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Ancient Slavic Paganism

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Big Wolf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jul 2010 at 00:52
There is no such thing as a "pure" culture or mythology anywhere in the world, no matter how far back you go. Every culture has been influenced by those around it, and influences them in turn. So at any point, you will find overlaps between Slavic, Germanic and Greek mythologies. You will also find overlaps between Greeks and Egyptian, and don't forget the argument that the Christ story bears a lot of resemblances to the Egyptian myth of Horus.

So, I suggest we not worry about finding the "pure" Slavic mythology, but find what were the prevailing ideas, myths and legends of the people at the time. We should, however, try to strip away the stories or myths that have been accreted recently.

That being said, I did come across "A Small Dictionary of Pagan Gods & Goddesses" by DG Owens a few years ago. You can see it at http://www.waningmoon.com/guide/library/lib0019p.shtml. I used it for a few elements in a novel I am writing.

Any thoughts on the credibility of this source?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jul 2010 at 01:46
Wolf, here is the actual on-line presence of the cited dictionary--
 
 
However, it is little more than a compilation of names with attached descriptives that are more likely to confuse rather than illustrate origins and historical understandings. It gives short-shrift to the synchretic, a factor that is essential to any understanding of origins, mythology cycles, and formal religion.
 
As an example of the incorrect information colored more by probable personal predilections than actual serious study:

ATUM The first of the gods, the self-created. By sheer will, Atum formed himself out of the stagnant waters of Nun. Atum was bisexual and was sometimes called "the great He-She." The Egyptians had two cosmogonies, one taught by the priests at Heliopolis and the other by the priests at Memphis. The priests at Memphis taught that Nun and Atum, together with Atum's children Shu and Tefnut, were aspects or forms of Ptah.

Bunkum! The introduction of contemporary verbiage as an explanation for the problematics of Creation (the something from nothing dynamic) is intellectually dishonest. As for the incorrect treatment of Egyptian cosmogonies with respect to the "creator" god, it does actual violence to historical processes and elementary synchretism as smaller groupings are absorbed into a greater cultural whole.


Edited by drgonzaga - 12 Jul 2010 at 01:49
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Big Wolf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jul 2010 at 03:37
Good points. So, we have to be very careful with our sources.

I am also interested in some cultural information. For example, were the ancient, pre-Christian Slavic societies more free sexually? At what age did children become adults? How old were they when they married? How prevalent was pre-marital sex, and was it a taboo?

I have read about the Kupalo and some other rituals, but were moon worship and moon-centred rituals known among the pre-Christian Slavic societies?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jul 2010 at 05:26
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Fantasus, follow the thread correctly. At no time did Sarmat call Lietuvu kalba a Slavic tongue, nor did I make such an assertion beyond the opting of a poor choice of sentence structure. The reference surged forth with respect to ancient belief constructs and their evolution vis a vis contact as a function of migration, intrusion and/or conquest. In fact, the Lithuanians were put forth as a result of the fact that in terms of Eastern Europe they were among the last to accept Christianity, hence more can be asserted with certainty for them in terms of backwards projection. Now, if we are going to enter the realm of Indo-European languages and the retention of onomastic traits within smaller groupings then juxtaposition is not only valid but most informative when thrust up as contradictory nomenclature.
 
By the way, do not forget that the Rus themselves were a "Baltic" entity hence the juxtaposition is more than relevant.
It seems I hit some wrong button, sorry. I have never heard the Rus belonged to "Baltic" languages. Even Sweden , Germany, Finland and Denmark are geographically "Baltic", more than the Rus.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jul 2010 at 06:31
It's half-time at a not so pretty WC [a certain Dutch player should have been red carded by now] so a brief response is possible. The Rus [Ruotsi] were as "Baltic" as one might get: They were Swedes! Here is a brief synopsis that explains what is under discussion:
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jul 2010 at 07:08
Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:

Most of these names do appear in the Russian sources as well as in Danish and German accounts about Western Slavs (Vends). But the exact hierarchy of those is unknown.
 
"Chors" from your list is the same with Russian "Hors" that I talked above. But it's interesting that he was the Sun god for the Eastern Slavs and the Moon god for the Western Slavs.
You and dr.G. seems not to be aware that lithuanian language are not slavic at all, but baltic, like latvian and ancient prussian. On the other hand a lot of what is now Germany (Austria perhaps too?)
have been settled by slavic peoples, and probably contributed considerably to present german population.
I don't understand what kind of problem you have. Have I ever wrote that Lithuanian is a Slavic language? Confused  It is a also a known fact that that the modern Eastern Germany and a considerable part of Austria, particularly, Carinthia were inhabited by Slavs in the early medieval times.
 
On the other hand the interesting thing is that some gods from Baltic pantheon like Perkunas have a corresponding figures in the Slavic pagan pantheon, there is an identical god called Perun-a thunder god. So, Baltic and Lithuanian mythology studies could help in uncovering the mysteries of the ancient Slavic paganistm


Edited by Sarmat - 12 Jul 2010 at 07:15
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Big Wolf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jul 2010 at 07:12
Let's not get caught up in who was what. "The Rus'," as far as I know, applies to "Kievan Rus" and its vassal states, including Novgorod and Muscovy. And we all know the story that the Varangians were Swedes who sailed and rowed up and down the rivers of eastern Europe and eventually established a state based on the Dnipro River. Eventually, they assimilated into the local Slavic population that they dominated.

