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Supreme god

There are various modern theories about the supreme Slavic deity being Rod or Svarog, and historic
sources show that deities such as Svaroi,Svantevit or Triglav were worshipped as supreme by certain
tribes. But overall, the best candidate for the position of supreme deity is by far Perun. His name is the
most common in all historic records of Slavic religion; in fact, he is the first Slavic god mentioned in written
history (Procopius in his short note mentions that the god of thunder and lightning is the only god of Slavs,
lord of all). The Primary Chronicle identifies him as chief god of Kievan Rus before Christianisation. A short
note in Helmold's Chronica Slavorum states that West Slavs believe in a single deity in heaven who rules
over all the other deities on earth; the name of this deity is not mentioned, but nevertheless it seems quite
possible this was a reference to Perun. And even though we do not find the name of Perun in any of the
extensive records of West Slavic religion, he was known by all branches of Slavs, as shown by a vast
number of toponyms that still bear his name in all Slavic countries today. Finally, by analysing the folklore
texts, one will notice that Perun is the only Slavic deity who was equated with the Christian god. These are
very strong indications that Perun was indeed the supreme god of the original Proto-Slavic pantheon.
Perun, however, had a match. As Roman Jakobson pointed out, whenever Perun is mentioned in historic
texts, he is always "accompanied" by another god, Veles. This relationship can be observed in toponyms
as well. Wherever we find a hill or a mountain peak whose name can be associated with Perun, below it,
in the lowlands, usually near a river, there will be a place with a name reminiscent of Veles. Consequently,
as Perun was sometimes identified with the hristian God in folklore accounts, Veles was identified with
the Devil.
Further information: List of Slavic deities
[edit]Perun and Veles
Main articles: Perun and Veles

Gromoviti znaci or thunder marks such as these were often engraved upon roof beams of houses to protect them from
lightning bolts. Identical symbols were discovered on Proto-Slavic pottery of 4th centuryChernyakhov culture. They are
thought to be symbols of the Slavic god of thunder, Perun.[1]

Ivanov and Toporov reconstructed the ancient myth involving the two major gods of the Proto-Slavic
pantheon, Perun and Veles. The two of them stand in opposition in almost every way. Perun is a heavenly
god of thunder and lightning, fiery and dry, who rules the living world from his citadel high above, located
on the top of the highest branch of the World Tree. Veles is a chthonic god associated with waters, earthly
and wet, lord of the underworld, who rules the realm of the dead from down in the roots of the World Tree.

Perun is a giver of rain to farmers, god of war and weapons, invoked by fighters. Veles is a god of cattle,
protector of shepherds, associated with magic and commerce.
Many places in various Slavic countries still carry the God's name: Perun (the famous mountain in Bosnia
Herzegovina, Vare), Perunac, Perunovac, Perunika, Perunika Glava, Peruni Vrh, Perunja Ves, Peruna
Dubrava, Perunua, Peruice, Perudina and Perutovac. These names today mostly represent mountain
tops, but in medieval times, large oaks, sacred groves and even entire villages or citadels were named
Perun. Also, as mentioned already, in Ukrainian perun and in Polish piorun means "thunderbolt". Among
South Slavs, a mountain plant Iris germanica is known in folklore as perunika ("Perun's plant") and
sometimes also as bogisha, ("god's plant"), and was believed to grow from ground that had been struck by
A cosmic battle fought between the two of them echoes the ancient Indo-European myth of a fight
between a storm god and a dragon. Attacking with his lightning bolts from the sky, Perun pursues his
serpentine enemy Veles, who slithers down over the earth. Veles taunts Perun and flees, transforming
himself into various animals, hiding behind trees, houses, or people. In the end, Perun catches up with the
dog Veles turned into and eventually befriends him using kind words and bits of meat, only to then grab
the dog and throw him into a lake, where Veles drowns. Perun does not actually destroy Veles, but simply
returns him to his place in the world of the dead. Thus the order of the world, disrupted by Veles's
mischief, is established once again by Perun. The idea that storms and thunder are actually a divine battle
between the supreme god and his arch-enemy was extremely important to Slavs, and continued to thrive
long after Perun and Veles were replaced by the hristian God and Devil. A lightning bolt striking down a
tree or burning down a peasant's house was always explained through the belief of a raging heavenly
deity bashing down on his earthly, underworldly, enemy.
The enmity of the two gods was explained by Veles' theft of Perun's cattle, or by Perun's theft of Veles'
cattle (since Veles was the god of cattle, the matter of ownership here is not clear). The motif of stealing
divine cattle is also a common one in Indo-European mythology; the cattle in fact may be understood
simply as a metaphor for heavenly water or rain. Thus, Veles steals rain water from Perun, or Perun steals
water for rain from Veles (again, since Veles is associated with waters, and Perun with sky and clouds, it is
unclear to whom rain should belong). An additional reason for this enmity may be wife-theft. From folklore
accounts it seems that the Sun was sometimes considered to be Perun's wife (an odd idea, as all Slavic
sun-gods, like Hors and Dabog, are male). However, since the Sun, in the mythic view of the world, dies
every evening, as it descends beyond the horizon and into the underworld where it spends the night, this
was understood by Slavs as Veles' theft of Perun's wife (but again, the rebirth of the Sun in the morning
could also be understood as Perun's theft of Veles' wife).
[edit]Jarilo and Morana
Katicic and Belaj continued down the path laid by Ivanov and Toporov and reconstructed the myth
revolving around the fertility and vegetation god. Jarilo is god of the vegetation and spring, and his sister
and wife, Morena (Marzanna), goddess of winter and death. Jarilo is associated with the Moon and
Morena is considered a daughter of the Sun. Both of them are children of Perun, born on the night of the
new year (Great Night). However, on the same night, Jarilo is snatched from the cradle and taken to the
underworld, where Veles raises him as his own. At the Spring festival of Jare/Jurjevo, Jarilo returns from
the world of the dead (from across the sea), bringing spring from the ever-green underworld into the realm
of the living. He meets his sister Morana and courts her. At the beginning of summer, the festival later
known as Ivanje/Ivan Kupala celebrated their divine wedding. The sacred union between brother and

sister, children of the supreme god, brings fertility and abundance to earth, ensuring a bountiful harvest.
Also, since Jarilo is the (step)son of Veles, and his wife the daughter of Perun, their marriage brings peace
between two great gods; in other words, it ensures there will be no storms which could damage the
After the harvest, however, Jarilo is unfaitfhul to his wife, and she vengefully slays him (returns him into
the underworld), renewing the enmity between Perun and Veles. Without her husband, god of fertility and
vegetation, Morana and all of nature with her withers and freezes in the upcoming winter; she turns
into a terrible, old, and dangerous goddess of darkness and frost, and eventually dies by the end of the
year. The whole myth would repeat itself anew each following year, and retelling of its key parts was
accompanied by the major yearly festivals of the Slavic calendar. The story also shows numerous parallels
to similar myths of Baltic and Hittite mythology.

[edit]Svarog, Svaroi, Dabog

The name of Svarog is found only in East Slavic manuscripts, where it is usually equated with the Greek
smith god Hephaestus. However, the name is very ancient, indicating that Svarog was a deity of the ProtoSlavic pantheon. The root svar means bright, clear, and the suffix -og denotes a place. Comparison with
Vedic Svarga indicates that Svarog simply meant (daylight) sky. It is possible he was the original sky god
of the pantheon, perhaps a Slavic version of Proto-Indo-European *Dyus Ph2ter. Svarog can be also
understood as meaning a shining, fiery place; a forge. This, and identification with Hephaestusfrom
historic sources, indicates he was also a god of fire and blacksmithing. According to the interpretation by
Ivanov and Toporov, Svarog had two sons:Svaroi, who represented fire on earth, and Dabog, who
represented fire in the sky and was associated with the Sun. Svarog was believed to have forged the Sun
and have given it to his son Dabog to carry it across the sky.
In Russian manuscripts he is equated with the Sun, and folklore remembers him as a benevolent deity of
light and sky. Serbian folklore, however, presents a far darker picture of him; he is remembered as Dabog,
a frightful and lame deity guarding the doors of the underworld, associated with mining and precious
metals.Veselin ajkanovi pointed out that these two aspects fit quite nicely into the symbolism of the
Slavic solar deity; a benevolent side represents Dabog during the day, when he carries the Sun across
the sky. The malevolent and ugly Dabog carries the Sun through the underworld at night. This pattern can
also be applied to the Sun's yearly cycle; a benevolent aspect is associated with the young summer Sun,
and a malevolent one with the old winter Sun.
Svaroi was worshipped as a fire spirit by Russian peasants well after Christianisation. He was also
known amongst Western Slavs, but there he was worshipped as a supreme deity in the holy city
of Radegast. Svaroi is simply a diminutive of Svarog's name, and thus it may simply be another aspect
(a surname, so to speak) of Dabog. There is also the point of view that Svarog was the ancestor of all
other Slavic gods, and thus Svaroi could simply be an epithet of any other deity, so that Dabog, Perun,
Veles, and so on, were possibly all Svarois.

