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The sun cross, a cross inside a circle, is a common symbol in artefacts of Prehistoric Europe, particularly during the Neolithic to Bronze Age periods. Combining the cross and the circle, it is the simplest conceivable representation of the union of opposed polarities in the Western world. It often stood for the sun and for the tree of life. It may be compared to the yin-yang symbol of the Eastern world.
At the Callanish Stones in the Outer Hebrides, the most famous megalithic site in Scotland, crossing avenues of standing stones extend from a circle. Scratched into stone or painted on pottery, as on that of the Samara culture, the crossed-circle symbol appears in such diverse areas as the Pyrenees, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, the Iranian plateau, and the cities of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa in the Indus River valley.
Bronze Age EuropeEdit
In the prehistoric religion of Bronze Age Europe, crosses in circles appear frequently on artifacts identified as cult items, for example the "miniature standard" with an amber inlay that shows a cross shape when held against the light, dating to the Nordic Bronze Age, held at the National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen. The Bronze Age symbol has also been connected with the spoked chariot wheel, which at the time was four-spoked (compare the Linear B ideogram 243 "wheel" 𐃏
.) This technological innovation reached Europe in the mid-2nd millennium BC. In the context of a culture that celebrated the Sun chariot, it may also have had a "solar" connotation.
Contemporary tribal culturesEdit
The Norwegian Nazi party Nasjonal Samling used a golden sun cross on a red background as its official symbol from 1933 until 1945. The cross within a circle was ascribed to Saint Olaf, the patron saint of Norway, and the colours were those of the coat of arms of Norway.
- Solar symbol
- Christian cross or Crucifix
- Labarum or Chi-Rho
- Brigid's cross, also Celtic cross
- Solar deity, also Sol Invictus
- Medicine wheel
- Wheel of the Year
- Black Sun (occult symbol)