Make your own free website on


Mythologies of peoples of Northern Europe.

This course is focused on high schools of Saint Petersburg. Our city as northern capital of Russia has old and close communications with northern neighbours. And up to the basis the St. Petersburg region was a place of mixes various cultures. In epoch of early Middle Ages it was a part special cultural-historical community covering all coast of the Baltic Sea and some of other territories. On this space the original way of life was generated, cities grew. Similar to ours to Old Ladoga and Novgorod, west Slavic Arkona and Retra (Stargard), Danish Hedeby, to the Swedish Uppsala etc. the Outstanding role in them belonged to military - trading estate the Vikings. There were great trading ways "from Vikings in Greeks" and " from Vikings in Persians". The Baltic generality was distributed to the west and the east, actively contacted to Frank kingship, Celt and Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. And though it has not developed in an independent civilization, its heritage was the significant contribution to the European cultural fund. Now the problem of the Baltic dialogue again is staticized. Thus it is very important to understand and respect type of thinking of the partner, and it is impossible without knowledge of its traditions. Studying of any tradition is better for beginning with the mythology brightly expressing spirit of people.

The Present rate also is devoted to mythologies of Northern Europe, which was considered in maximum extended sense here - "from Atlantic up to Ural". In this extensive territory long since there were five basic ethnic-cultural files: Celt, German-Scandinavian, Slavic, Balt (Letto-Lithuanian) and Finno-Ugric. Listed peoples have left a magnificent folklore heritage which on the volume and art advantages is comparable with antique, and a variety even surpasses it.

The Rate " Mythologies of peoples of Northern Europe " is called to solve the following problems:

1. To expand knowledge of students of peoples of Northern Europe, their history, features of culture and probable contacts.

2. To acquaint students with diverse mythological and ephic a heritage these peoples.

3. To open a role of a mythological heritage in the literature, music and the fine arts of the past.

4. To show students an opportunity of use of mythological images and plots in the modern art.

The Rate consists of four sections, each of which is dedicated to one of the listed groups of peoples (Balts and Finno-Ugrics are shown in one section). In turn, the section shares on four themes. First of them is devoted to the brief characteristic of an early history of appropriate people, its culture and mythology, the contribution to a universal heritage. Special value is given to a role of North-European mythological images in the literature, music and the fine arts of New Time. The following three themes are directly devoted to a statement of myths - " legends on gods " and eposes " legends on heroes ". The statement is accompanied by the comment resulting parallel plots in related traditions.

The course bases on the manual developed by its author "Mythology of peoples of Northern Europe ". It consist of 16 lectures and finished by a seminar.


The Name of a theme

Quantity of hours


Practical occupations

Section 1. The Celts

1. A general characteristic of early Celtic culture and their heritages



2. A mythological cycle of the Irish sagas



3. A heroic cycle of the Irish sagas



4. A cycle about Arthur and knights of the Round Table



Section 2. The German-Scandinavians

5. A general characteristic of early culture German-Scandinavians and their heritage



6. Organization of the world on Edda mythologies



7. Destruction and updating of the world on Edda mythologies



8. Sigurd's cycle - the main German-Scandinavian epos



Section 3. The Slavs

9. A general characteristic of early culture of Slavs and their heritages



10. Slavic mythology



11. The basic types of heroes of the epos



12. Tragedy of the heroism on an example of the epos



Section 3. The Balts and the Finno-Ugrics

13. General description of Balts and Finno-Ugrics early culture



14. Balts (Letto-Lithuanian) mythology



15. Ob-Ugrian Mythology



16. Karelo-Finnish epos "Kalevala"



17. A final seminar






The Theme 1. A general characteristic of early Celtic culture and their heritages.

The origin Celt peoples (7-th c. B.D.). Traditional weakness of princely authority. The leading part priests, prevalence over a society of the magic, irrational beginning. Unrestrainedness together with pensiveness - features of national character. Celtic towns, dwellings, clothes. The ships. High development of crafts. Celticum - Medieval Europe prototype. Loss of independence continental Celts (1-th c. B.D.). Art as the basic our knowledge source of Celtic mythologies. Medieval Celts. A special role of Ireland in business of preservation of folklore. The Irish sagas. Wales and creation of a legend about king Arthur. Influence Celtic heritages on culture of Middle Ages and New time. W. Shakespeare, D. Mac Ferson. Pre-rafaelits. O. Berdsly. "The Irish revival". Modern genre "fantasy".

The Theme 2. A mythological cycle of the Irish sagas.

The History of "captures of Ireland". " Tuatha De Danann" - the main gods of Celtic pantheon (Nuadha - the God of the sky, Dahghda - the God of Earth powers, Lugh - the Cultural Hero, Morrighan - the Goddess of war etc.). Their fight with Fomhoire - the Irish variant of collision of gods and demons. Occurrence of people - Milesians. A leaving of Tribes of goddess Danu in wonderful hills and their transformation into elves. Irish Samhain. The further relations between эльфами and people. The beginning of heroic century.