[edit]Svantevit and Triglav

It is somewhat ironic that the position of these two gods in the Proto-Slavic pantheon is unclear, yet the
historic accounts written about them are the most extensive. That they were important to all pagan Slavs
is indicated by a significant number of toponyms whose names can be associated with them and by
discoveries of multi-headed statues in various Slavic lands. Both of these gods were considered supreme
in various locations; they were associated with divination and symbolized by the horse. A possibly
significant difference is that Svantevit had a white horse whilst Triglav had a black one, and Svantevit was
represented with four heads whilst Triglav (whose name simply means three-headed) with three. Svantevit
was also associated with victory in war, harvest, and commerce.
Various hypotheses about them were proposed: that they are in fact one and the same deity, being
somewhat similar; that they are not gods at all but compounds of three or four gods, a kind of minipantheons. Slavic neopagans tend to think of Triglav in particular as a concept of Trinity. Svantevit has
also been proclaimed as a late West Slavic alternation of Perun or Jarilo, or compared with Svaroi and
deemed a solar deity. None of these hypotheses is quite satisfactory, and mostly they are just wild
speculation, another attempt to reconstruct Slavic mythology as it should be, rather than discovering what
it really was like. Further research is necessary before more can be said of these deities.
It is claimed that Slovenia's highest mountain, Triglav, is named after the god Triglav.
[edit]Zorica and Danica
These names mean simply Dawn and Daystar, but in folklore accounts of all Slavic nations, they are often
described as persons, or associated with persons, in pretty much the same way as Sun and Moon. Danica
is often called Sun's younger sister or daughter, and was probably associated with Morana.
Consequently, Zorica was either Sun's mother or older sister. It is quite possible this was a Slavic relic of
the Proto-Indo-European dawn god.


Ivanov and Toporov also schematically periodised various stages of development of Slavic mythology,
attempting to show how it evolved from the original pantheon:

The first subsequent development occurred after the Proto-Slavs had split into East, West, and
South Slavs. Each branch of the Slavic family devised various feminine deities of household
(e.g. Mokosh), and deities associated with crafts, agriculture, and fertility (e.g. Rod and Chur). Deities
such as Hors and Simargl are sometimes interpreted as the East Slavic borrowings from their Iranian

At the level of abstract personification of divine functions, we have such concepts

as Pravda/Krivda (Right/Wrong), Dobra Kob/Zla Kob (Good Fortune/Evil Fortune). These concepts,
found in many Slavic fairy tales, are presumed to have originated at a time when old myths were
already being downgraded to the level of legends and stories. Loius Leger pointed out that various
Slavic words describing success, destiny, or fortune are all connected with the ancient Slavic word for
God "bog". Although used to denote the god of Christianity, the word is of pagan origin and quite
ancient. It originates from the Proto-Indo-European root *bhag (meaning fortune), being cognate to
Avestic baga and Sanskritbhagah (epithets of deities).

The next level of development is a mythologisation of historical traditions. Beginning in pagan

times, it continued well after the advent of hristianity. It is characterised by tales and songs of
legendary heroes, ranging from purely legendary founders of certain tribes, such as the stories
about Lech, Czech, and Rus, to quite historical persons such as the 15th century Croatian-Hungarian
king Matthias Corvinus or the Serbian Prince Marko, who were both immortalised in folk legend or
poetry. Russian bylinas about bogatyrs, Polish legends of Krak the Dragonslayer, Czech legends
about Libue, and the foundation of Prague all fall into this category. Various elements of these tales
will still reveal elements of old myths (such as a hero slaying a dragon, a faint echo of an ancient
concept of a cosmic battle between Perun the Thunderer and the serpentine Veles).

On an even lower level, certain mythical archetypes evolved into fairy-tale characters. These
include Baba Yaga, Koschei the Immortal,Nightingale the Robber, Vodyanoy, Zmey Gorynych, and so
on. At this point of development, one can hardly speak of mythology anymore. Rather, these are
legends and stories which contain some fragments of old myths, but their structure and meaning are
not so clear.

The lowest level of development of Slavic mythology includes various groups of home or nature
spirits and magical creatures, which vary greatly amongst different Slavic nations. Mythic structure on
this level is practically incomprehensible, but some of the beliefs nevertheless have a great antiquity.
As early as the 5th century, Procopius mentioned that Slavs worshipped river and nature spirits, and
traces of such beliefs can still be recognised in the tales about vilas, vampires, witches,
and werewolves.

Jarilo (Cyrillic: or ; Polish: Jaryo; Croatian: Jura or Juraj; Serbian: urilo; Slavic: Jarovit),
alternatively Yarilo, Iarilo, or Gerovit, was a major male Proto-Slavic deity of vegetation,fertility and
spring, also associated with war and harvest.

The only historic source that mentions this deity is a 12th century biography of proselytizing German
bishop Otto of Bamberg, who, during his expeditions to convert the pagan tribes of Wendish and Polabian
Slavs, encountered festivals in honor of the war-god Gerovit in cities of Wolgast and Havelberg. Gerovit is
most likely a German corruption of original Slavic name Jarovit.
The worship of this god, however, survived in Slavic folklore for a long time after Christianization. Up until
the 19th century in Russia, Belarus and Serbia, folk festivals called Jarilo were celebrated in late spring or
early summer. These festivities were completely non-Christian in character, and even early researchers
of Slavic mythology easily recognised in them relics of pagan ceremonies in honor of an eponymous
spring deity. In Northern Croatia and Southern Slovenia, similar spring festivals were
called Jurjevo or Zeleni Juraj or Zeleni Jurij (Green George); nominally, this was a festivity day of

