Interpretations of the mythologeme “tree-cross” in Old English

Sergei G. Proskurin, Anna V. Proskurina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The topicality of the appeal to the interpretation of a tree-cross mythologeme is caused by the change of the pagan worldview into Christian. The development of ideas about the Christian sign is complex, in one of the approaches to transforming the tree-cross, a part of the overcome ideas about the world as space around the world axis is preserved, i.e. the world tree. The coming era of Christianity inherits this view, and the cross itself appears as a world axis that defines the coordinates of space. The purpose of the article is to show the evolutionary semiotic row, which represents both Christian and pagan symbolism. Initially, the cross appears as a motivated view. Then the terms of the denotative plan appear, devoid of pagan connotations of the tree-cross type. In general, in the evolution of the term continuity is traced, one designation is replaced by another. For some time, the second item copies the functions and forms of the first, replacing it in the subject line. The cross as an object of worship in Christianity replaces the world tree. All new nominations of the cross are associated with the motivation of the world as the center where the altar is installed, which was initially presented in the tradition as a world tree, and then became designated by the cross. The cross, as the main Christian symbol, often appears as made of wood and is identified with the cosmic world tree growing directly into heaven. Research methods which are used in this article are as follows: philological analysis of the text and semiotic analysis of texts. The set of communicatively relevant factors that determine the statement, as well as the situational and contextual relevance of the lexical meaning, are taken into account. In turn, the necessary initial amount of communicatively relevant information is obtained on the basis of linguistic methods. In particular, data from an etymological analysis are involved. The research material was provided by the Old English written monuments accessible to the modern researcher. Texts in other Indo-European languages are occasionally referred; they act as a background showing some parallels.

Translated title of the contributionИнтерпретации мифологемы «дерево-крест» в древнеанглийской традиции
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-326
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Siberian Federal University - Humanities and Social Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • 5.04 SOCIOLOGY

State classification of scientific and technological information



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