The Theme 3. Heroic (Ulad) cycle of the Irish sagas.

Wonderful birth Conchobar. He becomes king Ulad (Ulster). Occurrence on light Cuchulain - the son of the god of light and the mortal woman. His first feats, education in Scotland (he was teached by women-warrior Scathach), marriage.

Cuchulain - the greatest Irish hero (Cuchulainn against Morrighan ). The histories anticipating the Cattle-Raid of Cuailnge

(the Tain Bo Cuailnge). Quarrel of the Irish kings. The Cattle-Raid of Cuailnge

- the culmination of a heroic cycle. Cuchulain,s fighting against his son. Travel in the Otherworld. Death of Cuchulain. An epilogue.

The Theme 4. A cycle about Arthur and knights of the Round Table.

"The History Britains". Invasion of Anglo-Saxons. . The birth of Arthur. A sword in a stone. Crowning Arthur and his marriage. A round Table. Archaic images of knights. Fairy Morgan. Merlin runs into eternal dream. Images of knights. Searches the bowl of St. Grail. Mordred's evolt and destruction of king (in a duel with the son- Mordred). A prophecy about future returning Arthur.


SECTION 2. GERMANO-Scandinavians.

The Theme 5. A general characteristic of early culture German-Scandinavians and their heritage.

The Origin of German peoples. Great resettlement of peoples and wreck of Rome. A role of military leaders at germen and absence organized priests. Scandinavians. Vendel period (6 - 8-th. c. A.D.) - "Golden Age" in a history of Sweden. Movement of the Vikings (9 - 11-th. c. A.D.) Sea campaigns. Clothes, dwelling, the ships, cult places of epoch of the Vikings. Art, it expression, dramatic nature. The Scandinavian animal ornament (influence Roman, Celtic, Franc, oriental motives). The Old Scandinavians literature. A role of Iceland in its preservation. Sagas. Eddic and skaldic poetry. Features of mythology of epoch of vikings (eschatology, a gloomy fantasy) and its value for North-European cultures of New time. Pre-romanticism. Romanticism and neo-romanticism (R. Wagner). A modernist style. The Scandinavian mythological motives in an architectural decor of Saint Petersburg.

The Theme 6. Organization of the world on Edda mythologies.

Origin of the world, occurrence of gods and giants. Creation by gods of the manned world (a firmament, a land, the sea, mountains) from a primary creature body. World Tree, division of the universe into three levels. Cultural acts of Odin

: creation elves and dwarfs; creation of people; an establishment of stars; extraction of honey of poetry, sacred fleeces and waters from a source of wisdom. 12 light experts (gods): One (the cultural hero), Thor (the God of Thunder), Tyr (The God of Sky), Freyr (making force of the ground) etc. Goddesses: Freyja, Frigg, Siv, Idun etc. Valkyrie . Construction of heavenly town.

The Theme 7. Destruction and updating of the world according to Edda mythologies.

Children of malicious god Loki (the World Wolf, World Serpent and Hella - the Underworld mistress). Kidnapping Idun and gold apples. Theft of Thor's hammer. Struggle the God of Thunder with giants. Travel Thor. Catching the World Serpent ( Thor and Jormungand ). Loki - Scandinavian devil and Antichrist in one person. He kills Baldur - light Odin's son. A feast at sea giant Egir. Exposure Loki and his punishment. "Ragnarok" ("Doomsday of gods") - Scandinavian apocalypse.

The Theme 8. "Siegfried's cycle" - the main German-Scandinavian epos.

Divine (from Odin) origin of Velsungs. Siegmund's history and his revenge. Is born Siegfried - the greatest hero of the German-Scandinavian world. Dwarf Regin and a history of an origin of a ring. Siegfried wins dragon and takes hold кладом. A meeting with Valkyrie Brunhild. Siegfried's marriage. Siegfried's death. Destruction of successors of the damned ring. The legend about Helgy - the hero, three times reviving to life.


The Theme 9. A general characteristic of early culture of Slavs and their heritages.

The Basic hypotheses of an origin of Slavs. Cultural influences - Celtic-Germanic from the west, Scythian from the east. The Balts. Division of Slavic peoples on western, southern and east (since 7-th century A.D.). East Slavs and a problem of Ruges. The Vikings. Customs of Slavs, their weapon and clothes. A vegetative ornament. Arkona and Stargard - the main cult centres. Wooden temples western and open sanctuaries of east Slavs. Coherence with forces of a nature - characteristic feature Slavic paganism. Sources: medieval chronicles, church lectures, records of ceremonies, folklore, an applied art. Images of fairy tales and bylinas in the literature (A. Pushkin), musical creativity (Н. Rimsky-Korsakov, I. Stravinsky), the fine arts (V. Vasnetsov, I. Bilibin. etc).

The Theme 10. Slavic mythology.