Christian St. George, but almost all elements of the celebrations were of pagan origin, and fairly similar to
Jarilo festivals of other Slavic nations. Even the Slavic name Yury, Jerzy,Juraj or Jura is not as much a
translation of Greek Georgios as a continuation of Slavic Jare, Jarilo or Jarovit[citation needed]. The Slavic
root jar or yar means spring or summer.
All of these spring festivals were basically alike: Processions of villagers would go around for a walk in the
country or through villages on this day. Something or someone was identified to be Jarilo or Juraj: A doll
made of straw, a man or a child adorned with green branches, or a girl dressed like a man, riding on a
horse. Certain songs were sung which alluded to Juraj/Jarilo's return from a distant land across the sea,
the return of spring into the world, blessings, fertility and abundance to come.
By studying folklore texts from these festivals, and comparing them with the structure of other IndoEuropean mythologies, the Croatian scholars Radoslav Katii and Vitomir Belaj reconstructed many
ancient Slavic myths revolving around Jarilo. He was a fairly typical life-death-rebirth deity, believed to be
(re)born and killed every year. His mythical life cycle followed the yearly life of various wheat plants, from
seeding through vegetation to harvest.
Jarilo was a son of the supreme Slavic god of thunder, Perun, his lost, missing, tenth son, born on the last
night of February, the festival of Velja No (Great Night), the pagan Slavic celebration of the New Year. On
the same night, however, Jarilo was stolen from his father and taken to the world of the dead, where he
was adopted and raised by Veles, Perun's enemy, Slavic god of the underworld and cattle. The Slavs
believed the underworld to be an ever-green world of eternal spring and wet, grassy plains, where Jarilo
grew up guarding the cattle of his stepfather. In the mythical geography of ancient Slavs, the land of the
dead was assumed to lie across the sea, where migrating birds would fly every winter.
With the advent of spring, Jarilo returned from the otherworld, that is, from across the sea, into the living
world, bringing spring and fertility to the land. Spring festivals of Jurjevo/Jarilo that survived in later folklore
celebrated his return. Katii identified a key phrase of ancient mythical texts which described this sacred
return of vegetation and fertility as a rhyme hoditi/roditi (to walk/to give birth to), which survived in folk
...Gdje Jura/Jare/Jarilo hodi, tu vam polje rodi...
"...Where Jura/Jare/Jarilo walks, there your field gives birth..."
The first of the gods to notice Jarilo's return to the living world was Morana, a goddess of death and
nature, and also a daughter of Perun and Jarilo's twin-sister. The two of them would fall in love and court
each other through a series of traditional, established rituals, imitated in various Slavic courting or wedding
customs. The divine wedding between brother and sister, two children of the supreme god, was celebrated
in a festival of summer solstice, today variously known as Ivanje or Ivan Kupala in the various Slavic
countries. This sacred union of Jarilo and Morana, deities of vegetation and of nature, assured
abundance, fertility and blessing to the earth, and also brought temporary peace between two major Slavic
gods, Perun and Veles, signifying heaven and underworld. Thus, all mythical prerequisites were met for a
bountiful and blessed harvest that would come in late summer.
However, since Jarilo's life was ultimately tied to the vegetative cycle of the cereals, after the harvest
(which was ritually seen as a murder of crops), Jarilo also met his death. The myth explained this by the

fact that he was unfaithful to his wife, and so she (or her father Perun, or his other nine sons, her brothers)
kills him in retribution. This rather gruesome death is in fact a ritual sacrifice, and Morana uses parts of
Jarilo's body to build herself a new house. This is a mythical metaphor which alludes to rejuvenation of the
entire cosmos, a concept fairly similar to that of Scandinavian myth of Ymir, a giant from whose body the
gods created the world.
Without her husband, however, Morana turns into a frustrated old hag, a terrible and dangerous goddess
of death, frost and upcoming winter, and eventually dies by the end of the year. At the beginning of the
next year, both she and Jarilo are born again, and the entire myth starts anew.
From comparison to Baltic mythology and from Slavic folklore accounts, one can deduce that Jarilo was
associated with the Moon. His somewhat mischievous nature, which ultimately results in his betrayal of his
wife, was likened to the Moon's changing phases.
Katii and Belaj also re-discovered one very interesting characteristic of Jarilo. Their careful study of folk
songs performed during spring festivals and describing Jarilo/Jura as he returns to the living world
revealed one apparently illogical element: It is always stated Jarilo is walking (a key phrase of ancient
mythical texts), yet he is described as coming on a horse. This is not a corruption of texts; folk accounts
strongly emphasize the presence of a horse (in Belarusian festivals, for instance, Jarilo was symbolised by
a girl dressed as a man and mounted on a horse), and also the fact Jarilo walked a long way and his feet
are sore. Thus, he is a rider on a horse who walks, which seems absurd. However, one should note that:

In historic descriptions of West Slavic paganism, one often finds references to sacred horses
held in temples, which were used for divination, and predictions were made on the basis of
how the horse walked through rows of spears sticking from the ground.

In certain customs of some Baltic and Slavic wedding celebrations, a horse symbolises a
young husband.

In some Slavic folk songs, an angry young wife, apparently cheated upon by her husband,
kills a horse or orders her brothers to kill it for her.

Jarilo's identification as a mischievous god may involve the ability of shapeshifting. This is
seen in other mischievous pagan deities, such as Proteus and Loki, who himself once took
the form of a horse.

All this led Katii and Belaj to conclude that Jarilo himself was conceived of as a horse, which would
explain the apparent absurdity mentioned in songs: He can both walk and come on a horse because he
himself is horse-like. One can only guess how the ancient Slavs imagined this mythical hero to look like,
perhaps as some sort of centaur.


Jarilo became identified with St. George after the arrival of Christianity, possibly because of mild
similarities in their names, but more likely because St. George is usually shown as a knight on a horse
slaying a dragon, whilst the Slavs believed Jarilo to have an equine appearance, and that for a time he

lived in the green underworld with his stepfather Veles, imagined to be a serpent-like or dragon-like deity.
Another possibility is the fact that some legends of St. George depict him being killed and resurrected
several times over. However, because of the importance of Jarilo to Slavic farmers and peasants as a
deity of vegetation and harvest, Christianity never extinguished the worship of his cult. The spring festivals
that in pagan times celebrated his return from the world of dead survived practically unchanged from
pagan times in the folklore of various Slavic countries.
A minor planet 2273 Yarilo discovered in 1975 by Soviet astronomer Lyudmila Chernykh is named after
this Slavic god.[1] In addition, the Russian folk metal band Arkona has created a song called "Yarilo".

Marzanna (in Polish) or Morena (in Czech or Slovak) or also Mara, Marena, Morana, Morna, Mora or
Marmora is a Slavic goddess associated with seasonal agrarian rites based on the idea of death and
rebirth of nature. She is associated with death and winter and often described as the goddess of death.
The end of winter is still being celebrated in some Slavic countries by throwing an effigy of Morana to the
river on first spring day in March.
Some medieval Christian sources such as the Czech 9th century Mater Verborum also compare her to
the Greek goddess Hecate, associating her with sorcery. 15th century Polish chronicler Jan
Dugosz likened her to Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture.

Vyacheslav Vsevolodovich Ivanov and Vladimir Toporov supposed her name was derived from the same
root as the name of Roman god of war Mars, originally an agricultural deity.[1] Other theories claim her
name is derived from the same Indo-European root as Latin mors 'death' and Russian mor'pestilence'.
Some authors also likened her to mare, an evil spirit in Germanic and Slavic folklore, associated
with nightmares and sleep paralysis. In some Russian dialects the word 'mara' means 'phantom', 'vision',

The tradition of burning or drowning an effigy of Marzanna to celebrate the end of winter is a folk custom
that survives in the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia. Typically taking place on the day of the vernal

equinox[citation needed] (2021 March), the rite involves setting fire to a female straw effigy, drowning it in a
river, or both.
In the Czech Republic or Poland, this is often performed during a field trip by children in kindergartens and
primary schools.[3] The effigy, often prepared by the children themselves, can range in size from a puppet
to a life-size dummy. This ritual represents the end of the dark days of winter, the victory over death, and
the welcoming of the spring rebirth.
It concerns the "drowning of Marzanna," a large figure of a woman made from various rags and bits of
clothing which is thrown into a river on the first day of the spring calendar. Along the way, she is dipped
into every puddle and pond ... Very often she is burned along with herbs before being drowned and a twin
custom is to decorate a pine tree with flowers and colored baubles to be carried through the village by the
girls. There are of course many superstitions associated with the ceremony: you can't touch Marzanna
once she's in the water, you can't look back at her, and if you fall on your way home you're in big trouble.
One, or a combination of any of these can bring the usual dose of sickness and plague.
Tom Galvin, "Drowning Your Sorrows in Spring", Warsaw Voice 13.544, March 28, 1999

Dabog (Bosnian, Croatian: Dabog, Dadbog; Bulgarian: , Polish: Dadbg, Russian: ()
, Serbian Latin: Dajbog or in cyrillic (or ); Ukrainian: ),
alternatively Dazhbog, Dazbog, Dazhdbog, or Dadzbg, was one of the major gods of Slavic mythology,
most likely a solar deity and possibly a cultural hero. He is one of several authentic Slavic gods,
mentioned by a number of medieval manuscripts, and one of the few Slavic gods for which evidence of
worship can be found in all Slavic nations.

