the old sun contains bull Taurus sun, the young sun. The old Sun is the young sun in its heart. But also it is the lion that kills the bull. The Leo is the end of summer, the death of summer. Also it is the beginning of autumn, the harvesting season, and this is why the bull gets slaughtered, killed, harvested by Lion as a sacrifice for the good harvest….Lion slaughtering bull is one of the oldest mythological scenes. I am preparing an article about the symbolism of these scene and will publish it soon.
Slavs also had god Belbog of whom we know even less. I would like to propose that Radegast and Belbog are one and the same deity and they were represented as the man with the lion’s head.
Belbog means white god. This god is the equivalent of the Celtic god Belenos and Welsh god Beli. This is the god of day, summer, light. The white part of the year of the day. The name of the Celtic god Belenos comes form bel + nos. In Slavic languages bel, beli, beo means white, and nos means carries, brings. So belenos = bel + nos = white + brings = the bringer of the white. Belbog comes from bel + bog = white + god.
Why is this god represented as a man with the lion’s head? This is a representation of an anthropomorphic sun. Sun is the strongest in Leo and middle of Leo is also the middle of the white part of the year, of Bel. This day, the 2nd of August, is also the day of Crom Dubh, Hromi Daba, Grom Div…The thundering sun giant who has sun as his head…
In both Serbian and Celtic calendar the year was divided into two parts, the dark, black part (winter and spring) and white part (summer and autumn). Beltane (Djurdjevdan, St Georges day) and Samhain (Mitrovdan, St Martin’s day) marked the borders between these two parts of the year. Beltane is the day of Bel, Beli, Belenos, Belbog the day of Bringer of white, light. Samhain is the day of Bran, Vran, Chernunos, Černbog, Crnbog, the Dark god, the bringer of darkness. Čern, Črn, Crn means black in Slavic languges, so Chernunos = Chern + nos = black, darkness + brings, carries = the bringer of darkness. Belbog – Črnbog, Bel – Bran, Vran, Belenos – Chernunos are two faces of Janus, two halves of the solar year, the white and dark part of the year from the Celtic and Serbian calendar.
is the Gaelic May Day festival. Most commonly it is held on 30 April, but sometimes on 1 May, or about halfway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. Historically, it was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man….Beltane is mentioned in some of the earliest Irish literature and it is associated with important events in Irish mythology. It marked the beginning of summer…
The name for Beltane In Irish it is Bealtaine, in Scottish Gaelic Bealltainn and in Manx Gaelic Boaltinn or Boaldyn.
Since the early 20th century it has been commonly accepted that Old Irish Beltaine is derived from a Common Celtic *belo-te(p)niâ, meaning “bright fire”. The element *belo- might be cognate with the English word bale (as in bale-fire) meaning “white” or “shining”; compare Old English bael, and Lithuanian/Latvian baltas/balts, found in the name of the Baltic; in Slavic languages byelo or beloye also means “white”, as in Беларусь (White Russia or Belarus) or Бе́лое мо́ре (White Sea).
In Irish the word for fire is tine. In Serbian word “tinja” is a verb meaning “to smolder, start, kindle fire”. Beltine means white fire but also smoldering kindling, starting of the sun’s fire, the beginning of summer. This is why bonfires are lit for Beltine, to help the sun to rekindle…
Beltane is the day of Beli, Belenos, Belbog the god which brings summer. And here is another one of the lion headed Radegost Belbog figurines from south Baltic:
I often wandered what the duck is doing on this idol’s head. He has a duck on his head, as ducks return and have babies at the end of April just before Beltane announcing the beginning of the summer, the white (beli) part of the year. Duck is the welcome guest = rad gost, Radegos. Radegast. This is an euphemism for the beginning of summer…This means that Radegost was not a deity, but the name for the beginning of summer. The deity is Beli, Belenos, Belbog.
We have hundreds of Baba stone figures in Central Europe and South Baltic and only few in Ulster and nowhere else in Europe. We have hundred of Belbog figurines with Slavic inscriptions in South Baltic, and only one isolated example in Ulster and not one anywhere else in Europe. Beli, Belenos, Belbog, Beltine all have full etymology in Slavic languages, but not in Celtic languages. This opens a big question: how did these tradition come to Ireland and Britain? Who brought them and when?
