SYMBOLS Stories of cultural life.

Ajdič Filip, grave with the oldest symbol

Horizontal and vertical straight lines, drawn in a circle, represent a very old symbol from European prehistoric period. Sun cross appearance coincides with period of massive migration from Middle East toward Europe around 7000 years ago. Result of contact of two different cultures, natives and newcomers, was not a conflict, but cultural and economical interleaving, which led to the formation of new culture.

Newcomers brought to Europe knowledge about agriculture, seeds, domestic animals and ceramics, while indigenous peoples shared with them their knowledge about minerals, water and soil, terrain, horticulture and elementary astronomy.

On this basis agricultural communities from Neolithic period were formed. These cultures are builders of the oldest known permanent settlements in Europe. They are know as the first European foresters and so designers of the oldest cultural landscape. And their symbol is the sun cross. This symbol probably occupied an important place in their religious ideas, and it is a constant presence in the last 7000 years in the area of Maribor.

The sun cross appears as ornament on ceramic dishes and cult figures from Neolithic, in form of bronze amulets, on bronze jewelery, as engravings in stone, as signature of the Roman and medieval craftsman. We can find this symbol also on a few tombstones in Pobrežje Cemetery.

Solar Cross is mostly interpreted as a solar symbol. Its four legs represent the calendar, turning points in time: spring and autumn equinox, summer and winter solstice. It is well known, that these important points of solar year dictated ritual activity in ancient times. But sun cross can also be explained by a different, but equally astronomical and much more practical point of view. It reflects the actual angular relationship between four cardinal directions of the sky, both spatial and temporal points. The vertical line symbolizes the earth's axis, the horizontal represents the equator. In our hemisphere north represent fixed point in the sky, around which revolves heavens. South is place, where sun reaches the highest point of daily cycle, as stars at night. East and west direction shows points, where sun rise and set at the equinoxes.

This symbol also has a practical aspect, as it served as the most convenient model for the design of megalithic circles. Sun cross as model simplify construction, because it is required only to pay attention on one point of the sky. Solar Cross has played a prominent role in the Bronze Age, but also occurs later in different historical periods.

Finally, symbol was taken over by Christianity. It is present in modern astronomy and also as astrological sign, which in both cases signify planet earth.

In public discourse, sun cross is often confused with neo-Nazis symbolism. A few years ago, symbol appeared as logo in flags of Maribor football club fans. Later it was banned by UEFA, and soon afterwards unflattering commented by city mayor. Comment sparking angry public reactions and became some kind of public affair.

Much more important is, that sun cross represent symbol, which appears globally and connects us with other cultures of the world.

sun cross