Dabog (or Daboh) is mentioned in the Primary Chronicle, a history of early Kievan Rus' as one of seven
gods whose statues Prince Vladimir the Great erected in front of his palace in Kiev in 980, when he came
to the throne. The name is also mentioned in the Hypatian Codex, as well as in the medieval Russian
epic The Tale of Igor's Campaign.
Although these medieval documents come from the East Slavic area, names similar to Dabog/Daboh
have survived in the folklores of both West and South Slavic populations. Of particular interest is the
Serbian Dabog or Dajbog (most modern mythographers take for granted this is the same character as
East Slavic Dabog/Daboh), also known as Hromi Daba (meaning "Daba the Lame"), described in
folklore as a lame "shepherd of wolves", an ugly demon-lord who rules the underworld and travels through
the world of men. Though not always evil in folk stories, Dabog/Daboh is often presented as an enemy of
the Christian God or heavenly saints. While one may conjecture this is the result of satanization which the
Slavic solar deity underwent afterChristianization, there are some pretty good indications that even the
original, pre-Christian Dabog/Daboh or Dabog/Daboh had very strong chthonic attributes [citation needed].

Most scholars agree the root dad- or daj- is derived from root of the verb dati "to give". Thus, according to
Dubenskij, Ognovskij and Niderle, Dabog would be "giving god", "god-giver, "god-donor". The close
related word to Slavic Dad is in Avestian or east-Iranian language - dazd, dazda "gifts".[1] This is
particularly interesting since the Proto-Slavic word for god, *bagu (> Common Slavic*bog), the suffix of
Dabog's name, is argued either to be of Iranian origin (being related to Indo-Iranian etymons such as Old
Persian baga, Sanskrit bhaga), or being semantically influenced by Iranian source, both being ultimately
derived from PIE root *bag-, whose reflexes in both Slavic and Indo-Iranian came to mean both "deity"
and "wealth, share".[2] Thus, translated literally,Dabog would be "giver of fortune". This echoes the
ancient Indo-European concept that deity is, in essence, an entity which gives wealth and abundance, an
indication, perhaps, that Dabog is a relic from common Proto-Indo-European religion, or even that this
was not a name for any particular Slavic god, but a general epithet of a deity.
The most interesting passage about Dabog comes from the Hypatian Codex, a 15th century compilation
of several much older documents from the Ipatiev Monastery in Russia. The complete passage,
reconstructed from several manuscripts, translates as follows:
(Then) began his reign Feosta (Hephaestus), whom the Egyptians called Svarog during his rule, from
the heavens fell the smiths prongs and weapons were forged for the first time; before that, (people) fought
with clubs and stones. Feosta also commanded the women that they should have only a single
husband and that is why Egyptians called him Svarog After him ruled his son, his name was the Sun,
and they called him Dabog Sun tzar, son of Svarog, this is Dabog.
This is in fact a Slavic translation of an original Greek manuscript of Malalin from the 6th century. In Greek
text, the names of gods are Hephaestus and Helios. Apparently, the unknown Russian translator tried to
re-tell the entire story (set in Egypt) by replacing the names of classical deities with those that were better
known to his readers.[3] One can only hope that he indeed replaced the names of Greek gods with their
fitting Slavic counterparts; however, at least one issue remains problematic: in all Slavic languages, the
word for Sun, Sunce, is of neutral or feminine gender, never masculine. Also, in Baltic mythology, which is
most akin to Slavic, Sun is a female deity, Saule, while the Moon is a male one. The same pattern can be
observed in folklore of many Slavic nations, where the Sun is most often identified with mother or a bride,
and Moon with father or husband, their children being the stars. Where exactly this leaves Dabog as a
possible male solar deity of Slavic pantheon remains questionable.
Furthermore, this passage has raised quite a few theories about family relations between Slavic gods. If
we assume that indeed Svarog was believed to be Dabogs father, the question arises of his relation
with Svaroi, another deity who is mentioned as god of fire and war in several other medieval documents
describing the beliefs of pagan Slavs. Svaroi is simply a diminutive of Svarogs name, i.e., "little
Svarog", which implicates he was considered a child of Svarog. Vyacheslav Vsevolodovich
Ivanov and Vladimir Toporov proposed a reconstruction of this mythical genealogy that Svarog, a deity of
fire and forge similar to the Greek Hephaestus, had two sons; Dabog, who represented the fire in sky
(i.e., the Sun), and Svaroi, who symbolised the flame on earth, in the forge. [3] Henryk owmiaski,
however, theorised that Svarog was a Slavic sky god and personification of daylight sky itself, possibly a
continuation of Proto-Indo-European *DyusPh2ter, while Svaroi and solar Dabog were one and the
same deity, though, he concluded, two other aspects of Svaroi also existed: fiery Svaroi, as in the Sun

(mentioned in Russian medieval manuscripts), and lunar Svaroi, associated with the Moon. [4] Franjo
Ledic, on the other hand, simply assumed that Svarog and Dabog are one and the same god. [5]
Many mythologists also believe Dabog to be identical with another East Slavic deity with possible solar
attributes, Hors. Osip Maximovich Bodjanskij based this theory on a following passage from Primary
And Vladimir began his reign in Kiev alone and erected idols on the hill outside his palace with porch:
Perun of wood with a head of silver and mustache of gold and Hors Dabog and Stribog and Simargl and
Note that the names Hors and Dabog are the only two not clearly separated by the word "and" in the text.
This could be an indication of a compound deity, Hors Dabog. On this basis, Toporov assumed that Hors
could be an Iranian (possibly Sarmatian or Scythian) name for this god, and Dabog a Slavic one. Boris
Rybakov compared Hors and Dabog to Helios and Apollo, respectively, concluding that both of them
were solar gods, but while Hors represented the Sun itself, Dabog, as deus dator, rather symbolised the
life-giving power of the Sun.[6] That Hors was indeed a solar deity was deduced from the following passage
in the "Tale of Igors campaign":[7]
Vseslav the prince judged men; as prince, he ruled towns; but at night he prowled in the guise of a wolf.
From Kiev, prowling, he reached, before the cocks crew, Tmutorokan. The path of great Hors, as a wolf,
prowling, he crossed.
In other words, prince Vseslav reached Tmutorokan before dawn, thus crossing the path of Hors, the Sun.
In the mythical view of the world, the Sun has to pass through the underworld during the night to reach the
eastern horizon by the dawn. This, and the fact that prince Vseslav is transformed into a wolf during the
night, while "crossing the path of Hors", draws a very interesting parallel with the Serbian Dabog, who, as
stated already, was believed to be a lame "wolf shepherd" who rules over the underworld. Of particular
interest is the fact that Serbian folk accounts describe him as being lame; lameness was a standing
attribute of Greek Hephaestus, whom, as we have seen, the Hypatian Codex compared with Slavic smithgod Svarog, father of Dabog. (In fact, most of Indo-European smith-gods were lame; the reason for this
was most likely arsenicosis, low levels of arsenic poisoning, resulting in lameness and skin cancers.
Arsenic was added to bronze to harden it and most smiths of the Bronze Age would have suffered from
chronic workplace poisoning.) Serbian Dabog, being lord of underworld, was also associated with precious
metals, and sometimes was said to have a silver beard. Veselin ajkanovi concluded that the cthonic
character of Dabog in Serbian folklore fits very nicely with the solar Dabog mentioned in Russian
sources, pointing out that in numerous mythologies, solar deities tend to have double aspects, one
benevolent, associated with the Sun during the day, and the other malevolent, associated with night, when
the Sun is trapped in the underworld. In his studies of Serbian folklore, ajkanovi also concluded that
many more benevolent aspects of Dabog were passed on to popular saints in folk Christianity, in
particularly onto St. Sava, Serbian national saint, who, although undoubtedly was a real historical person,
in folk tales often appears in the role of culture hero.[8] The fact that in Tale of Igors campaign, the
Russians and their princes are being referred to as Dabogs grandchildren, indicates that Dabog was
considered as an ancestral deity, a common role of a culture hero archetype in mythologies.