What is amazing is that the lion headed man seems to be a common religious image throughout Evroasia and north Africa.
We find him in India as Narasimha, an avatar of the god Vishnu. Narasimha is often visualised as half-man/half-lion, having a human-like torso and lower body, with a lion-like face and claws. He is known primarily as the ‘Great Protector’ who specifically defends and protects his devotees in times of need.
We also find him in North Africa (Egypt, Nubia) as Bes. Bes is an Ancient Egyptian deity worshipped as a protector of households. Bes later came to be regarded as the defender of everything good and the enemy of all that is bad. Modern scholars such as James Romano claim that in its earliest inceptions, Bes was a representation of a lion rearing up on its hind legs. His name is related to a Nubian word besa meaning Cat.
We then find him in Central Asia as Zurvan. Zurvan is the god of infinite time (and space) and is aka (“one”, “alone”) deity of matter. Zurvan is the parent of the two opposites representing the good god Ahura Mazda and the evil god Angra Mainyu. Zurvan is regarded as a neutral god, being without gender (neuter), without passion, and one for whom there is no distinction between good or evil.
We also find the lion headed man in Hellenic religion as Aion. Aion is also the god of Unlimited Time (sometimes represented as the Saeculum, Cronus, or Saturn). He is also the god who emerged from primordial Chaos, and who in turn generated Heaven and Earth. This deity is represented as the leontocephaline, the winged lion-headed male figure whose nude torso is entwined by a serpent. He typically holds a sceptre, keys, or a thunderbolt.
And we find him in Mithraic religion as a mysterious naked lion-headed (leontocephaline) figure often found in Mithraic temples. He is entwined by a serpent, (or two serpents, like a caduceus) with the snake’s head often resting on the lion’s head.
It seems to be very difficult to determine where Zurvan stops and Aeon and the Mithraic “Lion Man” start. But all these images convey the same message:
One god, the Sun, by its movement producuces day and night, sumer and winter. His movement allows us to define time, as I spoke about in my posts about Calendars and Threshing floors. He is also the god who gives birth to two gods, good god and evil god….”Good” god, white god, Belbog, Belenos is the ruler of the daytime (the white part of the day), and the period summer – autumn (the white part of the year). “Evil” god, black god, Chernbog, Chernunos is the ruler of nighttime (the black part of the day), and the period winter – spring (the black part of the year)….He holds the two keys because he himself rules in both worlds (heaven when he is up in the sky during the day) and Underworld (when he is “under the world” during the night). He is the ruler of the world, he literally holds the world in his hand. And he holds the thunderbolt because he is the thundering sun giant, Crom Dubh, hromi Daba, Grom Div…
The best part comes at the end. It seems, that the origin of the lion headed man cult originated in upper Paleolithic Europe. The oldest anthropomorphic idol found so far is the lion’s headed man called the “lion man” (German: Löwenmensch, literally “lion human”). This is an ivory sculpture that is both the oldest known zoomorphic (animal-shaped) sculpture in the world, and the oldest known uncontested example of figurative art yet discovered. Archaeologists have also interpreted the sculpture as anthropomorphic, giving human characteristics to an animal, and proposing that this could have been a representation of a lion headed deity. The figurine was determined to be about 40,000 years old by carbon dating material from the same layer in which the sculpture was found. It is associated with the archaeological Aurignacian culture. The sculpture is 29.6 cm (11.7 inches) in height, 5.6 cm wide, and 5.9 cm thick. It was carved out of mammoth ivory using a flint stone knife. There are seven parallel, transverse, carved gouges on the left arm. It is now in the museum in Ulm, Germany.
It seems that the lion headed man is a religious symbol that has spread from one place, Europe, to all the other parts of the world over last 40,000 years…And it seems that it is somehow connected with R – R1 – R1a, R1b genetic lineage, because wherever we find this statue we also find this genetic patrilinear tribe.
This is the chronology for the split of the R haplogroup
haplogroup R – c. 30000 BC
haplogroup R1 – c. 25000BC
haplogroup R1b-P25 – c. 20000BC
Haplogroup R1 and its descendants are found in Europe, Africa (North Nile valley, Nubia), Central Asia and North Eastern America. Would this account for the common belief systems and archetypes found in all these places? Could the lion headed man be one of the religious beliefs from the old Evroasian, Cromagnon R people which survived to this day?