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3.3. Mythological images in Balt culture.

Mythological images of the Balts.

Balt mythological tradition was kept in two variants: Prussian (from which there were names and descriptions of functions of gods (extremely man's') and Letto-Lithuanian. Last is restored in the greater degree on the basis of folklore sources. The Supreme god of ancestors of Latvians and Lithuanians was Dievas (in a Prussian pantheon he is called also 'Okopirn' - 'the most first'). He is the typical representative of such Indo-European type as the God of Clear Sky and corresponds with Indian Dyaus, Greek Zeus , Roman Jove, Etruscan Tin, German-Scandinavian Tiw/Tyr, Hittite Tiwat, Celtic Teutat . Dievas it is submitted as the courageous person dressed in a silver cloak, a cap, his clothes are decorated with suspension brackets and a belt with a sword. These attributes go back to Laten Iron Age, to shape of the Balt king and once again confirm idea that the God of the Clear Sky is the legislator and the patron of breeding collective (we shall recollect king was Nuadha).

The god has got children-twins - 'Dievas's sons'. "In the Latvian national songs fragments of motives and the symbols, connecting children Dievas with idolised twins of other traditions - ancient Greek Dioscuri, Indian Asvinau were kept: sons of the god are in love with the daughter of the god (lits. Saules dukte, the Latvian. Saules meita, 'the daughter of the sun', from here and Estonian 'Salme'); expecting her, they light two fires on the sea, roll the daughter of the sun in a boat, overland go to her house on two horses. Sons of the god embody fertility and contact an agricultural cult <...> Representation that and their most ancient attribute - horses are connected to twins both an opportunity of epidemic and healing from illness, till now meets in the Lithuanian villages. These features of the twins' cult were reflected and in the Lithuanian images of skates in a roof, having exact conformity in the Latvian skates as horse heads..." (Myths of nations of the world, 1998, v.1, 154).

The most active character of Balt mythology is Perkunas. He is the typical God of Thunder, whose name occurs from Indo-European Per (k)-un-o-s). To him corresponds Slavic Perun , Indian Parjanya, and (with other ethymology) Indian Indra, Hittite Tarhunt ( Tarhunt and Illuyanka ), Celt Taranis , Scandinavian Thor, German Donner. From sanctuary in valley Swintorog we were reached with a figurine sitting Perkunas (the end of 13-th. c. A.C.). He/she is the mature husband, in the right hand he compresses a bunch of lightnings.

In folklore Perkunas behaves the same as also other representatives of the given type. He pursues his opponent (what is Veln), by means of lightnings. "Sometimes in folklore the reason of the God of Thunder's anger - an unfaithfulness of his wife with Veln or kidnapping of her, kidnapping of people, or cattle is underlined. The pursued opponent is hidden for different subjects (the tree, a stone), addresses in the cow, in the person <...> According to the folklore texts the variant of a myth, where a morning dawn Ausrine, with his opponent is reconstructed also. Perkunas overthrows her from the sky on the ground, and that turns in chthonic goddess (compare. Mara, Zemina, Lauma)" (Myths of nations of the world, 1998, v.1, 154 - 155). It is very important plot, it explains, why the Great Goddess has got complicated sky-earth nature. The Ob-Ugrians which though are not the Indo-Europeans, but had with them close contacts, there is a similar myth. Supreme god Num-Torum, which, being the god of the sky, combined also thunderous function ('Torun' is not casually conformably Scandinavian Odin ) has overthrown from heavens the to spouse Kaltus-Ekva that that has asked to kill all animals and birds and to make of their bones the new house (Hant and Mansi myths, legends, fairy tales, 1990).

So, the Great Goddess is Zemes mate ('mother-earth'), Lauma and some other images. Lauma - at the beginning the goddess of birdhs and earth, later - malicious spirit. As opposed to her Laima ('happiness' - the goddess of happiness and destiny, sometimes together with Dekla and Karta acts as the heavenly spinner (like Scandinavian Nornir , Greek Moirae etc.).

The God of Earth Powers in the Balt mythology were Latvian Veln - Lithuanian Vels. Veln it is widely distributed in folklore and national arts and crafts. He is horned, sometimes has hoofs, is connected to water the eye of him is 'a window in a bog'. Veln has got wisdom, builds bridges, patronises music and dances. At the same time in fairy tales he frequently gets mistake. N. Velius believes this character is wise in sacral sphere and simple in prophanic one (see. Velius, the author's abstract of the dissertation). This reasoning indirectly confirms connection of the God of Earth Powers with magic, priestly sphere. Vels more ancient variant of an image. "At 17-th. century A.D. G. Stender informs about Vels (Wels) - the god dead to which 'days of dead' were devoted (Welli; compare Lith. vele, 'soul', veles, 'shadows deceased', words of the same root, as V.); V. it is connected to cattle etc. animals (according to Stender - 'the divine horses', 'the divine bulls', 'the divine birds')". (Myths of nations of the world, 1998. v. 1, 228). Vels it is known also from Lithuanian dualistic legends which are connected with Slavic Bogumil heresies of Middle Ages and, on the other hand - with dualism Ugrian peoples. He acts in them as one of creators of the world, the contender of God (Dievas) (Pumpur, 1975). To an image of this Balt deity it is especially close East Slav Veles . V.V. Ivanov and V.N. Toporov compare to him also Indian Vala , Vritra, and even Varuna. (Myths of nations of the world, 1998. v. 1, p. 530).

The ancient Indian myth about the Vala is especially interesting. According to Vedas, certain demons Pani steal cows of the God of Thunder Indra . That, together with dog Sarama, finds a cave of demons and returns loss. Vala roared from depths, but Indra defeated him. This plot is very close to Baltic myth. There is all symbolical - and name Pani - is similar to the Greek Pan (the lord of herds, woods and fields, Pan is also a projection of the God of Earth Powers), and participation of a dog which, similarly to the wolf is the eternal ally of the God of Thunder (by the way, in mentioned dualistic legends is spoken about enmity of the wolf to Vels) and Vala's image (Vritra's brother, swallowed up heavenly waters and the fallen most a victim of Indra). In Etruria, in sacred city the god (whose name is transferred differently: Velthuna, Vertumna? Velthina) was esteemed. Sometimes him is considered as chthonic form of Tin or the god of a nature circulation (Nemirovsky, 1983). The Romans inform an interesting history, as a certain demon in the wolf image wanted to escape from the underground world and to devastate vicinities of sacral Etruscan town, but hardly he has raised a cover of well as immediately was tired out back. (Raschinger E, 1992, vol. 1, p. 44). Плиний names a demon of Olt (Olta), but Raschinger believes that in Etruscan this name was Veltha , that can be identically mentioned chthonic Vertumn, 'the main god of Etruria'. Relieves on some funeral urns give fines illustrations to this myth to one of the few it is clean Etruscan plots, known to us in writing. We see a monster that is getting out from well. More often it looks like the shaggy wolf though one relief shows it with a smooth body and as though a horse head. There are variants, that depict Olt/Veltha in an image of the person with a head of the wolf and even is simple in the wolf mask. The monster is surrounded with people which are taking place in the strongest excitement. They try to jostle it back in well or to constrain, having covered with a circuit. One person has already fallen Veltha victim. On one variant it is possible to see the most popular Etruscan goddess Vanth , messengeress of death, likes Greek furies, and typologically - Scandinavian Valkyrie , Slavic vilas, Baltic veles and etc. (Genetically all of them occur from the Great Goddess).

The given plot puts before us some questions. On the one hand, the root 'vel' connected with the world dead, belongs to the God of Earth Powers. Besides Vertumn was the main god of this city (that is the main god of priests). With another - the wolf traditionally is the opponent of the God of Earth Powers and is connected with the God of Thunder. And the motive of chaining of the wolf by means circuit likes the Scandinavian myth about World Wolf Fenrir. Probably we deal with inversion when contrasts converge - the God of Earth Powers in Etruscan myth got features of the wolf, and the God of Thunder in the Scandinavian and Hittite myths has driven about on a chariot with the rams and the bull accordingly. For the benefit of that Veltha is the God of Earth Powers, speaks also the image on Etruscan cista from Preneste. The Minerva (the Etruscans esteemed her also) which whether helps, whether prevents the naked baby to leave at the weapon from an amphora. Near to the baby it is written 'Mars'. About Mars/Maris it was already spoken in connection with Scythian culture. Now it is necessary to add, that the Roman Mars was considered also as the god of arising year (Vertumn was gods nature circulation). There is also small winged figure, reminding role Vanth on one of the relieves representing a history about Olt.

Speaking about deities with a root 'vel' it is necessary to touch and the whole class of the mythological essences, personifying spirits died, as a rule, a feminine gender. These are Baltic vele, Slavic vila, Scandinavian Valkyrie . "Baltic 'veles' - spirits died which go to live on a sandy hill, 'a hill of veles' where they have the houses or rooms. "The hill of veles' has a gate through which they enter also benches on which they sit that it is known from national poetry. It reminds ancient funeral barrows, wooden rooms or stone tombs. Many places of the Latvian folklore speak about a cemetery on a small sandy hill, frequently so full tombs, that here are not present more rooms for again arriving. It can be memoirs of collective barrows of the Bronze Age with hundreds tombs, or barrows of the Iron Age with tombs of members of one surname " (Gimbutas, 1963. p. 89). In October the Balts marked (and till now mark) Days of vele. In baths, drying houses and premises for them entertainments were arranged. Approximately in same time (from October, 12 till November, 1) Irish celebrate Samhainn - days when the side between this world and other world the worlds disappears, and people can communicate with Tuatha De Danann.

Slavic vila and especially Scandinavian Valkyrie they have more warrior character, but in genesis the same spirits died. With reference to these female mythological characters, it is possible to speak about an environment of the God of Earth Powers (it is indicative, that Scandinavian Valkyrie are serves of Odin, having many features of the God of Earth Powers).

As if to Indian Varuna he is less unequivocal, than deities with a root 'vel', but nevertheless it is identified with the God Earth Powers. In Vedas he is a keeper of true and validity, the ruler of space waters. Varuna has magic force, it is favourable to singers, and severely punishs for deviation from the moral law. The cord and a loop - his weapon, he as though holds down the person who wants to ruin. It, in G. Dumezil's opinion (Dumezil, 1986), the given god reminds Odin (which on our hypothesis though also the Hero, but has incorporated many features of the God of Earth Powers). As it was already spoken, in Vedas Varuna operates usually in pair with Mithra (pair - the God of Earth Powers - the Cultural Hero). Not casually mentioned in connection with Scythian-Sarmatian Thrita, appearing at the bottom of well, appeals about the help to Varuna.

Prussian analogue of Vels/Veln was Patollo/Pekols. He entered into the triad of gods, the most esteemed in Romovo sanctuary. According to medieval sources, the sanctuary looked as follows: in the middle of spacious plain there was a huge oak. In it there were three niches in which ancient Prussian sculptures contained. That were: Perkunas, Potrimps and Patollo. Statue of Perkunas had a twisted black beard, a bright-red face and the same colours a sheaf of beams around of a head. Before it the inextinguishable fire flared. To the right of Perkunas there was a sculpture affable young men without beard in a wreath from ears - Potrimps, the god of the rivers and sources, the bearer of fertility and a good harvest. The main symbol of him was the snake lived in a clay urn, covered hay. On the left side from Perkunas there was statue Patollo - the god of Underworld and night phantoms, an embodiment of horror. He was represented as the gray-bearded old man with a white scarf on a head (variant - in a horned helmet). Symbols Patollo were three skulls - the person, a horse and the bull. The described triad reminds Uppsala one (with that difference, that in last the Cultural Hero - Odin occupied the central place) and, is similar to it, was certainly a product of complex intellectual activity of Prussian priests.

There was in Baltic culture also one more image liked the God of Earth Powers. This is Cerocles - the god of fields and cereals. In the message of cardinal Valenti from 1604 A.D. is identified with Veln. "In the report of Jesuits from 1619 it is informed, that at meal on the ground for C. throw the first piece and spill the first drink of drink. The author 18 century Rostovsky names C. the god of hospitality. Name Cerocles make from the Latvian. cerot, 'to cluster' (compare connection C. with cereals), that proves to be true presence in folklore (where C. is not) Ceru mate, 'mothers of bushes'" (Myths of nations of the world, 1998. v. 2, p. 618-619). We shall recollect Iranian saka - 'fork', 'bush', and connection of the given word with a deer. And sounds almost identically: Cerocles - Cernunnos . And that alongside with Ceru mate in Baltic culture exists and Velu mate, together with all rest, it is almost incontestable testifies for the benefit of direct identification Veln/Vels and Cerocles/ Cernunnos.

Unlike others East - and Central mythologies Baltic mythology it is rather poor in the images of the Cultural Hero. Exception makes Sovius, who " was mentioned by the copyist in an insert 1261 to Russian translation of "the Chronicle" by John Malala: Sovius once has caught a wild boar and has given his nine spleens to sons that those them have baked. Having learned that children have eaten them, angry S. has decided to leave in a hell, but could penetrate there only through the ninth gate which to him were specified by one of sons. Then the son himself was directed on searches of the father and, has buried him in the ground. In morning S. has told to the son, that he damaged with worms and reptiles. Then the son has put S. in a tree, but he next morning was damaged mosquitoes and bees. Only after burning S. has told the son, that strong slept, "as a child in a cradle". The Lithuanians and Prussians are named in the story 'peoples of Sovius', and S. - a guide in a hell which was cremation investigator. (Myths of nations of the world, 1998. v. 2, p. 457). In this case we see two closely connected functions combined in one character - a conductor of souls in Other World and the first died. Concerning first of them the precise analogy between Sovius and already considered by us Greek Hermes and Roman Mercury is traced. As if to an image of the first died here Baltic tradition likes Indo-Iranian one especially.

In the Indian mythology there is such image as the Yama - the king of ancestors. "Perhaps at the beginning Yama was thought mortal man. It agrees 'Rigveda', he was 'the first who has died' and has opened a way of death for others that is why refers to as 'the Collector of people' who prepares for 'a grave' for deceased". (Myths of nations of the world, 1998. v. 2, p. 682). Further Yama began to be esteemed as the god, one of lokapala - keepers of the world. Indian Yama is identified with Persian Yima. Etymologically their names are interpreted as 'twin', 'double'. There Yima is one of ancestors, the Cultural Hero, legendary ruler in the Iranian mythology. He has divided mankind into four estates: priests, soldiers, farmers and handicraftsmen, has made a military armour, has trained people in weaving, has opened medicinal medicines, at last, has rescued people and fauna from terrible winter (the Iranian analogue of a flood). (Rak, 1998,174 - 178). His time is the Iranian variant of the Golden Age. In 'Avesta' traditions gradual decrease of Yima's image takes place, there is a motive of his fall and the subsequent partition. In 'Younger Avesta' Guyomard ('life mortal') is considered as the ancestor - the lord of the first bull. When demons have destroyed both of them, from Guyomard seed there was a first human pair, and from Primery bull seed there was the bull, the cow and other useful animals. From here we leave on analogy to two other traditions: legends of relic Aryan pagans of Hindu Kush and the Scandinavian mythology. Hindu Kush Aryan demiurg Imra, learned people to dairy milking is the Supreme deity which simultaneously supervises road to a next world. There is giant Imir, brought up by cow Audhumla and caused the giants (and the gods) in Scandinavian Edda. Odin and his brothers having killed Imir, have created the world from his body: from flesh the ground, from blood the sea, from bones of mountain, from a skull the heavenly arch, and from brains of a cloud. Pair: Primery Bull and Primery Ancestor - whether is it is the most ancient, most archaic variant of our tandem - the God of Earth Powers and the Cultural Hero? In that case, Odinn and Mitra - these late images, actually is amazed with the ancient prototypes.

Baltic peoples in the pantheon have kept all basic mythological types. The god of Clear Sky is Dievas, to the God of the Thunder - is Perkunas, the God of Earth Powers - Veln/Vels (Prussian Patollo), to the Cultural Hero - Sovius; to the Great Goddess - Zemes mate, and also some other. Is evident, that at full structure of Balt pantheon, the type of the Cultural Hero is be relative undeveloped. The western representatives of the given cultural world - the Prussians above all put the embodiment of the God of Earth Powers - Patollo. It is known, that there priests played dominant role, comparable on power and religious refinement with Celtic druids. East Balts (it is especial Lithuanians) where ruled by princes, venerated the God of Thunder (that, probably, it is connected to influence of the Vikings and Thor's cult). Not probably, the Prussians lost independence (similarly to Celtics) by but the Lithuanians preserved their independence and organised state.

Fantalov Alex


Speciality 24.00.01 - the theory and a history of culture

The dissertation on competition of a doctor degree of cultural science

3.4. Mythological images in Slavic culture.



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