Svarog (Old Church Slavonic: , Russian: , Polish: Swarg) is a Slavic deity known
primarily from the Hypatian Codex, a Slavic translation of the Chronicle of John Malalas. Svarog is there
identified with Hephaestus, the god of the blacksmith in ancient Greek religion, and as the father
of Dabog, a Slavic solar deity. On the basis of this text, some researchers conclude that Svarog is the
Slavic god of celestial fire and of blacksmithing.

The only mention of Svarog comes from the Hypatian Codex, a 15th-century compilation of several much
older documents from the Ipatiev Monastery in Russia. It contains a Slavic translation of an original Greek
manuscript of John Malalas from the 6th century. The complete passage, reconstructed from several
manuscripts, translates as follows:
(Then) began his reign Feosta (Hephaestus), whom the Egyptians called Svarog during his rule, from
the heavens fell the smiths prongs and weapons were forged for the first time; before that, (people) fought
with clubs and stones. Feosta also commanded the women that they should have only a single husband
and that is why Egyptians called him Svarog After him ruled his son, his name was the Sun, and they
called him Dabog Sun tzar, son of Svarog, this is Dabog.
In the Greek text, the names of gods are Hephaestus and Helios. Apparently, the unknown Russian
translator tried to re-tell the entire story (set in Egypt) by replacing the names of classical deities with
those that were better known to his readers.[1] It is uncertain to what extent the Greeks gods were thought
to resemble their Slavic counterparts.
Furthermore, this passage has raised quite a few theories about family relations between Slavic gods. If
one assumes that Svarog was believed to be Dabogs father, the question arises of his relation with
Svaroi, another deity who is mentioned as a god of fire and war in several other medieval documents
describing the beliefs of pagan Slavs.[citation needed] Vyacheslav Vsevolodovich Ivanov and Vladimir
Toporov proposed a reconstruction of this mythical genealogy, claiming that Svarog, a deity of fire and the
forge similar to the Greek Hephaestus, had two sons: Dabog, who represented the fire in sky (i.e., the
Sun), and Svaroi, who symbolised the flame on earth, in the forge. [1] Henrik Lovmjanjski, however,
theorised that Svarog was a Slavic sky god and personification of daylight sky itself, possibly a
continuation of Proto-Indo-European *Dyus Ph2ter, while Svaroi and solar Dabog were one and the
same deity, although he concluded that two other aspects of Svaroi also existed: fiery Svaroi, as in
the Sun (mentioned in Russian medieval manuscripts), and lunar Svaroi, associated with the Moon.
Franjo Ledi, on the other hand, simply assumed that Svarog and Dabog are one and the same god. [3]
Eastern Slavic sources also mention Svaroi as a deity, there associated with fire. According to Thietmar
of Merseburg, Svaroi (Latinized Zuarasici) was worshipped by a tribe of Ratars in the city of Ridegost


In Neopagan religions, Svarog is often the supreme god-creator and the central part of the (holy)
trinity Triglav. He completed the creation of the world by giving it Prav.

Svarog is one of the Goa'uld System Lords in Stargate SG-1.

Svarog cameos in the Marvel Comics Infinity Gauntlet series.[5]

Svarog is one of the planets in Mass Effect.

Svarog is an anomaly detector in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat.

Svarog is an alternate avatar in Heroes of Newerth.

In Slavic mythology, Perun (Cyrillic: ) is the highest god of the pantheon and the god
of thunder and lightning. His other attributes were fire, mountains, the oak, iris, eagle, firmament (in IndoEuropean languages, this was joined with the notion of the sky of
stone), horsesand carts, weapons (the hammer, axe (Axe of Perun), and arrow), and war. He was first
associated with weapons made of stone and later with those of metal.
Like Germanic Thor,[citation needed] Perun is described as a rugged man with a copper beard. He rides in a
chariot pulled by a goat buck and carries a mighty axe, or sometimes a hammer. The axe is hurled at evil
people and spirits and will always return to his hand.

Of all historic records describing Slavic gods, those mentioning Perun are the most numerous. As early as
the 6th century, he was mentioned in De Bello Gothico, a historical source written by
the Byzantine historian Procopius. A short note describing beliefs of a certain South Slavic tribe states
theyacknowledge that one god, creator of lightning, is the only lord of all: to him do they sacrifice an ox
and all sacrificial animals. While the name of the god is not mentioned here explicitly, the fact that the
word Perun in a number of Slavic languages today simply means "thunder," or "lightning bolt," credibly
suggests that this was a reference of him.
In 980, when prince Vladimir the Great came to the throne of Kiev, he erected statues of five pagan gods
in front of his palace. Perun was chief among these, represented with a silver head and a golden
moustache. Vladimir's uncle Dobrinja also had a shrine of Perun established in his city of Novgorod. After
the Christianization of Kievan Rus, this place became a monastery, which, quite remarkably, continued to
bear the name of Perun.
Perun is not mentioned directly in any of the records of Western Slavic paganism, but a reference to him is
perhaps made in a short note in Helmod'sChronica Slavorum, written in the latter half of the 12th century,
which states (quite similarly to Procopius some six centuries earlier) that Slavic tribes, even though they
worship many various gods, all agree there is a supreme god in heaven which rules over all other on
earth. This could be a reference to Perun, but since he is not named, nor any of his chief attributes
(thunder or lightning) mentioned, we cannot be certain.

Moreover, the name of Perun is also commonly found in Southern Slavic toponymy.
The Macedonian and Bulgarian people believe that the name of the mountain Pirin, one of the highest
mountains of the Balkan Peninsula, was named after Perun. There are also places called: Perun (the
famous mountain in Bosnia Herzegovina, Vare), Perunac, Perunovac, Perunika, Perunika Glava, Peruni
Vrh, Perunja Ves, Peruna Dubrava, Perunua, Peruice, Perudina and Perutovac. These names today
mostly represent mountain tops, but in medieval times, large oaks, sacred groves and even entire villages
or citadels were named Perun. Also, as mentioned already, in Ukrainian perun and in Polish piorun means
"thunderbolt". Among South Slavs, a mountain plant Iris germanica is known in folklore
as perunika ("Perun's plant") and sometimes also as bogisha, ("god's plant"), and was believed to grow
from ground that had been struck by lightning. Also the Serbian surname Perunii is derived from Perun.
Main article: Perkwunos
Perun is strongly correlated with the near-identical Perknas/Prkons from Baltic mythology, suggesting
either a common derivative of the Proto-Indo European thunder god whose original name has been
reconstructed as Perkwunos, or it's possible one of these cultures borrowed the deity from the other. The
root *perkwu originally probably meant oak, but in Proto-Slavic this evolved into per- meaning "to strike, to
In Slavic mythology, much like in Norse mythology, the world was represented by a sacred tree, usually an
oak, whose branches and trunk represented the living world of heavens and mortals, whilst its roots
represented the underworld, i.e. the realm of the dead. Perun was a ruler of the living world, sky and
earth, and was often symbolised by an eagle sitting on the top of the tallest branch of the tree, from which
he kept watch over the entire world. Deep down in the roots of the tree was the place of his enemy,
symbolised by a serpent or a dragon: this was Veles, watery god of the underworld, who continually
provoked Perun by stealing his cattle, children, or wife. Perun pursued Veles around the earth, attacking
him with his lightning bolts from the sky. Veles fled from him by transforming himself into various animals,
or hiding behind trees, houses, or people; wherever a lightning bolt struck, it was believed, this was
because Veles hid from Perun under or behind that particular place. In the end, Perun managed to kill
Veles, or to chase him back down into his watery underworld. The supreme god thus reestablished the
order in the world which had been disrupted by his chaotic enemy. He then returned to the top of the
World tree and proudly informed his opponent down in the roots: , ,
! (Nu, tam tvoje mjesto, tam sabje bud'! "Well, there is your place, remain there!"). This line came
from a Belarusian folk tale of great antiquity. To the Slavs, the mythological symbolism of a supreme
heavenly god who battles with his underworldly enemy through storms and thunder was extremely
significant, and from Perun and Veles, this idea of cosmic battle was passed onto God and
the Devil following Christianization.
While the exact pantheon characterization differed between the Slavic tribes, Perun is generally believed
to have been considered as the supreme god by the majority, or perhaps nearly all Slavs, at least towards
the end of Slavic paganism. The earliest supreme god was probablyRod; it is unclear precisely how and
why his worship as the head of the pantheon evolved into the worship of Perun. Another candidate for
supreme deity among at least some Slavs is Svarog.