"Great heathen gods": Svarog (the God of Sky), Dazhbog - Herovit (the Cultural Hero, a primogenitor), "The God of Thunder" (Slav Perun ,Veles(the God of earth Powers), Hors, Mokos , Lada etc. Their functions, attributes, holidays. Semargl and Pangolin. The lowest Slavic mythology. Embodiments of the elements: water, mermaids, forest, house. Fantastic images: snakes; the woman - jaga; "the man - itself with finger, moustaches on seven miles". "The Verse on the Dove book " - Indo-Aryan and orthodox began connection.

The Theme 11. The basic types of heroes of the epic epos.

The Kiev cycle. Svyatogor - an image of a giant in bylinas. Ilya Muromets - the main hero of the epic epos. His wonderful healing, a victory above the nightingale - robber . End Svyatogor. Prince - werwolf Volh Vseslav'evich and grain-grower Mikula Seljaninovich. The Russian hero Dobrinya well known as the winner of serpent. Alesha Popovitch ('Alex, the son of priest'), who is reputed to be Russian trickster, is fighting against Tugarin Zmeevitch.

The Theme 12. The tragedy of heroic beginning on a material of the epos.

The Danube - bogatyr and marriage of prince Vladimir. Ivan Godinovich both Кащей. Ilya Murovets and Idol. Ilya Muromets and Sokolnic (typical Indo-European plot of fight of the father with the own son). Ilya Muromets in quarrel with prince Vladimir. "Kama battle". . The destruction of bogatyrs. The Novgorod bylinas: Sadko, Vasily Buslaev.

SECTION 4. The Balts and Finno-Ugrics.

The Theme 13. A general characteristic of early Balt and Finno-Ugrian cultures and their heritages.

The Balts (letto-Lithuanians, Prussians) - the nearest neighbours and relatives of the Slavs. The important role of priests. Romovo - the cult centre. A triad of great gods. Long preservation official heathenism (about 15-th. c. A.D.). Extensive folklore fund - legends, songs, ceremonies. Grace of the Baltic folklore and its influence on national culture of 19-th. c. A.D.

Finno-Ugric peoples. Their history. A role of the Ugrians in the Migration period, connection with hunnes. Campaigns to the north, the west and the south. Hungarians. Institute of shamanism of the Finno-Ugrians - Siberian fig. Dualism - influence of Zoroastrian Iran. Ob-Ugrics - the basic keepers of mythological tradition. A way of life, a geometrical ornament. Interest to a Ugrian heritage in Hungary. Karelians - carriers of the epos. Runas. "Kalevala" the most known author's epos of 19 centuries. Its plots in A.Gallen-Kallela's creativity - the founder of national school of the Finnish painting. Northern modernist style.

The Theme 14. Balt (Letto-Lithuanian) mythology.

The Basic deities: Dievas (sky) and his sons; Saule (sun) and her daughters; Meness (month); Perkunas

(the God of Thunder); Vels (the God of Earth Powers); Sovius (the Cultural Hero and a conductor in a next world). Dualistic legends about Dievas and Vels. Heavenly wedding. Struggle Vels and Perkunas. Images of the lowest mythology: dejvy-spinners, bardzuki-gnomes, vkltaks (werwolves), fiery serpents, kaukas-house.

The Theme 15. Mythology Ob-Ugrians (Ostyak - Hant and Vogul - Mansi) .

The Pantheon: Num-Torum (" the Heavenly God "); his spouse Kaltas'-Ekva ( "Earth Mother") and the younger brother a Kul-Otyr ("devil-bogatyr"). Deities of the sun, the moon, a wood, water, fire. Seven sons of the heavenly god - spirits - keepers. Mir-Susne-Hum ("Man, who gaze at the world") - the Cultural Hero and the patron of Ugrian people. The lowest mythology: a spirit - bear, giant-ogres, the mammoth, sixthfooted lamb, "Not having Heart and the Liver the Iron Frog ", Giant eagle. The basic mythical plots. Heroic legends.

The Theme 16. Karelo-Finnish epos "Kalevala ".

Creation of the world from the eggs, demolished by a duck (the Siberian plot). Vainamoinen singer and shaman, the cultural hero and медиатор. His unsuccessful courtship. Vainamoinen and witch - " the mistress of the North ". Smith Ilmarinen creates wonderful mill Sampo. Hero Leminkainen . Travel to an empire of death. Wedding of Ilmarinen and witch's daughters. Fight for Sampo - heroes Kalevala take away it home. Revenge old witch. Leaving of Vainamoinen.

Provisional themes for a seminar:

1. Influence of various cultures against each other.

2. The basic nucleus Indo-European mythologies and its updatings at representatives of different branches индоевропейцев.

3. Connection between mythology, a history, culture.

4. A myth and national character.

5. Animals in myths. Features of use of images the snake, the bull, a deer, the ram, a horse, an eagle, the wolf etc.

6. Fantastic ообразы folklore.

7. Mythological prototypes of heroes of the literature.


 The Menu.


For consultations or tutoring: history, political science, cultural science, art criticism, painting and theories of composition; purchase of pictures and also installing of advertising - E-mail: