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Probable Warriors – Sworn Brothers in Nomadic Middle Sarmatian Necropolises of the Lower Don Basin

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There have been discovered some rare pair graves of men-warriors under 30 years old in nomadic barrows of the Middle Sarmatian Culture of the Lower Don Basin. They had similar burial rituals and artifacts. Such details emphasized closeness of two dead. They were coevals or not more than 5 years age difference. These graves always took place in the central part of some necropolises, in centers of some barrows with several other male Middle Sarmatian graves. Both men were buried at the same time and often in the unusual specific stretchers. Weapons were standard (a short sword and arrows); a quiver with 70–120 arrows placed there (with 1–2 unusual arrows in it for the younger warrior). These graves were not plundered but some of them visited with the ceremonial purposes. The most important Novy cemetery had 4 such graves and Peregruznoe I had 1 grave. These pairs were differed in social status. They were, probably, sworn brothers [comp. Lucian. Tox. 37]: they have been buried together after their death in the same military actions, in the tribe of the leading sworn brother.

Keywords: Sarmatians, Middle Sarmatian Culture, Lower Don Basin, barrow necropolises, warriors’ pair graves, sworn brothers.

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