In the classification scheme of Georges Dumzil, Perun was the god of the second function (physical and
military power), a god of war, and as such, he was armed with several fantastic weapons. Perun's
lightning bolts were believed to be stones and stone arrows. According to folk
beliefs, fulgurites and belemnites and sometimes even the remains of prehistoric stone tools found in the
ground are remains of these weapons. Various Slavic countries also call these deposits "Perun's stones",
"thunderbolt stones", "thunderbolt wedges" and "Perun's arrow"; other unrelated names for these include
"devil's finger", "God's finger", and "Mother of God finger", and in Lithuania, "Berkun's finger". These
thunderbolt stones were sometimes said to be transferred back to the sky by the wind after being under
earth for a period of seven years. The weapons of Perun protected against bad luck, evil magic, disease,
and naturally enough lightning itself.
Perun also had another type of weapon in his arsenal, as destructive as his firestone arrows, but even
more unusual: mythical golden apples. While this may not seem to be much of a weapon, in many Slavic
folk accounts, the golden apple appears as a talisman of ultimate destruction. An example from a folk
song from Montenegro[citation needed] with strong mythical elements relates:
... Te izvadi tri jabuke zlatne
I baci ih nebu u visine...
...Tri munje od neba pukoe
Jedna gaa dva djevera mlada,
Druga gaa pau na dorinu,
Trea gaa svata est stotina,
Ne utee oka za svjedoka,
Ni da kae, kako pogiboe.
"...He grabbed three golden apples
And threw them high into the sky...
...Three lightning bolts burst from the sky,
One struck at two young grooms,
Another struck at pasha on a horse,
The third one struck six hundred wedding guests,
Not an eyewitness left
Not even to say, how they died."
It is conjectured that the mythical golden apples of Perun were symbols of a rare but notorious form of
atmospheric discharge, ball lightning. The same is probably true for the thunder marks of East Slavic
folklore, of which two examples are shown above.
Remains of an ancient shrine to Perun discovered beneath medieval Peryn skete in Novgorod consisted
of a wide circular platform centred around a statue, encircled by a trench with eight apses, which
contained sacrificial altars and possibly additional statues. The overall plan of the shrine shows clear
symbolism of the number nine. This is sometimes interpreted that Perun, in fact, had nine sons (or eight
sons, with himself, the father, being the ninth Perun). It should also be noted that in some Slavic folk
songs, nine unnamed brothers are mentioned.

Similarly to Perknas of Baltic mythology, Perun was considered to have multiple aspects. In
one Lithuanian song, it is said there are in fact nine versions of Perknas. From comparison to the Baltic
mythology, and also from additional sources in Slavic folklore, it can also be shown that Perun was
married to the Sun. He, however, shared his wife with his enemy Veles, as each night the Sun was
thought of as diving behind the horizon and into the underworld, the realm of the dead over which Veles
Like many other Indo-European thunder gods, Perun's vegetative hypostasis was the oak, especially a
particularly distinctive or prominent one. In Southern Slavic traditions, marked oaks stood on country
borders; communities at these positions were visited during village holidays in the late spring and during
the summer. Shrines of Perun were located either on top of mountains or hills, or in sacred groves
underneath ancient oaks. These were a general place of worship and holding of sacrifices (with a bull,
an ox, a ram, and eggs).
In addition to the tree association, Perun had a day association (Thursday) as well as the material
association (tin).[1]


With the arrival of Christianity, various churches had a difficult time trying to overcome the worship of the
old supreme deities of the Slavs. In the East, the Eastern Orthodox Church gradually managed to pass
much of Perun's characteristics on to a new Christian saint, Elijah the Thunderer, based upon the Old
Testament prophet Elijah, whom the Scriptures state rode a flaming chariot through heaven; this seemed a
good enough approximation of the old thunder god with his fiery bolts. In the west, the Roman Catholic
Church offered St. Michael the Archangel, who, as a commander of heavenly armies and vanquisher of
the Devil, was also a fitting replacement for Perun. It is also possible that on a local level Perun was
replaced with St. Vitus, where this saint did not, due to similarities in names, replace another important
Slavic god, Svantovit; however, it is also possible that already in pagan times, the worship of Perun was
challenged by a growing cult of Svetovid (Svantovit). On some levels of folklore and popular Christianity,
some of Perun's characteristics were passed on to the Christian God Himself.

Svetovid (Polish: witowit, Russian: ), is a Slavic deity of war, fertility and abundance primarily
venerated on the island of Rgeninto the 12th century. He is often considered a local Rugian variant of the
pan-Slavic god Perun.
Sometimes referred to as Beli (or Byali) Vid (Beli = white, bright, shining), Svetovid is often depicted with a
sword or bow in one hand and a drinking horn in the other. Other important symbols included the white
horse, which were kept in his temple and used in divination.

Svetovid is associated with war and divination and depicted as a four-headed god with two heads looking
forward and two back. A statue portraying the god shows him with four heads, each one looking in a
separate direction, a symbolical representation of the four directions of the compass, and also perhaps the

four seasons of the year. Each face had a specific colour. The northern face of this totem was white
(hence Byelorus and the White Sea), the western, red (hence Chervona Rus'), the southern, black (hence
the Black Sea) and the eastern, green (hence Zelenyj klyn). [1]

Boris Rybakov argued for identification of the faces with the
gods Perun, Svarog, Lada and Mokosh (compare Zbruch idol). Joined together, they see all four sides of
the world. This gave rise to a false etymology of the name of the god as "world-seer" (svet = "world", vid =
"sight"; Svetovid = "worldseer"). However, the forms Sventevith and Zvantewith show that the name
derives from the word svt, meaning "saint, holy". The second stem is sometimes reconstructed as vit =
"lord, ruler, winner".
The name recorded in chronicles of contemporary Christian monks is Svantevit, which, if we assume it
was properly transcribed, could be an adjective meaning approx. "Dawning One" (svantev,svitanje =
"dawning, raising of the Sun in the morning" + it, adjective suffix), implying either a connection with the
"Morning Star" or with the Sun itself.


Beyond the names above referenced, Svetovid can also be known

as Svyatovit (Ukrainian), Svyatovid (alternative name in Ukrainian), Svyentovit (alternative name in
Ukrainian), Svetovid(Serbian, Croatian, Slovenian, Macedonian and Bosnian, and alternative name in
Bulgarian), Suvid (alternative name in Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian), Svantevit (Wendish, alternative
name in Ukrainian and possibly the original proto-Slavic name), Svantevid (alternative name in Serbian,
Croatian and Bosnian), Svantovit (Czech and Slovak), Svantovt (Czech), Svantovid (alternative name
in Serbo-Croat and Bosniak), Swantovt, Sventovit, Zvantevith (Latin and alternative name in SerboCroatian), witowit (Polish), wiatowid, Sutvid, Svevid, and Vid.

The original name of the island Rgen or Danish Rugia at the Baltic Sea was Rujan (meaning red in Old
Slavic); thus the name would in translation imply 'The Red Island'. The autochthonous inhabitants of the
island were the Slavic tribe, the Rujani, whose name was cognate with the island's; thus translating as
people from Rujan. After the destruction and Germanization of the Rujani by the Danes, in 1168, the
original Slavic name of Rujan was corrupted as Rgen in German and Rugia in Danish.
According to various chronicles (i.e. Gesta Danorum by Saxo Grammaticus and Chronica
Slavorum by Helmold), the temple at Jaromarsburg contained a giant wooden statue of Svantevit
depicting him with four heads (or one head with four faces) and a horn of abundance. Each year the horn
was filled with fresh mead.
The temple was also the seat of an oracle in which the chief priest predicted the future of his tribe by
observing the behaviour of a white horse identified with Svantevit and casting dice (horse oracles have a
long history in this region, being already attested in the writings of Tacitus). The temple also contained the
treasury of the tribe and was defended by a group of 300 mounted warriors which formed the core of the
tribal armed forces.

