The Fylfot, together with its sister figure the gammadion, has been found in a great variety of contexts over the centuries. It has occurred in both secular and sacred contexts in the British Isles, elsewhere in Europe, in Asia Minor and in Africa. While these two terms might be broadly interchangeable in some places, we can detect a certain degree of affinity between term and terrain. Thus we might usefully associate the Gammadion more with Byzantium, Rome and Graeco-Roman culture on the one hand, and the Fylfot more with Celtic and Anglo-Saxon culture on the other. Although the Gammadion is very similar to the Fylfot in appearance, it is thought to have originated from the conjunction of four capital 'Gammas', Gamma being the third letter of the Greek alphabet. Both of these swastika-like crosses may have been indigenous to the British Isles before the Roman invasion. Certainly they were in evidence a thousand years earlier but these may have been largely imports. They were certainly substantially in evidence during the Romano-British period with widespread examples of the duplicated Greek fret motif appearing on mosaics. After the withdrawal of the Romans in the early 5th century there followed the Anglo-Saxon. We know that the Fylfot was very popular amongst these incoming tribes from Northern Europe as we find it on artifacts such as brooches, sword hilts and funerary urns. Although the findings at Sutton Hoo are most instructive about the style of lordly Anglo-Saxon burials, the Fylfot or Gammadion on the silver dish unearthed there clearly had an Eastern provenance.

 

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Meaning and Origin of the Fylfot and Swastika - R Greg

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