Speaking of Grimm, it is unfortunate that his Deutsche Mythologie has not been translated into a Slavic language (as far as we know). There are lots of interesting tidbits throughout that book…
Most adults are aware that light travels faster than sound. The difference is actually quite significant. The speed of light is about 186,000 miles per second whereas sound will travel only 1,125 feet in that same second. It is for this reason that when you see lightning, you then expect to hear thunder. In fact, you can calculate how far lightning struck from you merely by counting the number of seconds that pass when you hear the thunder sound that follows it.
What does that have to do with Grimm and Slavs?
Well, there is an interesting passage in Procopius that says something like:
“For they believe that one God, the maker of lightning, is alone lord of all things, and they sacrifice to him cattle and all other victims…”
For years, it was assumed that this was a reference to the Russian Perun.* And yet, as we know the Polish Piorun, the East Slav Perun or Lithuanian Perkunas refer to thunder not lightning. Is the same God the maker of lightning?
* note: the cattle reference suggested Veles to some but, to the extent that there even was any Veles, it seems odd to sacrifice “cattle” to the alleged “cattle god”. Veles can, on the other hand, be another name for Piorun.
We might say yes if we look at expressions such as “Jasny piorun”, “jasny grom” and others… And yet these expressions seem like conflations of two independent atmospheric phenomena.
The distinction of these two phenomena is hinted at in the 8th century work of Cosmography of Aethicus Ister where we learn that:
“Naxos and Melos and these islands are islands of the Cyclades, and the very round Isle of Melon as well, which is ver fertile; Jason, Pluto or Paron, and Pharius were born there.”
Naxon et Melos et ipsae insolae Cicladum insolaque Melon rotundissima adeo et fertilis, ubi Iason et Plutonem uel Paronem et Pharium editos.
Here Paron is equated with Pluto but “Iason” remains separate.
So what does this have to do with Grimm, again?
Well, we’ve previously noted the strange fact that Odin simply means “one” in Russian/Ukrainian (Polish jeden – eden?).
Did Grimm know that? He was a competent anthropologist, well-learned in Teutonic, Gallic and Slavic beliefs.
And so right at the beginning of the very first edition of his book, he mentions some Slavic Gods.
Among those, looking for similarities and differences between Slavic and Germanic Gods, he notices a God from the Slavic region of Krain (Italian Carniola) in today’s Slovenia (mentioned in a local dictionary). That God’s name is Torik or Tork. Grimm looks at the name and expresses his belief that this (war!) God has nothing to do with either the Germanic Tyr nor Thor.
So far so good…
But Grimm then provides an explanation of the Slavic God’s name, the implication of which he does not appear to grasp.
He says that the Slavic God’s name simply comes from vtorik, that is the “other” or “second”. He says this is because the Slavic Torik was a war God and the name was a simple translation of the name Mars. Mars or Martis was and is Tuesday (incidentally, Tyr’s day) which was the second day of the Slavic week. So the Slavs started to call their Mars by using their translated name of the “second” day of the week which day was dedicated to the god Mars.
This may or may not be true, of course.
A much more interesting question, however, is why is Thor called Thor or Tyr called Tyr?
And here is the real brain twister. How is it that two Germanic Gods’ names Odin and his “son” Thor correspond to Slavic numerals of one and two. Note also that vtori can mean the returning, repeated.
And why is Odin called Odin, again? What is the Germanic etymology here?
Moreover, is not the God of Lightning, the “first” God? You see lightening first before you hear the corresponding thunder. Lighting is, well, bright. Brightness corresponds to the name of the God Jasion (the Polish Jaś), the God of the “year” or Jahr or spring (Slavic v-esna or v-iosna) also the God of agriculture rebirth (notice the adventure with Demeter – Dea – meter – the Mother Goddess but also the Earth Goddess).
First, comes Jasion (“lightning”) and then comes Peron (“thunder”).
“Father” and “Son”.
Odin and Vtor
Odin and Thor.
Was then Zeus Thor who struck his father Jasion in an act of not simply “divine punishment” but usurpation?
Incidentally, Jasion is also mentioned in Sacra Moraviae Historia where He is referred to as “Chasson/sive Jassen”.
It is also noteworthy that “Chasson” was the name of one of the Slavic leaders in Book 2 of the Miracles of Saint Demetrius.
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