Some interpretations claim that Svetovit was another name for Radegast, while another states that he was
a fake god, a Wendish construction based on the name St. Vitus. However, the common practice of the
Christian Church was to replace existing pagan deities and places of worship with analogous persons and
rituals of Christian content, so it seems more likely that Saint-Vitus was created to replace the original
Svanto-Vit. According to a common interpretation, Svantevit was a Rugian counterpart of the panSlavic Perun.
In Croatia, on the island of Bra, the highest peak is called Vid's Mountain. In the Dinaric Alps there is a
peak called "Suvid" and a Church of St. Vid. Among the Serbs, the cult of Svetovid is partially preserved
through the Feast of St.Vitus, "Vidovdan", one of the most important annual events in Serbian Orthodox
Christian tradition.


The science fiction story "Delenda Est" by Poul Anderson depicts an alternate history world
where Carthage defeated Rome, Christianity never arose and in the 20th century, Svantevit is still a main
deity of a major European power called Littorn (that is, Lithuania). A devotee of this god, in the story, is
called Boleslav Arkonsky a name evidently derived from the above mentioned temple at Arkona.

Veles (Cyrillic: ; Polish: Weles; Czech: Veles; Old Russian and Old Church Slavonic: ) also
known as Volos (Russian:) (listed as a Christian saint in Old Russian texts) is a major Slavic
supernatural force of earth, waters and the underworld, associated with dragons, cattle, magic, musicians,
wealth and trickery. He is the opponent of the Supreme thunder-god Perun, and the battle between two of
them constitutes one of the most important myths of Slavic mythology. No direct accounts survive, but
reconstructions speculate that he may directly continue aspects of the Proto-Indo-European pantheon and
that he may have been imagined as (at least partially) serpentine, with horns (of a bull, ram or some other
domesticated herbivore), and a long beard.

Veles is one of few Slavic gods for which evidence of offerings can be found in all Slavic nations.
The Primary Chronicle, a historical record of the early Eastern Slavic state, is the earliest and most
important record, mentioning a god named Volos several times. Many etymologists, however, suppose
them two different gods. Here, Volos is mentioned as god of cattle and peasants, who will punish oathbreakers with diseases, the opposite of Perun who is described as a ruling god of war who punishes by
death in battle. In the later half of 10th century, Veles or Volos was one of seven gods whose
statues Vladimir I, Prince of Kiev had erected in his city. It is very interesting that Veles' statue apparently
did not stand next to others, on the hill where the prince's castle was, but lower in the city, on the
marketplace. Not only does this indicate that Veles was connected with commerce, but it also shows that
worship of Perun and Veles had to be kept separate: while it was proper for Perun's shrines to be built
high, on the top of the hill, Veles' place was down, in the lowlands.

A similar pattern can be observed amongst the South Slavs. Here the name of Veles appears only
in toponyms, the most well-known of which is the city ofVeles in Macedonia, over which looms a hill of
St. Elias the Thunderer. Also, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a part of Sarajevo is called Veleii.[1] Another
example is the town of Volosko in Croatia, situated on the seashore under the peak of
Mount Ucka, nicknamed Perun. Amongst Western Slavs, the name can be principally found in 15th and
16th century Czech records, where it means either dragon or devil.
It is probably the same as Vala, the enemy of Vedic thunder-god Indra, and to Vels or Velinas, a devil of
Baltic mythology and enemy of Baltic thunder-godPerknas, as well as Nordic Vlsi "priapus". One
possibility is that the name derives from the Proto-Indo-European root *wel-, meaning wool[2] (if so, the
English word "wool" would actually be fairly closely related to the name of this god). "Volos" is also the
Russian word for "hair." This seems logical, since Veles was believed to be the deity of a horned cattle.
The name may also be related to Slavic terminology for oxen, for which the South Slavs and Russians all
use "/vol."

of Perun and storm myth

The Russian philologists Vyacheslav Vsevolodovich Ivanov and Vladimir Toporov reconstructed the
mythical battle of Perun and Veles through comparative study of various Indo-European mythologies and
a large number of Slavic folk stories and songs. A unifying characteristic of all Indo-European mythologies
is a story about a battle between a god of thunder and a huge serpent or a dragon. In the Slavic version of
the myth, Perun is a god of thunder, whilst Veles acts as a dragon who opposes him, consistent with
the Vala etymology; He is also similar to the Etruscan Underworld-monster Vetha and to the
dragon Illuyankas, enemy of the storm god of Hittite mythology.
The reason of enmity between the two gods is Veles' theft of Perun's son, wife or, usually, cattle. It is also
an act of challenge: Veles, in the form of a huge serpent, slithers from the caves of the Underworld and
coils upwards the Slavic world tree towards Perun's heavenly domain. Perun retaliates and attacks Veles
with his lightning bolts. Veles flees, hiding or transforming himself into trees, animals or people. In the end
he is killed by Perun, and in this ritual death, whatever Veles stole is released from his battered body in
form of rain falling from the skies. This Storm myth, as it is generally referred to by scholars today,
explained to ancient Slavs the changing of seasons through the year. The dry periods were interpreted as
chaotic results of Veles' thievery. Storms and lightning were seen as divine battles. The following rain was
the triumph of Perun over Veles and re-establishment of world order.
The myth was cyclical, repeating itself each year. The death of Veles was never permanent; he would
reform himself as a serpent who would shed its old skin and would be reborn in a new body. Although in
this particular myth he plays the negative role as bringer of chaos, Veles was not seen as an evil god by
ancient Slavs. In fact, in many of the Russian folk tales, Veles, appearing under the Christian guise of St.
Nicholas, saves the poor farmer and his cattle from the furious and destructive St. Elias the Thunderer,
who, of course, represents the old Perun. The duality and conflict of Perun and Veles does not represent
the dualistic clash of good and evil; rather, it is the opposition of the natural principles of earth, water and
substance (Veles) against heaven, fire and spirit (Perun).

of the underworld and death

Ancient Slavs viewed their world as a huge tree, with the treetop and branches representing the heavenly
abode of gods and the world of mortals, whilst the roots represented the underworld. And while Perun,
seen as a hawk or eagle sitting on a tallest branch of tree, was believed to be ruler of heaven and living
world, Veles, seen as a huge serpent coiling around the roots, was ruling the world of dead. This was
actually quite a lovely place, described in folk tales as a green and wet world of grassy plains and eternal
spring, where various fantastic creatures dwell and the spirits of deceased watch over Veles' herds of
cattle. In more geographical terms, the world of Veles was located, the Slavs believed, "across the sea",
and it was there the migrating birds would fly to every winter. In folk tales this land is called Virey or Iriy.
Each year, the god of fertility and vegetation, Jarilo, who also dwelt there during winter, would return from
across the sea and bring spring into the world of the living.
Veles also regularly sent spirits of the dead into the living world as his heralds. Festivals in honour of him
were held near the end of the year, in winter, when time was coming to the very end of world order, chaos
was growing stronger, the borders between worlds of living and dead were fading, and ancestral spirits
would return amongst the living. This was the ancient pagan celebration ofVelja noc (Great Night), the
relic of which still persists amongst many Slavic countries in folk customs of Koleda, a kind of combination
of carnival and Halloween, which can happen anywhere from Christmas up to end of February. Young
men, known as koledari or vucari would dress long coats of sheep's wool and don grotesque masks,
roaming around villages in groups and raising a lot of noise. They sang songs saying they travelled a long
way, and they are all wet and muddy, an allusion of the wet underworld of Veles from which they came as
ghosts of dead. The master of any house they visited would welcome them warmly and presented them
with gifts. This is an example of Slavic shamanism, which also indicates Veles was a god of magic and
wealth. The gifts given to koledari were probably believed to be passed onto him (which makes him very
much like a dragon hoarding treasure), thus ensuring good fortune and wealth for the house and family
through entire year. As seen in descriptions from the Primary Chronicle, by angering Veles one would be
stricken by diseases.