So whether they were Balts or Slavs is moot. Let's concentrate on the question about Slavic mythology and paganism. What were the main beliefs of the Slavs?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jul 2010 at 07:24
It's more complicated than that. Novgorod and Muscovy were not "vassals" of Kievan Rus. They both were a part of Kievan Rus. Which all was ruled by the princes of Riurikid dynasty. Kievan Rus state had very interesting rules of succession where all the princes basically ruled everywhere and slowly moved from one principality to another when the place become vacant when a senior relative was passing away. As a rule, the most senior and respectful prince was ruling in Kiev, but after his death he was supposed to be replaced not by his some but a brother or cousin from another principality. That system created a lot of problems and led to civil wars. But the point is that there was no a distinct "Kievan dynasty" that was ruling over other principalities. All the Kievan Rus was ruled by one Riurikid family princes that were slowly replacing each other on the "golden thron" of Kiev by moving from other less "prestegious" principalities.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Big Wolf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jul 2010 at 07:28
Granted. I oversimplified.

But let's get to Slavic mythology, particularly pre-Christian or non-Christian.

From the point of view of "average" peasants or the majority of Slavs, what were the most important gods, what daily or regular rituals and values governed their daily lives?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jul 2010 at 07:30
Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

  It seems I hit some wrong button, sorry. I have never heard the Rus belonged to "Baltic" languages. Even Sweden , Germany, Finland and Denmark are geographically "Baltic", more than the Rus.
There are many theories of who "Rus" really were. Of course, the most popular and valid theory is that they were Vikings. However, there are also other theories which in different times were more popular among the Slavic nationalists, which are that they were maritime Western Slavic mercenaries i.e. Wends, from modern Eastern Germany, or even Balts from Prussia.
 
Interestingly, it seems that Novgorodian dialect of Eastern Slavic (Rus first appeared in Nogorod as we know) does have connection to Western Slavic languages to which Wendish language of Baltic Slavs belonged.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jul 2010 at 07:36
Originally posted by Big Wolf Big Wolf wrote:

Granted. I oversimplified.

But let's get to Slavic mythology, particularly pre-Christian or non-Christian.

From the point of view of "average" peasants or the majority of Slavs, what were the most important gods, what daily or regular rituals and values governed their daily lives?
According to the Primary Chronicle. The most important gods for the Eastern Slavs were Perun, Yarilo and Veles. Perun was a kind of "Zeus" of the Slavic mythology, a thunder god popular among nobility. Yarilo was a son god who seems to have some kind of "covenant significance" since the Rus gave vows to Yarilo not to violate their agreements with Byzantines. Veles was a god of "cattle" that probably was more significant for general Slavi peasant population.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Big Wolf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jul 2010 at 07:37
Spain came very close, there. That's a tight game!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Big Wolf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jul 2010 at 08:05
What a goal! Too bad for the Netherlands.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Roberts Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jul 2010 at 08:41
Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:

Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

  It seems I hit some wrong button, sorry. I have never heard the Rus belonged to "Baltic" languages. Even Sweden , Germany, Finland and Denmark are geographically "Baltic", more than the Rus.
There are many theories of who "Rus" really were. Of course, the most popular and valid theory is that they were Vikings. However, there are also other theories which in different times were more popular among the Slavic nationalists, which are that they were maritime Western Slavic mercenaries i.e. Wends, from modern Eastern Germany, or even Balts from Prussia.

Well the names of Rus princes till Svyatoslav are of clear Scandinavic/Germanic origin. Aldo Jaroslaw Mudry was probably the last great prince of Rus who even spoke old Swedish as one of his languages while his own name was clearly Slavic.

As for Balts from Prussia being isntigators of Rus - well thats probably most akward theory of Rus origin. Most likely connected with someone looking for a claim that Kaliningrad oblast shares some historical ties with Russia.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jul 2010 at 10:08
Originally posted by Roberts Roberts wrote:


Well the names of Rus princes till Svyatoslav are of clear Scandinavic/Germanic origin.
So what? Wends were mixed with Germanic tribes and had strong Scandinavian influnces as well, especially, those who were the pirates at the Baltic...
 
Originally posted by Roberts Roberts wrote:

Aldo Jaroslaw Mudry was probably the last great prince of Rus who even spoke old Swedish as one of his languages while his own name was clearly Slavic.
 
He may be have spoken it, so what? As a rule, Rus princes spoke several foreign languages just for the matter of being "educated" for their contemporary needs.

Originally posted by Roberts Roberts wrote:

As for Balts from Prussia being isntigators of Rus - well thats probably most akward theory of Rus origin. Most likely connected with someone looking for a claim that Kaliningrad oblast shares some historical ties with Russia.
 
This theory was invented in the 18th century, a very long time before the USSR occupied the Eastern Prussia.


Edited by Sarmat - 12 Jul 2010 at 10:09
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hobgoblin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jun 2013 at 08:19
Hi I'm new to the forum and two years too late to this thread but, as the two main questions are interesting and only partially answered I will contribute this source the aptly named archaeology of early medieval Poland does include a section on Slavic religious sites as well as sections on urban and rural sites that may help flesh out ordinary life for the Slavic populous. 
http://brego-weard.com/lib/ns/The_Archaeology_of_Early_Medieval_Poland_Discov.pdf



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