of magic and musicians

Veles' nature for mischief is evident both from his role in Storm myth and in carnival customs of Koledari
shamans. In his role as a trickster god, he is in some ways similar to both Greek Hermesand
Scandinavian Loki, and like them, he was connected with magic. The word volhov, obviously derived from
his name, in some Slavic languages still means sorcerer, whilst in the 12th century Russian epic The Tale
of Igor's Campaign, character of Boyan the wizard is called Veles' grandson. Since magic was and is
closely linked to music in primitive societies, Veles was also believed to be protector of travelling
musicians. For instance, in some wedding ceremonies of northern Croatia (which continued up to 20th
century), the music would not start playing unless the bridegroom, when making a toast, spilled some of
the wine on the ground, preferably over the roots of the nearest tree. The symbolism of this is clear, even
though forgotten long ago by those still performing it: the musicians will not sing until a toast is made to
their patron deity.[2]

of cattle and wealth

Veles' main practical function was protecting the cattle of Slavic tribes. Often he was referred to as skotji
bog, meaning "cattle-god". One of his attributes, as mentioned, were horns of bull or a ram, and probably
also sheep's wool. As stated already, Veles was a god of magic, and in some folk accounts, the
expression presti vunu (weaving wool) or, particularly, crnu vunu presti (weaving of black wool) stands as

allusion to magical crafts. In some of surviving Koledo songs, Koledari sing they are coming along and
"weaving black wool".
Thus, being a "wooly" god, Veles was considered to be a protector of shepherds, which reveals one
additional trait of his enemity with Perun, who, as a giver of rain, would be god of farmers. Veles, however,
did have some influence over agriculture, or at least harvest. Among many Slavic nations, most notably in
Russia, a harvest custom persisted of cutting the first ear of wheat and tying it in a sort of amulet which
protected the harvest from evil spirits. This was called 'tying of the beard of Veles', which also indicates
Veles was imagined to be bearded. In several South Slavic languages, witty expressions such as puna
aka brade (full fist of beard) or, particularly, primiti boga za bradu ("to grab a god for [his] beard", the
forgotten god in this expression most likely being a pagan Veles), allude to exceptionally good fortune and
gaining of wealth.


After the advent of Christianity, Veles was split into several different characters. As a god of the
Underworld and dragons, he, of course, became identified with the Devil. His more benevolent sides were
transformed to several Christian saints. As a protector of cattle, he became associated with Saint Blaise,
popularly known among various Slavic nations as St. Vlaho, St. Blaz, or St. Vlasiy. In Yaroslavl, for
example, the first church built on the site of Veles's pagan shrine was dedicated to St Blaise, for the
latter's name was similar to Veles and he was likewise considered a heavenly patron of shepherds. [3] As
mentioned already, in many Eastern Slavic folk tales, he was replaced by St. Nicholas, probably because
the popular stories of the saint describe him as a giver of wealth and a sort of a trickster.
It is remarkable that Veles managed to hold so many versatile attributes in ancient Slavic mythology and
was not split into more characters until the arrival of Christianity; by contrast, his opponent, Perun, was
never venerated as anything more and nothing less than a god of thunder and storm, a very narrow
sphere of influence compared to Veles' versatility. In other Indo-European mythologies, similar gods were
schematically divided into several different deities.

Lada or Lado is the names of a putative Slavic pagan deity of harmony,
merriment, youth, love and beauty .
The word 'Lado' does indeed appear in many Slavic and Baltic wedding and folk songs, particularly those
sung during Ivan Kupala and other summer festivals. Its meaning, if indeed it has any, is unclear; it
appears to be a mere exclamation. While many of the folk songs containing such an exclamation actually
do have some elements from the pre-Christian celebrations of summer solstice, they are not addressed to
any god or goddess Lado.
This was explained in detail by Croatian ethnologist Vitomir Belaj, who studied a great number of songs of
summer festivities from various Slavic nations. While not all of them contain Lado-exclamations, all of
them do include a central character named Ivan or Ivo, meaning John, which is loosely associated with
St. John the Baptist, whose feast day occurs in summer. However, the Ivan of these songs has almost no
resemblance to the Christian saint: he is described as a young and handsome man, courting with young

girls, and in one particular song he even explicitly refuses to baptise a young child presented before him,
explaining he cannot do so because he himself is not a Christian. Belaj concluded that in these songs the
name of Ivan stands in place of the name of an older Slavic god who was venerated at summer festival
which later, after the arrival of Christianity, became the festival of St. John the Baptist. Belaj identified this
lost god as Jarilo, a major Slavic deity of vegetation, harvest and fertility. Thus, in the above Bedekovic's
record of Lado-song, the "holy god" mentioned in the verses indeed does refer to a forgotten pagan deity,
though not to Lado, but rather to Ive or Ivan, who is actually Jarilo.
The same can be said for the following Serbian Lado-song recorded in Nikola Begovi's Srpske narodne
pjesme iz Like i Banije, which was likewise sung by young girls standing in circles.
Lado! Vid slept in a meadow
Lado is beautiful!
Lado! fair elf-maids were waking him
Lado is beautiful!
Lado! Stand up young Vid!
Lado is beautiful!
Lado! your house is on sale;
Lado is beautiful!
Lado! your mother is dying;
Lado is beautiful!
Lado! your lover serves another.
Lado is beautiful!
Lado! Then answers young Vid
Lado is beautiful!
Lado! you are lying fair elf-maids;
Lado is beautiful!
Lado! neither is my mother dying;
Lado is beautiful!
Lado! neither is my house on sale;
Lado is beautiful!
Lado! but my lover serves another.
Lado is beautiful!
Here Lado does not appear to be the name of any deity, but is merely an exclamation. However, the main
character of this song does not bear the name Ivan, but rather Vid, in which one can easily recognise the
name of Svetovid, a major Slavic god of war, prophecies and harvest. According to the contemporary
sources of Christian missionaries of the early Middle Ages, particularly ofSaxo Grammaticus who gave a
detailed account of Svetovid's great temple on the island of Rgen, the pagan Slavs held a great festival
each summer in honor of Svetovid. Some customs or songs from such pagan ceremonies survived well
into Christian times under the guise of folklore, but their original meaning was completely forgotten over
the centuries. The names of old gods were mixed with names of new Christian saints, the verses were

corrupted, parts were lost, and a lot of nonsense or meaningless words entered the texts, Lado apparently
being one of them.

Moko (Old Russian ) is a Slavic goddess mentioned in the Primary Chronicle, protector of
women's work and women's destiny.[1]She watches over spinning and weaving, shearing of sheep, and
protects women in child birth. Mokosh is the handmaiden of Mat Zemlya.
Moko was the only female deity whose idol was erected by Vladimir the Great in his Kiev sanctuary along
with statues of other major gods (Perun, Hors, Dabog, Stribog and Simargl).

According to Max Vasmer, her name is derived from the same root as Russian words mokry 'wet'
and moknut(i) 'get wet'. She keeps things moist, and ensures that men's semen is rich in sperm. [2]
Moko was one of the most popular Slavic deities and the great Mother Goddess of East Slavs. In
embroidery, she is represented as a woman with uplifted hands and flanked by two plow horses. [3]
Adopted by Eastern Slavs from Finno-Ugric pantheon,[4] she shares characteristics with Indo-Iranian Ardvi
Sura Anahita Humid Mother of the Earth.
Worshipped as late as the 19th century, she was a force of fertility and the ruler of death. Worshipers
prayed to Mokosh-stones or breast-shaped boulders that held power over the land and its people. Rain
was Mokosh's milk.[5]
Moko was later replaced by the cult of the Virgin Mary and St. Paraskevia.[6] The name of the latter can
be translated as "Friday", the day associated with females and female deities; in Slavic tradition, it was
devoted to Moko. Probably because of associations with Moko, St. Paraskevia became one of the most
popular and beloved saints in Russia.